Is this my furever home?

4 years ago today, I was led down a path to a new home. I had been in rescue twice, been homed once and all before I was two and a half. They think I came from a farm in Wales, but no one really knew. I had no idea what was going on, where I was or what was going to happen. All I knew was the house looked nice, it looked warm and it was cold and sleety outside.

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The two people who I adopted looked nice, they seemed quite nervous about the decision to rescue me but I could feel they wanted to look after me. The house was certainly warmer than the kennel, and the garden looked great. I decided to sleep as I didn’t really know what was expected of me. The garden could wait a day or so. I was confused and skittish for quite a while.

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It took about 18 months to start to really settle into my new surroundings with the routine of eat, sleep, walk and repeat. Gradually the number of beds increased and the training walks and fun were handed out in buckets. I could get used to this. I have routine, we trust each other.

I am safe, I am secure, I am loved, I have many friends, I am lucky. I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to the people that rescued me. We have persevered with each other, I have moulded them into my Paw Assistants, at my beck and call. I don’t want to think of where I might be if they hadn’t come along and made the life changing decision to give me a home.

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Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to everyone who has believed in me and helped me and looked out for me. Its good to feel loved and warm and safe.

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I have something in my eye.

Remembrance

Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK. It’s a day when people stop and ponder on what many of their forefathers went through in conflicts to make sure we all had the freedoms we have now.  It strikes me as a day upon which we should all remember the sacrifices that people and animals made, voluntarily or otherwise, that have made our lives better now. The animals had no choice.

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Usually I woof about having fun pawtrols, dragging my Dad through the fields or helping my Mum find the biggest dirtiest puddles to wade through. However today something was different. It didn’t feel like a fun walk. It was good as there were plenty of sniffs and scents. I even got to see a squirrel in the distance. I just keep on wondering what it might have been like if I was caught in conflict. It gave me a tingle in my fur, and not a nice tingle either.

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I am content that I do not have worried ears about going off to fight. I am also soberly reminded of those who have given their lives for freedom, as well as those who came back and the bravery of them all.

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From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Bonfire night & whizzbangs

I want to woof a blog with no pictures, so please bear with me. I know that some humans like Bonfire Night on 5th November. For those outside the UK who aren’t familiar with the ritual, a man called Guy Fawkes and some of his associates tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with many people inside. They failed, were killed in a grisly & gruesome manner and now it seems their failure and demise is celebrated with big bonfire and burning effigies.

Anyway, if that was the extent of the matter it wouldn’t be the subject of this missive. Oh no, people started getting fireworks and letting them off. They became bigger, and louder and more colourful. Then they became larger still, even more NOISY with the same amount of colour. If only the “celebration” was for one night only.

I am a dog (you may have noticed!). I don’t like fireworks, or whizzbangs. They scare me and I have to hide from them because they are so loud and so noisy. I know of other furs that actually cannot eat for hours after hearing and seeing fireworks, they are so scared by the things. I can understand, kind of, that for one night each year some people like to celebrate the demise of a potential mass killer. But when the fireworks are used to celebrate someones birthday, graduation, passing their driving test, eating all their dinner or seeing auntie Ethel for the first time in three weeks, I do wonder if it’s a little excessive. And don’t get me started on people who just have them to set them off in their gardens or those who decide its really clever to throw them at each other. I despair at this point.

Once a year, at an organised event, even I can see that. I don’t like them, I will cower and try to hide. However, this seems reasonable so I can live with it. However, selling these pyrotechnics to any Joe who walks off the street into the supermarket, I kind of draw a line in my sandpit.

Get people to organised events, sell toffee apples and hot toddy drinks with some sparklers for the small humans. Any money that people would spend on private fireworks, give to a charity to help homeless people or dogs & cats, so the world is a bit of a better place.

I will get off my soapbox now.

The nagging doubt

As a Beagle Harrier rescued at at early age, I missed out on a large chunk of my formative years both socially and in puppy training.  This proved to be quite disruptive when I first arrived in my forever home. No one really knew what to expect of each other, so it was almost like a stand off. I knew it was warm, I knew it wasn’t draughty and I knew that I got walks, food and some play time. Oh and my beds, I knew all about those. But there was this nagging doubt; was this permanent or was I just in another temporary home whilst these 2 gave up on me after a few months or so.

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After the initial efforts at Dog Training School it was clear that it wasn’t for us. I was confused, I was skittish, I was directionless I suppose. I needed a purpose, some regimentation. I did not need to be dominated, shouted at and told off which was the routine at Training School.

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The walks in the early days were very helpful in getting some energy out of my paws and allowing me to rest a while when we returned home. However I was still anxious to know what was going on and where. Every time a door was opened or someone left a room, I wanted to know where they were going and why it didnt involve me. Settling was clearly a problem. Play time was great but when it finished, I wanted more and didn’t understand that it was down time. Toys were shredded in frustration quite regularly. While this may have been funny to see the dismembered soft toy stuffing strewn like a crime scene across the rug, it probably hid an underlying feeling of anxiety that I had to make the best of this house, whilst it lasted. I was trying to find my way through life, I had been in a home, as well as the rescue centre twice, and I didn’t want this one to be just be another home on an ever growing list.

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I could see these two people wanted to succeed in getting me to settle down and they were learning at the same time as myself. They clearly wanted to work with me, and when the training came along I took to it well. They were very canny however, as the treat based training didn’t go over board. There was significant use of praise to show me what was good, bad or indifferent. My mind wasn’t really occupied at first. Walks, tearing toys and sleeping remained the primary objects in the early stages. However when the training was increased and became more varied, it gave me something to actually think about. And to do something right, getting praise for it, was good as I could see the happiness for the humans too. I could feel my life changing. I was occupied with all sorts of activities and I was settling. When people left the room, now and again I stayed where I was. Sometimes I would get up and follow, but mostly I would stay where I was. The over riding fear of being moved on again was going, almost imperceptibly as I relaxed into my forever home.

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I knew I wasn’t going anywhere without these two. Doubts? What doubts?

Adopt dont shop

When I see the dogs & cats all waiting for a new home, it makes me wonder sometimes if people really do care about us.

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We watch tv programs and see articles on the internet and in the printed news about cruelty, starvation and abandonment amongst other fearful acts. Dogs being abused, beaten, tested upon, left for dead having been shot, garrotted or had their muzzles taped closed with duct tape. There are stories of cats being beaten and abused, also being tested on and deliberately tortured. All truly horrible things to see and hear.

Then you see designer dogs and cats being promoted by the popular press as being the “next accessory”, the “must have” in your house.  Dogs & cats being bred for their looks or size to make someone happy or so they can show off to their friends. What happens when they aren’t in fashion any more?

There are thousands of dogs and cats out there, all waiting for a home, all wanting a stroke of the neck, a tickle on the tummy, a walk, some food and a bed. We don’t ask for much, but pay back your love and kindness in spades. I’m lucky. Very, very lucky. I have found my forever home. I’m safe warm and very much loved.

You could make this much of a difference to a stray or abandoned animal. From this…

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To this…

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Rescue, stray & abandoned animals aren’t vicious and scary in the main. We are missing love, affection and the kindly human interaction of friendship. We have the paw of friendship, waiting for someone to take it.

A dog may not be around for all your life, but you will be around for the dogs life. Imagine the pride you could have from helping a stray or abandoned animal get back to feeling some love.

Thank you.

Dexter

Sleep

One of the most important things for a Beagle Harrier is sleep. It lets me recover from my walks and supervising in my grounds.

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When I am sleeping it allows me to dream and wonder what my life might have been like if I hadn’t had the fortune to chose my human M&D.

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I know I wouldn’t be as comfortable and looked after as much as I am here. I have six beds so I have enough places to sleep and think about how lucky I am.

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Sleep is very important, I need plenty of it. And I intend to get as much sleep as possible. I have many shenanigans to do, So I’m off to bed.

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My Garden

When I arrived in my new home, I had no idea that there was a wonderland of a garden attached to it. For the first few months I was shackled to one of my humans so couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I would have hoped. The number of trees made me suspicious that there were loads of little squirrels around. They would need chasing at some point.

I was allowed to roam fairly free after a couple of months, albeit on a long lead so I could at least chase a ball. I chased pigeons but they were pesky and kept on flying away. I think the squirrels were watching me and stayed out of my way. I could hear them, and sometimes see them, but they didn’t stray into my garden.IMG_0129

After a while I had calmed down enough to allow my humans to let me off the lead and to be trusted. It happened one day when I could hear them talking. I walked into the middle of the grass and sat down, the lead was unclipped from my harness and I just stood up and wandered off. I think this shocked all concerned. One thing I learned very quickly was that I could survey all the garden if I sat on the patio table.

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One day I wasn’t allowed in the garden as usual. I wanted to go and explore and play but I was being kept indoors. When I looked out again, there were many people in the garden and they were taking away 2 of my trees. Apparently the trees had a nasty disease which was eating them from the inside. They would have fallen over if they weren’t taken away.File 06-08-2016, 21 45 42

I have found many things in my garden, many of them are somewhat grisly and gruesome. One day, I was nosing about under one of the Yew tree and I was surprised to find a squirrel, but it wasn’t moving. Normally they like to run away from me but when I picked it up gently in my teeth, I saw it was headless so very dead. Another time there were two legs sticking out of the grass so I think the rest of the pigeon had been eaten. My human mum then found a ball of feathers and blood, so another pigeon had succumbed to the red kites who live in the area.

Now the only wildlife that I see in my garden is a tiger. Sadly I cuddled my tiger with my teeth and he doesn’t look like this any more.

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I love having freedom to run and play, I’m very lucky. Its safe for me. But I’m still waiting for the squirrels to dare to venture into my garden.