We hadn’t planned on getting another dog just yet. We already had a nearly 12 year old Chocolate Labrador (Buffy), who was still recovering from major spinal surgery the September before, and Tillie, a beautiful 10 year old Black Labrador, who with my husband and me, made up our perfect little family. We did know, however, that as Buffy got a little older, we would extend our family, with the addition of a rescue dog, but further down the line, maybe in October, November time.
We were also getting married in the April of this year, with a two week honeymoon, where my parents were looking after the dogs. We didn’t want to add another dog to the mix, as having four dogs in a small, one bedroom bungalow was more than enough.
We had discussed what type of dog we would rescue; we had our beautiful Labradors, but we both grew up with German Shepherds (GSDs), so we set our heart on this beautiful breed.
Fate had other ideas
On our way somewhere, we noticed one of our neighbours, Andy, walking with a dog we’d never seen before, so we just had to stop and say hello and were introduced to Charlie Dog (to differentiate from Charlie Daughter!) who he had just rescued. In our conversation with Andy, we mentioned we were looking to rescue a GSD later in the year, and after a good old chin wag, went on our merry way.
About a week later, we had an excited Andy turn up on the doorstep. Somebody he worked with at the time was very reluctantly having to give away his two large dogs to exceptionally good homes. One of the dogs was a one year old GSD male – would we be interested?
After deliberating long and hard for about, ummmmm a minute, we decided to meet him and give him a trial for a weekend only, with the proviso that if we didn’t take him in, he would be given back to the breeders to re-home.
So we met Diablo (after the Lamborghini).
We fell in love.
He never left our house.
It’s not always easy to take in a rescue dog
Diablo soon came to be shortened to Dibbs.
Dibbs was a little sod at times. We have plasterboard walls, some soon had holes in them. We have a wooden inside door that has chew marks on it. We have wooden architraving around the door that suffered a similar fate. As for the stairs, it’s going to need a carpenter (oops, no, even after six years, we’ve not fixed it yet!!).
He was well socialised off the lead, but not on the lead – he liked to bark at other dogs. He also had been allowed to do whatever he wanted on a walk, so never interacted with us, which meant he never came back when called! It took two different (and fabulous) trainers, Di and Norman, who both helped us enormously to meet his and our needs.
Was it worth taking in a rescue dog?
Oh heck, yes!
He has turned out to be one of THE most beautiful souls. He is adored by all our friends, family and neighbours. He was my confidant and counsellor following my nervous breakdown last year. He is our protector from plastic bags. He was instrumental in helping my Mother in Law realise she needed me to call an ambulance for her (I’ll tell that story at a later date).
The changes we’ve seen
He has grown enormously, not only in stature, but in personality. He has filled out, moulted like buggery and generally become a little bit mature (not too much though). He now absolutely loves to interact with us on walks.
We get people literally stop us when out walking to tell us how beautiful he is (he does come from a line of champions, you know!).
He became a fabulous (big) little brother to our Labradors, and was absolutely grief stricken when we lost Buffy the next year. He then became friends with our next rescue GSD, Daisy. Although he often torments her on walks by rushing her, pinching her sticks, and blatantly nicking her toys at home.
He’s our family clown. My most willing (and vain) model (he will literally stop mid-air to pose if he sees my camera pointing at him!).
He’s also still a sod. “Dibbs” is the most commonly used word in our house!
Do we regret taking in a rescue?
Even with the constant hoovering (GSD owners will get that!), we have never regretted taking him into our home and hearts. We adore the conversations we have with his ears, the games we get to play with him, and generally, the unconditional love we get from this huge, handsome hunk!
Happy Gotcha Day Dibbs!
Are you thinking of taking in a rescue?
There are lots of rescue centres and groups around. Some are dedicated to particular breeds. If you were thinking of taking in a GSD, you might want to consider some of these:
German Shepherd Dog Rescue: https://www.germanshepherdrescue.co.uk/
UK German Shepherd Rescue: http://www.ukgermanshepherdrescue.co.uk/
German Shepherd Rescue Elite: http://gsrelite.co.uk/
South West German Shepherd Rescue: http://www.southwestgsdrescue.org.uk/
Although there are plenty others too!
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