Thank You ?
I received so many encouraging and lovely comments on our post about Sandy’s first year with us, “Sandy’s Story ~ Our Rescue Dog’s First Year”, it seemed to resonate with other owners who have rescued dogs. You related to our struggles, to Sandy’s progression and how far we had all come, in just one year. I wanted to thank you for commenting and sharing your experiences too, it helped me to understand that we aren’t alone on this journey.
However, reading the post again, I realised, that whilst I did relay the truth of that year, it does seem as if Sandy is in a constant state of nervousness and anxiety!
This just isn’t the case, so I thought I would do a little follow on post to give you all some insight into Sandy’s character. She definitely has her own funny little ways, which are completely different to Barney’s. The more settled she feels, the more we are seeing the funny, kooky, adventurous side of our rescue girl.
The Great Outdoors ?
One of the first things we noticed about Sandy is just how fast she is! She runs like the wind, we have yet to find a dog that can keep up with her. She loves to play chase with the dogs that she goes out for walks with. We aren’t sure what’s in her DNA, other than her mother is a poodle, but from her shape, build and speed, we were guessing at something like a whippet (if they have whippets in Cyprus?).
On her passport she is classed as a ‘terrier mix’ and we quickly realised that she is very terrier like. She is highly prey driven; squirrels, rabbits and foxes, had better watch out! Sandy likes to charge at high-speed, which somewhat scuppers Barney’s surprise stealth attack! So far she hasn’t caught anything but it’s not for the want of trying!
Sandy is in her element off lead and in the countryside. When we first started letting Sandy off lead, she was very nervous and so, stayed close to us out on walks. However, as she became more settled and gained confidence, she would charge off into the woods, like a young deer, leaping around with such excitement at all there was to discover, it really made us laugh. It was lovely to see her so happy but it was hard to get her focus back to us, we worried we might lose her or she might not come back to us.
There were a couple of times, in the park, when I thought I would never get Sandy back. As I tried to keep up with her frantically charging around, from tree to tree looking for squirrels, no awareness of the cars driving through, in and out of the bushes, I thought I had lost her. She always knew exactly where I was, as she charged past me, but she refused to come back. She was in hunting mode and as I stood in tears, having done everything I could think of to entice her back to me (walking away, hiding behind trees, copious amounts of treats, calling her, trying to keep up with her) I wondered if she would ever stop. After 45 minutes, she finally slowed down, exhausted, foaming at the mouth, covered in twigs, burrs and leaves, I managed to entice her to me with a treat and get her back on lead. I can laugh about it now, especially as she looked so pleased with herself, but at the time I was desperate, upset and felt like a failure, I questioned whether we should keep her and whether we were the right family for her.
Now, we know that she does charge off, but she always comes back to us and we have some ‘reindeer bells’ on her harness so we can hear where she is. To see the sheer happiness in her face when she comes running back to us, just makes us laugh, we can’t be cross with her because it is just so nice to see her loving life.
For a dog that is so nervous, she is a little adventurer! One of her nicknames is ‘mountain goat’ as no slope is too steep for Sandy to clamber up!
She also loves to go out with my husband mountain biking, she has great stamina and keeps up with him, running alongside the bike.
Barney and Sandy get on so well together, he is her ‘security’ blanket and her playmate. They play rough and tumble every day, from morning till bedtime. If Barney doesn’t want to play, she will play bow and woof at him or go over and paw his head, till he gives in.
It took her a while to play with toys but now she will happily play, chew, throw in the air her toys. One minute she will be resting, the next she pounces on a toy! She is good at keeping herself occupied by destroying toys! When we first got her, she would chew pretty much anything you left lying around, even though she was one she was still very puppy like and learning to play, she chomped her way through a flip-flop and my earphones whilst I was listening to music!
She Loves Food and Cuddles ?
Sandy loves to eat, she’ll eat pretty much anything, but doesn’t like carrots or fruit yet. She eats her food really quickly, although she has slowed down from when we first got her, and once she’s finished she will head over to Barney’s bowl and help herself to his food too!
She has a real sweet tooth and will demolish anything chocolatey left lying around. We now know to put chocolate away, after an emergency visit to the vets as Sandy had scoffed a delicious chocolate brownie!
Sandy loves to snuggle next to me, it took awhile for her to do this, but now she jumps right up in the smallest space available next to me. If she wants some attention she will paw you till you stroke her, or rub her tummy. She absolutely loves having her tummy rubbed and will lift her back legs up so you can do this!
Rewarding Rescue Dogs ?
As I said before, rescuing a dog isn’t easy, there are times when you question your decision to re-home a rescue dog (especially when they’ve pee’d for the 100th time on your carpet!). There are times when you feel that you really can’t help the dog, that you have failed them and you wonder if they will ever feel safe, happy and comfortable around you.
Slowly, slowly their character starts to emerge, the list of firsts we have had with Sandy has made my heart fill with joy and I feel so proud of how far this scared shutdown puppy has come. So keep going, it really is worth all the effort, heartache, tears and chewed shoes!
Sandy was rescued from www.wildatheartfoundation.org