Two months after Lily went missing we couldn’t bear the dog-less house anymore, there’s nothing worse than a house without a dog, it just feels so empty.
We didn’t want to replace Lily so we decided to foster for a rescue. After searching around it became clear that because we had 3 cats and 2 young children we couldn’t be much help as most dogs in rescue have no background history and the ones that do get re-homed quickly and therefore don’t often need fostering.
After 3 months we decided just to get another dog and when Lily came back we would just have 2 dogs. So I started looking around local rescues. My youngest child was 3 and I was finding it difficult to find a rescue that would allow us to re-home one of their dogs due to his young age.
One day when I was ringing around local pounds to check they still had Lily’s poster up, I asked one if they had any cat, kid and dog friendly dogs in. The answer was ‘No, we never usually have dogs in like that’ then she said ‘Oh hang on a minute, one has just come back in….oh I mean brought in’ I didn’t notice the quick change in wording in that sentence but it explains a lot now!
So anyway it turns out they had a 9 month old Jack Russell Cross, Hmmmmm I wasn’t a huge Jack Russell fan but decided to pop in anyway as I was going over that way.
When we got there they came out with Bella. My goodness I fell for her straight away, she was the most gorgeous little thing I had ever seen. Officially she’s a JRT x Whippet but she most definitely has some collie thrown in for good measure. She looked a little like an albino fox with eyeliner!
She wasn’t interested in us at all and was pulling and straining on her slip lead, I assumed it was because she was stressed from the kennel environment and wanted a good old walk. The kennel staff told me she was good with everything and her only fault was no recall off lead – how very wrong they were! I literally walked out with a dog that really hadn’t been assessed properly at all and without me even having a home check, luckily we are responsible owners but they really had no proof of this. They said they would home check us after a couple of weeks….they never did and we never heard from them again.
That was it…off we went…and so it began.
Bella, to put it mildly, was completely mental! She was pretty much perfect in the house and was great with the kids but outside was another story altogether. It was obvious she had never been walked or even had a lead put on her, she utterly freaked out when I put the lead on her and I had to literally drag her out the front door. She was terrified, once we were outside she lunged at everything that moved…cars and bicycles being her favourite things to attack. She had to be forced into the car, barked at people, dogs….everything! She terrorised my poor cats and had a massive fear of men. My husband came home one day wearing a big black coat (that was then banished!) and she was so scared she wet herself, poor, poor girl. I hate to think what on earth she had been through to be so terrified.
She was a Houdini extraordinaire and could escape from any collar and harness, luckily I found an awesome harness from Doxlock, that was impossible for her to maneuver out of. It was an absolute nightmare and my mum told me to take her back as they obviously hadn’t assessed her properly at all. But looking into her big brown eyes how could I do that to her, how many times had she been taken back to the pound!? I’d adopted her and a bit like marriage it was for ‘better or worse’
Luckily it was ‘for better’…eventually.
I looked online for advice and help and trained her every day and slowly but surely she improved little by little. We worked from walking on a short lead to an extender lead then on to a 50ft training lead and now she is an off lead dog with 100% recall. It took a year to stop her lunging at moving objects and to get over her hatred of other dogs. Now 2 years later she is a different dog and people compliment me on how well-behaved she is.
I’m so proud of Bella, she still has her moments and doesn’t like strangers much, especially men in big coats and has an unhealthy obsession of eating insects and chasing tennis balls, but she has come such a long way. She is awesomely intelligent and I love her so much, she mended my broken heart after Lily was stolen. Now Lily is back and Bella has accepted her into her home without question – who knows perhaps she recognises Lily’s smell from when she first came into our house?
Bella got me through Lily being missing and its so sad to think dogs like Bella get put to sleep in pounds everyday because they have issues – issues which can clearly be resolved – Bella is proof of that 🙂
I love you Bud x