We took Duke home just over 6 months ago. I’m actually in a bit of shock! It feels so strange to think 6 months ago he wasn’t part of our lives. 6 months ago I could leave the back door open without worry he would fly out to play with the nearest animal, 6 months ago there was no woodland walks in the rain, no mud splattered all over my kitchen, no eyes on me every time I ate a treat and I had tons of free time. 6 months ago there was no rushing home to let the dog out, putting cushions out of the reach of a mischievous mutt, no poo bags in every coat I own, my pockets weren’t full of treats and I had considerably less upper body strength. When we brought a 6 stone, nervous, energetic 8 month old ridgeback mastiff cross we had no idea how much joy he would bring into our lives.
I had nagged and nagged for a dog. I really wanted a third member of our family; I wanted them to be four legged and furry. My husband Karl wanted a dog but was set on a bull dog (and on not having one quite so soon). Being the wonderful husband he is he regularly looked online at different dogs for adoption or sale. We both researched dogs, training, breeds and everything we could think of. One day he came across a dog advertised on the Blue cross website; he applied and we had no response. I was devastated I felt we were a perfect home for a four legged friend of any kind; Active, young, experienced with dogs, child free and willing to put 100% in. A few weeks later with no response Karl sent me a screenshot of Duke from the internet. I fell in love instantly. Karl wasn’t sure! He was worried about the breed mix, size and lots of other wise worries. We went to see Duke and I fell more and more in love. I don’t think I have ever nagged him as much as I did that day! And when he finally agreed I think my heart stopped. For all his worries Karl fell in love with Duke just as hard as I did.
Duke was terrified of so many things, pulled like crazy on the lead, jumped up continually, mouthed incessantly, couldn’t be let of the lead without chaos, went mental every time we saw another dog (out of extreme excitement) and humped things whenever we told him off!! He was also very sweet, cuddly, had soulful eyes and was extremely loving! The only accident he had in the house was when we moved his cage; I think he though we were getting rid of him! With a trainer his lead pulling has gotten so much better, to the point now that pulling does happen every now and again on a walk but isn’t continual throughout, it is becoming more and more infrequent. His mouthing to decreased with firmness and consistency. He is so much braver and his tail is up high on walks, no longer between his legs all the time. He still gets a bit excited about other dog particularly on the lead …but that is a work in progress. With the help of other owners and their four-legged babies he is well socialised and knows how to play with others. I’ve even made friends because of meeting people due to duke. He’s often let off the lead and when he is he approaches other dogs well, plays well and will even leave other dogs alone (although that still needs some work). His recall is getting more reliable but for now we keep very close. He rarely humps, in fact since we had him ‘Fixed’ I don’t think I have seen him hump anything. He still loves a cuddle and loves attention; and I love cuddling him! He’s fabulous with the children in our lives and is so gentle with them. He is daft and full of character. He picks up tricks wonderfully and very much holds a place in both mine and my husband’s hearts. He’s well and truly a member of our family!
Where do we go from here? Well I really hope to find Duke a brother or sister. Another dog to keep him company, to be a playmate and of course for us to love. I want to get Duke to an obedience class. We do a lot of training at home but I think it’s time to step that up. I would like his recall to be much more reliable and for him to be able to listen to us when other dogs are around; particularly when on the lead. I would also like him to stop barking at me when he thinks I’m ignoring him! But I think he’s a bit spoilt and knows I love to give him attention.
We have lots of years of cuddles and of course rolling in muddy puddles! Here is some lovely photos documenting the last 6 months…