As anyone who follows my social media channels know today is the three year anniversary since I brought my dog Rex home – affectionately known in the animal rescue world as ‘Gotcha Day’.
It’s actually three years and one week since I met him and I remember it clearly. But to take a step back.
I’ve grown up with dogs; my parents had them all my life – from the protective German Shepherds Purdy and Tara through to Sheena the sheepdog that they rescued from the pub one New Year’s Eve, from Foley the beautiful little German Shepherd / Terrier cross (GS colouring and curly Terrier hair) to Sally the gorgeous collie cross. Even now in Turkey they’ve rescued and adopted three or four so you could say it was inevitable I was going to get my own and it would always be a rescue dog.
I made the decision to get ‘a’ dog during my trip to Borneo back in 2016. I had deliberately bought a flat that had a big ‘dog ready’ garden and decided it was the first thing I was going to do on the return from my travels.
I didn’t really care about the breed of dog; it was more about size and temperament. I didn’t want a tiny puppy because I didn’t want to go through the pain of house training and notwithstanding at that point I was working full time so couldn’t have left it. Within a couple of weeks of my return my Dad was sending me photos of dogs at Dogs Trust in Basildon. They weren’t really appealing in terms of their characteristics until he sent me this…
And at that point I knew I’d found my dog. I called Dogs Trust who said to come down as they had 75 dogs but it was first come first served. I was there before it opened on that Saturday accompanied by my brother and sister in law and asked to see him and yes it was love at first sight.
After reserving him, I went to visit him the following Tuesday and the following Saturday, a month to the day since returning from travels I brought him home with me. His love for footballs was immediately apparent!
Rex has fundamentally changed my life.
People were saying he would ruin my social life but what they weren’t understanding was that I wanted to change my social life. I was single, working in the City, the temptation to go for post work drinks is ever present and well I didn’t want to get drunk every night and wake up feeling rubbish. Rex gave me a reason to go home. He also helped my work life / home life balance as I had to leave work to get home and feed him. I could always log on later if I needed to – but I found I rarely did.
People asked what would happen if I met the man of my dreams on a night out but had to go home and he didn’t like it or ‘moved on’. And so I said… well he’s not the man of my dreams then.
People said he would restrict me but actually he’s enabled me to do many more things, he’s increased my confidence and ‘introduced’ me to new people.
He’s part of the reason why I decided to leave my full time corporate job. What’s the point of working five days a week and having a dog walker gain all the benefit of him? When I went to France last summer he was my companion, I didn’t feel alone when I was with him.
And likewise, it gets a little quiet when you work from home most days so to get some people interaction I go and work from my local pub sometimes with him. I’d have never gone and sat in a pub on my own before him. He’s now in effect the pub dog, the landlord adores him and for a long time I was known as Rex’s Mum as opposed to Terri! But now I know all the team there, am always looked after and it’s a pleasure to go there.
In fact I go to lots of places with him on my own and he’s such a friendly boy that people come over to chat, they bring their kids over to stroke him (which I always allow as I think it’s important to stop kids having a fear of dogs) and there’s always conversation – sometimes too much!
He’s an energetic so and so, so I have to take him out every day and that means I get out in the fresh air every day too – rain or shine. Because of him I also started running again so he helps me to keep fit. I’ve found some lovely local parks (and therefore some lovely local cafes and pubs) and also travelled further afield on some amazing country walks, beaches and been on some super dog friendly staycations.
It took a couple of months to truly bond but I knew we had when we were in the Lake District and I took a bit of a fall on an icy hill in Hawkeshead in the Lake District. As I was crying with a hurt knee he came and sat by me and wouldn’t leave my side until I got up. In later months I had excruciating back pain and was screaming in pain trying to stretch out on my front – he came and lay on my back – full length. When my Uncle died recently I got back to him after the funeral and cried and cried and cried and he just sat there letting me drape my arms around him sobbing without moving. He knows.
But he also knows happy moods and will happily join in a drunken night of singing and dancing with my mates (not literally singing and dancing of course but getting excited and having fun!)
He has his quirks. He hates selfies and whilst I love all of these they’re the result of about 30 attempts at each one.
He hates me being on my mobile phone or ipad and will push it out of the way. As soon as I turn the hairdryer on he runs to his chaise longue and barks out of the window. As soon as I open the back gate or cellar door he does the same. And he’s terrified of cows, horses and donkeys. And he’s a naf sheep dog.
They say dogs are like their owners and I’d say that’s true. He’s a little cheeky, he’s quite hyper but more often than not he just likes a cuddle and a snooze on the sofa :0)
My own temperament has changed since having him. He calms me down – I’m never anxious or on edge whenever he’s around. He doesn’t let me be in a bad mood, he quite simply chills me out.
So whilst I’m sure people on my social media may look at the presents and cake I got him today and think ‘what on earth?’ I would just say that he’s probably been the best decision I’ve ever made and I love him more than anything else in the world so he deserves it. It’s been an exciting day for him today, and for me I think back and reflect that as much as I rescued him, he rescued me.