My Rescue Dog: Welcome To The Family
I love dogs. No, I don't think you understand - I love dogs. They come in so many shapes and sizes, personalities and are loyal to a fault. I would say hello to every dog I saw if I could and it'd make me the happiest woman on the planet.
Being such a lover of dogs, of course I believe in the rescue and re-homing process. The dog my family had as a child was a rescue puppy, the dog after that a rescued adult dog, and one of the two mutts my husband and I have is also a rescue. His name is Rocket.
When we went to North Clwyd Animal Rescue to look for a second dog, we didn't have a particular breed in mind. We just wanted a friendly, playful dog that Pepper would get on with. We had Pepper from a puppy and I think we did well training her. She's pretty obedient, very friendly and isn't bark-y or scared by any other dog, even if it is being a grump. She's a Jack Russell so her energy levels are stupidly high, but we always managed to keep her entertained. The choice to get a rescue to be her pal was slow forming, but watching her play with other dogs cemented it. She went mad - in a good way.
Rocket was at the rescue as a stray. He wasn't chipped and no one came forward to claim him. He hadn't been there long when we met him but he won our hearts nearly instantly. He was rather shy, and his cowering and submissiveness spoke of a history of abuse. We took a chance on him because we could see the lovely little boy that was under the fear. We don't know Rocket's history. We don't know how old he is apart from a decent guess from the Vet. All we know is that he obviously wasn't wanted. So I'm very glad we could offer him a home.
We've had Rocket for nearly 8 months now and we've had a lot of ups and downs. He's had a lot of adjusting to do and this has led to some growling at Chris and I. But it's rare and with him being a Jack Russell, it's down to willfulness and testing boundaries. It's not easy and it is a little scary. In 8 months he's done this twice to me, and despite how well I know him, I can't help but be a little nervous and sad. He also barks at other dogs while on the lead. It's not every dog and we don't know what sets him off, but again, he's scared. He's trying to seem scary first before the other dog thinks otherwise.
We're training him the best we can, and we have to use positive reinforcement 99% of the time, even if he's being a little doggy dick, because he gets so scared he tends to wee everywhere if you shout. A stern voice is rarely employed and a hand is never raised.
Despite these difficult moments, we've seen Rocket come out of his shell in so many ways. He loves food and will do anything for a treat. He is clever and has picked up quite a lot of commands. He's a cuddle-lover. He loves chewing stuff, even if it's not meant for him (I've lost at least a dozen nail files). He can be a grump if he doesn't want to get off the sofa or out of his bed. He is a lovely little dog.
Having a rescue dog can be hard. Having to explain to a stranger that he's not vicious, he's scared, is hard. Having to shout back when he tries to get threatening is hard. But it really is all worth it when he gives you a rare little lick on the nose, when he has a mad playing session with Pepper, or when he snuggles down by your side and falls asleep. We won't give up on him and I hope he feels the same way about us.
So, here's to your first Christmas with us, Rocket boy. We didn't know the family wasn't complete until we found you.