‘When I finally had space in my life for a little canine friend, I went to Wild at Heart Foundation after a friend recommended them. I’d always been a dog person and when I found myself living with fellow dog lovers, working in a dog-friendly office and in close proximity to several London parks, it felt like the stars had aligned. I’d also recently been diagnosed with a heart condition which, although manageable, meant I had to tone down the late nights of socialising.

When I got in touch with WAHF, I told them I needed a dog who would adapt quickly to London and all the sights, smells and sounds that come with city life. When I was matched to Nero and found out he’d be arriving from Lesvos in just a few weeks, it felt like a match made in heaven! The adoption process was rigorous but friendly and professional. As the process takes place online or over the phone, there were definitely times when I wondered who I was speaking to and whether a dog would materialise at all! But my friend’s recommendation was so positive and, sure enough, when I arrived at the service station, there was Nero waiting for me. I was in love immediately.

Nero (now named Frodo) had a difficult first few days. He struggled to process everything and would barely respond to people at all. I even had his hearing tested because I worried he might be deaf- turns out he wasn’t, he was just very unsure of this new life. When Frodo found a safe space under my bed, I cleared it out and added blankets and toys, to make it feel a bit more homely. Progress was slow, but he eventually learned to trust us and got used to his new pack of humans.

Frodo’s biggest challenge was the stairs, which I hadn’t expected! I don’t think he’d ever seen a staircase before so it took a lot of treats and praise for him to master it, which took about 6 weeks. With a mixture of terror, curiosity and bravery, Frodo quickly got used to public transport too, so now he comes to the office with me. In fact, Frodo has settled into city life so well that when we took him to the countryside recently, he was more scared of donkeys and sheep than of trucks and trains!

There’s been a few memorable moments so far but the stairs is definitely one of them. He was so proud of himself that my heart just burst. We both put a lot of time and effort into conquering the stairs so it was rewarding for us both. Another memorable moment was his first trip to the pub. He’s a sociable boy who loves other people and dogs, but on his first visit he managed to bite through his lead and was well on his way to the kitchen before anyone noticed.

Since adopting Frodo my life is unrecognisable. Not only have I gained a best friend but there’s more stability and routine to my days now. I get more exercise, don’t hate the winter as much and it’s all thanks to Frodo. The Wild at Heart Foundation handled the whole thing really well, including excellent aftercare. I would heartily recommend them!’

– Rick Morgan

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