‘We had been wanting a dog for a few years but were so busy with children and jobs that it never seemed to be the right time. When the children hit 10 and 11, work chilled out a bit and we were spending more time in the countryside, suddenly time was right. We didn’t need a puppy so rescuing seemed the obvious choice, plus it was something my family had done a few times when I was growing up.
After struggling to be taken seriously by rehoming centres here in the U.K. (young children, living in a London flat, jobs etc), I found WaHF on Instagram and knew this was where our dog would come from. When I saw brothers Itchy and Scratchy (then Alec & Gagi) I couldn’t get them out of my mind, and couldn’t believe it when I spoke to them and they said they were still available (they’d been on Instagram for months) and that they would be suitable for us. The plan was to get one dog, but these two looked SO divine – and had to be re-homed together – so we went for it. Two in depth FaceTime calls later we passed the test and had a date to collect them. We were all beyond excited and at the same time incredibly nervous – what if it was a failure? Could we send them back? What sort of behaviour could we not deal with? Suddenly it was all rather serious!
Collecting day arrived and we met them – they were very friendly but incredibly nervous after their long journey from Bosnia, and they smelled just awful! They jumped in surprise at everything for the first few days – being stroked, their food bowls, the TV, laughter, crunching feet on gravel, walking in gum boots or flip flops, closing doors or cupboards, getting up off the sofa – everything made them jump. We spent the first 2 weeks saying ‘good boys’ in a calming voice whenever we even moved! They quickly settled down after a few days or so – and they really haven’t looked back. They nailed housetraining almost instantly and are getting pretty obedient – sit, heel and stay are all good (especially if there is a sausage on offer), they are brilliant on the lead but they are obsessed with squirrels so we only let them off in woods if we have time to wait for them – they stay relatively close but actually coming back is not one of their strong points…but they always do in the end (generally when they are knackered!).
Our best investment was a crate – they love it and feel safe in there – when we are not in the house they go in there or they are on the kitchen counter/table and they will also ransack the bin if no one is watching! Their manners are improving slowly! They are ridiculously kind, gentle and patient – with all of us and with each other. They are fabulous with other dogs, Scratchy likes to charge around and play with any dog, whereas Itchy is the lazier one and can’t really be bothered. He’d rather lie down…unless there is a squirrel in the vicinity. Nothing phases them now – not even bonfire night and all those fireworks raised more than a twitching ear.
I have to say, getting 2 was brilliant – I’m sure having each other can have only helped their settling in, plus they do a lot of playing together and completely exhaust themselves. We’re only 3 months in and they are still changing and growing in confidence all the time, what hasn’t changed is that we are stopped almost daily by people asking what they are and where they come from – we are a walking advert for the amazing WaHF.’
– Priscilla Giles