For this final blog in our series on our rescue dogs, Dog Initiatives Support Officer Jo is going to tell her and Shaman’s rescue story. There are all sorts of ways to rescue an animal from a bad situation and Shaman is a perfect example of this.

How did Shaman join your family?

Shaman isn’t from a rescue centre, but he did come from a bad background.  He was part of an accidental and unwanted 2-puppy litter from an elderly mum.  The puppies only got taken out of their crate when the paper bottom was being changed, so they got about 10 minutes once or twice a day. Treats, toys, socialisation and training didn’t exist.  I saw his advert photo (right) looking very scared and sorry for himself and knew that I had to take him away from that situation.  Just over 6 years later and the rest is history!

How did he settle in?

Oh my goodness he was hard work at the beginning!  He was very resource-guardy over what he viewed as edible and once drew blood when I cleaned up his vomit during a car journey!  It took 3 months to train him how to not need a crate at all, starting with just a few minutes outside of it at a time.  All progress with him has been slow and at his own pace.  Unfortunately he got attacked by off-lead dogs while he was on a lead, so he has a tendency to shout at other dogs to keep away now, but this is something we are working through with a behaviourist.

He is an extremely lovable, goofy, cheeky chappy who can have the odd nervous or over-stimulated moment but tries his hardest to be calm.  Shaman likes to lay near me and adores scritches and belly rubs.  He loves learning fun tricks and picks things up very quickly and easily.  He absolutely adores my 3 cats and will happily share a bowl with them and snuggle on the sofa and bed.  He is very different from any other dog I’ve had but is very much my best friend.

What are your top tips?

All dogs are different, just like people, and this includes their personalities and learning styles.  Forget what you expected your dog to be like and celebrate the beautiful individual that they are.  Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for professional help – we all need it sometimes.  Enjoy your dog and give them lots of love and fun – they are a very large part of our lives but we are their WHOLE life.

We hope you have enjoyed this rescue dog blog series, and we would love to hear your stories as well. You can share them with us on Facebook or Instagram and through our private members Facebook group. Rescuing a dog is such a rewarding way to build your family and we wish you the best of luck if you have a rescue dog already or are looking to get one in the future. Happy walking!