You may have seen my earlier blog posts about the struggle we faced when trying to re-home a dog late last year. Our beloved Staffy X rescue dog died peacefully last August having spent a wonderful eleven years in our care. My husband and I vaguely remembered the early days with Baxter when he was about three years old. Although he was house-trained, he had clearly been badly mistreated, leaving us with a dog that had panic attacks if you mentioned the word “bath,” hyperventilated if the smoke alarm went off or he heard a similar high-pitched sound, and never could resist the urge to steal food and scavenge on the streets. Back then it was just the three of us, with no young children or children’s toys to protect. We had time to work closely with Baxter and help him overcome his fears and settle in with his new family. Settling a new rescue dog is hard work! It feels very like having a baby, where you muddle through each day and learn on the job.
After several disappointing responses from rescue centres and re-homing charities, most of whom refuse to consider re-homing a Staffy dog breed with young children despite our experience, I found a charity that was very willing to consider our family for one of their dogs. Warrington Animal Welfare met us a few times when we visited a couple of dogs in their care. They listened to our story, they accepted that we wanted a Staffy crossbreed dog because Baxter left such a big impression on our lives, but they were not pushy when we took a little time to consider if we could give the dogs what they needed.
Eventually we found Marley, a two-year-old Pomeranian-Staffy X. Yes, I know, I thought it was a strange mix as well, but a breeder did this deliberately! Marley had not been mistreated. He had lived in an apartment with a young couple, and while he came to us slightly overweight and under-exercised, he was and is a very happy and friendly dog. He simply needs some training, lots of outdoor activity, and something to keep his brain busy. But he is hard work. He barks every time someone walks along the pavement past our house. He doesn’t travel well in the car. He has slipped out of his harness a few times, and he can jump over the fence and wall in our garden. He’s a Houdini dog! Marley is also partial to the children’s toys, and has already eaten three or four dolls, several Lego pieces, and even a USB cable (thankfully not while it was plugged in). We are having to relearn life with a young dog and make our adjustments accordingly.
This week I have someone making my garden Marley-proof. I am also contacting a local dog training facility for advice. Despite the extra expense and the stress, I love my new boy very much, he has settled in with our family very quickly, and he is adorable. Thank you, Warrington Animal Welfare for matching us with our new baby.
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 .