Here’s a lovely update about the gorgeous Ruby, who was adopted a year ago.
One year on with our gem, Ruby!
It is mad to think that it was over 1 year ago we met, fell in love, and started the process to get Ruby home with us!
I remember the moment so vividly when Sophie brought Ruby out of the kennel to meet us; I saw her smiling happy face and immediately burst in to tears, and from that moment, I knew we were going to have to find a way to take her home as soon as possible. The very next day we went back to the sanctuary to see her again, and after just one night’s sleep we committed to her (there was no way we were letting this babe go). Equally, it was a big decision and came with a lot of concern and worry for us. She had so many beans and she was clearly going to be a challenging dog, but we were confident if that energy could be channelled with exercise and training, that she wouldn’t be able to keep up those energy levels for too long! On the flip side, we were also very worried that if we were wrong and she was too damaged, that we didn’t want to let her down and be another heartbreak in her already troubled little life!
Sooooo, over the next week, and the next six-ish weekends, we visited her, walked with her, and trained with her until we could take her home. We found this time visiting her at the sanctuary invaluable. It meant we got to learn all the things that Justin (at the sanctuary) and Ainsley (from Active Paws) had been teaching her, so we could avoid minimal confusion and stick to those same training techniques. More importantly for her, these visits meant she got used to us and we were no longer strangers when the day came for her to come home!
From the moment we got her home, and for the first six or so months, she struggled to settle and relax when we were in the house. She would constantly be wanting attention, so would grab anything she could for you to chase her and chew – she had an addiction to shoelaces, especially if they were on your feet!
We persevered and decided we would just keep up the exercise, and got to a point where we were walking her up to six miles per day (more Labrador levels or exercise, than small Staffie). Along with the exercise, bones, Kongs and training, we gradually got her to a reasonable level of calm and to a point of her being able to relax slightly in our presence.
Regardless of all this, we were happy and adored her, but as more time has gone on it turns out she doesn’t need that much exercise and entertainment, after all, she just needed time in a loving home to feel safe and secure and to let go of her anxieties.
In our experience, if you are looking to adopt a troubled dog, please never underestimate the value of time.
There were some tough times with Ruby when it felt like she was never going to calm down, relax and be a ‘normal’ dog, but there was no way we were ever going to give up on her. We knew she had such a big heart and so much love to share, she just needed to feel safe and secure (just like any human) to let that love out, and you can’t put a time frame on that!
The hardest part through it all is that unlike a human, we can’t explain to her what is happening or tell her she is safe and this is home. On her own, she has to learn to trust us and figure out day by day that we will never hurt her, abandon her, and never make her feel any other way but loved.
If you rescue a dog with issues, please promise us (and the sanctuary) that you will give them time and patience, and won’t give up at the first hurdle. Just because they have a few quirks, I believe they deserve a chance to have their best life, just like any other dog and human.
They will get there with your perseverance, reassurance, and love. Please don’t let that dog down, and give up on them before you have given them a chance to show you who they really are. Once that trust has been formed, that dog will love you for an eternity!
It is incredible to see how much Ruby has come on in a year, and we are excited to see what another year brings for us and her! One thing is for sure, we are glad we never gave up hope. We love her so much and cannot imagine a life without our little gem, Ruby!