My Experience Of Rescue Dogs
My family have always had Weimaraners from puppies. We had one dog called Silber who was around when I was a baby. Then, at the age of six a new Weimaraner puppy was brought home, we named him Riki. My experience of dogs as a child would always involve getting a pedigree dog from a puppy.
When I was 18, Riki, the dog I grew up with passed away at the age of 14 (this is a pretty good age for a Weimaraner). A few months later, my father also passed away. The house felt completely empty, and it certainly didn’t feel right without a dog. After many lonely months without a canine companion, my sister and I told our mum we wanted a dog.
For some reason we knew we didn’t want a puppy, we wanted an older dog that could slot into our home. We didn’t have the energy or time to raise a puppy between us. I started looking for rescue dogs online, searching far and wide to find a Weimaraner that needed rescuing. I hadn’t had any experience of rescue dogs, I had only heard the negative side, that they all came with behavioural issues and were lots of trouble. However, that didn’t put me off and deep down I knew it was a huge generalisation.
Experience of Rescue Dogs – Kaspur the Weimaraner
Eventually we found Kaspur, a four year old Weimaraner in need of a home. I remember going to visit him at the rescue centre. He was in a complete state, clearly not coping very well with kennels and had serious digestion issues. He was very thin, but still had bags of energy and jumped up with excitement to greet us. We took him out on a trial walk, and boy did he pull on the lead. Like most Weimaraner’s, he seemed a bit mad, but we fell in love with his character.
The rescue centre said he had previously had four failed homes (we should have picked up on that warning sign!). The most recent owners were elderly and just weren’t strong enough for him. He clearly didn’t have a great start to life, being moved from home to home. It was clear that no one had been able to cope with him.
Having had a lot of experience with Weimaraners and being used to strong dogs, we knew we could provide the right home for him. It was the middle of winter and it has recently been snowing, even in his coat he was clearly freezing and not enjoying kennel life. We just couldn’t leave him there, so we took him home that day. He whined for most of the car journey home, unsure of what was going on. Little did we know what sort of challenge we were in for, even though we had experience of rescue dogs!
Kaspur was a very difficult rescue dog. However, it wasn’t his fault, he clearly hadn’t had the right training and constant love from a family. He had all sorts of issues. For the first few weeks he would cry all through the night, have the odd accident here and there and managed to get into the bins several times. He was also bad with other dogs, and would go crazy on the lead if he saw another dog. He was difficult to control, had no training on the lead and didn’t stop barking. We tried our best to help him settle in despite these problems. At one point my mum was considering taking him back he was so bad. He had had too many people give up on him. I was pretty sure we were his last chance, so I persuaded mum to let him stay.
Kaspur was extremely difficult in the beginning. It took a lot of work to correct his behaviour and build his trust in us. We had a behaviourist come in and help us and took him to dog training classes. It was only after a couple of years that he really improved. Most rescue dogs will settle in quickly, but some take years to get over their problems.
Nowadays, Kaspur is as good as gold. He is such a loving, loyal, wonderful dog and I couldn’t imagine life without him. I moved out a few years back and he lives with my mum. She has complete control over him and it’s amazing to see the progress he has made. He does exactly as he’s told and can be off the lead with other dogs. He’s still not perfect, he has mild separation issues when left in the evening and still needs a bit of work on his lead walking, but on the whole, he’s a pretty lovely dog. If it wasn’t for Kaspur, I wouldn’t have realised how amazing it is to have a rescue dog and rehabilitate them.
Experience of Rescue Dogs – Orla
After taking on Kaspur, I realised I had an interest in canine behaviour. I have always loved dogs, but I wanted to take my fascination further and learn more about them. I started a canine behaviour course which took place one evening a week for a year.
I wasn’t living at home anymore, and didn’t get to see Kaspur as much as I would have liked to. I really wanted to get another dog, and I knew it would help me with my canine behaviour studies if I had one.
I convinced my boyfriend to get a dog, and of course it had to be a rescue dog. We searched online and visited lots of dog rescue centres, looking for the right dog. We didn’t really have a breed in mind. We had both grown up with different dogs and wanted to get a breed that neither of us had had before.
At one of the rescue centres we immediately noticed a wolf like dog staring at us from her kennel. She jumped up and licked the glass, and when we went to walk away, she barked at us. We knew instantly she was the one. Her name was Orla, and she was a pretty 1 year old Collie Husky cross with one blue and one brown eye.
We took her for the standard test walk, and for half of it she was jumping around on her hind legs. Clearly she needed some training on the lead, but she was friendly and affectionate and very striking. All the reception staff loved her, and she would lay down and roll over for her belly to be rubbed. The rescue centre told us some basics about her background, she did have owners, but they let her stray all day while they were at work. We adored her, so we took her home that day.
Orla has been completely different to Kaspur. She settled in right away and in general she’s a pretty good dog. She’s smart and hasn’t needed too much additional training. She has a few quirks and isn’t perfect, but she’s a pretty wonderful example of a rescue dog. She can be a bit of a handful when out and about, but she isn’t destructive, is toilet trained, doesn’t make much noise and is generally pretty chilled out. We love her to pieces and she has taught us so much. You definitely have a special bond with a rescue dog. I hope my story inspires you to embark on the journey of adopting a rescue dog, it can be hard work, but it is well worth the effort and extremely rewarding.