‘I first saw a picture of Katrina, now Marley, on Facebook and my heart melted. There was something about her that I found irresistible and I was completely intrigued.

My fiancé and I had been considering adopting a dog as we knew that we could provide a loving home and wanted to make a difference to a rescue dog’s life. We were concerned however that local rescue centres wouldn’t think that we were suitable as neither of us had previously had a dog and we both have demanding careers. Thankfully Wild at Heart Foundation saw through this and could see that we had a lot to offer Marley and would cater to her needs.

When I got the call to say that we could adopt Marley I was excited but nervous. We had no idea what Marley would be like or how she would settle in. The only thing I can compare it to is online dating, except that this online date would be moving in. WAHF sent us a video of Marley playing with the other dogs, which gave us an insight into her personality but we still didn’t know much about her. At the time our friends and family did think we were a little crazy adopting a dog online as they had heard some negative stories, but I’m so glad that WAHF proved them wrong.

We were kept updated during Marley’s flight and transport from Cyprus until we picked her up outside of a hotel at 2am. The whole experience was very surreal. Marley was unique in appearance and had been described as a Husky cross, but her passport description was Pointer and she looked more like a Jack Russell Terrier/Labrador/Whippet. Everyone that I tell the story to thinks it’s hilarious.

Through this process information was sent across by her rescuers and foster carers, and we received pictures from when she was younger. We were told a bit about her background and what training she had. We were told that she knew “come” and “no” in Greek and it wasn’t until then that it dawned on us that there would be a language barrier. That said Marley settled in and adjusted really quickly. 

We’ve now had Marley nearly a year. We were pleasantly surprised with how easy everything was and she has brought nothing but happiness to our lives. We took time at the start to go to puppy training and she picked everything up straight away, including recall and walking off the lead, although we did invest a lot of time into practicing the training methods. Inevitably we had to do a bit of toilet training but this was mostly accidents when Marley got too excited. She has also been very mischievous at times, such as opening all of the presents under the Christmas tree, but it was her first Christmas after all.

We installed a camera that we can check on our phones and even talk to Marley, which we found really helpful for monitoring her behaviour and checking that she was happy at home when we were out. I would highly recommend this to anyone adopting a dog as it gave us peace of mind. We haven’t had any problems with separation anxiety at all and in fact she is usually quite tired after doggy day care or when we’ve gone running together.

Marley is the perfect companion and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. She is full of energy, loves cuddles and mostly wants to just copy whatever we are doing. We’ve tried to give her the life that she deserves – she even came on holiday to France with us. Strangers have commented that she looks happy just to be alive and has a zest for life, which is exactly what we set out to achieve, and we can only hope that others will do the same for dogs that need help.

Marley is now a part of our team and we feel so blessed every day that we get to have her in our lives. We’ve never looked back and hope in the near future that WAHF can help us give Marley a brother or sister.’

– Claire Pitcher

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