‘As a kid I knew that I REALLY liked dogs but I don’t remember actually hanging out with any and I remember not knowing if it was ok to pet other peoples dogs so I just used to stare at dogs from afar and dream and hope and wonder!

In 2003 when I was studying textile design in Liverpool I did a project on ‘dogs that looked and dressed like their owners’. This was before society was fully immersed ‘inside’ the internet so I had got my hands on some amazing dog images cut out of newspapers and scanned in from books. I took a real shine to one particular image of a long haired chihuahua, cut him out photoshopped a snazzy outfit on him and made him the focus of my project. I nicknamed him Bobby and dreamt of our future together.

In 2017 I met a chorkie rescue dog called Lola. Her owner Fran was from Cyprus and saw how mesmerised I was with her dog so took it upon herself to make sure that I adopted my own and introduced me to Alex’s Farms of Stray Dogs on Facebook. Soon I was scrolling dogs obsessively and after enquiring about a few and them not sounding quite right, Joker the Chihuahua suddenly appeared. From what I know he was an unwanted pet and just abandoned at the shelter. Alex was super helpful in answering all my questions and reassuring me about the process and his personality. This was my first experience of the problem of stray and homeless dogs and I realised what amazing work she was doing and how important adopting a dog is.

My boyfriend likes playing pranks and the fact that this beautiful little chihuahua was called Joker was a sign!  We had to get him. My boyfriend rode home on his bike that night shouting “Joker, you’re coming to London!!”

Alex introduced me to Wild at Heart Foundation and I had a skype chat to find out more about the whole adoption process. WAHF checked that we were a suitable match and it was a done deal. Joker was booked on a flight and the Eurostar. He was coming!

Luckily for him, he got to ride VIP on the aeroplane/ Eurostar as he was too small to be crated. So when Pet Express rocked up to drop him off, he jumped out of the van whereas the other dogs were much more exhausted and a little scared. Apparently he had been very vocal during the journey too! What a lad!

It was literally love at first sight. I was actually in shock for about a month after his arrival. I couldn’t quite believe that I was finally a dog owner and I had this special little animal to look after. I remember watching him breathe whilst he slept and feeling incredibly responsible. I spent at least the first 6 months worrying about weird things, googling dog stuff, taking him to explore the neighbourhood and wondering if he was ok and if he loved us.

He was an absolute dream from day one, unbelievably well trained and his temperament was exactly as WAHF had described him, ‘a sweet natured boy’. He is incredibly considerate and proper chilled out for a Chihuahua. We think he has a smidgen of Jack Russell in him as he is quite athletic, a total hit down the park and gives other dogs a proper run a round.

Since moving to London, Joker has modelled for a Mulberry x Mungo and Maud collaboration, got a job as Head of Security in my office, helped promote my boyfriend’s nightclub that raises mental health awareness in the music industry and been a life model to help raise money for WAHF. Amongst all this he is the best little furry pal we could have wished for. Having a rescue dog has definitely boosted our happiness and life purpose. Even staying in and watching the telly is better with your dog curled up next to you!

What an amazing experience it has been adopting with WAHF, we felt supported throughout and even afterwards the community supports and helps each other.

– Kate Fahy

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