Meet My Beautiful Heidi.
Heidi is an adorable little Yorkshire Terrier, although we weren’t sure what breed she was when we first saw her pic. She was in such a matted and underweight state. This is what she looked like in the top left pic, a sad and sorry sight. Her behaviour was extremely erratic when we met, most likely the result of living a strained existence as a stray followed by a sharp, cold and lonely confinement in the pound. She smelt pretty bad too. All of this through no fault of her own, of course.
We rehomed Heidi from the Derry & Strabane District Council Dog Pound just over a year ago. The minute we clapped eyes on her she was coming home with us. She was in appalling shape, uncomfortable and extremely anxious. We had to wait 5 days until we could take her home, 5 days too long for her to remain in the pound. Her experience has prompted me to write this blog post encouraging anyone hoping to welcome a dog into their home to visit the local pound or shelter.
Heidi is one of many, many dogs who need a chance. Keep reading to see happier photos. Within hours of the pitiful shot on the left, Heidi was groomed free of charge by an angel of a groomer, she had visited the vet, been for her first riverside walk and finally was curled up in bed with her new doggie-sister. We all fell in love with her instantly and one year on we couldn’t be without her and her odd little ways. She is still an anxious dog but less so now, the journey with Heidi is long and slow. And yes, this is her in the last photo above too. These are the very real pictures of the before and after of rehoming.
Above – Collecting Heidi from the Pound, our first walk together, getting a cuddle before her Vet appointment.
First of all I will run through what was important to us in considering welcoming a new dog into our home, as these points may help you make your decision if you are unsure.
Assess every part of your home and work life to see where a dog fits in. Do you have the space? Do you have the time? Do you have the capabilities, to meet all of your new companion’s needs?
Next, think about which breed or size of dog best fits your lifestyle. There are a huge number of dogs in rescue accommodation waiting for their forever home, puppies and older dogs, small and large, so check out what the many local shelters have available. These dogs deserve a warm and loving home and the reward of rehoming for both you and your new companion is indescribable.
The priority is to make your new companion safe, healthy and happy when welcoming them into their forever home and being sure their home with you will be the only home they will need.
Heidi being assessed by the groomer. Luckily her tats and mats were not too close to the skin and she was groomed without sedation. What a trooper!
There are numerous cost implications to rehoming a dog. The list includes – but is not limited to – the following –
- Initial donation to the pound or rehoming shelter
- Vet Bills – the emergencies and the standard items such as neutering / spaying, vaccinations, worming, tick and flee treatments
- Pet Insurance
- Food, treats
- Dog Licence
- Engraved identity tags
Heidi on the grooming table having a blow dry, getting a cuddle from the wonderful groomer Samantha who was extremely touched by Heidi, more cuddles from her new dad.
- Collar, lead and harness
- Cold weather coat
- Kennel and run for larger, outdoor dogs
- Kennel bills when on holiday
- Pet walker / drop in for days you are away longer hours
- Obedience Classes
- Grooming Bills
Heidi being introduced to her new surroundings, her eyes already looking less anxious. Her favourite squeaky tennis ball and finally, bedtime with her new doggie-sister Tessa.
- A dog needs outdoor space to exercise, train, play and toilet. For smaller homes and apartments, small breeds will be best suited. If you have a larger home with more outdoor space, then you could consider a larger breed.
- All dogs will bark – it’s one of their ways of communicating. Some breeds have a natural inclination to bark to warn of any visitors to the area, (Heidi is one of these!) or if they are bored. There are some breeds which are generally more talkative than others. This is something to be wary of if you live in a built-up area or have young children who could be frightened by a barking dog.
- Your home must be pet-friendly. Dog-proof your home by ensuring that dangerous chemicals, electrical wiring, and sharp objects are out of the reach of gnawing newcomers.
- Accidents happen. Initial settling in poops and pees plus the odd chewed shoe or sofa are inevitable in the early days. Be calm but firm and consistent with your dog, the training will pay off.
Heidi (right) and Tessa, today – happy, healthy, mischevious.
Suitability to your existing family members is important. Consider the dog’s temperament and the age of any children in the household. Some breeds are naturally more tolerant of noise, children and other pets.
You can seek the advice of your local animal centre, shelter or dog pound regarding any of these or other issues during your decision-making process.
GOOD LUCK with your rehoming story. Rehoming is a rewarding process for all concerned. Let’s get more dogs out of pounds and shelters and into warm and loving homes. You’ll wonder how you made it this far without a wee wet nose in your life!
A dreamy Heidi, snuggled up safe and happy. Bliss!
If you have rehomed a dog, cat or any other animal and would like to share your story and photos, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!