How was the settling in process for you?
Dooley (originally Sidney) came to us in December 2020 aged 2. He’d already been in the UK for a few months prior but his first adopter was unable to keep him.
I’m not going to lie; the settling in process can best be described as unsettling. Our hearts were absolutely broken by this poor little dog who found everything, literally everything, so terribly frightening. He’d been in a shelter from 8 weeks old and the whole wide world was just too much. He’d tremble if we moved too near or too fast, run and hide if we made too much noise, cower and be incontinent if we approached with a lead. He spent his first 10 weeks with his tail tucked right under his body and in an almost lock down state of fear. We felt helpless as we couldn’t tell him things were going to be ok and tried to give him the space he needed to adjust. We had been pre warned he was wary of men and he was particularly nervous of my husband following him round the room with his eyes and darting away from him if he approached. It was heartbreaking to see.
Things perhaps taken for granted with other dogs were the memorable firsts with Dooley. Lifting his beautiful long tail when he spent time with us, take time to sniff on walks instead of darting round them in a panic and lying full stretch on the floor in front of us instead of curling up into a very small ball in his crate were all huge milestones in Dooleys transition to life in a home.
Dooleys turning point was the arrival of a new addition. Our road to adoption had been long and emotional. We’d approached a number of UK and eastern European rescue centres but after 12 months of searching still didn’t have a four legged friend in our home. We were becoming a little jaded and had made enquiries with a local Labrador breeder. We’d all but forgotten that she said she would contact us when she next bred. The puppies where born in April 21 and after much discussion we took the decision to have one. Daisy joined us in June. We were so nervous for Dooley. He’d only ever shown fear when approached by other dogs and we didn’t want to set back his progress. We needn’t have worried. He’s shown nothing but love and a great deal of tolerance for his little sister. Protecting her if other dogs are getting to rough and sticking by her side almost the entire day (she snores like a boar so he’s happy to keep his distance at night choosing a peaceful sleep instead). In return, Daisy has taught Dooley to play, not just with her but with other dogs too, its an absolute delight to see. She’s taught him to be cheeky to gain treats and we feel she’s helped him to gain trust in us. He’s very much a different dog with Daisy around, thriving in her company. They melt our hearts when they are together.
That’s not to say it’s now all long relaxing dog walks and cuddles on the sofa. Dooley still needs lots of encouragement and reassurance. There are still triggers, some yet unidentified, that revert Dooley to his cowering, frightened state in the home but he’s come so far. We’re in awe of his resilience. Humbled by the trust he has in us and so pleased for him that he can for the most part relax and feel he is welcome and more importantly loved in our family.