A Dog's Love

In September of last year, we lost one of the pillars of our little family; our best friend, Jack. Two weeks after my 12th birthday, Stacey (our next door neighbour at the time) shouted out the window on a warm May day, that her beautiful, strange dog 'Danika', had birthed 11 pups.

After finding out roughly three weeks before she was due, this was all a bit mental for her, but terribly exciting for a 12 year old girl and her 10 year old brother.  After spending weeks of our summer holidays jumping the fence and feeding and playing with the litter, they were quickly snapped up by the majority of our estate and the most beautiful (and equally strange) pup came to us.

We had 12 wonderful, unforgettable years.  Growing together, learning about the world and always there for each other; he truly was our fifth member.  What had life been before him? Throughout my teenage years when I didn't want to speak to anyone, he was there.  Through heartaches and happiness, there he was, the one constant as life changed.  Forever loving and accepting, our Jack.

Of course, nothing can last forever in life and with broken hearts we had to come together as a family and make the hardest decision to let our boy go.  Just after midnight on the morning of the referendum results, after a sudden illness, our Jacky boy ran free once again.  

Our house was eerily quiet.  12 years with a dog tip-tapping on your wooden floors and your heart, and following your every move was not easy to forget, nor will we ever.  Our home felt empty, our hearts were empty and our jigsaw was incomplete.  We collectively knew we could never replace Jack, but could our family and house live on without another doggy presence?  The answer came to us the following February as a big waggy no.

Introducing 'Oakley'.  A misunderstood Lurcher Lab cross, whose 'family' had decided to return him to the SSPCA, (where he was born) after deciding that they couldn't deal with a 6 month old boisterous pup.  After much deliberation, obsessing over rescue sites and browsing homeless hounds, we decided we should take a visit to our local cat and dog home.  On our way out of the centre, after meeting and greeting several lovely dogs who weren't quite right, we felt a little deflated.  Cue the big doe eyes and waggy tail trotting round the corner, taking a nibble of my gloves and burying his head into my lap.  He worked his way around us all and twenty minutes later we were signing up to bring him home.

Stephen being attacked with kisses

It was a week until we could bring him back to his 'forever' home.  Finally, the day came where we could bundle him into the car and introduce him to his new bed, house and garden to run in, (of course Stephen, the boyfriend, got first dibs on cuddles).  After a very energetic zoom around the house, sofas and garden, from being stuck in a kennel for some time, he began to settle in.

It was at this point we realised why the previous owners had said they couldn't cope with such an energetic dog.  He was a 6 month old pup who didn't recognise his name, knew very few commands if any and did whatever he fancied, as well as beginning to grow very large.  His owners had clearly not spent time training or teaching him and he was unable to read social cues; both canine and human.

We soon signed him up to junior puppy classes at the brilliant Wizard of Paws, as he was way behind for a dog of his age.  Although the classes taught us as owners useful tips and tricks, we found Oaks was too excitable around other dogs and acted like a big rowdy teenager.

It's now coming up to 6 months since we called him our own and with his first birthday tomorrow, he has come such a long way.  Both my parents have put such a lot of effort into his continuous training and commands, to enable him to lead a calmer (as calm as can be for a lurcher pup!) more stable life and routine. He is definitely still learning and as with all rescue dogs, we don't have a full background story for him.  Every day is new, but he is comfortable and relaxed in the space he now knows as home and is progressing daily, (aswell as growing absurdly massive).  He is so silly and brings our life a lot of laughter   He is also possibly the most affectionate dog I have ever met, taking any chance he can, to sit on you like a chihuahua.

He has now been signed up to a wonderful local dog walking group, to allow him to learn his manners with doggies and what is acceptable! Although on the third day into his new wee adventure, he sliced all his toe and had to have stitches in for three weeks. This clearly sets the scene of what's to come for our adventures.

Rescue dogs are definitely a risk, but they are an exciting, affectionate, faithful risk.  What you give them, they give back tenfold.  Oakley has come such a long way in a short 6 months (and has also become something of a legit horse), I am so excited to see what the next 6 months will bring.

1 comment

  1. Brings a tear to my eye. My two beautiful, faithful boys. Hard work but worth it. Mum x