It has been just over three months since our dog died. We had him for eleven years, and he was found on the streets in North Wales, lost, lonely and nervous. It took some time for us to realise how badly he had been treated in his early years. We discovered that he was terrified of loud noises such as smoke alarms and oven timers. He would descend into a full-blown panic attack, and we would have to try and calm him down and reassure him.
He was frightened of water, to the point where we ran his first bath and he hid in a corner of the room, trembling and hyperventilating. We eventually coaxed him into the bath and gradually reduced his fear of water. By the time he died he had visited lots of beaches and swam in the sea, and he was a regular visitor to the local river at home.
I decided it was time to find another dog for our family. We miss the crazy activity, the noise, the exuberance and the cuddles. Our house is too quiet. So we visited the city dogs’ home where Baxter came from. They had very few dogs in the kennels, and those we did enquire about were deemed not suitable for families with young children. It became a common phrase when we visited other animal charities and another city dogs’ home.
Even though we explained that our children have grown up with nervous dogs, not just Baxter but other dogs in our family, the authorities would not take a chance or allow us to prove our worth for rehoming an abandoned dog. I understand their approach, and I want to keep my children safe, but I also want the chance to rehabilitate another dog that needs a loving family. And we were not given that chance. I had no idea that it would become such a hard task.
We were advised to find a puppy or a dog under twelve months old. Well, these dogs are snapped up very quickly by families just like us, and we do not have the time to trek out for twenty or thirty miles to visit other dogs’ homes. All we can do is weekend visits when we are available and keep hoping to find the right dog. But I hate waiting. I need a dog now! We have this wonderful, loving, spacious home, with everything that a dog needs, and we are not allowed to bring one home.
Hopefully that will change very soon, as we are currently applying for a dog, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. We must pass a home check, and that might involve additional costs for dog-proofing the garden. There are lots of hoops to jump through before we are even considered for rehoming an abandoned dog. And yet, I could visit a breeder tomorrow and buy a puppy. It is easy for national charities to say #AdoptDontShop and #ADogisforLife. I totally agree. Now let me rehome the dog!
Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .