A challenge for next year is Battersea Dogs & Cats Home event called Muddy Paws. A 5km race for you and your canine pal to take part in. Tim, Albert & myself have signed up!
The main reason for this is due to our rescue dog Albert. He is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossed with a Bull Mastiff. As you can tell by his face here he is all staffy in looks but mastiff in size and weight.
He was 5 years old when we first got him on New Years Eve 2016. All we know about his background is that his previous owners were evicted and couldn’t take him with them.
I have grown up with dogs since I was born. I love their company and their funny mannerisms. So when Tim and I moved into our own place I missed Maille my family dog. After 6 months of me sending pictures of dogs to Tim he caved when I was scrolling through my phone on the Battersea website after watching Paul O’Grady for the love of dogs TV show.
The dog that caught his eye wasn’t Albert but a Sharpei. He started talking about visiting or how do we do the adoption process. I quadruple checked he was being serious before I put my hopes up as teasing me about this is just mean! So the next day 27/12/16 we drove to our nearest site in Windsor to enrol our details. We put down all of our personal info plus our experience and garden measurements. They then offered us to take a look round the kennels here, which we did. There was a beautiful boxer who was deaf. But I didn’t want to give Tim (a cat person – yuck) an bad experience of getting a dog. After I had managed to talk to all of the pooches we sped home to host a family Christmas gathering!
Our appointment to meet the Sharpei was on 31/12/16. We set off early to head into the middle of London and arrived as the gates were opening. I recognised areas from the TV show and just had an almighty sense of **OH MY GAWD HOW CUTE ARE ALL THE DOGS GOING TO BE** and **IS PAUL O’GRADY GONNA BE HERE**
We then got taken into an interview room to look over our credentials again. It turned out that because we didn’t have enough experience with the Sharpei breed they weren’t happy for us to see him. This was fine as we also had a few back ups just in case. But again these were all larger breeds than what we are used to. I got a bit disheartened but also didn’t just want to take any old dog home.
In hindsight what Battersea should do is kind of a ‘dating profile’ for re-homers. (Work with me here) People would put their experience, housing arrangements, working schedule, likes and dislikes of breeds etc. into a profile and then based on this, dogs profiles would appear. Only to reduce people’s disappointment levels. I even suggested this to the feedback team (not in the dating profile way) but he understood what I meant. Rather than letting everyone see all the dogs available. If my selection of choice was only 10 dogs for example I would have chosen what I thought would be ‘the one’ out of those dogs.
I digress; the lady mentioned Albert. He was one of our choices but lower down on the list. She said that he would be the best fit for us as he could be left for periods of time and was well trained. We got taken to a room and waited for Albert to come and join us.
My face lit up when I saw him. He was so full of energy. He bee-lined for us with the wiggliest tail and he went straight in with an almighty lick to our faces! The Battersea staff member left us alone with him for a while to sort out some paperwork and find out some more information on Albert’s vet records. Albert sniffed out the treats that were on a desk plus a tennis ball. He loves playing fetch. I had to take a phone call about Albert’s vet treatment and conditions. It was rather a lot of information to take in but I got the jist of it.
Albert has a condition known as ‘crocodile eyes’. This is where his eyelashes are in growing so causes him to have weepy and itchy eyes. Battersea had completed an operation a few weeks before we met him to correct this. The scarring is where he gets his eye markings from and the reason he had a ‘cone of shame’ on when he met us. What cause the eyelashes to grow inward are teeny tiny mites that live on his skin. This makes his skin sensitive and causes him to nibble at his paws (another sensitive area to the mites). These mites are microscopic and the vet even said that testing skin cells wouldn’t even guarantee any results on finding them. Due to this being a lifelong condition that could possibly need continual treatment we were able to adopt Albert for free.
After deciding that Albert was the one for us we received information packs, eye drops, food, lead, collar and the ‘cone of shame’. Albert was rather excited to be out of his kennel and loved meeting everyone else that was visiting Battersea that day. Once paperwork was all finalised, that was it! We were free to go.
Due to the long drive home I didn’t want Albert in the boot of the car all alone plus we didn’t know if he got car sick. So I sat in the backseat with him. It took him a while to settle, I think this was due to the cone around his neck and everything being new. I was feeling rather anxious as well as the reality had kicked in about owning a dog and being solely responsible for him! No mum and dad to save the day! But once Albert had settled, so did my nerves, next minute we are both asleep cuddling each other.
As they say, the rest is history! Albert settled in straight away and was fine when I had to work 3 days a week. He still greets me with a wagging tail and it always lifts my mood. He has helped me with my mental health no end. I get up earlier in the morning to feed him and walk him on my days off. Plus I now have company in the house 24/7. Due to Tim working long hours I may not talk to anyone some days. His company has been a god send. Our favourite thing to do is to snuggle up on the sofa with a duvet and watch TV, he loves getting under the duvet! I’m also walking more now Albert is around. I’m gradually getting to my daily 10,000 steps every day! I have got to know a few new areas whilst walking and exploring with Albert too which has been great fun.
Rescuing a dog is a great experience. I still watch him now bouncing around on a walk, sniffing and sprinting and think to myself that I made the right decision. He’s just so happy.
So this is why we are all taking part in the Muddy Paws Challenge in September. We have a just giving page for any donations big or small!
How many of you have rescued a dog? Tell me about your story!