Today, I want to tell you the story of my English Springer Spaniel Rescue Charlie
I was in my early thirties and single. And like most woman of that age and status, I found myself lonely. I thought a dog would offer me the company I needed and get me out of the house to socialize. I had never had a dog before, so I thought this was definitely the solution. I didn’t want a puppy since I thought it would be a lot of work, so I decided a rescue dog from a local shelter would be a better idea! Boy! I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
I started looking at the local Humane Societies in my area for a suitable dog. I found Charlie in an online ad for the Humane Society website, but he didn’t have a name. He was simply labelled as the date he was found. I fell in love with is sad eyes and floppy ears. I went several times to the shelter to meet Charlie however he was in quarantine due to Kennel Cough. On the third try, I was finally able to meet him. When looking for a shelter dog, they tell you to do your research. So, I did some online research on the breed and congratulated myself for finding a great bread that matched my check list! He was dirty and skinny, almost 15 lbs under weight, and I had already named him Charlie.
Our First Day Home
Charlie was a stray, so they had absolutely no information on his age or his history. I formally adopted Charlie on the spot, and they told me I could pick him up in 2 days, after they had him neutered. I was excited, I could go shopping for all the things I needed for a dog, food bowls, leash, collar, bed and food in the morning. 2 hours after I came back home from the adoption, I got a call from the shelter. The man at the shelter noticed that Charlie had previously been neutered, and asked I could pick him up right away.
I was so excited, but now I had to rush to buy supplies and pick up the dog before the shelter closed for the evening. Little did I know that the first trip home with Charlie was going to be the first of many adventures we would share. I had a hard time getting him inside the car. Then, once in the car, he got all nervous and wasn’t sure if he should sit, stand or lay down, so he did all of them through out the ride home. At a stop light, I turned around to check up on him, and I noticed some huge streams of drool… uh oh I though! Well, by the time I got home, he had been car sick! He eventually got over being sick in the car after several months.
I get the feeling he had never been in a house before by the way he was ripping from room to room, jumping on beds and sofas. But now looking back, he probably just had lots of pent-up energy from being kenneled a long period. Anyhow, I was feeling overwhelmed, like a new mom who brings home her baby home for the first time and thinks, OK, now what? I am now responsible for this dog!
The Crazy Dog
I quickly found out that this dog had a lot of quirks. He was food aggressive. I had to quickly walk away from his food bowl if I didn’t want him to snarl and snap at me like a mad dog. He would counter surf, meaning he was jumping on the counters, eating anything he could reach. He would chew every thing, including my mouth guard, prescription glasses, clothes and shoes. He was a hoarder. I had a kennel for him, and he would collect treasures around the house and stuff them at the back of the kennel and protect the entrance from any looters. I’ve found a frying pans, kitchen knives, my prescription glasses, my mouth guard, underwear and socks all stuffed in the back of his kennel. He barked all day while I was gone. I know because I lived in a town house and my neighbour would text me during the day to tell me so! Sigh. He was possessive with his toys (and by toys I mean anything that he would put in his mouth), so trying to retrieve anything from him was risking loosing some fingers.
I didn’t have him more than a few days that I was desperate for help! If I wanted to keep him, but I knew I needed to find a good dog trainer fast. And I did. Melodi from Sparkwatch was amazing. For 3 years, we attended regularly. He moved from novice to advance training! And let me tell you I was grateful. Not only did he learn to socialize with other dogs, basic obedience commands, but the aggressive behaviour slowly but surely went away.
Once most of the bad behaviour disappear (and it took years) a very smart English Spring Spaniel was revealed and he would easily and readily learn some tricks. Here is a little video of Charlie demonstrating his skills during a Christmas open house at our dog training centre.
The years moved on and we’ve had some good times and suffered very few bad times. Our little pack of 2 grew. Six months after adopting Charlie, I met my husband. We married and now have a son. There hasn’t been a lonely minute since adopting Charlie. Now, don’t get me wrong. He still gives us grief daily. However, he has become such a good dog, while still remaining quirky. He will open the refrigerator door and help himself to our dinner, he destroys our baby’s toys and goes crazy when the mail gets delivered. But all in all, he has become a regular dog with a few redeeming quirks!
Have you rescued a dog from a shelter? How did you find your experience!