National Rescue Dog Day

Sindi Barrios

It’s National Rescue Dog Day today, and at Pet Drugs Online we wanted to shed light on how important it is to rescue dogs who need a sense of belonging and a loving home.

In the last year alone 3.2 million households brought a pet into the home but 1 in 5 admit to not considering the long-term commitment – with life returning to nearly normal shelters are in demand. The Dogs Trust alone saw a 41% increase in web traffic to its ‘Giving Up Your Dog’ page.

We know just how important it is to find the right pet for your family – and how intimidating the process can be –  so we spoke to 3 members of the Pet Drugs Online team to find out more about their rescue stories.

Sharon with her dogs Billie, Pepsi and Luna

‘What is your role and how long have you worked at Pet Drugs Online?

‘I work in the warehouse, picking and packing orders. I’ve been here since February 2020.’

‘What breed dogs do you have?’

‘I have 2 English Springer Spaniels and a Romanian Mixed Breed Luna.

‘What age are they?’

‘Billie and Pepsi are both 11 and Luna is about 11 months old, she was found on the streets so we don’t know her exact age.’

‘How would you describe Luna’s behaviour since you adopted her?’

‘She was brought over when she was 16 weeks old, she came straight to us from the transport and was very scared, not liking human touch at all. She was food aggressive and very reserved. Now at 11 months old, she is no longer food aggressive, she loves a cuddle and is very responsive. She has learnt all her commands. There is still work to be done, being from the streets and during lockdown her social skills will improve daily.’

‘What is she incentivised by?’

‘This is an easy one, she loves food. She loves playing ball with the other two and the spaniels are ball obsessed.’

‘What is her favourite activity on a weekend?’

‘Luna has just completed her second set of training classes, these were so important- not just for her but to help us learn too. She is now about to start agility and we are hoping this will encourage her to flourish and become even more confident.

We love taking the dogs to different places on the weekend- whether it’s the beach or in the middle of nowhere. Discovering new smells and places gives her so much excitement and their tails never stop wagging.

We also love going away in our caravan and although because of lockdown we haven’t been able to with Luna, we’re really excited to take her away. More places for long walks and sleep of course. All the dogs are a huge part of our lives so holidays include them too.’

‘Has Luna fitted into your family well and with any pets you may already have?’

This was quite a worry, especially as Luna arrived in the middle of the night and we had the introductions in our garden rather than somewhere neutral. They all get on really well and we often find Billie and Luna playing together or Pepsi and Luna on the sofa together. We also have two bearded dragons so we had to teach all the dogs not to bother them which has been brilliant.

We couldn’t imagine life without her now.’

‘Would you recommend adopting a rescue dog?’

‘Always. Whether you go to a local dog rescue or somewhere that brings them in from further afield, every dog deserves a good and loving home. They all deserve to know what it feels like to be loved. Some of the rescue dogs may have had a bad start and behaviours that go with that but with love, patience and training they will be brought out of their shells. We have always had rescue dogs, my dad had two rescue German Shepherds and I had another rescue before the dogs I have now. There are too many in rescue centres that need homes.’

Laura with her dog Moon

‘What is your role and how long you have worked at Pet Drugs Online?’

‘I’m head of marketing and I’ve been a part of the team for around a year now.’

‘What breed dog do you have?’

‘Moon is a little bit of everything, she’s predominantly an English pointer (we call her our pocket pointer because she’s so little though).’

‘What age is she?’

‘She’s 2 which is probably a tricky age for rescue dogs as they’re not quite the secure adult or the cute puppy most people look for.’

‘How would you describe Moon’s development since you adopted her?’

‘We feel very lucky at how easy it’s all been if I’m honest, we were fully prepared to bring home a dog who probably wouldn’t want anything to do with us for the first few weeks but from the minute she came home she wanted to be loved.

We don’t know lots about her past other than she was abandoned with her sister but she hadn’t seen stairs or doors before – I think it was the indignity of being carried up stairs which made her confident to try after a couple of days! She’s a nervous dog in new situations for sure but we see improvements every time, we just take things at her pace.

What is she incentivised by?’

‘Food without question.’

‘What is their favourite activity on a weekend?’

‘As long a lie in as possible, the happier and healthier she’s become the more she’s wanted to sleep! We live in Dorset and so most weekends we head out into the woods for a long walk, we’ve also started visiting the local pub with her too now lockdown is lifting and she enjoys watching the world go by. Her sister Sky has also been rehomed in the UK and we’re already making plans to meet up and get them back together.’

‘Has Moon fitted into your family well and with any pets you may already have?’

‘We were paired with Moon with our resident dog Yogi in mind, he’s an incredibly confident 1.5 year old who loves boisterous play which was exactly what she needed. She goes to him for a lot of comfort especially if we’re out and she isn’t sure but she’s also incredibly patient with him, constantly trying to wrestle her. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve noticed they need to be around us less, while we’re cooking or watching something they’re quite happy to slope off together which is great to see.’

Would you recommend adopting a rescue dog?’

‘Yes, in a heartbeat but I’m fully aware it’s not the easy answer and it’s not for everyone. The charity we went through had 11,000 applications in 2020 but only 350 were matched with a dog – it’s not a quick alternative and it’s definitely not cheaper. We’re currently trying to fix 2 years of really poor nutrition, and we have a running tab on the cost of shoes, slippers, clothes, furniture and toys she’s chewed through!

Sharon with her dog Alia

‘What is your role and how long you have worked at Pet Drugs Online?’

‘I work in the warehouse and pick and pack customers orders. I have been in my role for almost 2 years.’

‘What breed dog do you have?’

‘Our rescue dog is called Alia, and as we quite recently found out, she has originally come from Bulgaria. She is a mixed breed; we think she might be a whippet/vizsla cross. She’s a beautiful dog!’

‘What age is she?’

‘She is 3 years old.’

‘How would you describe Alia’s development since you adopted her?’

‘So her development has been slow, even 2 and a half years old, she had never been on a proper walk on lead. It took us a good month, maybe even two to get her on her lead just to go out to the garden, but we got there in the end. We now go on long walks- off lead across the fields, she loves to run and comes back fine (for me at least).

We are still working through some issues though. She loves me and she adores her playmate- my son Josh who is 6 but is very fearful and barks at my partner. We are speaking to a behaviourist; this could take years to overcome as we don’t know what kind of trauma she might have gone through.

You could so easily give up at this point, but we see all of the good points and we will work through the bad ones. Even if it’s been hard at times, we couldn’t give up on her!’

What is she incentivised by?’

‘She will do most things you ask if there’s a treat involved. She does like a naughty piece of cheese now and then too!’

‘What is her favourite activity on a weekend?’

‘Her favourite activity would have to be her long walks and just running to her hearts content!’

Would you recommend adopting a rescue dog?’

‘I would definitely recommend rescuing a dog instead of buying, but you have to be prepared to put the work in, as not every dog is going to settle in day one. We are 6 months in, still having issues but you just need the patience to work through them. We love her so much though.’

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!