We’d been vaguely thinking about getting a dog for a year or so before Enid joined our family, recalls Natasha Desborough.
Well I say ‘we’ – it was really just me and my two sons (aged 6 & 8 at the time). My husband’s response when I suggested getting a dog was ‘Hmm. That’s a lot of responsibility. And a lot of poo’. Which I took to mean a firm ‘YES’!
Having grown up with a gorgeous rescued Collie cross, I always knew that if I were to ever get another, it would have to be a rescue dog. There are so many wonderful dogs out there desperate for a new loving home. Using the internet to find the perfect rescue dog is a bit like using a dating website – you can literally tick the boxes that matter. The main requirements for us were that it had to be comfortable around young kids (we have two sons) and happy to coexist alongside our two elderly (and very grumpy) cats.
I looked at the R.S.P.C.A’s website, a local Border Collie rescue home and DogsBlog.com itself but it was ‘Bonnie’ an eleven week old chocolate Labrador on the Pro Dogs Direct rescue website that caught my eye.
She had a brilliantly grumpy expression that I instantly fell in love with and ticked all of our boxes. Within two days she was ours. The kids renamed her Enid (after Enid Blyton) which we all loved and as a family we pulled together when it came to her training. We agreed on the basic house rules so Enid’s boundaries were always consistent whoever was in charge.
We were a little bit concerned that the responsibility of having a dog might have some kind of negative effect on our active lifestyle. But we were pleasantly surprised to discover just how dog friendly the UK is. We were already National Trust members and soon found out how well they accommodate dogs. Likewise with the English Heritage properties that we enjoy visiting so much.
With a little bit of research we have discovered fabulous restaurants, gorgeous tea rooms and inspiring art galleries that are not only dog friendly BUT positively encourage owners to bring along their four-legged friends. So many of these places would have remained undiscovered to us if we hadn’t had a dog.
A year on and we can’t imagine life without Enid. She has brought even more love and laughter into our house and we all absolutely adore her. My husband was right though. There is a LOT of poo to contend with, but even that doesn’t bother us. Adopting a rescue dog has been a wonderful experience for us so far and we’re all looking forward to a long happy future together.
Tip Tips When Getting A Rescue Dog
1. The moment your new rescue dog arrives at your house, take him out into the garden and shout ‘WEE WEE’ excitedly when he does his first little job. Continue this every time he goes to the toilet successfully outside over the next few weeks. Your neighbours might think you are a loony but you’ll be the one laughing when your dog can wee on command (think how much Simon Cowell would LOVE to see that on Britain’s Got Talent).
2. Book puppy/dog training classes straight away. They are essential in providing you with the basic tools you’ll need to continue you dogs training at home and if your dog is older with a few ‘issues’ you’ll have an expert on hand to give you any advice. Also, the sooner your dog starts socialising with other dogs the better.
3. Do a little bit of training every day. Your dog will love to please you and it’s great fun. Plus, if you’re a control freak like me then it feels utterly brilliant to boss around an obedient dog.
4. Find a good local dog walker who you can trust to look after your dog. The best ones are those who like dogs more than people. Your dog will have the best time ever.
5. Expect the absolute worst. We were told by her foster carer that Enid was a mad, hyperactive, naughty whirlwind of a puppy. We therefore braced ourselves for some kind of demented dog with ADHD. But to us she seemed exactly as a puppy should be, lively, funny and fabulously mischievous. Either the foster carer was telling fibs OR my family is so mad that we just didn’t notice (I think it’s probably the latter).
Story brought to you by National Dog Adoption Month 2014