We adopted our dog, Evie in December last year. We initially started fostering her in October, but (as expected) fell in love with her and couldn’t imagine ever parting ways again.
We weren’t told much about Evie’s history by our rescue organisation, we only knew that she was with an abusive owner once who ripped her nails out.
The owner just before us unfortunately fell sick and wasn’t able to take care of Evie anymore. Therefore she hasn’t been walked nor socialised in a pretty long time and we were told she didn’t get on with other dogs.
This was literally all we knew, so we really had no idea what to expect.
We took her home and she was very anxious, though extremely affectionate. She was quite hyper actually and we later found out that changing her food to a no-sugar one really made her calm down significantly.
One of the first things we had to do was get Evie’s nail trimmed. They had gotten so long during her time without proper walks that even though we walked her on concrete a lot, it didn’t make a difference.
Since we knew Evie would have issues with her paws/nails, we told the vet when we took her there, but sure enough, she needed to be sedated because the procedure was just too stressful.
In the beginning, we also couldn’t walk Evie for very long, she just stopped walking after 10 minutes – she wasn’t used to exercise anymore!
We soon discovered fetch was her favourite game and again, we were surprised at how little stamina she had.
It also got confirmed that she really doesn’t like other dogs, and we worked hard to make her be ok around them. It took several months to get her to a point that we can take her off the leash when other dogs are further away, and she doesn’t bark and growl and every dog walking past us.
We also realised that she is the sweetest, cuddliest dog and just loves all humans. It doesn’t matter where we go, Evie will make friends quickly and have literally everyone patting and playing with her.
For the first months, we were very concerned that we could see some of her rips. We had a few friends commenting that she looked too skinny, so we increased her food intake. Her shape never changed though, and even though we never had her DNA checked, several vets suggested that she is crossed with a whippet, hence the slim body.
So, we dropped the additional food, which was great because she started listening better almost immediately. During the time when we over-fed her, she often wouldn’t come when we would call her and just wouldn’t respond to simple commands.
Overall it was quite easy with her in the beginning, since she understood all relevant commands and was fully toilet trained (meaning we could leave her in our house while we went out to work), Evie also never ever chews anything that isn’t hers.
Evie is such a happy and friendly dog, but sometimes there is a moment when her history makes an appearance. When she tries to get your food and you tell her off while you are standing up, she ducks down, fully expecting to be hit.
Moments like these make me incredibly sad. I cannot understand how anyone could hurt an animal (part of the reason I am a vegan): it just makes me sick to think about that.
Over the time we’ve found out a bit more about her history, and learned she was in a few shelters and foster homes in her life. She was even supposed to be put down, but was bought by a rescue organisation.
Having a rescue dog is a rewarding experience, not just because a dog adds so much value to your life, but also when you make progress with the dog – when they start fully trusting you and you trust them.
I am aware we had it easy compared to others, because Evie listens well from the start and has a trusting nature to begin with.
But I didn’t think it would take us a while to really fully trust her, to know that we can rely on her. To know that yes, we can throw the ball in the park far and know she will bring it back to us. Knowing that she will happily sit there being petted by children (under our supervision) and knowing that friends who’ve met her before, can come into our home without her barking.
Adopting a dog is definitely a learning experience for both parties, and there are many moments when you wonder what might have happened to your dog before they got to you, and you also may be tempted to make up for all the bad things that they experienced by spoiling them.
We continue to learn things about Evie, for example just how much she loves the ocean. She goes a bit mental, and has to be kept on a leash so she doesn’t drown – that’s how excited she gets to go swimming!
It’s also amazing to see how much time she will now spend playing fetch, and that while she won’t ever be a dog who enjoys 2 hour walks, she is happy to be out and about for an hour.
Every dog has their own personality and history and you can’t be prepared for all the things that may come up – but you also can’t be prepared for the love a dog will show you.
Ultimately, with all the ups and downs and possible challenges along the way, it’s a dog you love no matter what.