Monday 10 October 2016

Eric is Bananaman!

*Extremely long post, get a drink.*

After last week with Scottish runs in the car, I then had to go to the other end of the country to Devon.  This time for 2 funerals.  This has made me extremely sad.  One 53 and one 64 and 4 months off of retirement.  My heart is really heavy at present.  Cancer has really strangled the life out of 2016.

I am therefore going to blog about something happy.

Way back in May, we went to the Blue Cross to ask them to pencil us in for a home visit, for us to adopt a pet(s).  We knew that we would need the work on the house to be finished before we could have them around, but we had no idea how far in advance we would have to have the home visit before we could take the new family member home with us.

After looking on line for a long time, I had noticed that older male cats seem to stay a long time at the shelter.  Many the faithful companion of an older person that has died.  I had therefore set my heart on having such a pet.

Amazingly, all of the cats that could be adopted, were reserved, or in the case of the kittens and Mamas were not ready to be homed.  The lady was ever so nice and told us to try another shelter in Gloucestershire.  I had a cracking headache, as I had got myself in a tizzy, because I get a bit tearful about shelter animals.  I was ready to go home then, as I had built myself up to having someone come and tell us if we and our house, were fit to have a pet.  I know it sounds crazy, but their approval was very high on my stress level at the time.

We sat in the car, I had a sigh of relief, when Posh Boy turns to me and says, "I want to go to the other shelter and register.  I want to do it today and get it over with".  With another sigh, I agreed.

When we got to this shelter, the noise was incredible, barking, barking, barking.  My heart dropped, whilst my head pounded.

At the reception desk, we asked about adoption and home visits.  The lady said there was paperwork to complete.  I started to fill the paperwork in, when we overheard someone in the back office discussing animals that were hard to rehome.  Of course, this made my hearing extra keen.  I know rude, of me.  The lady asked us, the normal questions. do you have children? do you have other pets? do you have a garden?.  No, no, yes.  A lady with a clip board came out and marked the wipe board with a blue and green marker.  I asked the Receptionist. what are the markers.  "They are the animals we are finding it hard to rehome.  They cant live with children or other animals".

Now as a normal person, my heart lept into my throat, one of those animals had to be for us.  

The receptionist, took us through the door and pointed out the cat area, the dog area and the small pets.  Posh Boy, asked her "where are the ones on the board?".  She gave a Mona Lisa smile and took us to the dog area.  I looked at Posh Boy, eyes wide, I hadnt thought about a dog.  We walked past a lot of dogs, VERY BIG dogs.  Huskies, some ones I dont know what they were, which you could have put a saddle on.  And then stopped in front of 4 kennels.  All small dogs, as we had ticked small animal on the form, me thinking cat.

Two lovely Patterdale Terriers rushed the fencing, barking and throwing themselves at the door.  One was baring its teeth.  The lady said they used to live together we would like them to go as a pair.  As we hadnt discussed a dog, I looked at Posh Boy for his lead.  "We would only take one dog", he said. 

We moved to the next door.  A Border Collie mixed with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, pure muscle.  All I could think was, 'thats a dog that will never tire or be happy with the amount of walks it got'.  I shook my head.  

Next door, where was the dog?  I got down real low and in the far back corner was a flash of tanned coloured fur.  We called and tried to cox the dog to the door.  It came half way and dropped to the floor and was shaking.

A volunteer came over and opened the door and went straight in and then put the lead on the dog, who immediately perked up and trotted out.  And then we saw him.  Cute as a button.  Border Terrier, crossed with a Jack Russell.

Meet Eric.

We went to an enclosed paddock, the volunteer, was saying that he had 'Other Dog' aggression, meaning, he barked, threw himself around and generally did not like other dogs.  In the paddock, he stood there just shaking.  I ran about calling him to try and get him to follow, nothing.  I threw the ball, nothing.  He cowered in the corner.  My heart sank.  As soon as I had seen his little face, I knew he had to come home with us.  But could we have a dog that shook and then was aggressive with other dogs.  We said we had to think about it and that we would be back the next day.

We went back the next day, armed with treats, strong hearts, after much talking into the night.  Was a dog right for us?

When we got there, the Volunteer took us straight to his kennel.  He ran at the fence and whined to come out.  In the paddock he trotted after me and chased the ball when I ran with him.  

"We'll take him".

And the rest as they say is history.  The first few weeks were awful.  He barked crazily at the door bell, (still does, we are working on it).  He barked and pulled and whined to get to other dogs on walks.  He freaked out and cried if you left the room.  When out, he barked he would lunge at cyclists, or runners.  Anyone in lycra or high viz jackets.  Much of what I had read about on one of my favourite gardening blogs {HERE}.  Pretty much everything Judy from this blog barked at, so does Eric.

I am pleased to say that, Eric, is now able to be near other dogs.  Whilst on the lead he will still pull towards them and bark.  But his tail is wagging and he wants to play.  He every so often barks at cyclists, especially if he hasnt heard them approaching.  He growls at the TV if a dog comes on, be it the cartoon dogs on the Sky TV advert, Nigel the dog on Gardeners World, or the dreaded wild life programmes that may show a SQUIRREL.  Oh My Goodness, squirrels on the TV send him crazy, he cries and if they go off the screen either side he runs into the garden and bounces around like Pepe Le Pew looking for them.

He has also gained a kilo in weight and the Vet says he is spot on now.

What I will say, is Eric is a completely different dog, when not on the lead.  We went to Cornwall for some respite from the building works.  Oh yeah I forgot to say, 2 weeks after he arrived they took the roof off the house.  Remember I said he didnt like high viz, he also was scared of the builders and would hid and try and dig the floor out in the corner of the lounge.  After lots of treats, he was ok with the builders. In Cornwall we saw family, who are super confident and their dog very calm.  We went to a dog friendly beach and met up with them.  There was quite a bit of barking, the other dog just sat there and ignored him.  He finally calmed and my MIL leant over and unhooked his lead, he took off like a bat out of hell towards the sea, the other dog in hot pursuit.  I was SCARED TO DEATH.

Then they turned and ran back to us and sat down.  Nothing.  No aggression, no barking.  Nothing.  The angels sang, the sun came out, all was well in the world.

Here they are at MIL farm.

Who would have thought it?  I never thought that he would ever be able to do this.  (after a haircut...  Tidier)

Like Judy, Eric has had 3 other owners.  I now think that they all lived in a town, and his barking and lunging at other dogs, bikes, anything really that scared him, is the reason he was given to the shelter.  We are lucky to live surrounded by fields that we are allowed to walk in.  He loves it.

He is also the reason I didnt put up to many pictures of the renovation.  As he loved to photo bomb.

There you have it.  Something with a happy ending.

Welcome Eric, we love you!  Welcome Home!


Dani said...

Congrats to you, Posh Boy and Eric - looks like a match made in heaven :) We need to do somethig about getting another dog too - we have been dogless for too long...

Sol said...

Hey Dani, thanks. It was destiny I think. Normally he wont push it if I have a head ache as it shuts me down and I cant think of anything. So glad we went. Dog shelters over here still destroy dogs that they are unable to rehome. He is well and truly part of the family now.

We only wanted a small pet. Would you get a big dog?

Annie's Journal said...

Oh...I'm so touched by your story. Eric is given another chance and a good home:) I admire your courage and patience Sol. Perhaps you should write a book on this line?
BTW, I can't help but imagine one perfect homey home, specially when all is sorted with the builder's work, coming your way:) Continue having a happy week!!

Patricia (La Chatte Gitane) said...

Like Annie's Journal, I was also deeply touched. I also get tearful looking at shelter animals on the internet. Wishing I could give them all the best life possible.
I love your Eric, he's a strapping little fella. He must have been terrified of life before you came along. I could hug you right now. xxx...x

Sol said...

Hey Annie, I am glad we found him. I was really wanted a cat. I even had a cat bed ready! Now I cant imagine life with out him.

You have a good week as well.

Sol said...

Hi Patricia, I was a little scared going to the animal home that I would want all of the cats and dogs they have. Although our house now is quite large, I doubt we will stay here, therefore the pet had to be small enough to fit a compact 2 bed bungalow. I was so tense at the shelter, the noise was horrendous. I am so pleased we found him. He is my little pride and joy. People said we were mad to get a rescue dog, let alone one with problems. It just shows that he needed a quiet house and exercise in a field where he can run and run. He isnt a dog for the town, not at present anyway.

I always accept all hugs offered. Fodder for the soul that is.

Hope the weather is good there

Attila said...

My parents had a bitch of the same breeding, she was mostly black with some tan and white on her lower parts. She had a beautiful temperament. Her litter was one of several deliberately bred by a gamekeeper from two of his working terriers. I saw several of her siblings in the area and they were fabulous little dogs too. I love the name Eric for a dog!

Sol said...

Hi Attila, he is actually a lovely dog. Indoors he is absolutely perfect, bar the door bell ringing, we are working hard to stop this. Sounds like your parents had a really good dog there.

We can take no praise for his name. He was already named when we got him. He is lovely. You couldnt ask for a better dog.

He didnt know sit, down anything. Now he has most commands. Walking on a pavement still has some problems as he is on the lead. But in the field his recall is really good.

kymber said...

i was reading pieces of this post to jambaloney because i was soo touched and knew that he would be too....he got up, asked if i could stop reading and went downstairs. i asked him what was wrong? he said he couldn't stop thinking about the other animals. he loves animals. i told him that we all could only do what we can only do. i told him "sol just saved a baby".

thank you Sol. sending much love. and we love eric. even in his before picture when he was kind of "scrutty" looking - bahahahahah! can't wait to hear more stories and see more pics! your friend

Sol said...

Hey Kymber and Jam. Posh Boy and I, well our lives have completely changed since Eric. He is our number one. There were lots of people at the shelter adopting pets. We hope the others have been taken also. Some may not have been able to be rehomed due to how they have been treated.

Our lives have changed so much, we are moving up our retirement ideas and hope in the next year or two to move to a small house with acreage. We will then (later) adopt a pack and as many cats as we can. This will all hinge on Eric's rehabilitation to living with people again. You have to remember that in his short 2 years of life he has been in the shelter 3 times. They have to quarantine them and then they go into the kennels. Most of his life will have been spent in a shelter, at least 6 months in quarantine and then on display ready for a new home. He is therefore still an unknown and we could not take another pet for a long time until we know if he is OK.

Eric was meant to find us and we him. Canine destiny. He is in his basket right now, his head tucked under, whilst staring at a treat he has left in the middle of the rug!

Love to you both xxx

Raybeard said...

Eric's a little jewel, Sol - one of those 'smiley' dogs. I'm so happy for you and for him. I know he'll always get appreciation from you as a faithful companion and he's sure to add another valuable dimension to your life.

I could never go to one of those places which gave you the option of refusing any of the animals you see before choosing. I'd feel so guilty about leaving the first ones behind. Someone would have to do the choosing for me before I saw even one of them.

Looking forward to seeing a lot more pics of Eric and monitoring his progress with you.

Btw: Did you say how old he is? (It might be in there somewhere but I can't quite see it.

Sol said...

Hi Ray, he is just 2. Trust me, go in for a cat come out with a dog. Its a good thing I didnt go in for a giraffe I may have come out with an elephant!

I had a head ache from the thought of going there Ray. It is really heart breaking and some of the dogs are so anxious they just run none stop in front of the bars, back and forth. Whilst others just bark constantly.

The cats are in a different area. They didnt have as many in this shelter. They seem to come in and go out very quickly, do cats. (thats a very Devon way of speaking. Do cats... lol).

Shh dont tell he is on a blanket on the sofa with me. Sighing deeply as he has just ate his dinner. Home cooked chicken rice and chicken stock. He was a little unwell over the weekend after eating something unsavory in the woods. Our vet is very patient with me. I rushed him over there as I was scared he had eaten little bones of something. The vet thinks it was a bit of rabbit something else had killed (bird of prey). Prescribed boiled chicken, rice and a bit of the water. That for 3 days after not feeding him on sunday. He has perked up now.

Hope you are well.

northsider said...

Sorry about your sadness Sol. Eric is a great name for a dog. He looks a real bundle of fun and you will have lots of fun taking him walks.

Janie Junebug said...

God bless you for adopting Eric! God bless you! I am thrilled for you.


Sol said...

Thanks Dave 2016 sure has been poop. He is getting me out and about and hopefully will help my knee.

He is a real companion for sure.

Janie, he is fabulous, I cant think what life was like before him. We are also thrilled.

I hope you are both well.

Elaine said...

Canine destiny fulfilled! He has found his home at last, lucky boy. I'm thrilled to bits for the three of you. With those eyes and that cheeky little face I would find him irresistible, too. He will repay you, many times over, for all the hard work you have put into his rehabilitation. He'll love you, always.

Truly sorry to hear about your family losses.

Sol said...

Hey Elaine, thank you. 2016 has been horrendous. I dont want another year like this.

Yes you are right, he will repay us and he already is. Although the 3am wees could stop! Am too scared to ignore him. But he just runs out into the garden and then sits there. lol

Hope you are well

Jules said...

Eric is just gorgeous. You are so lucky he chose you. Reading this has made me so very happy. X

Sol said...

Hi Jules, so glad he has made someone else happy. Today he has been retrieving me leaves from the garden. He goes out, bounces around and picks up a grape vine leaf that has fallen. Sits. Drops it on the floor and then holds his paw up, all for a treat!

Welcome to my blog. I hope to see you again. I am off to your blog now.