When we found out from our Landlord that we were allowed to keep a dog in our rented house, there was only one place I was prepared to get a dog from and that was the Dog’s Trust.
We’d been looking at the dogs available for rehoming on their website and I’d fallen for this one almost Milo-from-The-Mask looking dog named Frank. From the picture he had a massive head and tiny legs and seemed perfect for our size home. When we finally got to meet Frank we realised the angle of the photograph had been deceiving - he had supermodel long, slender legs and on top of that had a very complex history of medication, attacks and abandonment. It was too late for me though, I already loved him.
We were talked through all of Frank’s issues and given a detailed medical history. He’d been taking some medication to keep his anxiety in check (well that was something we had in common!) and we eventually took him home, much to the disproval of some of our parents who wondered what on earth we’d taken on with such a troubled dog.
For the first few weeks Frank didn’t make a sound and we wondered if he even could bark. We had to remove the rug from our living room as all he wanted to do was attack the corners, he tried to dig up the sofas, he wanted to eat all of our shoes and we were exhausted. Our friends wondered if we’d ever be available or have the energy to ever go out again. I’ll admit, it was an absolute nightmare!
Fast forward to now and Frank is the laziest pup I’ve ever known! He loves to laze on the sofa (or bed!) all day after a quick run in the park or attack of Monkey – his favourite toy – and aside from being scared of the toaster, dishwasher and kitchen floor his anxiety is in control and he’s off his medication; the vet says he’s the picture of health. I’m with him most days as I work from home, but we go out for meals and drinks with friends and he greets us when we return with an excited tail wag, the new rug in the living room intact. All this troubled dog needed was love and stability.
So here are my top tips for adopting a troubled dog:
// Get as much information about their history or condition as possible. Speak to a vet and search the internet for similar cases so you’re prepared for what might come.
// Be patient. It’s going to take a while for you to learn to live together. Don’t give up after the first hurdle, there are so many years of love and dedication your pet has to offer if you just give them your undivided attention while they settle in.
// Have an outlet for frustration, for both you and your pup. We gave Frank one of Boyfriend’s old trainers and when he started to dig up the sofa or attack the rug we’d take him outside in the yard and let him destroy the shoe. It worked like a charm and we didn’t even need to keep it up past a few months. As for you; Scream into a pillow! If there’s two of you make sure you each get a break while the other one deals with the dog.
// Ask for advice. Thankfully we kept in close contact with the behaviourist at the Dog’s Trust and I remember many phone calls being made in a panic, the most memorable being when I was concerned because Frank was being so calm. Haha!
// Get the best pet insurance. Don’t just shop around for the cheapest, get the best policies that work for your dog. PetPlan asked me to share their services with you and I jumped at the chance because PetPlan is our chosen pet insurance provider and was actually recommended by the Dog’s Trust. They offer a Covered For Life policy which is excellent for piece of mind if your pet needs that little extra looking after.
// Register with a great vet. Ours are so friendly that it’s just a pleasure to call them up or visit. Thankfully we’ve only needed to go once a year so far for Frank’s booster injection, but it’s a good opportunity to ask a few questions that have been on your mind.
// Have fun! Discover what works best for you and your pet. We tried taking Frank on long walks, but he gets too agitated and tired so now we go to the local park and let him run around or chase balls. It’s so much fun to share those moments with your pet and makes the whole ordeal worth while.
I wouldn’t change Frank for any dog in the world! He’s so loved by friends, family and strangers that walk by our house! Our parents are surprised at how quickly we dealt with his issues and what a wonderful companion he has become. I recommend adopting a slightly troubled pet, when you get to this stage with them it just feels wonderful and you wonder why you were ever worried at all!
Loves x xx