‘We had always wanted a dog and finally buying our own home and moving closer to work in March 2016 meant that this might just be possible. We decided we would rather re-home a rescue dog than buy brand new as there are so many wonderful dogs looking for homes, however we knew that we would be rejected by all the rescue centres in the UK as we both work full time.

My family used to have a holiday home in Cyprus and so my sister knew of Wild at Heart and followed them on Instagram. In August last year she said she had seen the perfect pup for us and showed us a picture of a small white bundle of fluff. He was exactly what we had been looking for so we got in contact right away. Unfortunately the puppy we had seen was no longer available for adoption but they got in contact with us and said his brother was looking for a home. We were then sent the most adorable picture of a tiny black and white puppy with a pink nose. We were smitten.

The adoption process went fairly smoothly and we finally got to meet Toddy, previously Rigby, at the end of October 2016. Toddy was perfect. The first night went as well as it possibly could have and after a couple of hours of cuddles and some food he slept all night in his crate without a peep.

We had booked a couple of weeks off work to spend with Toddy and get him settled into his new home and we also booked him into puppy classes. He had a few accidents but didn’t need too much toilet training as he had already learnt the basics in his foster home. Puppy classes were good for socialisation but we stopped going after the 6 week course as we didn’t feel like Toddy was learning the skills we wanted him to learn. He was happy with ‘sit’ ‘paw’ and ‘down’ etc. What we wanted to focus on was lead walking and recall so we decided to focus on this ourselves.

In the first couple of months Toddy hated walking with a lead and harness, everything scared him and he was so distracted on each walk it would take us an hour just to get around the block. Both our backs were suffering having to walk hunched over with treats to offer him encouragement! It took a couple of months but eventually Toddy learnt to love his walks and the new smells and other dogs he meets on the way! We also found a massive improvement when we removed the harness and he much prefers the lead being attached only to his collar. It was such a proud moment when I was able to walk him around the block in my lunch break for the first time!

Recall we are still working on…but in the last couple of months we have been able to make the brave move of letting him off the lead when we go on long walks! This was a big step for us as we were so worried about him running off and getting hurt. Once we made the jump though, with our friends and their dog first of all, we have never looked back. Toddy, although excited to be able to run around where he wants, will always keep us in sight and, unless he is having too much fun with another dog (!) will come back to us when called.

We are so proud of Toddy and we are always complimented on his temperament and looks, everyone loves his pink nose! He has brought so much love, fun, happiness and laughter to our lives we can’t imagine being without him. He is kind and gentle, has learnt to be calm around our house bunnies and he was also not phased when he met our newly born niece. We have already decided we would like to rescue another dog (maybe next year..) and think Toddy would love a little play mate!’

– Christian Hollingsworth and Natalie Spicer

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