'We are used to living with 3 dogs and when the oldest passed away last year, a dog sized hole was left in our lives which we felt we had fill. We went to meet a small terrier dog at a nearby rescue centre but immediately knew she was not for us. But as I prepared to leave, my daughter was lying on the floor face to face already besotted with the dog of her dreams, an absolute mutt with short bowed legs and giant splayed out webbed paws, a street dog look she loved from holidays abroad. Duckie we found out was not from this particular dog rescue centre but was being fostered by a wonderful woman who worked there who had taken her into the office. Her first foster home in the UK had broken down and she was awaiting another chance at being re-homed.
We contacted Wild at Heart and Duckie and her foster carers met our other dogs in a park initially and later came for a trial stay which she never returned from. This was a forever home from the moment she arrived.
We were saddened by photos of her just a few months before covered in sores and with very little fur, found in a shelter in Sarajevo with no natural daylight, alongside huge numbers of other dogs and surviving on dry bread and water only. She had clearly been there a long time. Her back claws had grown right round and into her feet. We still do not know how old she is but guess maybe around 6 or 7.
Despite her harsh experiences and false start at her first re-homing, we have found Duckie to be an absolute heart winning bundle of joy. We were told she loved her toys and was possessive over them and would want to be hidden away in her crate a lot of the time. Within a couple of days though, she had no interest in her toys, adopted the lazy boys as her beds of choice and established herself firmly as a benign leader over our other acquiescent elderly collies. Our only real issues from the beginning were walks and food. For weeks Duckie thought walks were an unnecessary removal away from the kitchen dog bowls and would turn round after under a minute and head home at great speed. This has just resolved itself with time as she has discovered the delights of being off lead in a pack of dogs and every day I am still thrilled at the sight of her strutting along tail high up in the air enjoying all the smells and meetings with other dogs. I think she will always be somewhat anxious about food and we just feed her in a different room from the other dogs as part of her will always panic that this might be the last meal....ever.
Duckie has snapped at but not bitten visitors a couple of times over the months we have her. On each occasion, it has been when she was on a chair and a nervous visitor approached very slowly, holding her eye gaze too long checking if she was friendly. She has interpreted this as threatening. She is so relaxed now she seems not to worry about anyone but it was easy for the first months just to tell people to pet her immediately or ignore her and not seek overlong eye contact from the front, and not hold onto her even if she seemed to be enjoying a cuddle.
She is a huge daft little character and makes us laugh so much every day. She is greatly loved by myself, my daughter and all our friends and has fitted in perfectly.'
- Julia Wilkins