Everyone meet Patch.
As October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month I thought I would share Patch’s adoption story because I wanted to highlight that no matter how you live your life there is a rescue dog for everyone if you are willing to invest your time and money. It’s a very sad fact that over 47,000 people abandoned their dogs at shelters last year and 5142 of these were put down by local authorities – which is one dog every 2 hours! By adopting a dog you not only save the dog you welcome to your family you also save another who can take their place in the shelter.
Anyways, on to Patch’s story. Patch is a two year old Jack Russell cross who we adopted from a local animal rescue centre in Lancaster. I grew up in a house full of rescue animals, blind cats, three legged cats, hedgehogs, kittens, birds, dogs and even a lamb, so I’ve always wanted to adopt my own dog but the timing just wasn’t right. However as I’ve started a new job with more flexible working hours of I knew I had the time and money to be able to look after a dog so Matt and I started our search.
We knew we needed a small dog, and we had a list of things the dog had to be comfortable with. We understood our needs were quite demanding but it’s only fair to the dog we adopt that they are comfortable in our lifestyle. We knew we had to compromise with the way we live our life to a degree but we weren’t going to change our life completely. Our neighbours both have cats, my family all have dogs, we travel to see friends and family often and we plan to start a family in the future so our dog had to tick all these boxes. When we started to look it seemed we would never find a dog due to our lifestyle. However we found Patch about a month into looking on Animal Care’s website.
We headed up there on the Friday to speak to the lovely team about our needs and about Patch. We walked around the kennels and I have to admit it was quite upsetting seeing all the lovely little dogs waiting for a home. When we came to Patch’s kennel, which he shared with two other dogs, he trotted over to us to say hi but was quite shy. We went back to the speak to the team and ask whether we could take him for a walk. Animal Care have a policy that you have to visit and walk the dog you want to adopt three times in a week.
On his first walk he was just happy to be out of the kennel and was more interested in the smells and sights than us. We understood he wasn’t going to get attached to us straight away but we were both smitten. On his second walk he was a lot happier with us and reacted when we called his name and his third was much the same. After his third walk the team said we could take him home for his three day trial. We left with his dog bed, lead, food and some notes from a foster carer he had lived with.
Upon driving back to ours he was a little anxious in the car, but upon arrival he was excited. We kept him on his lead and walked him around the garden first then into the house to show him all the rooms. He was incredible good and had no accidents at all. After exploring the house for a little while he happily cuddled up with us on the couch. I had expected him to cry all night when he realised he wasn’t going back to the kennels, however come bedtime he settled right in and slept all night.
We had no regrets during our trial. Don’t get me wrong we had to adapt the way we lived our lives a little but Patch did very well to fit into our routine too. We headed back to Animal Care after 5 days and signed for him and paid the £90 adoption fee.
Over the past six weeks we’ve had a lot of learning and adapting to do. We’ve learnt that Patch isn’t fazed by cats or children, but he’s a little temperamental with other dogs. So we are having to slowly socialise him. Presently he is usually fine with just one dog once he’s introduced off the lead, however he get’s anxious when there is more than one dog. We learnt this from his first dog walker as he wasn’t happy being walked in a pack, so we’re currently working with a second dog walker who takes him with just one other dog and he loves it. Like some other dogs he is a different dog when off the lead, when he’s free to run around he is the happiest, but when he’s on the lead he gets a little stressed when we meet other dogs. Going to the park and playing ball is his favourite thing to do. Be it a tennis ball, football or rugby ball he will chase it for hours!
We’re very lucky in that he is housetrained, a quick learner and doesn’t mind being left for a few hours – he just sleeps. He also adores people! He is always happy to cuddle up to anyone (as long as you’re not the postman or window cleaner!) He is quite a little character and is very popular in our local pub!
Our next step with him, now that he seems quite settled, is to take him to dog obedience classes. He is very well behaved and does listen to us, but there could be some improvement in his behaviour on a lead, plus it gives him the chance to meet other dogs. We’re also keen to socialise him with dogs so that they are no longer an issue, we’re hoping that classes and doggy daycare will help with this.
Overall we couldn’t be happier with our choice. Although having a dog has more costs than you’d think, we understand it’s needed to provide him with the best quality of life. Patch is a little character but a fantastic fit for us.
I hope Patch’s story helps show that dogs in shelters aren’t “damaged goods” they are just waiting for a home and someone to love them. We have no history on Patch so he was either dumped at the shelter or was a stray but he isn’t damaged in anyway. Buying a new puppy would of actually been more work for us as Patch knew not to pee inside or chew things, whereas puppies definitely don’t! I hope Patch’s story shows that there is a rescue dog for every home, you just have to be honest with your needs and theirs.