'For years, we had been talking about getting a dog but the time never seemed right. We had looked into getting a puppy but quickly realised that bringing up a pup wouldn't have been feasible given our lifestyle. I came across the Wild At Heart Foundation when I read an interview with Nadine and Nikki in the Evening Standard in February 2016 and straight away started looking through the dogs available for adoption.
When I saw Nelly, who was formerly Hayley, I fell in love with her instantly! She had such sad and beautiful eyes. I sent the adoption form in on the same day. We thought she was the most beautiful amongst all the dogs available and we knew someone would want her, but we wanted it to be us. I contacted the WAHF office and then, after speaking with Eve, I knew that Nelly might be our dog.
After the initial excitement, we had to decide whether to go ahead and sign the adoption contract. My husband was very supportive, but he had never had a dog before and was nervous about adopting a dog that we had never met. This felt like a bit of leap in the dark for both of us but we got very good support and encouragement from WAHF and from Androulla in Cyprus who had rescued Nelly and brought her up. It took us a good month to finally make the decision and then "D Day" (the dog arrival day) came on the 8th of May.
In the evening of a beautiful sunny day Nelly arrived at Gatwick after a terribly long journey from Cyprus. She had been in her crate almost 8 hours. She was so scared when we opened the crate and initially she didn't want to get out. Then, when she eventually came out, she desperately tried to escape, terrified of everything around her. We managed to calm her down and get her in the car where she seemed to be a bit more comfortable. Back at home she hid in a small corner for a couple of days. We became very worried about her after two days of not eating or drinking, and not weeing or pooing. But then things started to change...
Nelly came out from her corner and started being present in our life more and more. She became quickly attached to me and to my son Stefan, but took longer to get used to my husband (I read that it is not uncommon for dogs to have a greater fear of men) but now she adores us all.
My son is a master in training and playing with her and I'm a safety and feeding station. She flirts and asks for endless tummy rubs and she would tap with her paw asking for more and more! She steal socks and pierces little holes in my husband's T-shirts, she has a little weakness for tissues and newspapers and loves to shred them in to pieces. And she is not necessarily the best friend of pigeons and squirrels...
In the park she loves jumping in high grass although she is still on a lead. She loves learning. I have even managed to teach her almost not to bark in the garden. Nelly is just great! Affectionate with a really lovely character and the amount of love which is transferred from her to us and vice versa is enormous!
She is still very nervous on the street but is slowly getting more used to it, it just takes time and patience. We all love her so much! Adopting her was so rewarding. I'm so glad that we have help Nelly to have a home. I'm so glad that we didn't buy pedigree dog when so many dogs are waiting for adoption.
Thank you so much WAHF! Eve was so lovely and supportive when I had my doubts and David Drew - the foundation's dog behaviourist, very patiently calmed our worries in early weeks. It has been just two months but it's difficult to remember how was it before...'
'We adopted our beautiful, Poodle mix boy Baxter in January 2017 and we couldn't imagine our lives without him. We had been looking for a rescue dog for a few months and stumbled upon WAHF on Instagram after following a blogger who had rescued a dog from them. The moment Eve sent us a photo and details about Baxter, we knew immediately that he was the dog for us.
He was shy and nervous at the start, but we've seen his personality develop over the months to the funny, energetic and loving dog that he is now. He was quick to pick up basic commands and we were able to walk him off the lead within a month. As we both work, we have a dog walker during the week days, who he has bonded with well. She walks him with other dogs so it's great for socialisation.
Although we're so proud of how far he has come, it's not all perfect. As much as he loves us, he's still nervous and protective when visitors come to the house and he's scared of children. As we don't know much about his background or what he may have experienced, we have to be patient and work with him gradually to help him overcome his fears. We've picked up some useful tips from a dog trainer.
We can't thank Eve, Faith and WAHF enough for bringing Baxter into our lives. Eve is always on hand to answer our questions and the WAHF Facebook group with fellow adopters is a great source for help and advice and to share photos and stories.
Choosing to adopt a rescue dog isn't necessarily an easy option, but for us, the rewards far outweigh any negatives. From taking Baxter for long walks in parks to seeing him excitedly greet us when we get home, to lots of cuddles on the sofa, Baxter is a part of our family and we feel so lucky to have him.'
- Maria Dixon
'Frederick and I had been discussing having a dog for a long time, including what type of dog would suit our lifestyle and not be too disruptive to our rescue cat, who has a limp and a heart murmur. What was clear was that we both wanted to give a home to a dog that needed it and we both wanted a bitch.
Late November 2016 we visited the new local can - LEILE - and there in the corner was the dog (Zz) who features on the front cover of the 2017 Wild at Heart Foundation calendar. The owner told us about the charity and we were soon looking at the website. We liked a dog named Adele (actually we liked all of them!!) and decided to enquire, completely overturning our decision to wait until we moved house. Adele had other interest but we were told Zorro, her brother, was available. One look at his beautiful face was enough, helped by the line 'who will give this little boy a home before the snow comes?'. The litter consisted of 10 puppies aged about 2 weeks and had been found with their fantastic mum, Goya, in a derelict building.
We waited anxiously to be home checked, proclaimed fit dog owners and then occupied ourselves with a new version of retail therapy.
Finally, Ziggy and 3 of his siblings, set off from snowy Bosnia on 9th January. We were grateful to the charity for the photos and emails about his progress. After an overnight stay in Romania they arrived in Lincolnshire to be checked by a vet and settled before the next stage of the journey to their new homes.
On Saturday 14th January, I cut short a meeting and persuaded a colleague to speed to South Mimms service station to meet Frederick and collect Ziggy. The terrified, scrawny, stunningly gorgeous bundle was handed to Frederick and was soon in a crate in the back of our car, heading home.
We had been warned about the smell from the journey mixed with fear so the poor boy needed food and an immediate bath once we got home.
He was so scared of everything at first — especially our cat, Molly. We needn't have worried about her, she definitely had the upper hand and still has. We would find him cowering in a corner with her staring or hissing and had to spent weeks keeping them separated and trying to stop her blocking the door when he needed a pee! So we are delighted that 5 months on they like to be fed together and have reached an understanding, if not quite full on love. They will now lie close together and occasionally touch noses.
It was all much harder than we had imagined. We couldn't go down the street without him freezing in fear, then the lead pulling began (holding it behind your back works) and scavenging (teach the leave command asap) and his recall is still pretty dire when he gets a scent but we are told that is symptomatic of hounds. There were days when we wondered what we had done followed by sheer moments of joy. There have been ups and downs and training is tough at times but it has been invaluable, as have been the number of dog owners we have met with all their knowledge and encouragement. One of our highlights was watching the sheer joy and sense of freedom as he ran and ran on the beach near our cottage in Scotland — what a moment!!! (until we had to catch him)
So has it been worth it? You bet it has. He has turned our lives upside down. No more deciding to stay out for impromptu theatre and dinner. But teenage boys (son’s of friends) make great dog sitters!
Ziggy loves to eat, sleep, chew (a silk bra being an early casualty), dig (repairing the lawn is a permanent job), lick feet, kiss, and sniff. But one of his favourite things is playing with his brother, Alfie. Yes, they knew each other instantly, although they look nothing alike they have very similar personalities. We we are lucky enough to be able to meet up occasionally.
The Foundation has been amazingly supportive and provide a wealth of information. The best thing is being in contact with the owners of Ziggy’s siblings for mutual support and sharing of issues and joys.
Mr Zig is friendly to everyone, loving, funny, inquisitive, playful, clever, mischievous, frustrating, stubborn, adorable and very much part of the family after a rollercoaster 5 months.
We will be moving house shortly from inner London to SW Herts; the criteria changed to include a bigger garden!!'
- Lynn and Frederick Hannay
'We can’t believe it’s already 2 years now that Maya, the German Shepherd Dog has been with us! And to be absolutely clear: we wouldn’t want to have missed one day of it!
Maya was kind of a surprise for us. Actually we were not really looking for a new dog. We had recently lost Tara at the age of 13 years. She was the happiest and most easy going Labrador you would ever have met. She was the joy of the park that she was ran through every day. After she died, yes, we did miss the dog in our family life and in our house. But no, we were not really planning to fill this empty space. What we had done already for a long time: we followed Eve on Instagram at the @cyprusdogs account. We were impressed with the work that she was doing at that time already for stray dogs in Cyprus.
Then, when I was killing time waiting for one of our kids at her sports club I bumped into this picture of Maya, sitting on a staircase. She really hit me then and in a comment under that picture I made a referral to my wife Angela, who was at home. It then turned out she already had seen that same picture and felt just the same about that poor German Shepherd puppy. When Eve got in contact with us and told us how difficult it was to find a forever home for the big dog that Maya would be, we fell in love with her.
Then one thing led to another and at the end of that summer Maya flew over to Dusseldorf airport where we met her and did bring her with us to Holland.
It was amazing how quickly Maya adopted us as her new family. She trusted us and fitted into our household smoothly. Only the cat, I’m afraid they will not ever go easily together. But we found our way in that, no problem. Maya is very easy and gentle with us, she’s a truly happy family dog. She can be hard work though, she’s not at ease in situations that she is not familiar with and can be easily frightened. She is not always so nice when she’s at the leash meeting other dogs that she doesn’t trust. So, it’s important for us to keep her working and do an active training together every week at the dog school. We are happy that even now, after a couple of years already, she is still learning! Not only tricks of all sorts, but also learning to trust on us more and more in situations out of her control.
Of course, when looking for a dog, we would strongly recommend considering adopting one. The love and affection that we are receiving from Maya confirms for us every day that we did the right thing at that time anyway. We cannot imagine what her life would be like, roaming the streets in Cyprus or being chained to a gate as a guard dog. It would have been so opposite to the sweet and loving character that Maya has developed into.
If you would like to see how Maya is doing, feel free to check her out on the Instagram. After all, the story started as an Instagram story, it should continue that way as well. All you have to do is to search on the hashtag: #ourdogmaya on instagram or click here.'
- Gert-Jan and Angela van Rietschoten
'So the beautiful Nala has been with us for 4 months now and to think it all started with a picture from Facebook! I instantly fell in love with Nala's picture and couldn't stop looking at her to which my partner gave in. We were considering rescuing but never realised you could rescue from abroad - WAHF made the process so simple and worked alongside Nala's rescuer to get her ready to fly to the UK so simple. We were also sent regular updates and photos until Nala was old enough to fly.
Before we knew it, it was arrival day. Unfortunately Nala's flight was delayed which meant she had been travelling for many hours. On arrival she was very nervous and she didn't want to leave her crate. Once in the car and snuggled in a blanket she soon settled for the journey home.
When we arrived home Nala went straight round the house having a good sniff of everything possible. As soon as she became unsure of anything she disappeared under the dining table - her safe place - but she would soon venture back out. I was lucky enough to have 2 weeks off work when Nala arrived which I strongly believe was best for her. Within a couple of days Nala was no longer hiding and was taking to house training ever so quickly other than when it was raining but hey, coming from sunny Cyprus who could blame her!
The only thing Nala wasn't so keen on at first was her crate even with cosy blankets toys and treats she would cry for a while when first left alone and as soon as she heard us pull up on the drive but now when she knows it's work time she takes herself there!
Nala is now the most friendly, confident, crazy puppy. She turns heads wherever we go and has even won rosettes at local dog shows. Nala has taken to our active lifestyle perfectly and although she has only been with us 4 months I can't imagine life without her. She is my partner in crime and has a filled an emptiness I didn't know I had. We thank Wild at Heart Foundation from the bottom of our hearts.'
- Samantha Manning
'The story began with a click on a # , my Ipad and I spend late night hours scrolling through Instagram, that night we stopped on the "Wild at Heart Foundation" page just by chance.
The idea of adoption was a constant thought since we lost our beloved Dada, rescued and adopted in Italy (and whom we spent 17 wonderful years with). That night I understood it was time for us to turn the page and start a new trip.
I started talking about the Foundation and showing pictures to my son, my husband and then the whole family (sisters, mother, grand mother etc) ... that same smile on their face made me feel sure it was the right time and right thing to do : adopting a "poor" dog. I still don't know if it was because of his name or because of his eyes but I fell in love at first sight with Jinx. I waited anxiously at the airport, crying at the opening of his crate, waiting for that "poor" scared , terrified creature. How could we manage to calm him down?
However, when I saw his cheeky face behind the bars of the crate I understood what was going to happen : Jinx is a hurricane of joy, he is an earthquake of love, he came out of the crate already jumping like crazy licking us and running everywhere to play. Playing is his second obsession after eating, he has also a third obsession is stealing, whatever is not his. When we go for a walk he has to put his head into the bags of those who walk on the same sidewalk, he has to say hello to everybody he knows (or he doesn't know) and he has to run like a crazy at dog park all the other dogs following behind him. Jinx is a tireless prankster stealing people's gloves or dogs leash! It can be embarrassing sometimes but let's just say he still is a puppy (almost 2 years old!).
I believe he is unique. He brought with him contagious JOY and LOVE and POSITIVITY.
I will never thank WAHF enough making this possible and giving him a second chance : from Cyprus streets to Geneva- Switzerland (where cheese is so delicious !!! )'
'I have always loved dogs and for about a year before adopting Hugo I had really been feeling something missing in the day-to-day. I grew up with an amazing German/Belgian Shepherd who I absolutely adored and it felt like time to get some dog back into my life.
We looked at shelters in Sweden, but we couldn’t find a good match, so after a bit of poking around online I found Wild at Heart Foundation. We got in contact with WAHF in June 2016, had a homecheck via Skype the same month, and then just had to wait for someone to travel from Cyprus to Sweden. We had picked out this adorable little Pointer cross and we were so impatient to finally meet him! In August we heard that a woman would be traveling to Gothenburg from Cyprus and could therefore escort Hugo on her journey.
We rented a car and drove the five hours to Gothenburg to pick up Hugo. He was so tiny, nervous, and stinky. When we opened up his crate he flew out of there and immediately took the toy squirrel from us to race around the grass with. He was quiet and a bit shy for the drive back home, but was mostly so brave! He was experiencing all these new things all at once and was obviously exhausted. He took a couple days to adjust digestive wise and we needed to house train him. It was pretty intense the first few weeks making sure he was able to be outside enough to avoid accidents indoors, but in hindsight it went really smoothly and he picked it up quickly.
From our perspective, adopting Hugo has not come with any ‘rescue dog specific’ traits. He was six months old when we got him and everything we have worked on seems to fall solidly into ‘puppy/young dog’ behavior more than anything rescue specific. He was teething for a while, needed to learn all basic commands, how to ride the bus, the train, to listen to us, not to hop up on people, not to pull the leash, how to be alone, etc. But he is a quick learner and just the sweetest dog, so even though there have been ‘agh!’ moments they melt away pretty fast. (For a while Hugo felt it was his god given mission to destroy all books, but luckily he is more literary now.)
Despite living in an apartment Hugo has been happy to adapt to our lifestyle! He gets plenty of outdoor time and exercise and is the biggest couch potato and cuddler when we are home. We really could not have asked for a better dog! We are so happy with the work WAHF does and that they got Hugo to us.'
- Morag Ramsey
'We always knew we wanted a dog once we bought our first home and as I knew someone who’d adopted their lovely dog through Wild at Heart Foundation, I'd already decided where we were going to find one.
However, by the time we got the house I was around 20 weeks pregnant so was unsure whether this would be the best time to get one. Unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend had contacted Eve to “just see” if there might be one we could consider. Next thing, there was picture and description of the most gorgeous, smiley dog in my inbox. He'd only recently been rescued from living in a small cage and Eve had selected him because he appeared to be gentle and eager to please. He'd passed the test with children, but would he pass the real-life baby test?! Everyone we spoke to seemed to think not and advised us against it...but we were already in love with him just from the email, so we decided to send off the form!
Santi arrived 10 weeks before baby was due...I'll never forget meeting him for the first time, he actually bounced out of the van! We tried to put a seatbelt harness on him but failed because all he wanted were belly rubs! We got a lot of brilliant behavioural advice from David and took him to obedience classes soon after, where he passed with flying colours (must be the eager to please part). One of the things we did to prepare him for baby was play crying noises whilst holding a doll. At first he looked all stressed and jumped up at the doll, which was rather worrying. After a few more plays he actually seemed to calm down. We had to set some firm boundaries, like no upstairs and no jumping up at people. It was hard to enforce these at times, when there was a little cute face looking up at you!
Once baby arrived, Santi continued to be the gentle and loving boy we'd got to know. We were naturally a bit anxious when we brought her home from hospital, but he was just inquisitive. There wasn’t any jumping up when she cried, much to our relief! He did try and get involved with nappy changes (not a good time for a belly rub, Santi) but this was solved when we were loaned a changing table.
We‘ve now had Santi for 14 months and really couldn't imagine life without him in our family. Even my 2 friends who are scared of dogs admit he is an exception for them! Our 1 year old daughter absolutely loves him and can often be spotted 'chatting' away to him. Her face lights up when she sees him and “Tanti” was the second word she said after “Dada”! Even though we have to revisit some of the training methods every now and then for his recall and lead pulling, we couldn't have got a better dog and I'm so glad we ignored everyone's advice!
Having a dog and a baby is such a huge commitment, but watching the two of them together is wonderful and makes it worth every second! Obviously a common sense approach is needed and we have baby gates and no-go zones for both of them (e.g. food and bed areas!)
Adopting Santi and seeing him thrive really is one of the best feelings. Whether it’s snoozy cuddles, our daughter laughing at his waggy tail or watching him run around with doggy mates, he brings us a lot of joy!
Thank you for finding us our top boy Wild at Heart Foundation!'
- Becky Garforth
'Meet Luna our beautiful, bonkers Bosnian rescue dog. Like most people looking to adopt we started with in the U.K but kept coming up against two hurdles i.e a child and a cat and became very frustrated with the progress so started looking on line. We filled in countless forms and thankfully WAHF were the first to respond. Whilst we knew of the florist we were venturing into completely new territory adopting a dog from abroad and if you'd told me a year ago that we would be sitting watching a dog from Bosnia sleep on our rug I would have said you were mad. Who knew these things were even possible, WAHF did!!!
The whole process from start to finish was so simple with the brilliant Eve and WAHF team and it wasn't long before we had to agree a delivery date. Whilst we were waiting for a slot we got the news that Luna had been taken ill and it had affected her ability to travel. Once again Eve was on hand to help and put us in direct contact with the amazing Bosnian ladies who provided regular updates and videos on her recovery. We monitored her for the next few weeks but as the weather was heating up there was concern that Luna wouldn't get through the summer. We received one final video which showed Luna having made huge improvement and we made the final decision to take her. Throughout this process at no point did WAHF put any pressure on us to commit. They gave us the time and information to make an educated decision to ensure we could support Luna long term. For us there was never really any get out, we fell in love when we saw her picture and now she needed us even more.
Luna arrived with us one year ago. We picked her up from a motorway service station on a Saturday afternoon and after numerous coffees (we arrived far to early as so eager) we saw the van pull in. At one point we were concerned she wasn't on there as dog after dog got handed over but not ours. Eventually I saw her at the back and as I handed over the documents they handed this really smelly, dirty fluff ball and told me not to put her down! It all felt so surreal. I'd had dogs all my childhood and then cats all my adult life so I knew what is was to have a pet but this felt so different and so right.
From that moment she was stuck to me. I couldn't move without her coming with me. It didn't matter if it was just from one chair to another, she came along. The first few weeks were quiet while she adjusted to her new life. She was tidied up, washed numerous times and slowly started to trust the other humans who lived in her new home. Then it happened. The bark!!! She had been so quiet we thought we'd been lucky and had picked this perfect pooch who was going to fit in nicely. Oh how wrong we were.
On one hand she was extremely clever and easy to train but on the other she had so many learned bad behaviours and lack of trust in people that she was an absolute nightmare. (Luna was just over one when she came to us and had been rescued from a horrific kill shelter and had clearly had a hard start in life). Little did we know that we were about to embark on 6 months of turmoil. People couldn't come to our house as she was so loud and protective. We couldn't walk past a cyclist or person without her lunging. God forbid they had a fluorescent jacket on, then they got the full Luna treatment.
Over the next few months we had huge highs and humongous lows. The WAHF behaviourist was brilliant and did a home visit. One tip. If he comes video him. There was so much to take in we couldn't remember it all and had to email for reminders. It was so difficult to judge Lunas mood as her tail didn't work (we believe it to have been broken) so we didn't know if she was pleased, scared or just angry. She didn't know how to interact with humans and would use her teeth to get our attention. It was nothing bad but our ankles did take a bit of a bashing. Anyway with the entire family working together we made progress. Sit, stay, here etc were all pretty easy and gradually moving things (people, cars,bikes etc) didn't bother her as much. By month 6 everything started to fall into place. We had a couple of months of excellent behaviour then a relapse.
By months 9-10 we were back on track and walking 3 hours off lead along canals with bikes, people and boats. Every now and again the "bad behaviours" - we've actually named them!! pop up but we can live with that considering her background. We haven't managed to crack the special welcome she gives our visitors but it is so much improved. If you're confident and ignore her you can visit peacefully, however show her any sign of fear and she will hound you your entire visit.
As we approach one year Luna has settled into life with us and us with her. I've accepted that I will continue to see 5am more frequently than I would like and will constantly have my breakfast interrupted with a steady flow of shoes and Luna has accepted that we're an ok punch of humans to live with. She may not have a waggy tail but she does have a tummy to tickle which is presented each time we come home (and obviously at every other available opportunity). We've had our first summer BBQ where she moved amongst 13 people happily, has started swimming in the river with her dog walking pack and is making her way to Australia in our garden.
Luna still has health problems that are probably a result of living on the streets and human abuse. We don't know what the future holds but we do know that Luna has found her forever home with the help of The WAHF team.'
- Kate Sullivan
'We adopted our adorable Rupert in September 2016. We had been looking to rescue a dog for quite a few months to keep Rex (our other dog) company before stumbling across WAHF on Instagram. After a few emails back and forth Eve sent us Rupert’s picture and we just knew he was the one!
To start with, he was very shy and nervous and would hide under the sofa and sleep under our bed at night but he has come so far since then and is full of SO much energy. He loves going for long walks and running off lead in the woods and on the beach. While we’re at work during the week we have a dog walker with two young boys who absolutely love walking him - he has always got on well with other dogs and children which has been amazing.
We’re so proud of how far he has come - on his first few walks he was so scared of the cars driving past and would jump up until we picked him up but now he is full of confidence.
Although he has ruined a fair few pairs of our shoes, we can’t imagine our lives without him now and can’t thank Eve and WAHF enough for bringing Rupert into our lives. He is the most loving, affectionate dog we have ever met who always greets us with endless kisses and cuddles. Since adopting Rupert, our friends have also adopted through WAHF and this has made us so happy!'
- Sophia Edwards
'We adopted Morphie from Cyprus via Wild at Heart Foundation. Having decided we wanted to get a dog and not found the one who pulled on our heart strings here in the UK, we started looking at WAHF site. We considered so many of the dogs we saw photos of, but then we found Morphie. She didn't have much of a back story, but we were told she had a heart of gold, loved people and had had no other interest shown in her so was at risk of being put down as the shelter she was living in was really overcrowded. Despite us not having a garden, Wild at Heart Foundation were happy for us to take her, to save her life.
After a two month wait we went to pick her up from a petrol station on the M25 on a hot evening in early summer. The doggie courier van pulled up and shaky, nervous looking dogs were handed over to their new owners. Then it was Morphie's turn. She wagged and wiggled her way off the van, jumped up on Alex for cuddles and covered him in doggie kisses. And she's been just the same ever since.
We kept Morphie's name, though it turns out she had no idea what it was when we got her. Nor did she really know any commands but now knows her name (when she wants to!), knows sit, wait and down (sometimes!) She's fully house trained, and has only once done a wee inside, on fireworks night. We both work full time and Morph goes to work with Alex some days, spends time with dog sitters from BorrowMyDoggy and DogBuddy other days, or chills at home - going out a couple of times a day with a dog walker. She loves the sofa and cuddles but also adores chasing squirrels in the park.
She is INCREDIBLE with children, even my 1 year old nephew who pulls on her claws, and my three year old nephew who prods her tummy and counts her spikes (nipples!) When we adopted her she was listed as a Deustche Bracke but we're pretty sure she isn't - though we're not actually sure what she is, maybe pointer/hound/bull terrier combo. She's also not 100% ok with other dogs. Generally she ignores them, or has a little sniff, but if they growl at her then she sometimes thinks that means fight so has snapped back at a few.
Other than that Morphie is the most cuddly, loving dog I've ever met. People cross roads and move tube carriages to say hi to her. She comes everywhere with us, happily curling up under a restaurant table, being fed goat livers at Tequila Fest or getting on the train to our see our families in the countryside. She's brought so much happiness and light to our lives and we couldn't imagine not having her!'
- Rosie Llewellyn
'Bruce is a Labrador–German Shepherd cross – a huge, bouncy bear of a dog with almost unlimited energy. He arrived – fairly unexpectedly – at a time when my husband and I were working hard as entrepreneurs and reminds us daily to get outside and play! He loves to chase and jump high in the air after a ball (though he won’t relinquish it until you give him another), to splash around in water (although refuses to swim unless we do too!), riding in the car with his head sticking out the window, inventing games only he knows the rules to and running around with his cousins – my parents’ three rescue dogs.
When I talk to people considering getting a dog, they often mention the commitment of daily walks. To me, this has been a huge gift. Every morning Bruce and I have a mini adventure around the countryside, and he’s inspired us to explore so many new places. He's also incredible company, especially when my husband goes away for work. I just couldn’t imagine life without him, or without his signature morning wake up call – pinning you to the bed with his colossal weight and licking your face!
Caring for Bruce hasn’t been without his challenges. Soon after he arrived it became clear that he had separation anxiety and a mistrust of people, particularly men. He also had an overly strong protective instinct. Discovering his triggers and learning how to work with him to overcome them took patience, consistent effort, support and lots of YouTube videos! But it really paid off. He's relaxed significantly and has become much more confident, which has let his naturally goofy and loving personality shine through. People have always commented on Bruce’s handsomeness – now they compliment his good behaviour too, which is amazing. Knowing Bruce’s less-than-fortunate beginnings makes watching him thrive and become a true family dog an extra-special delight.
I am overflowing with gratitude to the Wild At Heart Foundation and all the little miracles that brought Bruce into our lives. He has transformed us as much as we have transformed him and we could not love him more. '
'We picked Crumpet up at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on 22nd December 2016. I knew it was a little risqué getting her so close to Christmas but I was just too impatient to wait longer. She arrived looking so tiny in her little crate. I put my fingers through the door of it and she immediately licked my fingers. It was love at first sight!
We took her on the train back to our apartment. She was surprisingly calm and quite inquisitive to everything going on around her. We took her home and gave her a bath as she was a little mucky. That evening I started playing with her and soon got a taste of her happy, jolly personality. Over the course of the next few days we had people coming over, including a couple of friend’s babies. I was extremely cautious as knew it was very early on to bring people over, especially little ones. She took everything in her stride however and apart from shocking my mother-in-law with her lack of house-training, she was perfect.
We were told she loves people and children and this couldn’t be more true of Crumpet. She adores them to the point where I get jealous! She’d walk off with absolutely anyone, no loyalty whatsoever. Our two children adore her and she’s so patient, being patted and picked up constantly. With other dogs she’s desperate to play, regardless of size!
There has been the odd hiccup that I imagine is completely normal with any dog (rescue, or non-rescue!). The odd bit of chewing, some house-training mishaps and the constant plucking of disgusting things from her mouth which she picks up on the streets of Paris. She’s our little street hoover.
People are so shocked when we tell them she’s a rescue dog as she is so friendly, so calm and just such a lovely little dog to have around. We can’t imagine our life without her and are now considering getting our second WAHF dog to keep her company when we’re out!'
'I adopted Sadie on the 30th March 2017 - I've had cats all my life and always loved dogs, but I am a first time dog owner and also single and I work, so I had always thought I couldn't have a dog. A year ago I completely changed my lifestyle and gave up drinking, getting into recovery, and as I grew as a person I also felt I had more time in my life to commit to a dog. I spoke to people at work with dogs and found out more about the concept of doggy day care! My cats are rescues from Celia Hammond and I knew I had to rescue a dog too.
My friend had previously adopted from WAHF and after speaking with Alicia and Eve, they seemed to understand me and my lifestyle. My colleague at work who has a dog actually spotted Sadie (then Dolly) on the website and thought she sounded perfect as she had met cats, and seemed very chilled for a one year old. The checks were thorough and no problem, and the support with what I needed to do to get ready for Sadie's arrival. I also spoke to David, the behaviourist, at length about my fears of the cats not coping. I bought a cage, and lots of other bits and then just waited.
When Sadie arrived on the 30th, she had been travelling for four days and the couriers were so lovely with her. She was really scared of course, and didn't know who the hell I was! I was equally as overwhelmed and didn't really know what I needed to do, so we just hung out. The next few weeks are a bit of a blur, but she soon became house trained with puppy pads and encouragement. The cats reacted in different ways, but she never chased them and they all now rub along together just fine.
She didn't like walks at first, and whenever she just stopped, I would pick her up and carry her for a little while, and then try again - I don't know that this would work for all dogs, but yesterday we did a 14km dog walk and she only needed to be carried once! She's just such a lovely natured dog, and the support I have received from WAHF has been amazing. She developed a sudden refusal to go into the kitchen, and David was just a phone call away for advice. She's now fine to go in there again. I feel completely supported. The description of Sadie's temperament was 100% accurate and her welfare was always number 1 priority. She is an absolute joy and we are both learning every day, but after three months, I can't wait for the rest of our lives together!
Thank you Wild at Heart Foundation!'
Zz is the joy of our family, in fact I think we only started to think about us as a "family" since he joined us! I cannot stress enough the joy that this little lovely brings to us everyday; he is great company and fun to look after. We are grateful and forever in debt to the Wild At Heart Fondation for having rescued our friend Zz, we couldn't immagine our lives without him. These guys do extraordinary work not only to rescue dogs but also to train them, sustain them and re-home them, supporting not only the animals but also the adopters.
It hasn't always been an easy ride with Zz as he suffers from anxiety - can you imagine the stress of having been abandoned and left on your own as a young child? Neither can I and so it is understandable that dogs like him might experience distress, but the extra effort is more than paid off by all the love they give you without asking anything in return.'
- Valentina Fois
'We adopted Ace, our gorgeous Pointer-Cross, through Wild at Heart Foundation in November 2015 and it was the best decision we've ever made. I had wanted a dog for ages and Simon and I agreed that if we were to get a dog, it had to be a rescue. We looked at rescue centres close to home, but many of the dogs had big issues and with our son being only 4 at the time we didn't want to risk taking on a dog that wasn't right for our family. A good friend mentioned Wild at Heart Foundation to Simon and as soon as he came home we looked online and fell for a dog called Sonny. Sonny had already been reserved, but we were offered his brother, Ace!
A couple of weeks before Ace arrived we had a phone call from Eve to say that Sonny's adoption had fallen through, so we spoke to my Dad who said he'd adopt him! Ace came to us at 6 months old, having been with an amazing foster carer, Barbara in Cyprus, after being found on a dump at 4 weeks old. It was clear that he'd been given a huge amount of love in his foster home as although he was nervous for the first 24 hours when he arrived, he soon gained confidence and quickly made himself at home! He came fully house trained and apart from a few pairs of flip-flops, and a few of Louie's toys, he hasn't chewed anything big!
We feel so incredibly lucky to have him. He's amazing with our two kids and two cats also! We have such huge respect for Wild at Heart Foundation and what they do. From the outset they were so professional and really helped to support us at every stage of the adoption process. The home check was really thorough and they made sure that we knew what we were signing up to and that we were fully committed to caring for and loving our new companion. Ace has brought so much fun and love to our home and we can't thank WAHF enough.
Ace arrived the very same day Simon, my partner, went into hospital with a burst appendix. Complications meant he was in hospital for almost 2 months. Ace helped the kids and I through what was a really difficult time and when Simon came home, Ace was not only a fantastic companion to him but also a great rehab buddy. Simon was out walking him most days and it definitely helped his recovery. Ace is the most perfect dog and he brings us so much happiness. He gets so many compliments when he's out and we're always recommending adopting from Wild at Heart Foundation.'
'Cookie has been with us for only 2 months and from the moment I met her, I fell utterly head over heels in love with her. The moment she was released from her cage in the car park at Gatwick airport, she put her 2 front paws over my arm and I swear she gave me a cuddle. She was so nervous in the car, bless her, and she still is. She totally resists going in and just can’t relax but what do you expect from a young girl who has raised herself on the street for over a year?
Cookie has AMAZING survival traits. She loves to chase birds, squirrels and cats – she is so funny. She eats any kind of poo that is going and rolls herself in any that she can too. She is a bit of a chewer – my brand new rug got it early on followed by shoes, wrapped presents and copious other things. I started to liken Cookie to a toddler and realised that I had to Cookie-safe the house. The love Cookie gives you though far outweighs the teething problems. She is super, super affectionate. She loves cuddles and is so affectionate to anyone that will give it to her. She is pretty fab around other dogs and although it appears she is playing rough, she is actually just really playful and full of energy.
Cookie hasn’t really caused us any problems. She settled in on day one and upon offering her a bed, she knew that was her space instantly. She point blank refused to sleep in a cage (we tried) – it just wasn’t for her.
Cookie was only given her name a month(ish) before she came to us yet she responds well to it. Se is sitting for food, sometimes responds to the command “wait”, “off”, “no”. She has selective hearing though and if off the lead and on a scent or a bird chase, she is deaf! This is her survival instinct though and combined with her previous street life and the terrier in her, this is to be expected.
I let Cookie off her lead quite early on as she is REALLY energetic. She needs to expel her energy and being on a lead all of the time just isn’t cutting it for her. We go to open fields with no nearby roads. She has become really familiar with our frequent walks and has developed her own little routines now as to what spaces she likes to explore. Cookie isn’t keen on her lead AT ALL. She hates her harness and still pulls. I am still working on this. She is so nosey and inquisitive and desperate to catch birds that she just lives life at a much faster pace and the lead really restricts her fun. We do have quieter more subdued days, but her personality, on the whole is full of vitality. Cookie has made lots of doggy friends close by and even knows, the gardens to look in for her pals on our daily walks.
Cookie is starting to fetch a ball and knows is becoming familiar with the word “ball”. She doesn’t fetch it with every command or throw; it just depends what is taking her fancy at the time.
Cookie is partial to jumping for moths, flies and anything else she thinks is food. She does eat her dog food, but much prefers human food like chicken and ham. She is a good girl and eats carrots, broccoli and loves her Kong toys to be filled with cream cheese and peanut butter. She has really started to enjoy playing with her toys and keeps herself amused at times.
Cookie has responded well to not jumping on the sofa, but each day she has a mad half hour where she runs from garden in to house like she is being timed for some kind of doggy agility – the sofa is often one of her touch down spots. If she is really excited to see you, she will jump on the sofa for a cuddle. Cookie won’t go up the stairs though, I'm not sure why, but this troubles her a little.
During the day when we're not at home Cookie is walked by a dog walker. I feel that she needs 3 walks a day, just because she is so energetic. On the one day I left her without a mid-day walk, she destroyed anything she could get her teeth into, so she needs stimulation. Perhaps as she matures, this will change.
I can honestly say that Cookie really has changed my life. I never imagined I could feel so much love for a dog. I can tell she loves her life with us. Country life suits her and she really has embraced her home comforts. She has got lots to learn, but no more than any toddler.
Thanks so much WAHF for all that you and your team do, it really does make such a massive difference.'
- Denise Brown
'I had been considering getting a second dog for a while and it was by chance that a friend posted a picture of the dog they were going to adopt on Instagram which is how I found out about Wild at Heart Foundation. They kept us up to date with potential dogs to adopt but it was when I saw Sage (who is now Max) that I knew I wanted him.
He looked like a mutt, multicoloured and mischievous and incredibly cute. When he arrived it took a short while for my other dog, Ralph, to adjust but once they started getting along and playing they became inseparable. Max is very energetic, we’re pretty sure there is some kind of Lurcher and Shepherd in there, two breeds with lots of energy! Having two dogs was hard work at first. I had forgotten the frequent walks to toilet train, the accidents and the training involved but this all settles down within a few months and is worth the effort.
Having Ralph around has definitely helped with Max. He was nervous at first, of cars and busy streets and lots of other things he wasn’t used to, but I think seeing Ralph take it all in his stride taught Max that everything was OK. He can still be a little nervous now. He isn’t that interested in attention from strangers and loud noises and surprises can still startle him, but this could be down to his breed type (Lurchers can be anxious dogs) as much as the fact that he is a rescue.
Through all of this, he became incredibly attached to myself and my husband. He doesn’t really wag his tail (which was odd at first at Ralph’s never stops) but he glues himself to your legs and despite his size he would love to live on my lap. Each morning as soon as the sun comes up (which in the summer is only a few hours after bed time) he sneaks onto the bed and sleeps between my legs. Max was, and continues to be, a real gift. I think adopting a dog is a little hard work compared to buying one - they can be a little older and have stuff you need to work with, but it is so rewarding. He is great company for myself, my husband and my other dog. I don’t feel guilty leaving them alone for a few hours as I know they have each other.
I have no doubt in my mind that adopting was the right thing to do, it breaks my heart to think of the life that could’ve been Max’s and I’m so pleased that he’s part of mine instead.'
'I'd always wanted a dog and came across Wild at Heart Foundation on Instagram and knew then I wanted to rehome a rescue dog. With Eve's help we chose the perfect first dog for our family. My criteria: small dog and had to like cats as we were a 3 cat household. She sent me a photo of a little dog that I instantly fell in love with. Rocky had been fostered by a lovely family out in Cyprus who had their own cats and who helped greatly in socialising him!
The adoption process was smooth and Eve, Faith and Rocky's foster mum always put my mind at ease and answered all my questions!
From the moment we picked Rocky up from Heathrow on April 15th 2016 he's been a joy! We've all fallen deeply in love with our little boy. And for all my worries about the cats? Well, one adored him (sadly passed away now) and the other two who initially were petrified are fine with him now.
He's a confident and happy cuddly little dog who attracts attention from everyone. He adores playing with other dogs big or small and always likes to greet humans too. I can't imagine my life without him now.
One day we hope to add another WAHF rescue to our family!'
'Our Wild at Heart Journey began with me and my partner thinking of getting a companion to join our bouncy 2 year old bouncy Springer mix, Poppy! As I was friends with Eve on Facebook I decided to ask her the details of the adoption process, with the hope of looking into it further. I was advised to go on the Wild at Heart Foundation website, and this is where I first saw the beautiful Obi. I was immediately drawn to his gorgeous, loving face. I also looked on the Facebook page for WaHF and it turned out Obi needed an urgent new home. I read the comments and showed my partner his pictures, we then decided we couldn't not help this gentle soul.
After speaking to Eve I came to know that Obi hadn't had the best of starts in life. He was a stray for the first 6 months of his life in Cyprus and he had clearly been through a lot. He had clear damage to his tail, an injury probably obtained on the streets. Obi was taken to a pound in Cyprus where he was later rescued by WaHF. He had his first shot at happiness when he was adopted by a lady from the United Kingdom. He was flown over to England, but sadly it didn't work out and Obi ended up in the same situation again, looking for a forever home.
So 24 hours after looking at Obi's picture for the first time, we were driving down to Peterborough to pick him up. He was a quiet, shy dog at first, he must have been confused after everything he had previously faced for the whole of his short life. All the way home he just wanted cuddles. His struggle was over. We were there to give him the life he deserved, finally!
We introduced him to our other dog Poppy, and they got on straight away, they love play fighting and chasing each other. In the days after his arrival, it was difficult and I wondered if we had bitten off more than we could chew. He was defensive and aggressive towards other dogs on walks, and he didn't respond to many commands. With this being said he was still so loving at home with us and our other dog Poppy. We decided to speak to the behaviourist, Dave, about what we could do to try and curb this behaviour on walks. He advised us about ways in which we could manage this. We watched dog programme after dog programme and read all the dog training books we once read with Poppy! Things slowly seemed to be getting better, and over the coming weeks Obi continued to improve. I think he finally realised that our home was now his too and that he could enjoy being a dog at last.
We have had Obi nearly a year, and we can now take him on walks without even bringing a lead. He's so trustworthy and does everything how he is supposed to. He has turned into such a beautiful and caring boy who loves nothing more than running around with Poppy and receiving cuddles from every person he sees. I cannot thank WaHF enough for what they have done for Obi and our family. He has made such a positive difference to our lives and WaHF are always there for us if we need them, they truly are amazing.
Obi you are safe, happy and loved now, and you can finally enjoy your life with us, we wouldn't want it any other way. We love you. '
Age: 4 months
Mixing with children: Yes
Mixing with cats: Yes
Mixing with dogs: Yes
Country of origin: Romania
Cora and her brother Cody were found in the cemetery as young pups. She was rescued by our Romanian contact Anca and has since been in a foster home. Cora is the more confident puppy of the two and loves to run around the garden and play. Once Cora has had enough of playing she loves to lie in the sun for a nap.
Cora would be suited to a family in a fairly rural area. She is good with cats, dogs and children and is at a good age to be integrated into a new environment.
If you are interested in Cora, please get in touch.
'I adopted Boo back in June 2014 and he was around 8 months old. He was the most adorable, sweetest puppy I'd ever seen. It was literally love at first sight. At the time we had a West Highland Terrier called Penny who was 9 years old. They soon became the best of friends. I have to say Boo to me is one in a million. We are so lucky to have him in our family. Don't get me wrong Boo had his moments: chewing a few of my favourite shoes and maybe the odd laptop charger (!) The first night we didn't hear a peep out of him, he settled pretty well considering he'd travelled from the other side of the world. Just makes you wonder what goes on in their little minds, but since I got Boo I've always said to anyone looking for a puppy please adopt don't shop. I find that most people aren't aware of what goes on in other countries and how dogs in particular are treated.
Sadly in November 2015 Penny (Boo's best friend) passed away. Having WAHF on my social media, I came across a photo of two tiny little pups looking for there forever home (Donny and Marie). Again, love at first sight. I think it's one of those things that when you know, you know. The timing was right as we'd had time to heal after our loss of Penny. In August 2016, we adopted Donny. The transport and adopting process has come on leaps and bounds since 2014. All the WAHF team were fabulous, any questions or queries you have, do not be afraid to email them. They're so helpful and will 100% put your mind at rest. Even after you've gone through the adoption process, they still are there if you need them.
We collected Donny in the early hours of the Saturday morning and he was so tiny and innocent. He travelled well, and slept the whole way home. We slowly introduced him to Boo the following day and they made an instant connection and haven't been separated since. The whole adoption process is worth while when you see how they progress and slowly come out there comfort zone. Donny is still learning new things each day, intrigued by everything but very mischievous!
Boo is a brilliant dog and so lovable but unfortunately his recall is still sometimes unpredictable (he likes to run around following the birds) so I always keep a long line on him in case he decides to run circles around me Although he is very loyal I like to be able to keep control if I need too.
Donny is the complete opposite with his recall, on command he will be back by your side waiting for a treat. Our biggest issue with Donny was him chewing his bed and Boo's. I've tried unbranded and popular brands and none of them have lasted longer then a week. In the end I created my own dog bed using an old car tyre and vet fleece plus blankets, now the pair take themselves to bed and happily curl up. Touch wood Donny hasn't been able to chew through them!
But together they're a pair and have officially stolen our hearts and everyone that they meet ends up falling in love with them. They have unconditional love for each other and us. They're a big part of our family, our house wouldn't be a home without these two.
Adopting is a big decision to make and shouldn't be made lightly. But you'll know when you're ready and your house will soon become a home filled with happiness and love. Plus no outfit is complete without a little dog hair!
'When our previous dog, Lottie, passed away in March 2016, she left a Border Collie shaped hole in our lives. The house was so quiet without her; I would sit in the living room and expect her to trot in with her collar jingling, but she wouldn't come.
After a few months it became clear that we all wanted another dog, and Mum's Instagram browsing came across Wild at Heart Foundation, and the puppies that were available for adoption. We were already familiar with the charity as Eve is the daughter of my former piano teacher, so I had seen her talk about it on various social media sites.
On Wild at Heart Foundation's Instagram account, my parents came across a photo of Phil, a black and white Pointer puppy, and fell in love instantly. The process of bringing him home to us was very easy. Following a Skype chat to ensure the house was suitable for a puppy, we were given a date. Phil, along with some other dogs, would be flown from Cyprus to Paris, and then driven up to various parts of England.
It was a tense day as we waited, but finally Phil was home with us, but under a new name – Bertie. He was bigger than he had been in the photos we first saw of him, and now he was very lanky, with feet and ears too big for his body. He was also very nervous; he would shake a lot and cry profusely whenever my mum left the room for a few minutes.
However, after a few days he had calmed down, and although he still hated being parted from my mum, he loved running around the garden and curling up on the sofa.
Bertie has been with us for nearly a year now, and it has been wonderful. We have never known a more loving or affectionate dog, and though he has the occasional grumble when he's parted from my mum or dad, he is nothing like the scared little puppy that arrived at our house in July 2016. He does have a tendency to run off when we are on walks, and it can often take him a while to come back again, but he always does in the end. Overall he is just a sweet, happy, loving puppy. Bertie has made us realise that dogs, just like humans, have completely different personalities. While Lottie was more independent and liked to lie in her basket at the end of the day, Bertie loves to clamber up onto the sofa and snuggle up with whoever is there.
Bertie has made us all so happy, we don't know what we would do without him. Thank you to WAHF for bringing him into our lives.'
'We adopted Freddie in January 2016 after I finally convinced Jud that we needed a dog to accompany the 2 cats we already had! Like so many other people who adopted from WAHF we initially tried UK rescue centres but due to us both working (although rarely both with the same hours) and the cats, we hit a brick wall. I found WAHF through following Rosie @thelondoner on Instagram and realised that these guys held the answer to our quest.
After speaking to Eve and trawling the website every day looking for the right dog, Freddie was suggested to us as he hadn't settled in his previous home. Originally he was from Cyprus but had been living in North Wales most recently- cue a trip up the motorway to meet him (and bring him home!).
He settled in immediately and stole our hearts. He loves a cuddle when you're watching TV and he took really well to training classes. He can be unsure of some children and he loves chasing joggers, which can be embarrassing - he's not got a vicious bone in him but he has a very loud, deep bark so can appear scary, especially as he can run very fast!
After a year we decided that since Freddie loved spending time with all other dogs maybe it would be nice to get him a permanent pal. Once again I began the near constant trawling of the website but also spoke to Eve, Alicia and Anca about what type of dog would suit our lifestyle and would obviously be a good fit for Freddie. Soon we saw photos of Sally and we fell in love!
At 3.30am on a Tuesday morning (thanks to a number of delays) Sally arrived on our doorstep. Although people always say that you need to have dogs meet each other in neutral territory we didn't have the chance at that time of day. Luckily for all Sally and Freddie got on from the first moment chasing each other around the garden before she conked out!
Sally has been slightly harder work than Freddie. She doesn't always remember her size and can jump at people which makes them nervous and she isn't best friends with every dog we meet but she's getting better every day and a pocket constantly full of treats definitely helps.
Having 2 dogs is amazing and hard work all at the same time! With these 2 its all or nothing! They're either chasing each other round the house with no care for the cup of tea you might be enjoying, or sleeping- there is no inbetween! Taking 2 dogs out by yourself can be hard and food and vets obviously costs a bit more but would we change anything? Not a chance. They are both integral parts of our family and everyone who meets them loves them. Freddie was a part of Jud's proposal to me last year and later this year they will both take a starring role in our wedding!
As other adopters have said, there really is a great WAHF community on Facebook and Instagram and we've spoken to many people when we have difficult days or want to celebrate.'
- Emma Shaw
'Pippa came to us on the 26th of April and what a beautiful impact she has had on our family. She has brightened up our home in every way. My daughter has a disability and is partially sighted, but Pippa and little Alice have built such a beautiful bond. They are always together, always playing, and always putting a smile on all our faces.
Adopting from WAHF was the best thing we have ever done and I would definitely do it again! Thank you so much.
'Me and my partner bought our first house last year and as it was only the two of us we thought it would be a nice idea to get ourselves a four legged furry friend to turn our house into a home. We both agreed that we would rescue and we were told by a friend about rescuing from abroad.
So began our search and it didn’t take long for us to stumble across young Benson and we both fell for him. We made some enquiries, went through some checks and before we knew it there was a knock at the door. Benson had arrived!
He was very nervous when he first arrived and latched onto myself. He stayed glued to my side for the next month or so, slowly growing in confidence. We gradually introduced him to family friends and other family dogs, and after a couple of months his confidence was through the roof! We also now have two kittens that keep him company and he plays the big brother role very well, sharing his food and toys with them. His bag of tricks is vast: sit, stay, stand, and paw to name a few!
We could not be happier with our young Bennie. WAHF keep in touch periodically to check up on him which shows how much they really care about the welfare of all the pups they rescue.'
'James and I had been thinking about getting a dog for a while and knew that we wanted a rescue as that's what James had grown up with. We visited some local UK centres but no doggie there was really suitable. Then as chance would have it, one night I was reading ES magazine and I read a piece with Sophie Dahl and she talked about how she had rescued her dog with a charity called Wild at Heart Foundation, so I googled them.
It broke our hearts when we saw all the dogs on the website in need of a home and knew this could be the perfect place for us to find our doggie.
I started following their Instagram account so I could keep an eye on which dogs became available for adoption and one day spotted Yvie (then Merry). She was a gorgeous medium size collie cross and I fell in love straight away. James had had a collie a childhood pet so also had fond memories so we decided she was the one for us. I emailed the charity straight away and they sent me some forms to fill in and then we did a FaceTime call so they could see our home and make sure it was suitable and also talk us through any questions we might have. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, where the charity sent us some videos and photos of Yvie so we could see her mannerisms and ensure she was the right fit, six weeks later we found ourselves stood at a service station off the M1 waiting to meet Yvie.
Straight away we could tell she was a very good natured dog. I'd been advised by my cousin, who is a vet, to expect Yvie to be over friendly and very docile in the first few weeks due to her wanting to please and being unsure of a new environment. And this was exactly what she was. It was the honeymoon period so we were a bit nervous about what was to come but needless to say, we had completely lucked out and there were no big changes. She managed to be house trained in just a few days and then after a week or so we slowly started introducing her to the idea of being left alone in the flat and now she's fully accustomed to it. The only real issue we've had with her is a bit of separation anxiety where she has refused to be walked by anyone other than myself or James if she is at home. When she's away from home (James parents have looked after her for us before) she'll happily be walked by them - but then again they do live in a beautiful area of Surrey with lots of woods, so she'd be crazy not to! She's also not great at being left in new environments alone but this is something I'm sure she'll grow out of in time when she gets more comfortable in her own skin.
She is just the sweetest of dogs and everyone who meets her just loves her. She loves playing with other dogs, will happily walk on and off lead and is so patient with children (I have four year old triplet nieces who love to play with her and she puts up with their constant attention!!). She is also a massive flirt and will do anything for a belly rub or a cuddle.
Our only real issue at the moment is where we live (in a flat with no garden) which in retrospect is something I would probably think harder about if I did it all again, as there is a massive commitment to getting up every day and last thing before bed to take Yvie out for a toilet break, but other than that I wouldn't change a thing. It's lovely to wake up in the morning and come down the stairs to find her greeting us with that always waggy tail and boundless amounts of love she gives us.'
'... What if he doesn't like us?
... What if he poos all over the house?
... What if there's NO dog and this is a scam?!
I don't know where to begin in explaining all the crazy things that went through my head when we decided to adopt a 6 year old rescue dog from Cyprus.
Thankfully for us, the process couldn't have been smoother. From the moment we reserved him on Instagram, to the moment we picked him up from the airport, Wild At Heart Foundation have been nothing short of amazing. Everything was organised for us – PET scheme, passport, vaccinations, travel arrangements. You name it, they sorted it. It was so easy it didn't feel real.
When Chino arrived it was like Christmas had come early but we had to put our excitement aside and remind ourselves that this was a middle aged dog who had suddenly been abandoned and was most likely to feel confused and lost. After a few days he gradually came out of his shell and started showing affection and signs of excitement. Within a week he'd forgotten about his travel crate and was sleeping on the bed!
Having come from a settled home, we haven't experienced any issues with Chino and for this, we are very lucky. Six months on Chino is still showing us new sides to his personality and we can't imagine ours lives without him.
Stav-muffin, Brioche-bum, My Little Prince, Chino-Beano, Little Lord Fauntleroy – we wouldn't change you for the world and we love you lots.
None of this would have been possible without the help of Wild at Heart Foundation and for this we are eternally grateful. When the right dog comes up, we would not hesitate in adopting a rescue again.
Thank you Wild at Heart Foundation.'
- Loan Nguy
'Rescuing a dog is a bit like having kids – you’re not really sure what you are going to get personality wise, but when your bundle of fluff arrives you know you will love them unconditionally.
Agreeing to rescue a dog that you have not met in person is enough to send alarm bells ringing for anyone. So why did we do it? Firstly a designer pup bred to line the pockets of those breeding it just was not for us. Secondly, we did try and rescue from the UK however hit a brick wall due to A. having a child, B. having a cat, and C. working (it’s not ideal but should not rule you out of being suitable to give a beloved dog a home). We found out about Wild at Heart Foundation by mere chance when I followed Louise Redknapp on Instagram at the time she rescued a dog from Cyprus. Following all the WAHF social accounts, it took 2 months before I contacted them having researched as much as I could about the process of rescuing from overseas. Talking to Eve via email, Alicia on the phone and then a FaceTime with Mel, I was armed with even more knowledge about what was involved with the process. It was then some 4-6 weeks before a little worried looking face caught my eye on their @cyprusdogs Instagram. The description that he was sweet as sugar and not a bad bone in his body swung it – this was the dog for us, and he would be called Freddie.
WAHF were really helpful sending us as many pictures as they could, arranging for a cat test (although it is worth noting that you will still need to train the dog, but this was pretty straight forward for us once he arrived) and sending us videos of him meeting children and other dogs. We spent 4 eager weeks waiting for Freddie to arrive... (buying everything we could - it really was like preparing for your first child to be born!)
Fast forward to now, 7 months since Freddie arrived with us, and our hearts have been warmed and our lives changed. Our bundle of fluff is one of the few that arrives from abroad more nervous than others, and has needed that extra love and attention to make him feel secure having experienced abandonment and fear in his life (Freddie is around 2 and therefore has some life experience behind him, not all of which has been positive). Our progress in rehabilitating him to accept love and trust again is a journey filled with ups and downs, feelings of pride and frustration.
Freddie, a Dachshund Spaniel cross, is so obedient, gentle, has been incredibly easy to train, and has the biggest heart full of love. His fear does haunt him but we are here to support him and guide him back to full happiness and contentment – we could not imagine him with anyone else. Watching him chase the ball at the park for the first time, or eat side by side with the cat, or gently lick our faces to show his trust makes it all worthwhile.
There is a wonderful supportive community between other adopters and the Wild at Heart Foundation team - it has been so helpful to be able to turn to David, the behaviourist whose knowledge and training methods are up to date and brilliant, and all the lovely people who share this unique journey with us.'
'We had been thinking about getting another dog, as we thought it would be great for our border terrier, Barney. I learned about the Wild at Heart Foundation via Instagram and had a look at their website, as well as rehoming dogs, I also really liked their education and neutering plan which is gathering pace around the world.
I spotted Sandy (was Scarlet), a one year old terrier cross in Cyprus, with the prettiest face you have ever seen (OK, I am biased). I thought that she would have been re-homed already, but contacted the WaHF office, to learn some more of Sandy's situation and found out that she was still available. So we started the process and it didn't take long before we had a date for Sandy's arrival at Gatwick Airport.
It was a beautiful sunny evening, on Sunday 8 May 2016, we were both very nervous and we waited a long time at the collection area for Sandy to come through customs. Having been in her crate for around 8 hours, with a long journey from Cyprus, she was extremely scared, she didn't want to come out of the crate. When we managed to get her out and over to a grassy area, she would have run away, had we not had a slip lead with us (as recommended by WaHF), I'm not sure I have ever experienced such a scared dog before, it was heartbreaking to see her shaking in fear of everything and everyone and our nerves were soon forgotten. Our main concern was Sandy and helping her settle.
Everything scared her, noise of any kind, people of any kind, sudden movement, traffic, even my husband! As time went on she started to settle in our home, she found her 'safe' spots which she would retreat to whenever she was scared, we transitioned her over to a raw diet and watched her fill out, she learnt to sleep at night in her crate and happily go in it. We all got into a new routine. Sandy is a clever girl and quickly picked up 'sit', 'lie down’, 'drop it’ and ‘wait', and around the house, she started to become more confident. After about 3 months she started to initiate play with Barney, who up to this point had just let Sandy find her place and feel more settled. It was, and still is, a real joy to see them play together, this is exactly what we had hoped for when we decided to get another dog.
Being a rescue dog, we had totally expected that Sandy would be nervous and she still is terribly anxious around any new people, or traffic and noise but, strangely, not bothered by fireworks at all! It has taken a lot of trial and error having tried lots of things to help Sandy, we sought advice and searched the internet to help with her nervousness and anxiety. The ones that we still use, and I believe have really helped Sandy, are the Dorwest herbal treatments, thundershirt, calming music, and of course, time. Time for Sandy to start to feel safe, to start to trust us and to feel loved.
Around October, our dog walker started the process of gaining Sandy's trust, and in January of this year, I took her on her first walk from our house, rather than driving to a local park, since then we have watched her confidence grow and grow. Sandy now goes out for walks with our dog walker without me being there and this makes me realise that for Sandy it will take consistency and time to trust people, so unfortunately when people come to stay for a few days, they don’t really see our funny girl’s real personality, but we know that Sandy can learn to trust new people. We had our first weekend away in March without the dogs, they stayed with the dog walker. Sandy's recall is great, unless there are squirrels or rabbits about, but she does return to us eventually! She now goes up to my husband and takes treats without backing away immediately and she is becoming more confident around other dogs, these are all huge steps for Sandy.
Her lead walking is improving all the time, now she will walk past people, or sit and wait for them to pass. She is still nervous of prams, trolley cases, buses and small children however we will continue to work with her on this.
Did I ever think we had made a big mistake? Did I ever think we had taken on too much and we couldn't help Sandy? Did I ever think that we should return Sandy to WaHF? The answer is yes, I did, on several occasions, but I knew we couldn't give up on her.
Just because she wasn't the 'perfect' dog.
I believe that returning her to WaHF to find another family would set her back tremendously, I couldn't do that to Sandy (the thought of it makes me upset) and I was convinced that, over time, Sandy would get there, we would all get there, together.
So when Sandy first came and snuggled next to me, voluntarily, my heart melted, when she first ran up to me with her tail wagging so happy to see me, my heart melted, when Sandy and Barney decided they wanted to sleep in the same crate together, my heart melted. Seeing Sandy dozing next to my husband on the sofa and when she jumps up in the morning and literally hugs me, my heart melts, every time.
A rescue dog might not be the easy option to owning a dog (and it really isn't sometimes), and saving one dog will not change the world, but for that one dog, the world will change forever (not my quote, but so apt).
She loves her tummy being rubbed, she will paw you to make sure you give her some attention, she loves being outdoors; mountain biking, or chasing squirrels; she has learnt to play and chews toys to pieces (haha); she loves human food, especially chocolate! They say that time is the greatest healer, and it is, alongside love and we couldn't love Sandy any more, she is a beautiful soul with a kooky personality. Seeing grow in confidence makes it all worthwhile and I am so very proud of our girl. To continue Sandy's story follow her and Barney on Instagram ~ https://www.instagram.com/Michelle_SLT
- Michelle Burgess
'This is Douglas. I fostered him in February 2017 for initially 2 weeks. I didn't know what to expect as I had never fostered or adopted a dog from abroad, but I went in excited to make a difference! When the day came to collect Douglas I was over the moon! We raced to meet him and we were greeted with the timid and shy little boy. He was tiny and had clearly been badly abused. He was screed of most people and petrified of almost every sudden moment or noise. Right then I knew he was special.
At first he wouldn't eat food unless it was hand fed to him and would sleep for the majority of the day as well as at night. He was a shell of a dog, clearly from his troubled past.
However, from day one he latched on to me and slowly we built a close friendship. We were inseparable. He learnt to trust me, and soon began to also trust the other humans around me. He was starting to become himself again and it was wonderful to see this hurt little boy turn in to a fun loving terrier.
Sadly, due to Douglas not being suitable to his new owners, he was left homeless again. It was then I decided he was destined to be with me and I adopted him! And now I can't imagine life without my best friend.
It took time, love (and a lot of treats) but I am now please to introduce a happy, crazy, playful little terrier whole loves chewing sticks, doing tricks and chasing squirrels!!! He is a different dog and I am so grateful to WAHF for helping me change a life. Without them Douglas would still be scared and possibly alone. Their work is immeasurable. Douglas really is a success story! He was clearly very damaged and alone only a few months ago. Now he has his forever home with a brother he loves, countryside walks and unlimited cuddles for the rest of his life! I can't wait to hear other amazing stories like Dougies!'
'I have wanted to adopt a rescue dog for a very long time. Earlier this year, I bit the bullet and decided to go for it and I can honestly say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made!
It all started when I read an article in the Evening Standard about Wild at Heart. I liked what I read and decided to get in touch, I explained the kind of dog I was after, not a long list of requirements but enough for me to think the selection may take a while. I wanted a dog that I could take to work with me on the tube (so he/she needed to be small enough to carry up escalators), have a temperament that would suit a busy office environment and not be too vocal. I didn’t expect a quick response, I thought it would take a while to find a potentially suitable dog but within two days I had an email back to say they had found a match - Benny, a dachshund cross currently residing in a dog pound in Cyprus.
I was sent photos and his measurements and was assured that if necessary Wild at Heart’s behaviourist would be available to help with any issues. I was nervous, I had never imagined adopting a dog without meeting them first but I decided that Benny was the dog for me and agreed that I would like to go ahead with the adoption.
Just under two months later I went to collect Benny (soon to be Mouse) from a motorway service station on the M40. He’d travelled from Cyprus via plane to Paris and channel tunnel to the UK and I was extremely nervous about how he would be when I picked him up. Myself and my other half went to meet a van containing lots of rescue dogs at 11.45 on a Saturday night, Mouse (formerly Benny) was gently bundled into a dog carrier and we travelled home to London having not even properly introduced ourselves! Arriving home, we were delighted to finally meet the little chap. Mouse literally flew out of his carrier and skidded across the floor to greet us. We were amazed to discover how happy he was, he was absolutely delighted to meet us and see his new home and then ran straight outside for a wee. After having played for a while he headed to his new bed and slept the whole night, waking to great excitement at 8am! Licks aplenty from Mouse we realised that we had totally lucked out. Mouse is the most loving, happy, well adjusted, house trained boy. Amazing.
So, in the seven weeks since he was adopted, myself and my partner have fallen totally in love with him. Mouse is the star of the party at work and greets everyone he meets with great excitement and joy. He travels happily on the tube and train and isn’t fazed one little bit by crowds. He is quite simply the best and I could not be happier. All who meet him want to know his story and I will tell anyone who will listen how much I owe to Wild at Heart. I only hope that everyone is as lucky as I am.'
'We had thought about getting a dog for many years and came across Wild At Heart Foundation and the @cyprusdogs page on Instagram through mutual contacts. We initially enquired about a puppy but in having a discussion with the wonderful Eve she suggested an older dog would be more suitable for us and sent us details of 'Annabel'. Making a decision to get a dog on the basis of a picture was not something I ever expected to do, but my instincts told me it was right.
We drove off in the middle of the night to meet the amazing couriers at a petrol station - we were somewhat daunted by meeting two men in a white van and then they brought out the most beautiful ball of white fluff and passed her to me - it was love at first sight for both of us!
Bea settled with us very quickly making herself at home, and despite the advice to not take her out for a few days we went out the next day and it was clear that she loved being out in the countryside, although I'm sure wet and cold Devon is a bit of a change from warm Cyprus.
We have been very lucky in that Bea was clearly trained in her former life as she required no house training and took to walking on a lead and being let off very quickly. She is a very bright girl who knows exactly what to do to get her own way (and she usually does as she's so pretty!) and she has developed from being absolutely desperate for any bit of food when she first arrived to being much calmer knowing there is another meal on its way. She never likes being left alone, but I'm not sure many dogs do, but we've had little destruction or complaints from the neighbours.
Having Bea has changed our lives more than we ever thought it would, I cannot imagine the house without her in it now and our lives have become more active and less selfish as we have 'someone' else to consider.
I would wholeheartedly recommend adopting from WAHF, the advice we received from Eve meant that we now have the perfect dog for us. I have also found the Facebook group incredibly supportive.'
- Margaret Campbell
'My husband and I both knew we wanted a dog but weren't sure when. Having heard about the Wild at Heart Foundation, I followed the Instagram account and for a couple of months we kept an eye out for a dog that felt like ours. When we saw Casper our decision was made, as he had these 'adopt me' eyes and cute big floppy ears. We were in love.
Casper was five months by the time we chose him and six months before he arrived from Cyprus. Once we did the home check on Facetime and were approved, WAHF then goes on to book a flight for your dog which can take a couple of weeks, depending on availability. I have to admit feeling nervous before Casper arrived-- after all, we hadn't even met him!
Casper arrived home at midnight after a very long journey and was a bit shaky. He sniffed around his new home and went to my husband, who had chicken and rice for him which is meant to help settle their stomachs after the journey. Casper whined the first couple of nights (no doubt missing his friends from the foster home in Cyprus) but quickly settled into his new home after that.
He's been such a joy to have in our family and is the most good-natured and kind dog. Everyone falls in love with him!
A couple of months ago, we decided to give Casper a friend and we knew we would definitely go through Wild at Heart again after such a fantastic experience. When they rescued a litter of puppies, we emailed Eve about them to see if they were available. We chose our Tarka, a black dog with white paws. I sort of knew I would like a black dog next as apparently they are usually the toughest to re-home.
Casper and Tarka are the best of friends. Tarka is much smaller than Casper but has such great self-confidence and they both enjoy playing together. She's learning a lot from Casper, and now that Casper is the 'older' dog, he's settled down quite a bit. Of course, it is a lot of work having two young dogs at once, but I'm happy that they both have a friend to grow up with. Casper and Tarka helped make our house a home. Thank you WAHF!'
'My story starts in September last year when Broxie, our Lhasa Apso (aged 11) found life too difficult to continue and with his quality of life starting to fail, that fateful decision where you have to overcome any selfishness and do what is best for your pet had to be made and it didn't come easy. Walking back alone from the vets with just a lead and a collar in my coat pocket was something I can[ rarely come to terms with having been there 30 and 15 years earlier as my previous dogs all succumbed to the ravages of old age, it's a task that doesn't get any easier the more times you do it.
Two months later, I was still in the doldrums - life was too quiet, but taking on another pet was quite a commitment for someone coasting into retirement. I had visited the local animal shelter and discovered I was a highly suitable candidate- no children, big garden and time to share with a new friend. I was shown pictures of 14 dogs that might be suitable candidates, but as we delved deeper into their background each had issues, ranging from neglect to various anxieties. When I explained I could offer a loving home, but was concerned I might not cope with the special needs they required, I was told that 'normal' dogs were rehomed almost instantly, and to look back later. It was heartbreaking to leave, but I was convinced I would know the dog I wanted when I saw it.
14th November was an important date, but I hadn't realised it at the time. Picking up a copy of The Times, there was an article by Kate Morris entitled 'How a rescue dog saved our family', describing how they got their rescue dog, and introducing the Wild At Heart Foundation, which I had not heard of previously. The more I thought about it, and looking at their 'Adopt-a-Dog' pages, and the 'Reserved' flags appearing on many candidates I felt I could offer at least one a happy home.
I was taken with one who looked quite enchanting, so I filled out the forms and emailed WHF. I didn't have to wait long before Faith responded and explained the process. My selected dog was a chihuahua cross, aged seven who was currently in a rescue centre on the Greek island of Lesvos, just off the coast of Turkey. The paper formalities were completed but Christmas was looming - I could hardly wait, but the festive shutdown affects Greece too, and because Coco (that was her name) was on an island, she would need to fit in with the trips of the courier company that specialises in bringing these dogs to the UK. The next trip to Greece was not scheduled until early February so it was with much angst (on my part) I spent a very quiet Christmas, and I filled in the time by emailing Vassilia, who was currently looking after Coco (and her companion Maisy) after both dogs had been given up by their original owners on the island. The financial downturn in Greece had resulted in a lot of animals being abandoned, but things did not look good for elderly dogs as not many potential owners were prepared to commit to them, perhaps due to ageism or reduced life-expectancy. As I wasn't looking for a puppy (too much work) and with Coco being a genteel lady of relatively mature years, all the signs were still looking good.
By more good luck than fortune, I came across a Twitter feed from AnimalCouriers UK who explained how they shipped animals across Europe, not rescue dogs, but when owners relocate and cannot travel with their pets. A quick message confirmed that Coco would be travelling with them - by ferry to mainland Greece, and then by road in their specially adapted van all the way back to the UK.
In preparation for her journey, Coco had to be issued with a Pet Passport, have a range of inoculations and be microchipped ready for her trip of a lifetime. Courier Akis made a special excursion from Athens to Lesvos to collect four dogs, all rescues; Benji & Cindy were going to Kent, George would also go to Kent and of course, Coco, who would come up to Scotland, where we would meet for the first time. Once back on the Greek mainland, their journey by van back to the UK commenced. The best laid plans etc, took a serious knock when bad weather in the mountains of northern Italy close to the border with Switzerland meant horizontal snow and blizzards slowed their progress towards the Channel.
Scotland on the other hand was benefitting from extremely mild weather, so I resolved to try to make Coco's last leg slightly more personal by bringing her home by train. My granddaughter felt she could offer valuable logistical assistance (something to do with dog treats) so she came along for some moral support and we caught the train south to London.
Coco's handover was arranged by courier Richard, who met us next to the Euston Lost Property office at Platform 16. With all the noise it was little wonder poor Coco was bewildered, but soon we were on to the platform for the 1657 Virgin West Coast service to Glasgow which was ready to depart.
Snuggling into her seat (on Yvonne's lap) the miles sped by, crossing the border into Scotland we arrived in Glasgow just over four hours later, and a short taxi ride home. Coco's 2,500 mile journey from Greece was at an end.
I had already prepared Coco's bed in a quiet corner of the lounge, and her food and water bowls were filled and ready in the kitchen. After a quick sniff round the house, it was time to head for bed, but she was having none of it. Ears were scratched, tummy tickled and a goodnight cuddle were all very well but she was in no mood to be left on her own, as the whines were getting louder the longer she was left. Her bed was moved upstairs to a corner in the bedroom, where she settled down immediately and promptly fell asleep.
I was greeted in the morning with a wagging tail and an earnest look that I took to mean she wanted out in the garden. This was accomplished, and she returned to clear her food bowl in one sitting. There were no ill effects following her extended journey, although it took 2 days before she would venture anywhere on a lead, no doubt feeling she'd be off again to somewhere new if she left the house. She also made sure that if I couldn't be seen, she would find out, then sit somewhere she could make sure she wasn't going to be abandoned.
One week on, and she has completely adjusted to life in Scotland, not too keen at going out when the rain is heaving down, and barks at the postman for having the temerity to put anything through our letterbox. We're firm friends, and her demeanour is one of 'we're a team' and as such she is included in all the things I do, wherever possible. It took a lot of people to get this wonderful dog to me, and for that I'll be eternally grateful, so to Faith, Eve and Alicia at the Wild at Heart Foundation, Vassilia at the Lesvos Rescue Centre, not forgetting Natalie, Julia, Martin and Richard at AnimalCouriers of Plaistow, thank you all - and Coco sends a big HighFive also!'
'I returned to the UK last year after living in the US for a while & immediately started thinking of getting a dog. We looked at a couple of shelters but as I live in an apartment they were not keen to let me adopt one as they regarded a garden as essential.
Fortunately a friend of my sons, (he was also looking to get a pooch) ,suggested WAHF so we had a look at the site & registered an interest. Very soon Eve & Faith were in touch suggesting a couple of wee Beagle mix pups named Elroy & Stan with pictures included. Well, one look at the pics & there was no question, they were ridiculously cute.
Fortunately Eve/Faith were a bit more flexible in their requirements while obviously having as much concern as the shelters that the dogs would get good homes & the process was handled very smoothly including a Skype home visit & chat with my son & I. Next thing we knew we had a date to pick them up from Edinburgh airport & much anticipation ensued.
They arrived quite late & after great help & communication from the helper at the airport we got them back to my sons house at around 11pm & proceeded to just sit & watch them play on the grass for about 2 hours - we had a feeling this may have been their first experience of grass. What a joy it was to see.
This is no tale of trials & tribulations as I'm happy, almost embarrassed, to say they have been wonderful from day one. They spent their first night together & then I took Elroy home with me & we have been virtually inseparable since with lots of visits to see his brother. They are both good on the lead (when not together), great in the car, friendly almost to a fault with other dogs & children & so far little contact with cats. They're not at all fussy eaters & generally good at recall although with a slight tendency to wander off. Luckily I have all the time in the world & my day is pretty much built around taking him to the park or woods.
I am so delighted that WAHF looked past the somewhat closed attitude of the shelters who turned me down & allowed me to give Elroy a home - he says "woof" to that.'
'We sadly said goodbye to our Jack Russell, Pipsqueak last summer after 16 happy years. We decided that having had two puppies from breeders we wanted to give a rescue dog a home. We looked in the UK for a female family pet but only found males dogs who were either very big or not suitable in homes with men or children. We had almost given up and go down the breeder route again but then we saw an article in the Times written by a journalist who had adopted a Cyprus dog so we decided to investigate. We were offered Eleanora (we call her Nora) and all fell for her hook, line and sinker. We didn’t even ask to see any other dogs, she was just what we were waiting for. A month later, in early December, we picked her up at a service station off the M25 and we haven’t looked back since.
Understandably Nora was nervous when we first got her and barked at anyone who came to our house, but that passed as her confidence grew. Initially we didn’t let her off the lead in the park as we felt she didn’t know us well enough to trust that she would come back. However we went to North Devon for New Year and we took Nora to one of the beautiful beaches with friends and their dogs and decided this would be a good place to try and we thought Nora would follow the other dogs. It was a complete joy to watch her run round with a huge smile on her face. She is very good at recall and often checks to see where we are - I wonder if she worries she might lose us?
We went to dog training classes in January which were great, but Nora did bark most of the time! Now Nora only barks when she meets dogs on the lead but the minute she is off the lead she is so friendly with other dogs and loves nothing more than to run around with them. Nora was very easy to train (sit, lie down, stand, bed, heel) and loves the attention. We are currently working on ‘drop it’ as she picks things up in her mouth ALL the time, but she is getting the hang of this latest trick. Much more obedient than our two previous Jack Russells!
Apparently Nora was found as a puppy and fostered by one of the volunteers at the rescue centre in Cyprus until she was 7 months. Then she went back to the rescue centre and we heard about her the following day so we believe she only spent one month in the centre. Whoever looked after her did a good job with the house training as she only had 4 accidents in the first month and nothing since. New carpets still looking good!!
We introduced Nora to children last weekend when our nieces and nephews came over (aged 13,11 and twins aged 8). She was very relaxed with them but they are really fantastic children so we haven’t tested her with toddlers or nervous little ones yet.
Nora comes nearly everywhere with us and is very adaptable. When we stay overnight, she happily sleeps in her crate. We are taking her to France this summer for our holiday - in fact we chose the holiday because we could bring Nora along! We found a local dog sitter who also has a rescue dog from Cyprus and Nora loves going to Kim’s when we have times that we have to leave her for longer than four hours.
Bad points: Nora loves to roll in poo, so we have to keep an eye on her in certain parks where foxes have been doing their business. According to our vet this habit is one we won’t be able to break; its like the best perfume in the world for dogs! Initially we said it was good that we were confident dog owners as it is different adopting a dog with a tricky start in life compared to getting a puppy from a breeder, but now she is settled and relaxed. Honestly we are delighted that Nora has joined our family and we love her to bits. She is the centre of all the attention and friends come to visit her not us these days. We sometimes look at her and imagine what it would be like for her running round as a stray in Cyprus and it is heart breaking to think that could have been her life. Best thing we ever did was making contact with Wild at Heart Foundation. Thank you for all the hard work.'
- Jane Fletcher
'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 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. We were handed a puppy that was much smaller than we expected. 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. This is despite also having to cope with a new name that created gender confusion – my fiancé didn’t see the funny side of calling her Kat so we named her Marley, which most people associate with male dogs.
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.'
'We adopted Sam in October 2016. 2 years previously our beloved first dog Reggie sadly passed away. I had been searching for rescue dogs and came across Wild at Heart Foundation online. I liked their page on Facebook and one day Sam’s picture popped up on my timeline and his beautiful face with his big brown puppy dog eyes got my attention. I sent his picture to my husband, Henry and he replied yes!
The adoption process was quick, well organised and very easy. The professionalism throughout the process reassured my husbands anxiety of the unknown. Eve regularly sent us pictures and updates of Sam, we could not wait to meet him.
Henry collected Sam in the middle of the night, I sat up waiting nervously not having a clue what Sam was going to be like when he arrived. Henry walked in carrying this adorable quivering puppy who just wanted to be cuddled. Any fears of him being unhealthy soon evaporated seeing his beautiful coat and healthy body. It took Sam a few days to stop quivering and to gain confidence around the house, after that it was like he had always been a member of our family. He settled amazingly quickly but even to this day he is my shadow, he follows me around the house and does not like being left in a room on his own.
Sam (a pointer/lab cross) is the most loyal, affectionate and sociable dog. Sam’s brother (Dexter) was also adopted and arrived at the same time. We kept in touch with the couple that adopted Dexter and the brothers have been reunited and enjoyed a lovely walk/play together. We love the lifestyle Sam has given us as a family, he has inspired us to go for long walks every day and taken us places we haven’t been before. He is absolutely wonderful with our 3 young children and is equally well loved by them! They love nothing more than running along the beach together and chasing birds!
Before Sam arrived we discussed that a ‘No dog on the sofa rule was a must’ but that soon when out of the window when we discovered he will only settle in the evening on the sofa cuddled up to us!! One challenge we are still trying to overcome is Sam’s digging obsession. He thinks of himself as a keen gardener and loves a good dig! This is the only issue we have and one which I know we will overcome.
I have shared our adoption process with all my friends and family and one of my friends has since adopted a gorgeous dog called Gunner from Cyprus through WAHF.
Thank you so much WAHF! Eve has been so lovely and the whole WAHF community is so supportive. We could not imagine life without Sam now!'
- Louise Mills
'On the 21st of April Mabel (formerly Julie) came to live with us in her new forever home. She very quickly settled in making herself comfortable in my bed where she has slept ever since. So many people from my local park were waiting to meet her, she was something of a celebrity. She has made many friends both human and doggy, and even my two cats like having her around!
Tallulah, my staffie, was enjoying having a little sister when sadly and unexpectedly she passed away. Mabel helped me cope during this time with her cuddles and craziness. Everyone commented on how it was meant to be that Mabel came to me at this sad time.
Then, on the 18th of June, her sister Ethel (formerly Minnie) also came to join our crazy house. Straight away Mabel recognised her sister and within no time at all they started playing and haven't stopped yet! The two terror twins as I call them do everything together and are loving a life of playtime, cuddles, and meeting their friends in the park every day. They really are a joy to be around. Everyone comments on how well behaved and loving they are. I'm so lucky to have them in my life and I want to thank everyone at Wild at Heart Foundation and SPDC for allowing me to adopt my girls.'
'When I first saw the Instagram (@cyprusdogs) post about 40+ dogs on a death row in Cyprus I immediately started to think how to help...It was clear that those dogs needed to get out of there asap so I contacted Eve and asked her about Spot, a Pointer cross that looked like a smaller version of our English Pointer Monty.
Spot was already reserved for someone else which then fell through and Eve asked me if I was still interested in taking him...
I was really worried about how things would go after Spot arrives as he never lived in a house before and our lovely but spoilt Monty never lived with another dog!
When we picked Spot up he was (understandably) very scared, tail between legs and any sudden noise or movement made things worse. Amazingly, his tail started to wag as soon as we got home and he met Monty. Monty, our gentle giant, did wonders for Spot. He made him feel safe and basically did all the hard work for us as Spot just followed his lead.
Like many other dogs from Cyprus Spot was, and still sometimes is, scared of men. That meant that he got attached to me so much that any time I had to leave him at home (with Monty) the separation anxiety kicked in. He destroyed books, cushions and then eventually the whole sofa! This should by no means put anyone off getting a shelter dog - it's just a warning that house rules and discipline come before affection - something I ignored. I showered Spot with too much affection and then had to deal with the consequences. It took some time but he now understands that we always come back home so he doesn't panic when we leave.
Spot has been with us for over a year now and we never looked back. It was amazing to see him getting more confident day by day, his coat is now beautiful and shiny and he loves nothing more than running in the fields and having his belly stroked. We originally took Spot as a foster but of course we never allowed Eve to advertise him to be adopted by someone else. We knew straight away that this would be his forever home. Adopting him was one of the best decision we ever made and when the time is right we will be contacting Eve again.
A big thank you to the Wild at Heart Foundation team and of course to all the people back in Cyprus who looked after Spot (and many others). You are all amazing!!'
'We weren't looking for another dog, but after seeing a link to the WAHF page on Facebook I had a little look on the adoptions page on the website. There she was. A blue-eyed little ball of loveliness. Her story goes that she was found in the sweltering heat in Cyprus with two blue eyed puppies. Only a year old herself this must have been so tough for her.
Both puppies were adopted almost immediately but Aster, formerly Kate, had to wait, and we are so pleased she did. When I saw how just how adorable she was, the fact that she loved cats and we have two, I knew I had to adopt her. I managed to convince my boyfriend the same!
I chose the name Aster as an aster is a blue flower and 'asteri' in Greek means star and she really is the perfect little star.
When I collected her it was like she had always been our dog, but unfortunately our Thai dog meat trade rescue Silk didn't agree. My brother & sister-in-law helped out and fostered Aster for a few weeks while we worked with Silk & a wonderful trainer called Sharon.
A month later I collected Aster and we did a re-introduction with Silk which was supervised by Sharon. It went so well! Within 3 weeks they were friends and getting on so well.
Aster has shown herself to be the most wonderful, funny and such an incredibly loving dog. She can't get close enough to cuddle you, lies like a person when she gets in bed for a cuddle and is the most sweet and happy soul. She loves nothing more that running along the beach chasing a ball (a miniature tennis ball as normal size ones are just too big!), and everyone who meets her falls in love with her - I really cannot blame them. So friendly to other dogs, visitors and cats!
She really has made the family feel complete and we couldn't imagine life without her.
HUGE thanks to Eve & Faith at WAHF for being so amazing and bringing this wonderful dog in to our lives.'
'Harry (Harry-bear) came to live with me in Guernsey, Channel islands on 29th March 2016 from Cyprus. I was nervous at adopting a dog I'd never had the chance to meet. The first time I saw him he dropped to the floor clearly scared in his new surroundings. I scooped him up and carried him to the car. I knew at this moment he was good to the last bone in his body and I'd done the right thing. As scared as he was he just snuggled into me, not a growl or any fear aggression whatsoever nor did he try fight his way free. Through the airport was the same i had to carry him every inch of the way, it was a great arm work out!!
When we first got home he wouldn't move from one room. He seemed unsure what to do in the house and preferred to be outside but after 3-4 days he came out his shell and he knew it was his home. Aside from the initial fear he has been a gem. Everyone comments how lucky I am and what a sweet dog he is. He has converted some non dog lovers, persuaded others to rescue and more importantly has become a tight member of the family. I rarely go anywhere without him when I'm not working.
He's only had one accident in the house since i got him and hasn't destroyed a thing. He's a very quiet dog aside from when I pick up that lead and he does the funniest warble howl. Always makes me grin! But my favourite thing is, without training, he's picked up the word 'Cuddles' so if I say it he comes bounding over and leaps into my arms for some snuggles. He also watches me as I sleep which although slightly creepy is also seriously cute!
He is just a fantastic dog and I'm so happy he came into my life. From Cyprus to running on the Guernsey beaches with his two (well three with me) best friends, Monty and Bertie!!
To many many years of happiness to come!'
'We already had three adorable rescue greyhounds (each unplanned), and had lost our little Yorkie to old age almost a year earlier. I decided I couldn't do without my little one and after a long search came upon this lovely little face on the WAHF purely by chance. I immediately got in touch and the rest is history!
Caramel, now Dinky was no stranger, I felt I knew that little face right away. She had to be with me. The few weeks wait felt like an eternity but at about 1am on 21st July 2016 we finally met when we collected her at the end of her long journey from Cyprus. She won our hearts right away and settled in with our three large hounds really well. She has now taken total control of the pack and is loved by all!
It has been a really unexpected experience, we had never adopted from abroad and it felt a bit daunting to begin with but Faith contacted us and took us through the adoption process step by step and WAHF took it from there. It was so smooth and easy, they did absolutely everything from start to finish and all we had to do was wait for our new family member to arrive.
Thank you all for all your dedication and hard work, so much care is given to these poor lost souls and the effort to give them all the chance of a new life is extraordinary. We are so happy to have found you.'
'My partner Paul had been wanting us to have a dog for years, and after moving from a houseboat in London to a bungalow with a big garden in Dorset we started looking at adopting one. I heard about Wild at Heart through a Facebook share, so we had a look and then we saw the urgent plea for help in rescuing the 40+ dogs in Cyprus. Paul saw the pictures of Daniel and we both said that he was the one for us, so I emailed Eve to offer Daniel a home and things moved very quickly from there.
The day he flew from Cyprus was very exciting for us, and we were updated throughout the day with photos and videos of each step of his long journey, which was really nice. He was pretty terrified when he arrived, and it took us a while to coax him into the car, and then into our house, and he was very scared of sudden noises and movements. We re-named him Ollie and he grew attached to me and Paul very quickly, but was nervous of new people, especially men. We soon discovered that he is the sweetest, most gentle dog, and all he wants to do is play and be stroked. He has unlimited amounts of energy (he can run alongside us on our mountain bikes all day and still not be tired!) and he is very, very soppy (he likes to spend his evenings with his head in my lap, licking my hands).
The only issue we have now really is that he's too clingy, but I guess this is because he was abandoned by his previous owners. We both work from home, and he follows us around the house all day, doesn't like not being in the same room, and really doesn't like it when one of us isn't there (especially if Paul isn't around!). He whimpers when he's anxious, and shakes when he's really upset (strangely, heavy rain seems to set this off) but he only barks when you're not playing properly! He absolutely loves meeting other dogs, and chasing rabbits, squirrels, cats, deer.... He's still scared of a lot of things (the hoover, my hairdryer, caterpillars(!), the rain) but he's grown so much in confidence, he's a different dog now. People are always saying what a lovely dog he is (though everyone thinks he's a she to start with!) and he has the waggiest tail and wiggliest bum I've ever seen on a dog! To be honest, I was never a particularly doggie person, and probably wouldn't have thought of having a dog at all if it hadn't been for Paul, but Ollie is a big part of our little family and I wouldn't be without him at all. I expect we'll get dog number 2 in time, and when we do we'll definitely be contacting Eve!'
'When I first saw on a Facebook post about the 40 dogs that needed saving from death row in Cyprus back in April my only thought was to donate money. But I started looking at the photos and staring back at me was Violet, a German Shorthaired Pointer. She looked just like my GSP Barney, same colouring, same face. I fell in love. My husbands first reaction was NO! But I left her story on my iPad and knew he would read it. The next day he asked “ so what's involved in adopting a dog from Cyprus?” I emailed Eve and very quickly it was all sorted.
Violet was neutered in Cyprus and then went to a foster home to wait for her flight to us. Worryingly she had to be moved to another foster as she chased cats with alarming vigour, we have three cats! She was fostered by a lovely lady called Suhair, who gave her a first taste of a real home.
Violet, who we renamed Pippa, flew to us via Paris on May 6th. Her journey was horrendous, a delayed plane, hold ups at the Channel Tunnel and a closed service area all led to her being late arriving to us by 7 hours. We slept in the car overnight at a service station on the M25. She arrive at 6am. She had an accident on the way home in the car, when we stopped to let her out for a wee she nearly pulled my arm off trying to chase a magpie. Her hunting instincts were very, very strong.
We arrived at our house at 7.30 am and introduced her to Barney who immediately accepted her. Phew! We walked them and then collapsed into bed for a couple of hours. Meeting our cats didn't go well, they ran, she chased. The cats left home and didn't return into the house for some while. They lived in the garage and garden, thankfully the weather was good.
Pippa, unused to a house, thought nothing of jumping on the table, stealing food, soiling the carpet etc etc. Pippa was extremely thin and her coat was in poor condition. She has many physical scars including a chunk out of her ear and broken toes. She was extremely loving from the very beginning. She wanted cuddles and reassurance all the time. She was scared of people she didn't know and freaked out by loud noises. But our biggest issue was the cats. How would they ever live together happily? I hated that my cats lives were upside down, but I never thought of giving up. Slowly we house trained her, taught basic house rules and she became less scared of people and noise, she learnt to come back to us off lead, loved to chase a ball, gained weight and turned into a beautiful dog, but the cat issue remained.
I took some professional help from a dog behaviourist. He helped me understand Pippa’s needs and about being a pack leader. With his help we stopped the food stealing quite quickly and the cat situation improved but we had to keep them apart most of the time. Over the next few month with perseverance we kept going and now 5 months later we have finally turned the corner. Cats and Pippa living happily side by side. It proves that there is nothing that can't be overcome with patience, love and time.
During the last five months we have had many highs and a few lows. We nearly lost Pippa when she swallowed a small toy which blocked her intestines, she had emergency surgery and had 1.8 meters of intestines removed. We realised then that we loved her totally and she was part of our family. She has given Barney our old boy a new lease of life. She has taught us so much. I can't remember life before Pippa. I am proud to be part of the Cyprus rescue family. To anyone thinking of adopting I would say, it's hard work, it takes time but it is so worth it.'
'When I learned through Eve’s @cyprusdogs Instagram account that 40+ dogs in a Cypriot shelter were in danger of being euthanised back in April, my first thought was: how much can I afford to give? As the weeks passed by and adopters and fosterers were found for many of the dogs, I found myself constantly thinking about whether we might be able to provide a home or temporary respite for one of them. When we had considered it from all angles and decided to take the plunge, everything happened necessarily fast. With fairly open minds and plenty of room, Eve suggested that we might be interested in one of the bigger shelter residents, less likely to be adopted due to their size.
The day we met Shadow, it was a bit of a shock for all of us. He was smaller than we expected, with his ribs and hip bones still sticking out, and absolutely terrified - understandably. Though the process of settling in has been slow, it has been so rewarding to earn Shadow’s trust and see his confidence building. He has the physical scars to prove that his past was rough, and the mental scars will take even longer to heal; he is still quite anxious around the house and often growls when Scott comes down the stairs, but has largely overcome his nervousness around roads and has even plucked up the courage to sit with me on the sofa!
Although some people have eagerly shared their own stories of dogs rescued from abroad, others have questioned why we would rescue a dog from Cyprus when there are homeless dogs ‘on our doorstep’. While I don’t think Shadow is any more deserving than those dogs abandoned in the UK, I absolutely don’t believe that he has any less right to a healthy, hopeful future and a long life. The first time he ran in joyous circles around us at the end of the lead after two weeks of near-constant sleeping, it was clear that it would all be worth it - it was wonderful to see him expressing his gladness at being alive. The fact that he’ll now cuddle up to me when 4 months ago he would go into a semi-catatonic state if you tried to touch him is amazing.
By no means has it been an easy ride. On the first night, Shadow ignored the huge plush bed we bought for him and slept on the dining table. It took putting the bed on the dining table for him to get used to it, and then placing chairs to stop him getting on the table for him to sleep on the bed! Shadow has stolen pizza, raided the dustbin (on more than one occasion), and chewed phone chargers, knitting projects, remote controls, and every single coaster he’s able to lay teeth on, but he has also transformed our lives positively beyond measure.
At first we thought the new member of our family got his name because he was scared of his own Shadow; then everybody reminded us of his Golden Retriever namesake in Homeward Bound; but now I know that it’s because we’re closer than pages that stick in a book.'
'So we've had Marley for three months now and he has been perfect ever since the day we got him. He jumped out of the van with his tail wagging and soon became our beautiful fur baby. Someone in the world has missed out on the most lovely dog. We had no trouble house training him, he had just one accident on his first day and from then on started whining at the back door when he needs a wee. He is also very clean in the garden too, he only does a poo on a walk - result no treading in dog poo when I'm hanging the washing out!
He wasn't massively bothered by food when he first arrived but did have an upset stomach for the first few weeks, but now he is the typical Labrador and is absolutely obsessed with food which made training basic commands easy. He loves human companionship and is very eager to please, he never turns down a fuss. If I am giving him a fuss then return to doing something, he'll move along to my partner and nudge him for a fuss!
We had our first weekend without him at the start of this month when we had a weekend away so my brother looked after him for the weekend and took him to a house warming party which Marley apparently LOVED as there were so many people to greet and fuss him as he loves absolutely anyone he meets. What did make us sad was when my brother shut him in the kitchen at night (that's where he has always slept) he was whining and crying until my brother slept downstairs with him. We had no problems with him crying even on our first night so it must be a sign that he loves us.
When he first arrived from Bosnia he had hairless patches on his elbows and under his neck. We assume that on the elbows it was due to sleeping on a hard floor and we wonder if perhaps the patches on his neck were from either a too tight collar, someone tying him up or being dragged around using his collar, but it makes me happy to see that these are now re-growing. Obviously we don't know where he came from but we have a suspicion that at some point a man has not been very nice to him as when my partner tells him off (more telling him no in a firm voice than anything), he cowers right down to the ground which breaks our heart to see, but thankfully he does not do this with me. How anyone could be nasty to him is beyond me. He is happy all the time, super friendly, quick to house train, never had any destructive tendencies, not food aggressive etc etc. The ONLY negative thing we could say about him is he does enjoy mouthing when he is excited but we are trying to discourage this.
He is definitely the light of my life and a pampered pooch. I can't imagine life without him now and him not trying to squeeze through the front door to greet me as soon as I get back from work. He's a 1 in a million dog and I don't know what I would do without him. It does make me sad to think he is missing out on having a little dog buddy in the house for him to play with, as he absolutely loves it when he gets to play with the family dogs in the garden. I will convince my partner to get another fur baby one day!'
'Stanley arrived three months ago . I wasn't planning on getting a second dog he just came into our lives after I fostered him for a day. I literally fell in love with him on the spot and I asked Nikki if I could have him but she said he was already taken and had to go to New York. So sobbing I let him go. 24 hours later Nikki called me back and said he had a freak out in his cage and had eaten through two water bowls and had started on his cage and Virgin Airlines was refusing to fly him . So that was it Stanley had made up his own mind.
He is a total love bug. Always wagging his tail and greeting everyone he meets with kisses and love. Lucky my other rescue dog took him under his wing from the first day he arrived. He loves to chase squirrels, running as fast as he can, snuggling in bed in the morning, eating, grinning, and loud sighing and snoring . If anyone is in doubt about getting a rescue dog .. Please feel free to come and meet Stanley. He really is a total joy. I cannot imagine my life without him.'
'I stand on one side of the burn, two cows stand behind me ruminating over the fence. On the other side of the burn the vast expanse of Ashaig beach disappears off into the distance. The rain pelts by sideways, relentless and unforgiving. The warmth and comfort of the car is only a few steps away behind the curious cows.
I shout “Will you please come back!”
On the horizon where the beach meets the sea two dogs can be seen running joyously up and down the water’s edge.
“……” I mutter. The cows agree.
“Come here! I can see you. Stop ignoring me!”
Shadow and Boo are easily spotted as they are both wearing bright red Equafleece dog jumpers. I can see them dashing to and fro, desperate to get at the seagull bobbing in the water about 200 metres offshore.
The rain intensifies, determined to find a way through my waterproofs. My frustration builds
“I’m getting all wet and cold!” I bellow. “You ungrateful so n sos! We could have adopted cats!” If they could have heard me the dogs would have laughed at that as the pathetic lie it was.
There is 500m of storm lashed beach between us. They can’t hear me and if they could they wouldn’t have listened anyway. A flight of geese have flown over and the dogs have set off in fruitless but impassioned pursuit.
It was a year ago that the older and larger of the two dogs had arrived from Cyprus. He had left an island that was bathed in sun and basked in 20c heat to be delivered to an island that shivered in -6c frost under a watery sun that skipped briefly along the horizon.
“Is this the gratitude I get? I give you a home, a selection of couches, chairs and beds to sleep on. Three meals a day, central heating, chewy breath treats, a croft, endless walks… deer poo..!
I pause for breath and turn round to see if anyone is listening to my rant. Only the cows. They nod their agreement and encouragement.
“I even got you a friend, that other ungrateful puppy, the little one behind you trying to keep up.”
The two dogs have suddenly stopped, having come across some decomposing and crunchy sea life left behind by the tide. It is eaten with relish. I make a mental note to buy more chewy breath treats. The wind picks up, a gust blows across the beach pushing a wall of sand ahead of it. The smaller dog is enveloped by it. One side of him is black, white and hairy, the other a beige mat of sand. It seems this has ended the fun for him. He heads for home, his leggy brother grudgingly follows.
“At last,” I say as if it was my shouting that brought them back. They run for the car carefully avoiding the cows who glare at them. As the boot is opened they jump onto the custom dog mat boot liner with extra blankets and I remove their jumpers then give them treats for being such good dogs and coming back after only ten minutes of pointless shouting.
If I had been born in a pound/found abandoned as a few weeks old pup would I have left the wide and wild open space with all the boundless chasing, digging, eating and headlong charging into the distance opportunities on offer?
No, not a hope.
Shadow arrived tiny and shivering a year ago this week. From Cyprus to Skye. When we lost our spaniel Toby in June of this year Shadow missed him desperately and by the end of summer we were joined by the tiny Boo also from Cyprus. Puppies have their ups and downs. Mostly up on the sofa and down in the mud. The housetraining can be a little soul destroying (actually it only took a month with Shadow and Boo arrived pretty much pre trained – but it seemed a long time!) and most puppies go through a frustrating nibbling and chewing stage. But the joy more than overwhelms those times. To see these two rejected souls who were almost without hope of any life to have this wonderful life on the Isle of Skye brings an immeasurable pleasure.'
- Rosie Woodhouse
'Following Eve and the Wild at Heart Foundation on Instagram is a very dangerous thing...
I have wanted a dog for years and visited Battersea Dogs home a number of times but as I am not retired, able to spend all day at home, have never owned a dog before and have 2 cats they did not seem particularly happy to help me.
Then I found the Wild at Heart Foundation. Their ethos, their love for animals and the gorgeous photos of dogs of all shapes, sizes and needs meant that I was gazing longingly at Instagram most evenings and hoping that one day a pup would come along that would suit our happy little home.
And then along came a call out for help for a dog called Robert. Eve said "HELP NEEDED! Robert is a gorgeous Mini Pinscher cross from Cyprus whose home has fallen through. He is due to come to the UK in 2 days and we urgently need to find him a new home"
What I saw was a beautiful face, massive ears and a very soulful look in his eyes and I was hooked. I message Eve instantly expressing my interest in Robert and was very excited to hear back from her straight away.
I was then contacted by Faith over Skype and we had a chat about my house and my suitability as well as the suitability of Robert for us. I was thankfully deemed as suitable and Robert was with me 2 days later! (I had to tell my husband over the phone as he was working in New York, at least he couldn't tell me off from that distance and had time to get his head around it!)
Robert (now called Bobby) was delivered to my door and I fell in love with him instantly. I had done a lot of research about introducing dogs and cats and purchased baby gates, so the cats and Bob could see each other and get used to each other, and I borrowed a crate for Bob to sleep in a night from a friend as I read this helps with anxiety and makes them feel safe.
Although I am in love and wouldn't give him up for anything it hasn't all been plain sailing. Bob has a fabulously acute chase sense and the baby gates have done nothing to help introduce him to the cats. It does mean that every time they come in from the garden he barks and tries to get at them, and also means that the cats no longer get to spend any time cuddling with us on the sofa. I have spoken to David Drew, who is on hand for any behavioral advice and was given tips but none of these are working particularly well at the moment. My cats run, he chases... its just too exciting not to! We are working on this and it has only been a month. The improvements he has made in this time are astonishing so we are keeping everything crossed.
He is also quite an anxious dog and is scared of motorbikes, men, dogs that run at him without a lead, sudden noises, bicycles and for the first 2 weeks wouldn't walk on the lead with my husband. He became very attached to me very quickly but struggled with other people.
Bob isn't the only one who needs to learn. He is the first dog my husband and I have ever had and we were worrying that we had taken on too much wondered if we were the right house and couple for him.
Then we took him to puppy class... Bob is 7 months old and I have spent time working at home on Sit, Stay, Leave It, Come here and Watch. We took him to the classes and they said that this is also what we will be working on for the first few sessions, so to see the other parents struggle with their puppies and be able to stand their smugly whilst my handsome boy showed off his skills made us much more calm and understanding of his ways and relax about certain aspects that we need to do a lot more work on.
He has won 2 rosettes (1st and 3rd) in local Dog Shows, both for most handsome dog, he loves cuddles, he would walk forever and will also lick you into submission! He sits on his own bed on the sofa, gets liver and venison as treats, is bathed in Lavender and has a hot water bottle to cuddle up to at night... spoilt doesn't even come close!
Bob is now a bit of a village legend and people regularly stop me to tell me how handsome he is and ask what breed, this also means I can share my knowledge and promote the Foundation and help in my little way to get more dogs like Bob new homes.
He knows his own way to the village pub and people always say hi to him before they say hi to me!
If you are ever wondering whether or not to get a dog then definitely contact Eve and the Foundation. They care passionately about their dogs and will make sure that the dog goes to the right home and is suitable. I would think hard about the type of dog you would like (personality I mean, not breed!) and what you need. There are so many dogs out there who deserve a good home and it doesn't matter if you have never had one before, we are doing OK!
- Katy Beckford
'One year ago I adopted my little pickle, Harvey. He came from Lesvos and was rescued by the wonderful Claire Lloyd, a lovely lady that the charity support an help to find homes to dogs she rescues.
I remember our conversation when doing the home check to see if I would be suitable to adopt him. Eve asked me if everyone in the house was happy about having another dog (I already had one called Charley) and I replied that there was only my husband and he just does as he is told!!! That made her laugh. And if I am honest, if it was down to my husband we would have no dogs so it's just as well it's up to me!
Harvey came to me late at night by an animal courier company. They had been travelling for 5 days and I was so excited but Harvey just wanted to get back in the van! I had to pick him up as he was rooted to the spot. Once inside I sat with him on my lap on the stairs and he was trembling, most probably wondering what on earth was going on. When Charley came to see what I had on my lap Harvey snapped at him!! A good start I thought. I put him on the floor and let him explore for a while before introducing him to the garden to do his business. Then we all went to bedand nobody got very much sleep.
The next few days were spent trying to gain his trust and making lots of fuss of him. He is so small that I kept losing him. I would find him under tables, beds, and behind furniture. All new to me I might add as I've only had big dogs before. Harvey started to follow me everywhere (and still does) and it was clear that I had another mummy's boy was in the making!
After a couple of weeks it became apparent that Harvey was not totally toilet trained and he would wee anywhere and everywhere. Rather annoying when it's in front of you!! So 3 weeks of strict toilet training put an end to that and he is now happily doing his business where he should.
Harvey loves going out for walks, going out in the car and snuggling up to me on the sofa. My husband and Harvey like to have a play fight daily which I find hysterical. He loves playing with his toys especially his squeaky balls and he likes to nibble on my nose for some strange reason too!
Adopting Harvey, or my pretty pickle as I also refer to him as, has been very rewarding. I love him with all my heart as does my husband......not so much with Charley though. However, they tolerate each other and live in harmony which is the main thing.
I was lucky enough to meet up with Claire Lloyd and take Harvey to see her again. We had a lovely day and there was a tearful farewell.
Thank you Eve for putting his picture on Facebook. I cannot imagine my life without this little boy who is now very confident, loving, and absolutely gorgeous. He has a lovely life, a far cry from his previous one tied to a tree by a farmer in Greece. He is very much loved and wanted and along with Charley, he is also my baby and always will be.
Keep up the good work!'
'I was first made aware of this lovely little lady from an email that popped up in my inbox. I instantly felt in love. I was shocked by what was happening to these dogs and thought that I'd be able to help by offering a home to one of 5 dogs. If I am honest I was so nervous in the days leading up to Laika arriving thinking what had I let myself into, but the moment Nikki dropped her off I knew I had done the right thing. I am thankful everyday for that email, and love that Laika is such an amazing Character. She is always with me and her sister Coco and they never cease to put a smile on my face.
We keep up to date with her siblings on social media and it is so great to see how and what they are doing. I would urge anyone to adopt one of these incredible creatures.'
'Bella arrived 3.30 am into the Dorset village which is now her home. She is four months of petite charm: full of character and potential to be a wonderful dog. She and the senior cat George are now much more settled although he has made it clear he won't play. People do ask "What is she?" but one old chap said "Say she is a Bella and see how she turns out!"
She is a collector; pond weed, slippers, apron, socks, paper, toilet roll, towel...and sometimes one of numerous toys! I am so pleased a friend gave me the WAHF website and they were so helpful. My thanks on behalf of one very happy little dog and her new owner. Here she is in her new environment .'
'We had been looking at rescue dogs on Instagram for some time when I came across the Cyprus dogs instagram account and saw Margo (then known as Friday) staring out at me with her beautiful sad looking eyes. I was immediately drawn to her, as was my partner, and we wanted to know more about her and her background. We had to be careful with our choice of dog as we have a little boy of 4 yrs old and an older dog that is 9 yrs old. Eve (Cyprus dogs) gave us as much information as possible and then put up a short video of Margo being very affectionate with the other dogs and that was it, we knew we had to bring her home to us.
Meeting Margo for the first time was quite emotional – she was smaller than I thought she would be, and she was quite thin. Straight away she leaned in for a cuddle and was so very affectionate and gentle. We could not wait to get her home, and now it feels like she has always been with us!
Even though we have only had Margo for 4 weeks she settled in with my older dog within days, and is brilliant off the lead – running off into the wooded area of our park but always keeping her eyes on us. She loves tugging on her toys and chasing balls, nipping at our toes, playing with other dogs – and cuddling up on the settee with us. Every day she is up at 6am and ready to play. She seems so happy compared to how she looked in her pound picture – and happiest of all when she is out walking and running free, through the trees and dipping into the stream that goes through our park. Margo is a joy to have and we could not be happier now that she has joined our family – our little boy adores her. We would highly recommend the experience of having a rescue dog because the love and happiness you get in return is beyond compare and so rewarding! We are so happy that we found each other.'
'Albert arrived at his furever home in the UK from Cyprus. He was very quiet the first week but quickly became a confident, cheeky and charming little chap. He accepted the other animals in the household with ease, including visiting cats and dogs. Albert loves throwing his toys up in the air and playing tug with his doggy sisters. He is so determined to win the tug toy that he literally pulls Wilma (of German Shepherd mix) along the floor as she holds onto the other end of the tug toy! Albert doesn't like the famous Manchester rain so he has to be persuaded to leave the house if it's wet outside, but he happily wears his coat (he was mistaken for a duck one day whilst wearing said coat!). He barks at cyclists and joggers and we think there may be a language problem - he absolutely refuses to sit when asked! There have been a couple of medical issues which we are in the process of sorting out, so it's been important to have suitable insurance/funds to manage his health. He's an absolute joy and his happy howls in the morning let me know that adopting him was the best thing ever.'
'I first set eyes on Clover when I saw a picture of her on Instagram, a puppy found on the streets in Cyprus. My partner and I weren't looking to get another dog at the time, however, we knew when the time was right we would definitely rescue from Cyprus. We both instantly fell in love with Clover and set the wheels in motion to adopt her. It was so exciting, picking her up from the airport, we couldn't believe how tiny she was. We already have a Boxer called Max and they instantly hit it off, they are now inseparable and Max is a much calmer dog. I can't imagine my life without her and rescuing a dog is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.'
'I kept going back to WAHF website, as I was somehow sure that WAHF was going to have the little dog I was looking for…. I knew I was on to a good place anyway as a friend had recently adopted a beautiful little dog from them (from Cyprus). It was going to be my first dog and I’m nearly 60!
Still working full-time, I had a very specific list of requirements and wrote to Alicia and Eve apologising and told them to send me packing with a flea in my ear if they thought I was being unreasonable. To me it was a case of being responsible about the sort of little dog I knew I could manage – small, calm, good with cats, good with baby grandson, able to be left on her own for part of the day, not a barker, and so on. And one that would accept a very untried ‘hooman’! But, instead of a flea in the ear, they said ‘give us a few days and we’ll find one for you!’ Three days later, Eve came back with the suggestion of the most adorable little bundle of fluff in Bosnia! Described as a little dog with a huge heart and that they could not understand why she’d been abandoned, as she was no trouble at all and loved everyone and all the other dogs.
I showed photos of her to my two grown up children separately and they both said ‘oh! She looks like a teddy bear’! So with a feeling like…I was getting married…or announcing a pregnancy…!!... I emailed Eve and said ….’YES, PLEASE’!! And promptly burst into tears!
A few weeks later, on Feb 11th this year, I went up to Cobham Services with my son driving, to be delivered of this beautiful little dog, who I decided to call Tink. Even the others waiting for theirs, cried ‘Ohhh! She’s gorgeous’ when they saw her! She was shaking like a leaf, but I sat her on my lap, strapped into the car, in a chenille blanket and held her tight and spoke to her gently and reassuringly. She stopped shaking after about ten minutes and started licking my face! So completely sweet ….even if a little smelly!! Who’d blame her after two days on the road and two days in kennels, and also on heat, bless her! So with messages to Eve, when we got her home - and she seemed to be taking it all into her stride - we gave her a bath and she melted our hearts!
Tink is gentle and loving towards my baby grandson although I keep a very close eye because the baby’s only 13months old and doesn’t understand either and I’d hate for him to hurt her or vice versa. She’s just keen to lick him…he’s not so keen! But they’re learning fetch together and they see each other regularly and I think it’s wonderful for my baby grandson too. I took time to introduce her to my two cats and now her favourite buddy is our boy cat, Tipsy - the older one is more cautious! They sleep in difference rooms but we’re at the stage of leaving the door open between all the time now, and the cats can come and go through the flap. Tink slept downstairs from her first night, without a whimper or cry…although she escaped the canvas crate I tried her in, and was looking very pleased with herself on the sofa next morning – that’s it then! She did mess on the floor for a few weeks, but now holds on until we go for walks…four times a day…good for me too! I spoke to Dave, WAHF dog behaviourist, about a few things I wasn’t sure of and he was very good and reassuring and suggested tips.
We live in a leafy part of a small town and she enjoys lots of walks around home, with all the possibilities of chasing pigeons and squirrels and at weekends we take her off to the countryside round and about and I’ve started to let her off the extendable lead, where she is safe and in view. She’s as good as gold and everyone we meet offers to take her home…nope..minez!! She loves saying hello to everyone and all the dogs we meet, which needs care so we stand and wait until we know if the other person wants to or not. We started some dog classes but the other dogs are much bigger and it’s a strain for me to keep bending down to give her training snacks...although I’m reviewing this shortly! May do a few one-to-ones. She’s eager to please, if a little wayward sometimes – youthful enthusiasm!
Tink has been spayed now and has recovered very well, although a little heart breaking for me the first day or two as she was so confused. She’s lost a lot of her baby fluff and is now neatly clipped for summer, but still has her wonderful fluffy tail and floppy ears and curls behind them. She comes to the office with me and my doggy colleague reckons she’s the sweetest natured dog she’s ever met!! She’s quite convinced she could be a film star too!
I am absolutely thrilled with Tink - she’s the most wonderful little companion. Huge thank you to all at WAHF – as mentioned by others, you certainly know your dogs and are fantastic at matching! Wonderful work you do everywhere!'
- Tahira Martin
'Late one Friday evening (fizz had been involved!) I was looking at Nikki Tibbles' floral masterpieces on Instagram and I saw the link to WAHF and took a look. My husband Tim and I had been considering getting a third dog, particularly as I had just given up work, so instead of looking for a puppy I thought an older rescue would be ideal. I saw Bessie's face on the site and her soulful chocolate button eyes had me smitten instantly.
Tim and myself had our home check and all went well. Ruby our Cavalier and Molly our Westie behaved well throughout, so we started to get excited - new collars and beds for all, and of course new toys as well (my friends daughter Zara sourced Bessie some fancy Juicy Couture balls!) I had regular contact with Bessie's foster mummy in Greece and the WAHF team too, and then some weeks later Bessie arrived at 8pm on a glorious June evening. She was tired and stiff and frightened to leave the van. Eventually she came with me though and met Ruby and Molly who seemed none plussed, which we felt was a good sign.
First night all canines slept peacefully together. There then began a stream of visitors to meet this international celebrity. Bessie has been such a hit with everyone, including Alison our groomer, who gave her a one to one spa day. Her kindness and gentleness mixed with a tail that literally never stops wagging has made her a very popular girl.
Bessie's settling in is still a work in progress. She doesn't really like walks and is afraid of cars so we tend to go out later in the day when it's quiet. We call her our con-air maximum security prisoner as we move her from the car to house in case she is spooked and tries to run off. She always wears a harness though, which gives peace of mind. When she arrived she was afraid of the dark and we had to be carried out for the last wee of the day but she is braver now. Bangs or loud noises still frighten Bessie.
Other days we are reminded how far we have come - like the first time she got on our bed with the other two dogs, the day she jumped on the dining table and the fact she uses the sofa as a show jump now! I love Bessie, she is my shadow. Her loyalty to me and her gentleness shine through. I can't imagine my family without her. Whilst I sleep she guards the top of the stairs- she has eyelashes that look like something Shu Umura sell and her heart is as full of love for us as ours is for her .
I accept that like a special forces dog she exits a room backwards and sits with her back to the wall and she accepts that Bessie BooBoo is what I love to call her. My favourite sound of the day is as she bounds up the stairs first thing in the morning with that wagging tail and her never ending licks. Bessie always looks like she is smiling, well she is really smiling now as the queen of the castle in her new home!'
'My husband and I moved to Bristol at the end of last year, and one of the many reasons for making this move was so we could have a dog. We had both been brought up with dogs being part of the family and we really wanted to have that for our own. The lifestyle we had in London unfortunately meant that we were never in the position to give a dog the time or space that they would need so when we discussed about changing the pace of our life, this was a huge deciding factor!
Before we moved we took 6 months out to go travelling and it was on our travels that the decision to adopt a rescue was really made. We saw so many stray dogs when away from home; unwanted, unloved, wandering and scavenging the streets. It broke our hearts each and every day and we just wanted to save them all.
When we came back to the UK and had started to settle into our new city, we decided to look online at the process of rescuing a pup. I came across Wild at Heart Foundation through one of my many Google searches, along with other UK rescue organisations. The debate between adopting a dog from the UK or abroad came up and people asked why we didn't want to help a dog "from home"? We would have been happy to adopt a dog from anywhere in all honesty, but WAHF just seemed to stand out to us. They understand that most importantly, dogs need a loving home but to make that happen adopters would have to work and be able to lead their lives still. Not only are they rescuing as many strays as they possibly can but they are also trying to make the world aware of the problem we have to try and reduce the stray dog population.
The moment we saw Elvis, previously Rob, on Instagram we knew we had to get in touch about him. It was a little earlier than we had originally been planning - we weren't due to move into our house for another month or so but we thought we should at least show our interest and hopefully get the ball rolling. I emailed Eve our application and then I instantly became like a kid at Christmas, whilst impatiently waiting for a response (sorry Eve and Alicia for my badgering).
Thankfully, we were approved and the team at WAHF were fantastic at trying to organise his arrival date. We had to try and fit this around our move into the house but they were flexible and made it work, which was greatly appreciated.
Since the moment Elvis arrived, we've been very lucky. We were expecting to have to put a lot of work into a rescue but he is a confident little thing and hasn't demanded much from us at all. He's about 2 years old according to the vet but unfortunately, WAHF don't know his history so we can only assume certain things. They found him abandoned and walking the streets of Cyprus on his own, but I think he was probably in a home once upon a time because he has picked up his routine very quickly.
We found out pretty much as soon as he got here that he loves to jump! Onto anything or anyone and as high as he can possibly go (which is impressively high!!). Not the greatest trait for when he meets new people and something we have worked on but it was very funny to watch and he seems so happy when he is leaping about. We've nicknamed him the "mountain goat" along with "Dobby" (uncanny appearance to the house Elf from Harry Potter).
He loves to bury his treats in the garden (and then dig them up only seconds later...), he's learning to love to swim (although this is taking some time as he's not the greatest fan of being wet), he loves playing fetch (can't play this with tennis balls though as he just destroys them within moments) and he loves his walks (he can go for miles and miles too... his size is no reflection on his energy)! You can tell he’s from Cyprus too as he will find any slither of sun he can to basque in.
I worked from home when he first joined us and he was with me everyday. I am really grateful I got this time with him to settle in but one of the slight issues we experienced from this was Elvis started to "defend" me from my Husband or my Mum. When they would come near he started to growl and would sometimes nip at them. We knew it was something we had to nip in the bud quickly as we wanted him to feel comfortable with us, friends, family, strangers when out and about and also other dogs. As silly as it sounds, the way we did this was to make a point of having a cuddle in front of him whilst reassuring him that it was OK! He didn't like this at first and it took a little while, but it seems to have worked.
He is the most loveable dog that showers you with affection, unbelievably funny, inquisitive and very smart. He has learned to trust very quickly which we are grateful for and he has really settled in to our family. We are 5 and a half months in and we can't imagine what our life was like without him.
Thank you Wild at Heart Foundation; the work you do on behalf of these dogs is incredible and we are truly grateful that you do what you do!'
- Casie-Georgia Marshall
'She's My Maggie.
Unless she's being naughty then she's definitely Margaret!
It's almost two years we came into each others lives, we bonded over a cup of tea and pineapple juice at her wonderful foster mum's home and then a week later she was home.
I fell In love with her on Instagram, it was her eyes, they were so deep and special. What else can I tell you about Maggie...
At first she was so shy and afraid of everything, mostly noises, plastic bags and unfortunately men. Her past must have been hard and her memories still there but with patience and love and care she has changed so much.
She has a naughty sense of humour! She gets us into trouble at times with other dogs as she lets them know who's boss in the park and gives newbies a hard time for the first few meets but then she becomes their best friend.
I lost her once in the beginning, that was hard and scary for both of us so you must really take care.
Our biggest thing in common is our unconditional love for each other. I know how grateful she is for her new life and I'm so grateful for my new life with her in it. Be patient, don't give up when the going gets tough or you think things are taking too long to change... love conquers all in the end and thats what most of these precious dog feel from us.
They really do come out the other side. It may only take a few months or it make take a few years but know that in the end it will all be worth it. Maggie still has her quirks but everyday she gets stronger and more confident and I'm proud to call her mine.
Nothing can compare to this process, whatever dog you choose and whatever you experience, both good times and bad, it's meant to be - for us and for them. Maggie has taught me things as much as I have taught her things and for that I'm also grateful.
Adopt don't shop ... there is no other way. Thank you Wild at Heart Foundation for all you do for dogs like Maggie and her friends.'
- Hayley Newstead
'We had been looking to adopt another dog to keep our current dog company and came across the WAHF website. We kept an eye on the available dogs page almost daily and were in fairly regular contact with them. In Feb 2017 Eve suggested we have a look at Rufus who was in a foster home in Cyprus. He'd recently been found as a stray and there was no known history on him. He was good with dogs and children so that was ideal. He was a poodle cross and looked like a black scruffy mutt in the photos but we liked the look of him and decided to go ahead.
After that it all happened really quickly (due to exceptional circumstances) and within 3 days I was waiting at the motorway services for him to arrive. I was amazed when he strolled off the van wagging his tail, certainly not at all phased by his long journey. Adopting a dog when you've only seen pics is a gamble and we were naturally anxious beforehand but we fell in love instantly. He is such a gentle, loving and 'chilled out' dog and everyone who meets him loves him too.
Due to the time of day we picked him up we couldn't introduce him to our other dog on neutral territory but thankfully all went well and they hit it off from the start. They have been inseparable ever since. Luckily he was fully housetrained and knew a few basic commands. His recall is still hit and miss but we are making progress with the help if a whistle. We live in the country and he can't be trusted near livestock but hopefully training will improve this over time.
The whole process of adopting Rufus was straightforward and we'd have no hesitation in recommending WAHF as there is so much support given both before and afterwards. We wouldn't be without Rufus now and feel very lucky to have him. Thanks Eve and WAHF.'
- Kate Mapleston
'My friend has a song that she wrote about Twig. She really just shouts that 'he's handsome and clever and brave' over and over again, and it's kind of deafening, but I'm inclined to agree. He's 100% babe, and is tackling life with full gusto despite his shaky start.
My boyfriend and I had talked about getting a dog since the day we met and I dread to think about the number of hours we wasted talking about what breed would suit us. We knew that the right thing to do would be to re-home a rescue, but everything I had read and heard from friends suggested we wouldn't pass the vetting process. We had resigned ourselves to the fact we would need to buy one if it was ever going to happen, and I continued to be bamboozled about how on earth you choose a breed.
Luckily we stumbled across WAHF who were able to see that we were fit for the job. I saw a picture of Twiggy (was Patch, obviously) and it was instant adoration. His face was to die for, and he seemed to be about the right size and breed for our active lives. The weeks between being accepted and him arriving were the worst bit. You've picked a dog from the internet and it's being delivered to your house, a complete unknown. Terrifying. I kept thinking we'd made a mistake and was close to backing out at times.
He arrived late on a Tuesday night and the smell of him when he arrived is something I will never forget. He was a nervous, jiggling, bundle of love, but he stank as though the world was ending. He had a couple of worrying behaviours to begin with; he wouldn't turn his back to you and would walk backwards especially when in closed-in spaces, he wasn't keen on leaving the house, and he was scared of other dogs.
I wonder if we have been lucky, or if most rescue dogs will thrive if the situation is right for them. I hope it's the latter. His stench was sorted with 2 baths. A wonderfully kind Whippet friend taught him not to be scared of dogs. And with a little TLC he learnt he can walk with his back to you within a few short weeks.
I'd like to say he's the perfect companion, but he has a penchant for eating my favourite plants so he gets points deducted for that. He's also insanely clumsy and so extra points deducted for all the impromptu rescue missions, like making me wade into a local river to get him out after he launched himself off a way-too-high river bank for an evening swim.
He's fearless, and kind, and it breaks my heart to think how different his life could have been if I'd given in to my nerves about rescuing a pup that we'd never met.'
- Trev & Asher
'Back in February this year my husband saw a picture of Chester and sent it to me from the WAHF Facebook page. He knew I loved Collies and although we already had a dog (a crazy Irish terrier) we had discussed maybe getting another dog. Chester looked just adorable!! Chester was already in the UK but hadn't settled into his first home. We arranged to go and visit him the following Sunday.
We took our dog Piper to introduce them and they bonded instantly! We took Chester home that very day! He seemed so happy to be with us right from the start. He got straight in the car and sat licking and playing with Piper the whole way home. We bought a new bed (BIG) for them to share & they did this happily from the start.
Chester was quite reserved with humans when he first came to us. Didn't play with toys or even try to join in with Piper in spite of ours & Piper's coaxing. When he finally ran after a ball it was like we had just won the lottery!! Then came the new soft toys. He ignored them at first, but Piper didn't give up and a tug of war ensued. The mess was easy to overlook because at last Chester was playing!! A sure sign he was settled for sure.
We have had very little problems with him at all. Only one incident of a chewed bench! But it's hard to know if it was him or Piper and they're letting the other take the blame. Also one bite on Piper's ear and face. Stupidly left them alone with a pigs trotter each while I popped out! Obviously Piper tried to get two! Never again, so lesson learned.
Chester has learned to sit and wait with Piper before he is given the command to eat his dinner in the evening. A HUGE achievement as he would wolf his and then try to get Piper's when he first came. He also now jumps up at us when we come home, where he used to just slightly wag his tail and look up pleadingly like he was hoping with all of his heart that we'd notice him and give him love. He had also recently found his bark! He didn't do this for about 3 months, but now runs to the back garden gate to let anyone who wishes to listen know it's his territory.
He is brilliant with any children that visit (unlike Piper, who is so clumsy and boisterous he knocks them over if they're small). He has the most gentle and loving nature. He just craves attention & love. He has made not just us, but our little mad Piper so happy since he came home. It is like he has been one of the family for much longer than 4 months. He is definitely a part of our family forever.'
- Elaine Pettit
'We had been looking for a dog for a while after losing our previous dog sometime before in 2016... Having a young child meant we were keen to have a dog that was of course child friendly but who could fit easily into our routine too. I'd come across Wild at Heart on Instagram and started to research them and how the process worked.
After an initial email we had a call from Alicia with whom we were able to discuss what we were looking for in a dog; child friendly, dog friendly, over 1 year in age and medium size. That was pretty much our criteria. We didn't mind bread or an older dog etc.
We were told that once a dog came up that matched our criteria we would receive an email with some photos and details. However; we got a call, in less than a week to say that Hugo, a poodle cross from Cyprus had been let down by his previous adopters and was needing a forever home. He meet all our criteria which was great... But he was arriving in a week. So, we took a chance after seeing just one picture to give this wee dog a chance and a loving home.
Well, all i can say is that we made the right decision... Hugo has been a superstar; he came 'home' at 4am after a long trip from Cyprus and settled right away. He explored a little, ate a great deal then slept, on our bed! But we wouldn't have had it any other way.
From day 1 he wasn't fazed by anything; traffic, people, dogs, our little girl. He took it all in his stride... He is just so gentle, happy and chilled out. He loves to play but equally sleep :) and and at doggy training classes, picked up tricks and manners super quickly.
I love watching the relationship between him and our little girl develop into something that will bring a lifetime of memories for both of them; They play together, relax together and he even cuddles up to her at nap time. He is the perfect gentleman!
People always comment on how well-natured and behaved he his and when I say he was a rescue from Cyprus they can't believe it. He's definitely flying the flag for rescue dogs and Wild at Heart foundation.
It's only been a month since he arrived, but it feels like he's been here forever and we wouldn't change him for the world.
Thank you for allowing us to give him a forever home!'
'My daughter begged for a dog for about five years and I finally gave in to the idea when she told me her childhood would be ruined without one! I was worried about our two cats and the commitment to a dog seemed huge. However there was part of me that wanted a dog too. I knew friends who were involved with Wild At Heart Foundation and started looking on the Instagram account of @cyprusdogs, (one of the accounts they manage to promote dogs specifically from the island of Cyprus) because my husband Luke and I had once fallen in love with a Cypriot poodle on a country walk.
I was in France in August 2016, when I saw the adorable photograph of 'Ava' looking up at me with her sweet white scruffy face and black brady eyes. She was about two months old and too cute. She was described as a poodle cross and I knew she was the one - although I felt a little apprehensive at not being able to meet her first and asked Eve a few questions by email.
The next morning I received a call to say Ava had been reserved to someone else and that lots of people had wanted to adopt her. I was heartbroken. However, there was a misunderstanding and by twist of fate it all worked out and Ava was due to travel to us in October last year. When I told my daughter she burst into tears of joy.
We were lucky that Ava and her mother had been fostered by an amazing lady called Katy who lives in Cyprus and so when she arrived she was pretty calm and just as adorable as she had seemed in the photograph. I had been worried that she would be traumatised leaving her mother and Katy, but she settled relatively quickly.
The first two weeks were quite hard: it was difficult to get used to her routine and all her walks and needs. She used to pee in the house quite a lot and that was difficult as our new wood floors were getting stained as was the carpet on the stairs, but that all seems in the distant past now.
Life is definitely enhanced by having Ava. We are all in love with her; she is the sweetest, calmest, most loving little dog. She is pleased to see us even if we leave the house for five minutes, so it's always a joy to come home or wake up to see her wagging her tail.'
- Kate Morris
'This is the story of how Irmy (Irma) came to live with me in Stalmine and the journey that took her from Bosnia to a little village on the Fylde Coast.
The potted history is that my long term partner died whilst we were on holiday almost a year ago to the day. Last year was really tough and the support of my children and friends was crucial in getting me across a difficult time. The other thing that really restored normality to my life was getting my dogs, Milo and Honey, back from the kennels and getting back to a normal routine of walking and caring for my dogs. Once I had the dogs back, my children were confident to go back to their lives and jobs.
I got to thinking that my dogs were now over 10 years old and I considered that getting a younger dog to add to my mini pack would be a benefit. That's about all the thought I gave the matter until I read an article by Lotte Brouwer (another WAHF adopter) about getting a dog from wild at heart foundation. My big dog (Milo) was bought as a puppy following a painful divorce. My kids were 15 and 16 at the time and it was one of the best decisions I ever made! They called him (and still do call him) 'little brother' . My other dog (a little Pom cross) came to me as a 2 year old when her owner decided that she was no longer required once a new baby came along.
So I contacted Eve at WAHF. I explained that I could offer a loving forever home to a rescue dog. Eve started to send me pics of Irma just before Christmas. I said immediately I would offer her a home.
On the 4th Feb in a cold and wet Tibshelf service station I took the delivery of the wee ginger ball known as Irma. Within 5 minutes, having had a small walk on the grass and downing some chicken and a drink, I wrapped her in a blanket and put on the seat heater and drove home with her keeping one eye on me the whole time. It was honestly as though she realised she was home. When we got home we went for a stroll round the lanes where I live and she was so fascinated by the sight of cows going into a milking shed that we had to wait till they all disappeared!!
The timing of Irma coming to live with me could not have been worse! Within a day of picking her up, my dad collapsed and was rushed to hospital and I had to find a home for my mum who has Alzheimer's. I had to move in with mum whilst I sorted care for her so the dogs came too. Including the very new Irma. She took it all in her stride and it seemed as long as me, Milo and Honey were there, she knew she was okay and she settled wherever we all were. I work in the principle that if I am dealing with situations in a calm manner, the dogs take cues from that and do likewise.
Irma has been fantastic. She bonded so well with my big dog, the golden doodle and although the relationship with my Pom cross, Honey, was slower they are now great pals and as I write this they are playing tug of war over a stuffed toy chicken!
There have been absolutely no issues with Irma at all. She is housetrained and despite the recommendation of keeping them on the lead for a few weeks, she was walking off the lead within a week.
Practical stuff aside, she has brought me an enormous amount of pleasure. She actually makes me laugh out loud at her antics and we post on Facebook regularly to let people know what the ginger gremlin is up to now! She watches TV. She loves playing ball and swimming. She takes everything in her stride.
If you are a dog owner already, giving a home to a dog in need is so rewarding. If this is the first time you have owned a dog, prepare for the experience to change your life for the better.
Wild at Heart Foundation have been brilliant from the start. From the practical stuff to the supportive elements they have been with us all the way.
Irma is just around 18 months old so the way I see it, we will grow old together!! I have plans to retire in the next few years so who knows- maybe Irma and I will be posting updates from our travels around Europe!!
Go for it. There is never a 'right time' to take the plunge and adopt. If you have the time, compassion, energy and patience - giving a WAFH dog a good home may be the most rewarding thing you do.'
- Rhona Holland
'April 2016 was a month which we will always remember, for that was when Roland joined our family.
I read about the Wild at Heart Foundation on social media, so decided to make some enquiries. It soon became apparent that this charity not only had a wonderful choice of dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, but also that it was an extremely ethical charity who put the needs of its dogs first.
I got in touch with Eve, the re-homing manager, and told her the sort of dog we wanted. We discounted a couple of dogs, (my husband is asthmatic) but within a couple of days Eve suggested a small black poodle cross-breed puppy, just a few months old, who had been found as a stray & was was about to be put down until the charity stepped in to save him. I fell in love with him instantly, so that was it. Our fates were sealed. His and ours.
He was delivered to us a couple of months later, once all of his vaccinations had been done and his pet passport prepared. WAHF also had him microchipped. We will never forget picking Roland up in the carpark of an anonymous hotel somewhere on the outskirts of Cheltenham. He was instantly such a friendly boy, he jumped up to greet us, couldn't wait to get into the car and he was ours, and we were his.
We have been very lucky with him. He settled very quickly and has always slept through the night. There was a few toilet accidents, but that's only to be expected. He had some stomach issues when we first got him but after a few weeks/months his tummy settled down. He is an absolute joy. He's funny, loving & crazy. He is still on the timid side with other dogs, especially those larger than him, but that isn't really too much of an issue. They say that rescue dogs are more loving than a puppy from a breeder, and I think it must be true. Our neighbours got a labradoodle puppy a few months after we got Roland and she tells me that her dog doesn't like cuddles ! Our boy loves them, and so do we.
I can wholeheartedly recommend WAHF; they are caring, and most of all, ethical. Adopt don't shop.'
- Lesley Hutcheson
'Lenny arrived with us from Romania last July and it's safe to say he's turned our lives upside down, in a crazy and beautiful way!
It's hard to prepare yourself for life with a puppy, and despite reading a mountain of books before he arrived, Lenny in reality was so much more than we expected. More work, yet so much more joy!
A rescue puppy (like any puppy) comes with its own unique personality traits, and Lenny was no different. At first he was nervous and needed coaxing into everyday habits such as walking and travelling by car. Patience, love and an endless supply of treats soon overcame these barriers. We've had many a sleepless night (much like having a newborn) but today Lenny is a much more confident dog.
Lenny is a cheeky chappy: he loves chicken treats, chewing his bone, chasing squirrels & cats, playing in the park with other doggies, getting muddy and playing hide and seek! At the end of the day he likes nothing more than jumping up on the sofa with us for a nice relaxing cuddle.
We would suggest working with a trainer during the first few months and expect to lose some household items: socks, slippers - even a subwoofer have been popular with Lenny!
All that said, we absolutely adore Lenny and cannot imagine life without him. We may have lost a few possessions but our life is so much richer for it.'
'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 rehome 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 Eve 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
'Lana, an adult female Akita rescued from a military camp, was on the verge of death. Her terrible physical state, and a huge tumour which was misdiagnosed for a serious form of cancer, nearly had us putting her to sleep. We took her as as foster, with the thought that she could at least have some decent last days of life...Lana however is a miracle dog. She took us all by surprise.
Not only did the suspicious tumour disappear, but she was showing us day by day that she was full of life, energy and love. Now she is 100% healthy, we have officially adopted her and we could not be happier. She is showing us her best character, which I believe is her way of thanking us for saving her and believing in her. The love and gratitude that a rescued dog can show you, is beyond words. I hope the photos will speak for themselves.'
'I’ve always been a dog lover, but was unsure about getting another. You see I lost my last dog Meg, a Border Terrier, about 2 and a half years ago and was completely devastated when she died and I was unsure whether I could go through that kind of pain again. But it then occurred to me that there’s so much joy out of having a dog and the good times far outweigh the bad times.
Nikki was often sending me pictures of dogs that needed a home, but I would always say that they were far too big and only wanted a small dog. Then just over a year ago Nikki sent me a picture of Jess, a small dog, with mad hair and so cute, just what I was looking for, so I immediately said yes.
When Jess first arrived she was so nervous and shy of everything and everyone, but with time and patience and a lot of love she has found her feet and settled in. Jess loves all other dogs and has such fun over the park playing with her many friends. It takes Jess a long time to trust people, but once she does she is full of love and affection for you. I always say she’s such a funny little dog, almost human like, there’s something very special about her. I think she may always be a little nervous of new people, but I’m not bothered by this, the love I get from her is immeasurable and I love her to bits.'
'When you adopt an adult dog you can sometimes half expect them to know all the commands.. most of the time, assuming anything with a rescue is a sure fire way of falling on your arse and looking like an idiot because they can be wholly unpredictable.
Freddie is incredible. Full of life, a wonderful nature, smart, great company and a pretty wonderful snuggler. What his divine face and beautiful amber eyes won't tell you, is he is terrified of moving vehicles, especially motorbikes. He barks pretty aggressively until they have passed. He needs time to adjust to unfamiliar people (he can grumble when someone new walks through the door) but once you have sat and stroked him for a while, he will be your bestie for life!
Please don't get me wrong, I think we've managed to get a rescue dog who is pretty damn easy in comparison to some stories I've followed. He jumps in and out of the car with ease. Sits and waits in the house when I run to the car because I've forgotten something, he lets me check his teeth, gums, eyes, under his tail and his claws. He is in daycare from 7am to 5pm every day because I work full time and this has definitely been HUGELY beneficial... he has met every breed of dog possible, has a best friend who is a wolf dog and they run around like maniacs together, he is much more sociable than he was (showed a little too much dominance to other dogs to start with as he'd been bullied on the streets), and his recall is getting better and better (buy a 30m long line from Amazon and just have it running on the floor when you are out walking so if you need to grab them you can).
What I'm trying to say is, if you have the time and the patience, a rescue dog is incredibly rewarding. It's bloody hard work at times, but a routine helps.
Knowing what I know now, eight months later, I'd still do it all again because he is worth it... any rescue dog is worth it. They deserve to be loved and shown kindness and compassion when all their life they've been let down, abused, neglected and tossed out with the rubbish.
It is the best thing we have ever done. He has fitted in to our lives so smoothly and we absolutely adore him!
Thank you WAHF for finding this special little rascal for us. We are so in love!'
- Emma Fitzmaurice
'We adopted our little Cypriot poodle-cross almost nine-months ago now, and it’s already hard to imagine what life was like pre- Chloé!
We had ummed and ahhed about getting a dog for a long time – we were very keen but knew it had to be the right fit, for us and the dog. We also knew that we didn’t want to buy a puppy from a breeder, but we had trouble finding a dog to adopt from our local animal shelter in Geneva that didn’t potentially require the extra special care it deserved, but that we just wouldn’t have the time and resources to provide.
So when we came across an article about the Wild at Heart Foundation, we knew immediately that we had found the answer. We had no real preference about breed, though because we live in an urban setting we were keen on a smaller dog that was still hardy and energetic enough to enjoy long walks by the lake and mountains in Switzerland. Only a short time later we received an email from the Foundation’s wonderful rehoming manager Eve, with three photos of “Cleo”, the sweetest little pup we’d ever seen. It was love at first sight!
It took four month old Chloé a little longer to warm up to us though! She was understandably timid and scared when I met her in Paris, but was such a trooper as she bravely faced the plane ride to her new home in Geneva. The most precious piece of hand luggage I’ve ever had!
For the first week she was scared to go outside, was terrified of traffic noise and being left alone and was very afraid of other dogs. Despite all this, we could already see that she was a smart, sweet-natured dog, full of affection and playfulness. Though she did ruin a rug by using it as her own personal toilet…
After some helpful advice from WaHF’s David Drew, we did our best to train her and give her constant reassurance, and very soon she was a completely different dog. It’s been incredible watching her confidence and happiness grow each day as she’s become the most loving dog we could have ever hoped for.
Now, wild horses couldn’t keep her from playing with other dogs, she has bounds of energy and we can bring her just about anywhere with us. After a long walk of course!
She seems to love life in Geneva, especially running around in the mountains, exploring the woods and – when the sun shines – swimming in the lake. But she’s not the only one who’s benefitted from her adoption. She’s helped us to be more active, particularly during the dreary winter months and brought our stress levels way down (who could be stressed when on the receiving end of one of her “lick attacks”!). As anyone who has ever rescued a dog will tell you, it’s not just them who is saved – it’s us too.
Of course, she can be a little rascal at times, but she’s become the happiest little dog we could ever have hoped for. From sleeping on our shoes when one of us leaves the house to following us around the apartment like a little lamb, she’s an adorable creature with a heart bursting full of love.
Chloé has brought us immeasurable joy already, and we can’t thank Eve and the Wild at Heart Foundation enough for the vital work they’re doing to save these little angels.'
- Shannon Chainey
'My husband George and I have had dogs our whole lives. As soon as we moved into a house with a garden, a dog was the top of our agenda! I discovered Wild at Heart Foundation via Instagram; both of us fell head over heels with Jay (Dexter's former name) as soon as we saw him. We couldn't believe our luck when we received the email to say he was still available!
From that moment until we welcomed him home, the team at Wild at Heart Foundation were wonderful. Always available to offer advice and calm our nerves when we had the usual queries. A home check to check your suitability is completed via Facetime and that's a great opportunity to ask as many questions as you have (we had many!).
Dexter is from Cyprus, he was abandoned in a pound as a young pup with his brother Sam. He was 4 months old when we collected him at 1am on a chilly October night. We had been waiting for him for about 6 weeks after our homecheck (we had to wait for him to have all his vaccinations). He was tiny when he arrived, I couldn't believe how calm he was after his long journey! We'd taken an evening nap as we had expected that he would keep us awake all night but as soon as we got him home he fell asleep!
It took him a few days to settle in, all new sights and sounds made him unsure and shakey. We crate trained him and that was the best advice we had, it became his "safety zone".
From the moment he arrived he has been the most loving, sociable and loyal pup. I have never had a dog as affectionate as Dexter. We have had our fair share of challenges (most notably the digging and the chewing!) but that's what you'd expect with any pup. He is nervous still in new environments, especially when he meets new men for the first time and recall has been a challenge; a Cypriot hound, when he is mid-hunt no recall or treat will distract him. That said, he is improving and WAHF's dog trainer David has been brilliant and is always at the end of the phone with advice.
We are in touch with the family who adopted Dex's brother Sam, it's been a huge support sharing stories. We met up with them recently and it was such a joy watching the brothers play together again! The whole Wild at Heart Foundation community are fantastic, everyone shares stories in the adopter's Facebook group - it's good to know you are not alone when you have a challening day!
Before Dexter arrived I read somewhere that it's like rescue dogs know they have been saved by you. I couldn't agree with this more. Dexter has brought so much happiness to our lives. He gets us out of the house on country walks at weekends and everyone asks about him all the time, he is such a character and so loved! It's a big lifestyle change getting any dog; for a rescue you need to be prepared to have plenty of patience. The rewards in return are worth it and if you are reading this unsure whether to adopt or not, DO IT! We cannot image life without Dexter now.'
- Lyndsay Morgan
He's our no-so-little heartbreaker, people-pleaser, sock stealer, goofball, frisbee catcher and all round love bug. It's been just over 6 months since Percy arrived from Bosnia and we can't imagine life without him.
When our old terrier passed away last year we were heartbroken and couldn't bear the quiet in the house. We knew that at some point we'd get another hound and always knew he'd be a rescue.
My sister quietly nudged me in the direction of Wild At Heart Foundation and I spent days 'pawing' over pictures of wonderful dogs – wanting to give a home to all of them. As Christmas was just over a month away we knew that it would be a perfect time to welcome a new dog to our home as we were going to be off work for a month.
Someone else has likened choosing a rescue as extreme on-line dating and that's exactly how we describe it. Tanja in Bosnia sent us a stream of pictures and videos of Percy (nee Pax) and we were smitten but anxious at the same time. At four months old Percy was heartbreakingly gorgeous but what would he grow into? How big would he get? What would his temperament be like? Would he like us?
After a very efficient and thorough process of home checks and constant communication with WAHF the wheels were set in motion and Eve moved heaven and earth to get Percy to us before Christmas. Three weeks later we were waiting at Cobham services for the hand-over. As soon as we clapped eyes on our pup it was love at first sight. We all cried! He settled into his new home immediately, and even more incredibly he house-trained in 2 days and slept downstairs in his own bed without incident or crying from night one. He was (and still is) healthy and happy and loves a trip to the vets – despite his neutering! He was a little whiffy after his long overland journey from Bosnia – but this was totally expected and nothing that a warm bath couldn't sort out.
He loves other dogs – no matter what shape or size – and has a number of doggy best friends who he greets with yelps of joy. I'm not sure whether this is because his first few months were spent surrounded by other dogs or not, but he's sociable and respectful of other hounds. He's a hit at the village pub which welcomes dogs of all shapes and sizes. He loves car journeys and has ventured to Wales and Cornwall and is looking forward to his Scottish holiday in the autumn.
Six months in and Percy is now almost fully grown – the small, timid creature who arrived at Christmas has become a confident, loving and life-affirming addition to our home. At some point in the next few years we will add to our pack and can't imagine doing it any other way than through WAHF.
Percy was one of a litter of 10 pups in the shelter in Mostar and all of his siblings and his Mum have found their forever homes….if that's not a success story then I don't know what is.'
- Annie Rigg
'Darling Rocco joined our family 6 months ago and I can not thank WAHF enough.
We had wanted to adopt a rescue dog for some time and after doing a lot of research WAHF popped up on social media. The projectsthey were leading all over the world, and the awareness campaigns were the main reasons I was drawn in. I wanted to help, and how can you resist all those faces.
I immediately contacted Eve to see the process involved in adopting, I wanted to ensure I was one the right candidate, the security and safety for the dogs was my precedent, I didn’t want to let anyone down. Then little Rocco (originally Dingo) popped up, we fell for him instantly! 3 months later, when Rocco was old enough and had all his jabs, we were off to Heathrow to pick him up, I could not have been more nervous or overwhelmed with emotion. He was so little and scared but all I could think was that he was now safe and well and going to be surrounded by so much love.
Rocco was 4 months old when we got him and it was evident that we would have to go back to basics, he wasn’t toilet trained, had had minimal contact with roads or cars, never been on a lead BUT oh did he love cuddles and affection. We decided to crate train him which I would highly recommend, as I would be taking him to work with me, he needed to know which was his space and which was ours.
The first few weeks we had ups ands downs, mainly when it came to bed time… he would cry, which was upsetting, after trying and testing suggestions - classical musical seemed to work its magic and also having a blanket over the cage. We took our time, Rocco chose the pace, and we got there with time and patience and lots of treats and rewards, not to mention funny looks from passer-by’s hearing our doggy talk!! He now takes himself off to bed, maybe after a cheeky little cuddle in our bed. As much as you say no dogs in the bed, we just can’t resist his charm!!!
We go on lots of family adventures, he’s been surfing in St Ives, Paddleboarding in Cornwall, Canoeing on the Thames, deer stalking in Richmond. He loves his big brother Perry and has been learning the tricks of the trade from him. He goes to the local coffee shop at the weekend for a flirt with the girls, who spoil him rotten. Next big cameo role for Rocco will be our wedding inSeptember, he is our family and I could not imagine our lives without him. We love him dearly.
All I can say is a big fat THANK YOU to Eve and the whole team at WAHF and not forgetting the star of the show Rocco. You are all amazing!'
- Rose Belderbos
'It was thanks to the wonderful Rosie Londoner's blog that I discovered 'Wild at Heart Foundation'. We had been idly talking about getting a dog for a while, but when I saw Belka's (née Dora) profile on Instagram one day, I fell in love. I would never have pursued the fantasy, but Mo was adamant that we had to have Belka in our lives!
Our intention had always been to adopt, but the reality of actually doing so, especially from another country, was very daunting. Everyone we knew said we were mad. 'What if she's unmanageable?' they argued. 'How will you cope if she is aggressive?', they protested. Fortunately, they are all eating their words now!
Belka arrived scruffy and travel worn in our friends' little red car just over a year ago and, after a little groom and a lesson in walking on tiled floors, honestly we've never looked back. She was a delight from the very start and has been a wonderful addition to our weird little managerie.
She is the gentlest creature imaginable. She never barks. She can learn tricks in minutes. She travels well. She's great with cats and even the tinest children. She can't leave the house without being complemented and surrounded by admirers. I could go on and on...
Belka has made a big difference to our lives, but also to others'. She often spends weekends with Mo's family in the country and has even helped his mother settle in to her new rural community, when she retired last summer. Dog walkers love to stop for a good chat! To top that off, she recently won best rescue in the local village dog show, ably handled by Mo's niece.
We can't thank you, the team at the Wild at Heart Foundation, enough for bringing Belka into our lives. We'd do it all again in a heart beat.'
- Lucy Tittle and Mo Shawwa
'After sifting through dozens of cute puppy pictures, we chose the scruffiest, happiest looking puppy with sparkling black eyes and black spots, standing on a dirt mound in Cyprus, surrounded by a pack of equally naughty looking friends. Jeffrey. I knew immediately that he was our dog, so he flew with his dog passport to join us in the Cotswolds.
From day one, Jeffrey has been a best friend, companion and co-conspirator to my children and me. He communicates so much love and concern through his spectacular eyebrows and he still sits on the hilltop admiring the view with a palpable sense of gratitude. He was too handsome to remain single forever, so when we saw a picture of Dolly, his equally scruffy, spotty, slightly chubbier female counterpart from Cyprus, we had to have her too.
Dolly had a rough start, having been separated from her puppies and then in a kennel in Cyprus for two years. She is now mother and nanny to us all, with her gloomy loving eyes and tail wag that involves her entire body. They play together and with us all day and then sleep in full body spoon with at least one of us every night. Rescuing them pales in comparison to the love and joy they have brought to us.
It is so hard to articulate the story of Jeffrey and Dolly. This is a drawing my son did, which sums it up pretty well. My son is playing by himself in the playroom, my daughter is playing by herself and Jeffrey is curled under the table sleeping. Then Dolly arrives from a kennel in Cyprus and does her little wiggle, saying hello and it makes everyone dance.'
- Lily Atherton-Hanbury
'We'd been looking for Pinky for a while when her photo appeared on my Instagram feed. I have to honest - I'd followed most of the dog themed Instagram accounts partly to fulfil a 'cuteness quota' needed to get me through the day - I never thought we'd find our dog on there. I never thought we'd be that lucky.
But there she was - in all her scruffy, thoughtful, puppy loveliness, a black German wire haired Pointer cross who had been left at the shelter in Cyprus with her brother, Perky (now Ludo.) After a flurry of emails, she was reserved - for us.
As a family we'd been in circles discussing all the practicalities of getting a dog, but with Marc & I working long hours and 2 busy children - a couple of days later I got cold feet. I kept looking at the Instagram picture of her and seeing other people interested in Pinky. While seeing the word 'reserved' made me so happy, it also made me nervous that we might not be the best family for Pinky and she could go to a home where they had more time and space to devote to her. At 6am one morning I emailed Eve to say I didn't think we could adopt her and I cried all the way to work.
By 9am I had emailed to say I hope Eve hadn't read my other email - and that we did want to adopt Pinky and proceeded to list all my worries (some, when I look back at them seem ridiculous now - we have time for Pinky, and we have bags of space, especially for someone that likes to be close to us anyway!)
Eve came back to me with a really understanding and patient response, answering all my concerns, and we went on to arrange a home check for a few days later.
After a successful home check - we finally told the boys about our girl - I don't think we could have made 2 people more happy than we did at that moment.
After, what seemed like an eternity, Pinky arrived in Edinburgh just before Christmas 2015, having flown to Paris, followed by a long drive to Scotland. Sometimes now, when I think about this time, I am still amazed - she was so brave, so open and adaptable to her experience. Pinky arrived in our lives like she was meant to be there, and I really think she is.
In the first few weeks we were all super excited, Pinky included - she would bound in from every walk like she hadn't seen us for weeks - all muddy paws, and cuddles.
Housetraining took about a month, she'd pee everywhere and it took her tummy a while to settle into her Scottish diet of Haggis & Irn Bru, (aka kibble) and we lost a couple of rugs to that time, as well as some shoes as she chewed her way through the house.
During her first few weeks with us she also developed kennel cough and colitis and we discovered that being a new dog owner was very like becoming a new parent - feeling completely clueless and constantly scared by Google searches. A visit to the vet reassured us that both conditions were common, and she recovered quickly from both.
In the January we started a course of puppy classes which was brilliant for socialising with other dogs and bonding with us, and it really helped to make us more confident with her training and dog behaviour in general.
This was especially helpful as Pinky is not a shy dog and, although she's not aggressive, if another dog shows any sort of aggression towards her, she doesn't back down - the classes really helped me to understand what was Pinky's vocal play wrestling and when and how to step in if I felt uncomfortable with any interaction with other dogs.
Through the classes we found her dog walker, Andras, who also walks wee Luce (another WAHF rescue dog.) I remember him coming round to meet Pinky for the first time and how amazed he was that she was so calm after hearing her story and how far she had travelled. Pinky loves her adventures with Andras & the pack and she has learnt some excellent manners, with dogs and humans, from her time with them.
When we're out, I'm so proud of her - Pinky is loveable, brave, loyal, sociable (with dogs and humans) and definitely has a cheeky streak - which only adds to her charm. When I think of her (and the other WAHF dogs we meet) I can't imagine I would ever consider buying a dog from a breeder.
Pinky has definitely been a bit of a poster girl for WAHF in Edinburgh, meeting her was the inspiration for Luce, Stan & Elroy, and Amber's owners to approach WAHF when they were looking for their dogs, and I know they're all so glad they did.
We love this girl to the moon and back and can't imagine life without her. She's made our lives better in so many ways, we have to go outside (even when it's raining - which is a lot in Scotland), we spend more time talking to each other (no phones on walks), we argue less, and we've met new people and been on adventures that we wouldn't have without her.
I love that saying - 'Be the person your dog thinks you are' and I'm so glad I sent that 2nd email.
Thank you WAHF & especially Eve for getting her to us.'
- Becky Robertson
'My wonderful, brave, amazing Maud has literally turned my life upside down in more ways than one. When I first saw her she was smiling at the camera with the craziest wonkiest ears I’d ever seen, I knew she was going to live with us, us being me and my beautiful bulldog boy, Boss. Maud is a 6 years old (minimum) female dog who has had lots of litters (vets knowledge).
Picking up Maud in the middle of the night at a petrol station was exciting and terrifying, so many worries were going through my head. What if she doesn’t get on with my other dog, what if she’s too shut down, what if she hates the city life with us etc? When the driver brought her out of the animal courier van, in his arms was a terrified middle-aged dog, a skinny, scared and shut down little girl who looked like she was going to break at any moment. The scars on her face and neck tell a story of the life she has endured.
We know from her amazing rescuers that Maud had been found tied to a tree with her two puppies and unfortunately only one pup survived. She was not used to living in a house and preferred living in the garden. She was also quite terrified of humans. We think she could be an ex-hunting dog, maybe kept in a cage or some sort of outside area, definitely not a loving home, or any sort of kind surroundings.
During the first month of living with us, Maud was very reluctant to socialise with us. She would lie in the corner of the room, she'd would dig the floor and spin in circles, lay down with her back to the wall, making sure she could survey the room. I believe this was because she was so used to danger that this was the only way she could still guard herself while trying to sleep.
She would wee in the house after every single meal or treat; it was like some sort of ritual, maybe because of living in a cage or never living in a home environment. I think I can honestly say for the first two months of having Maud I was a bit of a nervous wreck. She growled at my bulldog whenever he went near her sleeping area and he is so soft I was worried he was getting bullied. Her recall was awful and her hunting instincts came in as soon as she was off lead, trying to catch birds and squirrels.
The light at the end of the tunnel was time, patience and David Drew, the amazing WAHF behaviourist and dog trainer. He gave practical, sound advice and was always ready for my meltdowns over the phone. We started attending sensitivity classes with Dave, built for nervous, timid dogs, especially rescue dogs. For me this was the turning point for Maud, she grew in confidence week by week, even laying down and playing by the last lesson. Her face used to light up in the classes and the fact that she loves her meaty treats was also a win win.
Maud amazes me in so many ways. She has adapted to living in a house in the middle of London, with a flat-faced bulldog that has no boundaries. It’s obvious she has had an awful abusive life, yet still she craves and accepts my love. Every morning she waits for me to wake up and we have cuddles. When I’m stroking her she will literally push her head into my hand to make me carry on anytime I try to stop. When I come home from work she excitedly brings her favourite toys to me to play with. When I pack them away she runs and gets them from the box so tidying them up becomes a new game. She loves playing hide and seek, she gets excited if you jump out on her in the game and runs around the house like a lunatic. She adores being groomed and will sit patiently taking in all the attention and fuss she’s given. I sing songs to her and tell her just how loved she is, I have officially become a crazy dog lady because that is what she deserves. She adores my dog walker, who is male by the way, and she gets excited to go out with him. I even get photos during the day of their time together in the park.
She’s come so far and is so brave, she’s still quite scared of men but once she trusts that they’re no threat she will accept their attention. The house training is still a problem, however we’re dealing with it slowly and it has got a lot better. I wouldn’t say Maud and my other dog love each other but we’re definitely harmonious with no more growling. As for recall I think we’ve all accepted that this isn’t really going to happen, her hunting instincts are too strong, but that’s fine, that’s what extendable leads were invented for.
I adore Maud and am so grateful that she’s here with us, the fact that she’s been through so much yet loves and trusts me is an amazing responsibility that I treasure. I see her growing day by day and I feel such pride that she’s happy and enjoying life just like she always deserved. Everyone wins in adopting a dog, the dog gets a new life and the joy I feel at making her feel safe is a really great feeling. It’s not easy and I did feel out of my depth at some points however keep persevering and it really does all come together in the end.
I can’t thank Wild at heart Foundation enough for rescuing little Maud and making the process of bringing her over simple and straightforward. Eve was on hand always to answer any of my neurotic questions and to help me throughout the whole process. She is fabulous and deserves a medal for all the work she does to help the forgotten dogs of this world.'
- Danielle Groom
'“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.”
We had been thinking about getting a third pup to join our already pack of two for some time. Since joining Wild at Heart Foundation as an employee it was hard not to want to take all the pups home; so many heart wrenching stories, so many deserving dogs, so much love to give!
Sadly too many beautiful dogs will never experience the joy of what it is to be loved, and black dogs in particular tend to wait longer to be adopted than their differently coloured counterparts and it is difficult to secure them the forever homes they so richly deserve (‘black dog syndrome’). The cause for this can only be guessed at, but one theory is that facial features don’t show up with as much definition due to the darker fur color, leading people to make less of a connection with the dog based on photos alone.
Not for us though.
My beautiful black bear goes by the name of Hugo and when I saw him on the website my soul (and my parents!) saw him and kinda went, oh there you are… I’ve been looking for you all my life.
He’s entered our lives with the most gentle and loving personality and we cannot imagine life without him.
In our few short weeks of knowing him, he has already taught us some important life lessons.
1. Que Sera Sera. If events had followed their intended course Hugo would be in another home. The then called Thomas stared out at us from the adoption page, the last one of a litter of beautiful Dalmatian x puppies. 8 months old and still waiting for his forever home. We applied but sadly he had already been reserved. A few weeks passed and then we got an email that lovely Thomas’ home had fallen through. Maybe it was fate? We jumped on it and were told our beautiful boy would be with us just 2 weeks later. (Cue frantic present, toy, basket, treat buying!)
2. You don't know who you really are when life is lived at a wild and frantic pace. Huge scared brown eyes looked at us tentatively and he hid in the corner for 2 days. Terrified by experiences in a previous life and traumatized by the journey he cowered away from any attention. With 3 prominent cigarette burns and one on his head and flinching every time you moved your hand towards him, he’d clearly lived a nightmare. It broke our hearts. He was skittish and on guard, suspicious, waiting for our other dogs to attack him. He was so terrified one day when we let him out of the crate in the morning and they went over to sniff him he jumped on top of me and had to relieve himself whilst madly quivering.
But even 2 weeks later he is learning to ‘be more dog’. He loves to chase a ball and is learning how to swim, he is overly enthusiastic meeting new people and his bright personality shines through and the reason for these new emerging's are his environment; he now has an environment where his personal attributes are celebrated, he has love and calm and doesn’t have to worry about where to sleep or what he can eat. He’s taught us that environment and the space to be more you is so important for personal development.
3. When in doubt … HUG! Hugo’s first reaction in every situation is to give you his paw and wrap it around your leg, your waist, your neck; any event that causes him the slightest degree of confusion or fear he seeks our reassurance and needs our affection. Him and my mum are fairly inseparable, and I think it’s the special HUG he gives that makes all the difference. I catch them having a dance after dinner and a morning snuggle before anyone’s got up. It’s taught me how important it is to show affection and not to be scared to ask for it!
4. Everything should be explored through the art of eating… and by everything, I’m talking about plugs, spoons, butter pots, letters, important pieces of work, a kitchen towel, random pairs of socks, mums slippers, and the oven glove… maybe not such a life lesson after all!
5. There’s nothing like lying on your back with your feet in the air. Hugo is generally quite a bouncy curious kind of soul, but he has his more chilled out times too. After a long day walking, running into things, taking things he shouldn’t outside he is the poster boy of having down time….and by this I mean upside down time!
6. Unconditional love exists, and we should seek it. It’s like he’s been waiting for love his whole life. His unlimited loyalty and desire to shower you in joyful licks and hugs every time you enter the room (even if you’ve been gone all of 2 minutes for a loo break) without any kind of bitterness is a lesson well learnt. He had us when we first saw his baby browns.
Nearly 2 months in and with a lot of love and a lot of biscuits, a few tears, some nasty tummy bugs and a lot of large hugs later our new BFF is completely adored by our whole family- including his little monster brothers Wooster and Monty.
He spends his time mostly frolicking in the sea on Hayling Island and snitching things from the kitchen table (did I mention he is HUGE HUGO) and is fast becoming a neighbourhood favourite. (even the post lady brings daily treats).
The gentlest dog I have ever met, eager to please and quick to learn; we still have a long road ahead of us, but I’m so glad we’re going to do it together. The specialist of companions with the brave open heart of a rescue dog; able to give so much despite a tough beginning.
We’re going to spend our lives making up for it for him. Thanks WaHF for our gorgeous sunny ‘Cypriot Hugs’.'
- Hannah Glasgow
'We adopted Luce about a year ago, after seeing how well our friends were getting on with their WAHF dog, Pinky. Initially, we spotted a Shiba Inu, but Eve suggested we should have a look at Luce instead and we fell in love immediately.
She was so tiny when we picked her up from the airport but she immediately wanted to greet everyone. Licking everyone’s hands in the process. She was just so full of joy and slotted right in to our lives!
She completely charmed our dog walker after just a few days who takes her out at lunchtime every day while we are at work. We get asked what breed she is all the time but we don’t know! People often stop us on the street to tell us how adorable she is and once somebody even yelled from the other side of the street to compliment her!
Luce is very quiet and sometimes a bit timid. But, once she gets to know dogs/people, she’s more than happy to play. Often play fighting with dogs much bigger than her and she loves to run in circles on the beach. We had a few health issues, but nothing major. The hardest thing was toilet training, but we got there with patience and positive reinforcement.
Now she’s a major part of our family and weekend planning normally starts with “where shall we take Luce for a walk?” She has made us more active, we spend more time outside and we love exploring Scotland with her. She loves us (and chips, she especially loves chips) unconditionally and we love her (we like chips too).'
- Natalia Popova
'After years of wanting one, I’d decided this would be the year I’d finally get dog. Because it would be my first, I wanted one young enough to be responsive to training and ideally without any significant issues, because I wouldn’t have the experience to deal with them confidently. I looked at some of the London shelters but didn’t find a dog that felt like ‘mine’, and then a friend said they’d heard good things about Wild At Heart Foundation.
The descriptions of the dogs on the website were so thorough that I felt like WAHF really knew the dogs, which made me feel more confident when choosing. When I spotted Max I immediately felt like this dog would be mine. He was described as “the kindest dog in the world” and that’s proved true.
Everyone at Wild At Heart Foundation was so helpful and friendly at every step. I asked tons of questions, because I wanted to make sure Max and I were suited, and they were all answered quickly and knowledgeably. I was wary about adopting a dog I wouldn’t meet until he arrived, but lots of videos and photos of Max really helped me feel like I had an idea of who was coming.
Max was very nervous when he arrived, whining in the car all the way home from the airport. Then the second he was let out of his crate he came over to say hello and wanted to be stroked. He’s been affectionate from day one, but the change in his personality over ten weeks has been amazing to watch. In his first few days he had no idea how to react around other dogs, scuttling away if any came too near in the park. He didn’t know how to play. A thrown ball was just a discarded ball. Then every day he’d get a bit more confident, sniffing up to other dogs, then running with them. We’re really lucky to have a big park nearby and lots of lovely dog owners who were really understanding with Max around their dogs. He now loves nothing more than bounding around the park with his favourite dog friends. A ball is now something to chase until I get too tired to throw it any longer. He’s become so confident around people that the only problem we have is trying to get through the park without stopping for him to say hello to absolutely everyone!
Not everything with Max has been easy. From day one he didn’t like being left alone. For the first couple of days he couldn’t be on his own for a minute without panicking. After a couple of weeks I started to feel overwhelmed by it. I couldn’t leave the house to even take the bins out without Max and didn’t know how to help him, so I spoke to Eve from the Foundation. She put me in touch with their behaviourist, David, who gave me lots of helpful tips, but more than anything they both just listened. It was so reassuring just to be able to talk to them about it without feeling silly. WAHF will always be there for you if you have any worries after adopting.
We’re still working on Max’s alone time, but using David’s tips and taking things at Max’s pace he can now happily be on his own for nearly an hour and is improving every time. He’s grown to trust friends who dogsit him (there’s a big queue to sit him because he’s such friendly company). All these things seemed impossible in the first week.
There were days when I was scared of the responsibility I’d taken on, but every day Max and I know each other better and every breakthrough feels wonderful. The first time he sat on command. The first time he was let off the lead in the park and came bouncing back with a ball I threw for him. The first time he responded to his own name. The first time I left him alone, stood at the end of the road with a stopwatch, then came back to find him not standing in a panic by the door but in the living room, merrily chewing a Kong (you’ll quickly get to know what a Kong is when you get a dog). It’s so rewarding to have him.
We’re still barely two months into Max’s life with me and he feels absolutely part of the family. He’s a happy face to have around and makes people smile everywhere he goes. He still has his little problems to overcome, but they’re dwarfed by the advances he’s made. I have to stop writing now because he’s come over to plop his head on my lap and let me know it’s been far too long since I last cuddled him. I’m very glad he’s here.'
- Olly Richards
'When my daughter was a year old we decided to get a dog - my husband and I both grew up with and loved dogs and wanted the same for my daughter. I contacted a few local dog shelters and was turned away because of the young age of our daughter. I came across Wild at Heart Foundation who were very particular about matching a dog who not only was "good" with kids but also had the right temperament to be in a house with a small child, not requiring constant attention or too boisterous but still loving.
After only a short amount of searching, Dottie arrived! She is quite an anxious dog but once she feels comfortable she is very loyal and loving. To begin with we did have a few teething problems however, retrospectively I can see Dottie was just trying to find her place in our family. WAHF helped us to show Dottie her barriers and in no time she was settled and very much a part of "us".
Dottie has gone from strength to strength, she will always have an anxious part of her personality but she is now very settled. She has given us a great routine and is constantly loving and happy. I often receive compliments from strangers about how beautiful or well behaved she is and I am very proud to say she is a rescue dog. I hope to get a little friend for Dottie in the near future and will definitely be using WAHF as I know they'll find the right one for our family.'
- Ella Mayall
'I’ve always loved animals, so when Charlie and I bought our very first property I knew we needed a dog to finally make our house a home. My friend Emma works for Nikki at Wild At Heart and had brought my attention to the Foundation and what they do. After browsing the website I fell completely in love with the dogs and reading the success stories made my heart burst. I just knew there and then it would be incredibly rewarding to adopt and it was always something I had toyed with in the past. We were now able to give a dog a cosy, caring and safe home.
Eve at WAHF sent me pictures of Sid. A little brown sausage dog from Cyprus with the saddest eyes and I knew he was the one!!! We agreed to rehoming him and the rest is history. When he first arrived he was terribly unsure and frightened. He was very shaky and having not been walked before his little paws used to bleed every time we took him out which was so sad. But after a few visits to the vets and a lot of attention, love and cuddles he soon settled in.
It's been a year and a bit since we adopted Sydney and he has such a big personality. He absolutely loves a cuddle - he's the most affectionate dog I've ever known which I adore. We take him everywhere we go and he is utterly spoilt. He loves a sausage, fluffy toys, belly rubs and sneaking into our bed to bury himself under the covers. He has some weird and unusual habits which always make us laugh.
Being 6 years old, he is very stubborn and stuck in his ways which has been testing at times. He is a big talker and loves the sound of his own voice my dog walker jokes. She calls him the lead singer of her pack! He hates the rain and next doors cats and does occasionally have a tendency to run away which gives us both heart attacks, although he always comes back and looks as though he finds it all very funny. His speciality is eating your dinner when you're not looking but honestly we wouldn't have him any other way.
He brings us so much joy and happiness and definitely keeps us on our toes but he loves us and we love him. I am so glad we made the decision to rescue him and I encourage everyone I know to do the same. I can't thank the girls at WAHF more for our little furry baby whom we love dearly. Nothing makes me happier than coming home to his little face. '
- Jennifer Banner
'It’s 11pm on a Thursday in October and we are on our way to Clackett Lane services wondering what the hell we have got ourselves into. Having followed WAHF on instagram for almost a year, and played with renaming the dogs that needed adoption, at the beginning of September a scruffy little fluff bag called Finch had come up on the @cyprusdogs feed. I immediately sent her to my boyfriend who replied with the words, ‘That’s our dog’.
In a flurry of excitement I sent the adoption forms back and emailed Eve, who confirmed within an hour that Finch was on hold for us. I asked to have until the next day so we could discuss it properly but seeing the title on her photo change to ‘RESERVED FOR ADOPTION’ and knowing it was for us gave me an instant attachment to her.
I had huge reservations about getting a puppy, the biggest being that we wouldn’t get to meet her before she arrived in the UK, and so we talked seriously about whether this was the right decision for us. Eventually we agreed that we had the time, energy and commitment to give it a go.
After that, things happened incredibly quickly. We sent over our deposit, had our home check over Skype with Faith, and not long after received the confirmation of the date and time of Finch’s arrival. She would be arriving in the UK in less than two weeks.
And so here we were on our way to pick up a puppy we had never met. Eve had been brilliant; texting us throughout the evening to confirm pick-up times and let us know exactly where the van would be but still my anxiety and excitement levels were through the roof. What would her journey have been like? Would she be nervous or aggressive with us? Had this all been an elaborate scam? We pulled into the carpark and saw another couple receiving a dog from two men with a professional looking dog van. We gave them our names and the slip lead we had brought with us and the man disappeared into the van to collect Finch. We could hear yelps and barks from different dogs inside the van and we waited anxiously to see what he would bring out. Eventually, he stepped out of the van with the dog behind him. I craned to see the dog standing in the shadows. Then this ball of white fluff bounded over to us, licking our faces and rolling on her back for a tummy rub and just like that, we were in love.
It was an eventful first night. Finch immediately bounced right over all of the puppy gates we had put in place and so she received a new name, ‘Bunny’.
The first few months were a huge learning curve for all of us. Neither of us had had a dog before, and although Bunny was still a puppy, she had missed out on the training and socialisation younger puppies would have had if they were born in a home with humans. She was house trained quickly, apart from a few accidents on carpets and beds which were just too exciting for her! She went to puppy classes and came into work with me and was excited to meet every person who came her way, offering her signature belly rub pose until she had received enough attention. She loved other dogs and would chase round and round with a huge doggy smile on her face. She looks the most beautiful when she runs. We worked on her recall (terrible) and her hysterical reaction to squirrels and she slowly learned not to chew everything in sight.
We seemed to be on the right track. Then New Year came and Bunny entered her second fear period. This is a common period in puppies, which coincides with the time in the wild when they would be becoming more independent and more aware of potential threats. They can become hypersensitive to noise and display aggression or anxiety as they work out how to behave in this new adult world. Like teenagers they also challenge the boundaries you have placed on them to see how much they can get away with! Suddenly our sweet and happy dog was barking at everything, scared of new people coming to the house and even worse off the lead. This was entirely unexpected for us as we had no idea what was going on, and eventually sought help from our dog trainer. She told us this period can be even more pronounced in rescue dogs as they may have missed vital socialisation stages or have had unpleasant experiences as puppies, and for the first time we really thought about what Bunny’s life might have been like if she hadn’t been rescued. We were given exercises to help Bunny readjust and we are slowly working through her anxiety.
Bunny has now been with us for nine months and has changed our lives completely. Resocialising an anxious dog is a slow process and has been frustrating, upsetting and embarrassing at times but we wouldn’t wish for another dog. We understand that Bunny has certain limitations at the moment, and have learnt how to keep her feeling safe by building her trust in us. The bond that has grown between us as a result is incredibly gratifying. To see her choose to lie with her head on your foot while watching TV, or to dash up to you in the morning to say hello makes all the hard work worth it. She is an incredibly sweet natured, happy girl most of the time and we hope that as she matures some of her anxious behaviors will slowly slip away.
We cannot thank WAHF enough for bringing her into our lives and cannot imagine what life would be like without her.'
- Hattie Windsor
Sofie joined our family at the very end of October 2106 from Lesvos. I had heard of her plight on the Wild at Heart Instagram account. She had been looked after by a lovely lady in Lesvos who sadly had to find homes for her rescues at sort notice.
So I took a bit of a leap of faith and offered help for Sofie, but I heard a few days later that it was alright and someone had already reserved her.
A couple of weeks passed and I received another email from Eve asking if I was still interested in offering Sofie a home, as the first one had fallen through. So I had to break the news to my family that we were getting another dog. We already had Tess our 1 year old cockapoo. My family thought I was a little bit mad.
Sofie arrived late afternoon on a Sunday. We had her couriered here to Leeds as it was the most convenient for us. Animal couriers were brilliant and really cared for the dogs.
She was so happy to meet us and quite submissive. She and Tess were fine together thankfully. She relaxed into family life pretty well.
We had a couple toilet training issues as we don't think that Sofie had lived in a house before. She also likes sleeping on chairs and tables...
She quickly loved her off lead walks, I knew she wouldn't want to get lost but she did go quite far at first but would come back...eventually.
She absolutely loves her food and she will loot snacks from kitchen benches if we aren't careful!
Finishing on a high note, Sofie is the most loving gentle dog in the world, everyone says she is amazing. I tell everybody I meet in the park about the WAHF.
'Buster, as a 7 month old Carpathian mountain shepherd dog mix joined our family of two black Labs (and two humans) in October 2014 after unfortunately having to be rehomed due to no fault of his own other than being a very traumatised little dog. To begin with he was wary and afraid of everything (grass, leaves, air, furniture, socks, food ... EVERYTHING!!) as he had only had limited experiences as a puppy owing to him being the last of 7 puppies to be rehomed and had never really been 'part' of a pack. Four months later he is a fully signed up member of the family, can out-cute his (hugely adorable) brother and sister, has fully integrated into our pack, is playful, wonderfully artful ... and clearly very happy.
He is playful and loves having hugs which is just as well because we cannot walk past without giving him a squeeze. He stands there and scratches our legs when he wants more! We has a wonderful family with Bella and Bailey and he is such a fabulous addition. They are all so different and yet equally adorable. We think he will most probably want to be alpha dog which is fine as we think that it currently weighs heavy on Baileys shoulders who would rather not have that burden.
There are no more rewarding moments than watching him speed across the lawn, either in pursuit of or being pursued by Bailey and Bella, and then hurtle back in the opposite direction 10 seconds later. He responds to training, jostles for treats and has perfect manners. Apart from anything else he is a great pet.
We have never done anything more rewarding than offer Buster a home. He has more than returned the favour by finding and being himself. It has been and continues to be a total joy.
We would urge anyone, who has the love and commitment for owning a dog, to give a rescue dog the chance of a new life. It has been a hugely rewarding experience for us and we would do the same again and again when circumstances allow.'
'Our friend Priscilla had adopted the adorable Caramel from Cyprus and that got me thinking.
It started with me forwarding Instagram posts to my husband Richard with pleas attached. He finally gave in and the search began. I had a long chat with Eve and explained that we already had Doris, our Jack Russell who was 11 and she wasn’t keen on big bouncy dogs. I also had to explain that Richard wasn’t keen on seeing dogs’ bottoms when we were walking! It wasn’t long before we received some photos of Scruff behind bars and that was it, we signed the contract and waited for his arrival.
Luckily Richard was off work the day Scruff arrived, although I had offers from friends to accompany me. We were told to collect Scruff from the Shell station at the junction of the A12/M25 and while we were there Eve sent a message saying 'hold on tight to him, he’s very nervous'. We waited, a white van arrived, and suddenly all these people appeared carrying slip leads. We made our way to the van. Two burly men got out, it was like something out of 101 Dalmatians. One carrying a clip board said 'who’s having Scruffy? He’s first out'. They slid open the side door and there in the back, in a wall of cages were these furry faces pressed against the bars. In got the burly men, they slid closed an additional security gate to make sure none of the dogs could escape.
They took Scruff out of his cage, holding tight and passed him over to me, sweet scared little Scruff. Richard and Doris stood by, we put him straight into the back of the car with me and I managed to get a harness onto him. We drove a few mintes up the road to a ‘country park’ (it really wasn’t but it was a grassy open space). I attached his lead and we got out of the car, he tried to make an escape, bolted under the car, he was terrified. Thank goodness we had that harness, had he been on a lead and collar he would have most certainly got away and that would have been it. Fortunately he didn’t, we carried him over to the grass where Doris was, he did the longest pee and the biggest poo, that was scooped up and binned and then he was too – not binned but scooped and put into his crate in the back of the car with me. He spent the journey home pinned to the back of the crate, looking at me. I talked to him and stroked him all the way home.
It was dark by the time we reached home. We have a large garden which is completely safe, fenced in all around. I’d prepared a big bowl of chicken and rice and gave him a small bowl of that with the addition of some natural yoghurt. I slipped an Adaptil collar on him and we had an Adaptil diffuser plugged in (to help Scruff and Doris) by the dogs beds in the kitchen. After he’d eaten we took him, on his lead, for a wander round the garden with Doris. Then we let him settle down into his crate for the night.
The next couple of weeks were tricky and at times I wondered if I’d done the right thing adopting him; perhaps he would have been happier in the kennels. He was lifting his leg indoors – why wouldn’t he? He’d never known what it was to live in a house before and he’d not long been castrated so the testosterone was still in his system. He was so nervous and skittish, he would jump back on all four legs not wanting to be caught or have his lead put on. David Drew, WAHF's behaviourist, and Eve gave me some tips to help with this (and the leg lifting), the most important thing was patience. It would often take 20-30 minutes to get the lead on. When we were out walking if he saw someone in the distance he would try to bolt.
He had a cyst on his eyelid which grew over the course of a week and had to have it removed, the vet cut his nails and cleaned his teeth whilst they were at it. Then poor Scruff had 10 days wearing a bucket on his head – this didn’t seem to worry him too much and after it came off and he was given the all clear things seemed to settle down.
And Scruff settled down, no indoor accidents, no waiting to get his lead on, he’d follow Doris everywhere and mimic what she was doing. If he wasn’t following her, he’d be right by my side. Doris during all this was remarkably good, she spent most of the time ignoring him – or trying to.
One day we were walking on the beach and I attached a double-ended lead to Doris and Scruff. Doris always comes back when she’s called. Off they went together – so sweet to see them running along. A few days later, I took them to a friend’s place – they have 75 secure acres and a sweet Sprocker called Dotty. All three dogs were off the lead – a first for Scruff. He was amazing, every time I called him, he came back to me and it’s been that way ever since.
So here we are four months in. Scruff still has his skittish moments, the vacuum cleaner, the sight of a broom or mop all set him off. We put a fly curtain on the back door and that had him running off and hiding in the garden but after a little bit of patience and a few treats he was fine. We walk by the bird scarers in the fields and he doesn’t bat an eyelid, nor is he scared by thunder or lightning (unlike Doris who is terrified and hides in the pantry). Scruff is the sweetest, gentlest dog; we’ve never heard him growl. The only time he barks is when he wants to initiate play with another dog – or us. He knows how to behave meeting other dogs when we’re out on walks; no doubt this is something he had to learn on the streets of Cyprus.
And just as I’m writing this, he’s managed to wriggle and squash in to the space on the chair behind me. That’s where he’s often found right behind me or by my side, he’s become my shadow. It’s been an amazing and rewarding experience and we love him to bits – he’s part of our family. I think Doris quite likes him too. And Scruff passed Richard’s bottom test.
I’ve started sending Instagram posts to Richard … again'
- Julie Field
'I was contacted late one night by a friend who was trying to help WAHF to place a dog called Missy. Sadly in a matter of weeks for various reasons she had had numerous homes. It was looking like she was about to be moved again. I agreed to foster Missy on a very short term basis as I had commitments.
Missy arrived within a day late one evening. My first thought was she was larger that her photo portrayed. Anyway like a little orphan complete with her bed and a bag of toys she entered my home and she is still with me 4 months later. She has found her forever home. I would never part with her now...
We have been very lucky Missy has obviously been trained in her previous life as the little bit of training from me has been easy. She is a very bright dog and a quick learner. House training was already very good. We had to try various foods to settle her stomach. We only have two issues with her: she gets very vocal if a car passes the house while she is in the garden, and she also dislikes travelling in the car. When we go for walks along our lanes she does not like cars going past so we have to hold her very tight. She has been known to try and attack the huge rear wheels of tractors. We will persevere with both these issues and I'm sure she will overcome whatever stresses her.
I have kept remembering where she has come from and made allowances for this. Overall she is a very loving dog even though her rising time is 04:45 most mornings! At first it was hard but the routine she now has a routine where she does settle again after going out in the early morning. We have no separation issues as she gets a treat and and I leave a few lying around when I go out. She is always on the settee when we return.
I would recommend adopting from WAHF as there is always help at the end of a phone and a family on FaceBook for support as we have all been in the same position.'
'My husband and I have always had dogs, even before our children, but when our beloved chocolate Labrador passed away we couldn't imagine getting another dog. Obviously, both our children were heart broken and began to miss having a dog around. I was adamant that I was in no hurry and was going to rescue.
I had been following the fabulous work that WAHF do on Instagram and began looking at dogs that were available for adoption. I was nervous that adopting a dog that I had only seen on the internet and never met was maybe not the best route when I have children to consider too. However, my kids are dog savvy and been around dogs their whole lives, so I reassured myself that this was a positive step to consider adopting from WAHF.
Needless, to say as soon as I saw the photo of Lex (was Jasper) I knew I had to see if he was available and to my surprise he was. The whole process was very straightforward and efficient. All my questions and concerns were answered and the support and follow up has been amazing.
Lex arrived on a Friday night by courier to our door. He actually didn't smell too bad, but needless to say he was nervous and quiet. We had set up a crate and the first night he slept happily in there with the door open and me on the sofa. The second night he did the same and the third night slept with me on the sofa. It took him about 4 days to relax with thanks to my friends Bearded Collie, who he adores.
Now 8 months on, we wouldn't be without him. He is loving, affectionate, playful, cheeky and a lot of fun. He still isn't a fan of water or men with hats on, but he loves the kids and they love him. It has been a truly great experience and I am sure we have been so lucky that he has settled in so well. Obviously, there are things we are still working on. His recall is generally good but can be easily distracted! He also barks at men he doesn't know too. However there is no doubt that he is totally part of the family and has recently enjoyed his first holiday away with us!
If you are reading this and considering adopting, do it! It is so rewarding and if I could do it again I would!'
- Hannah Blackhall
'Although we had always loved the idea of getting a dog, we hadn’t actually sat down and made the decision that the time was right. I’d been following the Wild At Heart Foundation social media pages for some time when suddenly one afternoon up popped Fergus! I was instantly drawn to his expressive amber eyes and his happy little face and THEN I read his story....
Fergus and his brother were rescued by Eve's family from the side of the road in Cyprus as tiny puppies. They’d always been together and had both been overlooked by adopters time and time again despite their friendly, loyal and loving natures. Now at 9 months old, his brother had found his forever home and was about to leave for the UK and Fergus was going to be left behind. I read his story to my fiancé out loud and we both said simultaneously ‘we have to have him!’ - we just knew he was the dog for us. You could say it was love at first sight I suppose.
I quickly messaged Eve to see if Fergus was still available for adoption and we were thrilled to find out that he was! We passed our home check with the lovely Faith which was an extremely positive and helpful experience. Faith spent time answering all of our questions and gave us lots of really helpful advice. Faith told us that his brother was flying to the UK in just three weeks time and asked if we’d be ready for Fergus by then. We really wanted them to travel together so said ‘YES!’
We’ve had Fergus for two months now and he is coming up to a year old. He’s a bundle of energy and excitement but is the most loving and loyal little thing. I say ‘little’ - he’s actually pretty big now! We think Fergus is a black lab crossed with a large dog like a Shepherd or Husky so he needs lots of exercise. We’ve found a wonderful dog walker who takes him for a really good run around with a group of dogs on days when we’re both working - Fergus has made lots of doggy friends through these walks but his very best friend is a black lab called Billy. We love taking Fergus for long walks and have discovered beautiful parts of countryside nearby which I never even knew existed! This is definitely one of the many benefits of having a dog.
We’ve just started training classes with Fergus which have really helped us, especially as first time dog owners - luckily Fergus LOVES his food and is very eager to please so this makes training a bit easier. He’s also just learning to play Fetch! We can’t wait until we can play fetch with him in the park.
Adopting Fergus hasn’t come without its challenges but as we’re getting to know Fergus we’re learning how to deal with these. He absolutely loves affection and belly rubs, but on his terms. We’ve learnt that it’s best to let Fergus come to you, especially with different people, otherwise he can get a little anxious. Once he’s decided he trusts you though he can’t get enough belly rubs and you’ll receive lots of dog kisses in return!
Fergus is still learning good manners on the lead. He’ll be walking along nicely on the lead when suddenly he’ll spot his nemesis.... a squirrel! If I don’t spot it first then that’s me being taken for a quick dash by Fergus! I almost ended up half way up a tree once. Nice lead walking takes a lot of persistence but we can definitely notice progress and that motivates us to stick with it.
Fergus is a lot fun and has brought so much joy to our lives. There’s nothing better than coming home from a day at work to be greeted by such a loving happy dog. You can’t help but smile - he just makes us feel so loved! And of course we love him so much in return.
We’ll never forget the moment that we picked Fergus up from the service station. We told the guys that we were collecting Fergus and they smiled and replied “Ah Fergus... he’s the timid one. We’ve had to carry him everywhere!” It’s been an absolute joy to watch him grow in confidence since that evening and we get to see a little more of his wonderful personality every day. We still have a long way to go and lots more training to do but we are absolutely loving the journey.
If you’re thinking of getting a dog, I would absolutely recommend adopting from WAHF. We’ve felt so supported every step of the way. There are so many wonderful dogs out there like Fergus who would love nothing more than a forever home and humans to love them. Adopting Fergus is quite simply the best thing we’ve ever done. Thank you to the WAHF team - we will forever be grateful for everything that you’ve done for us all.'
- Kimberly Groves
'Mike and I had discussed getting a dog for a long time and having grown up with rescue dogs there was really no other option in my opinion. I discovered Wild at Heart Foundation through the blog ‘The Londoner’ and immediately loved their whole ethos. I started following them on all forms of social media, not realising how quickly I would fall in love with a little blonde beauty from Romania. We were in the middle of buying a house and everything just fell into place - 4 days after exchanging the gorgeous Rula (originally known as Bonnie) popped up on my Instagram feed and I was besotted. The application process was thorough, well organised and easy to follow. We completed our home check on the day we got the keys to our new house and 10 days later, in Feb 2017 Rula arrived.
As she was passed to us, off the back of a very noisy van, she snuggled up into Mike’s arms before being carried into the house. We thought she was perfect. We were so distracted by her cuteness that we forgot the first instruction we were meant to follow and she had an accident in the house….completely our fault! However, we were lucky, this was the only accident she ever had. Somehow we had a house trained puppy, it was a miracle!
Rula was very shy to start with as she entered her new surroundings, having a sniff around the house and keeping her distance from us. She needed a bath but considering she had been travelling for four days she was not really mucky at all! The first time I tried to take her out the house was to visit the vet to register her, she point blank refused to move and I ended up carrying her to and from. It took some time for her to be happy leaving the house, she didn’t like her lead and harness, she didn’t like going out the front door and she definitely didn’t like when it was dark outside. We used a lot of gentle coaxing and eventually she realised that outside was a wonderful place with lots of new things to sniff and lots of squirrels to chase.
As time went on she came out of her shell and developed into an extremely intelligent, cheeky and playful pup. Even more perfect than we initially thought! The first ever outing for the three of us was to the pub, she fell asleep under the table and seemed to feel as at home in our local as we do. Since then she has come with us to pubs, restaurants, street food markets and on day trips on the train to visit friends out of town. She loves travelling on the tube, she learnt early on that if she lies down in the middle of the walkway she gets an abundance of attention from the people around her. Spontaneous nights out don’t happen as often as they used to but when they do they are to dog friendly venues and she comes with us.
She has fitted in with our lifestyle well, as a social couple in central London we wanted to make sure that she would be out and about with us as often as possible! She is loved by our friends and family, the workers at her day care and other dog owners at the park. When we are on holiday or weekends away we get a lot of offers to take care of her and on nights out I think it is actually Rula people want to see, we just also happen to be there!
We don’t really know what kind of mix Rula is and everyone has their opinions on what she is (generally collie mixed with anything from Kokoni to Australian Sheepdog to Shiba Inu). We often get asked if she is a ‘designer’ breed and I am always very proud to say that she is a one off special. The only thing we can be 100% sure of is that she runs extremely fast and loves to stalk other dogs before pouncing on them to play. She does require a good long walk each day and we have a wonderful day care that she goes to a couple of times a week. She is extremely social with other dogs and at day care she gets the chance to spend hours in woodlands playing with dogs of all different ages and sizes. Every time she returns a slightly grubby and exhausted dog.
We are very lucky that Mike works from home most days so she generally just chills out with him until it is time to go out. In the winter months we arrange for a dog walker to come during the day so she doesn’t have to go out in the dreaded dark. She has puzzles and toys to keep her entertained in the house and she loves to ‘re-landscape’ our garden often. She doesn’t like the rain or puddles (heaven forbid she gets her paws wet!) and would rather have no walk than one in the rain. Whilst this may seem great, as no one really likes to walk in the rain, it can result in a very playful pup jumping on you at 2am wanting some exercise!
Rula seems to be terrified of foxes and there is noticeable panic when she hears them in the night. We have spoken to the dog behaviourist that WAHF works with (David) and he has offered some great advice and homework for us to work on! Unfortunately, it is not the easiest thing to work on as we can not properly introduce her to a fox and we can not keep them away. We hope eventually she won’t be so bothered by them but this is a work in progress.
We have spent a lot of time on her training and whilst she isn’t going to enter Crufts any time soon she follows most of our commands and is a well behaved dog. It took a while to get her off lead and we still use high value treats to ensure she comes back to us when there are better options in the park. It is amazing how she can suddenly become deaf in one ear when there is a dog she wants to play with across the common!
I can’t speak highly enough of WAHF and the work that they do. They have been incredibly supportive on our journey and I have always felt that they were there if we needed any help. The Facebook group is a wonderful support network for when things are going well and for when they are more difficult. Whilst there are some struggles, every day with Rula is one full of fun and new adventures. No matter how stressful and manic your day is, everything is forgotten when you walk through the door to her wagging not just her tail but most of her body.
She has made our new house a proper home.'
- Samantha Harlow
'We saw Timmy on the Wild at Heart Foundation website after looking into getting a dog for 2 years and fell in love straight away. Our family and friends were worried about us adopting online as they heard of some negative experiences. We were so glad Wild at Heart Foundation proved them wrong. The adoption process was very easy, it took a bit of time getting him to the UK but it was well worth the wait.
The 2 and a half hour journey to pick him up was exciting and nerve-racking, so much so we missed the turning and added an extra 20 minutes to our journey! Our first meeting, Timmy was excited and nervous.
It didn't take him long to settle in. He made himself at home pretty quickly. Training has been a breeze, living in flat we were worried about toilet training but we have never had any accidents.
Everyone that comes into contact with Timmy loves him. He is spoilt by all our family. We really struck lucky as he is such a loving boy who is now a big part of our family.'
- Nicole Wells
'Earlier this year I was desperate to get a dog, my elderly Cairn Terrier was going blind and at 16 was in his twilight years. I was introduced to WAHF by a friend and they sent me details about Otto a scruffy Heinz 57 from Cyprus. A few weeks later, my daughter and I picked him up from a service station and by the time we got him home we were in love.
What can I say about Otto? Honestly, everyone who meets him falls in love with him too! He is so friendly, loving, gentle and trustworthy. I was concerned he may have food issues and separated the dogs at meal times, soon to realise there was no need. I can take away his bowl, other dogs can eat from his bowl, Otto doesn’t mind. Right from the start he was clean in the house, he has no separation anxiety, rarely barks and he loves his walks. To my surprise (and relief!) his recall is brilliant and the sight of him tearing towards me when I call him makes me so happy.
Sadly my Cairn passed away in August and I don’t know how I’d have got through it without Otto, I believe he was sent to me for a reason and I can’t thank you all at WAHF enough for bringing him into my life!'
- Nicky Moore
'First it was a dream that my incredibly Type-A self presented to my other half via a PowerPoint titled ‘The Puppy Plan’.
Then there was Kiwi, a sleepy looking Labrador pup we instantly fell in love with on the WAHF website.
Seeing her way over in Cyprus was far more effective than my ten PowerPoint slides and off we went with the application process to offer her a forever home.
Kiwi’s hardship in finding a home was a stroke of luck for us and I can’t imagine our home without her face peering up at us at all times. Despite being ever so prepared, September came and her arrival day was incredibly emotional. There I was bawling my eyes out that this little one was finally here while poor Kiwi was probably just wondering where she was and WHY oh WHY it was so cold. She fell asleep on my lap on the drive back and just like that, she was home.
From day one she’s been an absolute dream - we had fears of her crying all night, destroyed cushions or intense separation anxiety. None of that happened, other than an odd fascination for chewing flip-flops (it’s been two months and we are on pair no.4), and as cheesy as it sounds, I really can’t remember what life was like before she got here.
She’s nosy, forever hungry and has a cemetery of stuffed toys she’s methodically gutted. She’s a joy to watch run around at the park with her buddies and nothing beats not just her tail but her entire backside wagging when we get home from work.
Two months in and a few health mishaps (relentless bronchitis!) behind us, I am so incredibly grateful to WAHF for the chance they have given us to offer Kiwi a loving home. I am constantly amazed at how quickly she found her place amongst us and picked her spot on the sofa.
We have lots to do in the way of training, and I swear some day soon she’s going to run up a tree after a squirrel, but the rewards of adopting Kiwi far outweigh the uncertainties that came with bringing home a pup we’d never met.
In short, she’s the best leap of faith we ever took.'
- Victoire Frencia
'A couple of friends followed the WAHF Instagram account and when I mentioned wanting to rescue a dog, it was suggested to me so many times, I had to check it out. I sent an email and everything moved quickly from there. I didn’t have a specific breed or size in mind – but did want a dog that could live in a flat. Eve sent me a photo of Otis and it was love at first sight. I knew he was the dog for me. When I first picked Otis up, (after midnight at a motorway service station thanks to a few delays!), he was so scared, we struggled to get him into the car. Eventually we managed to get him in and he quickly trusted me (with the help of some dog treats) and we bonded instantaneously.
He was scared of everything for the first few weeks. Notably doors, stairs and lifts - so getting him out of the flat was a mission. He followed me everywhere and couldn’t bear for me to be out of his sight. I live in a small flat in central London but he would literally be glued to my side if I walked from one end of a room to the other. On day three, I left him alone in the flat for 30 minutes to see how he would cope. I came back to utter destruction and found Otis, in the middle of torn cushions and curtains, panting and out of breath in what seemed to be a panic attack. I was worried about how we would cope when I went back to work. However, one of Otis’ greatest strengths is that he learns so quickly. The next day I left him alone for an hour and came home to find a few chewed pillows but he seemed pretty relaxed. It took a few weeks before I could confidently come home from work and not find something in pieces but he quickly felt at home and was happy to chill at home for a few hours before his dogsitter arrived.
Where Otis really came into his own was in the park. He has always loved exploring and running and quickly made our local park his home away from home. Because he had some separation anxiety I was able to let him off the lead right from the beginning as he never strayed too far from my side. While he was very scared of humans (and still is timid around men) he was completely different when he met other dogs. He was full of energy and would bound up waggytailed to every dog he met. I’ve lost count of the number of times fellow dog owners have told me their dog doesn’t usually play with other dogs (either older or not so friendly) but somehow Otis brings out their playful side. As one of them said– he obviously has a very charming personality!
Otis adapts quickly. It’s hard to believe that the dog who flinched at a car driving by, now confidently trots around central London, happily jumps on the tube even in rush hour and loves to accompany me to pubs, dinner parties and often comes abroad with me. The park is still his favourite place and long weekend walks are the highlight of both our weeks.
It was a big adjustment for me. Although I’d grown up with dogs, Otis was the first dog I was ultimately responsible for. I was prepared for the early mornings, the walks in the rain, the dog hair all over everything but I had not anticipated some of the other changes in lifestyle. Most difficult for me is always having to race straight home from work and not being able to book a last minute flight somewhere for the weekend. Having said that, I’ve been incredibly lucky with Otis and believe I hit the jackpot with him. He has blossomed so much over the last year, and his true curious, cheeky, playful, friendly character is such a joy to behold. He is such an integral part of the family and coming home to his happy, wagging tail and loving licks is the best feeling in the world. Thank you Eve and WAHF.'
- Fiona McGlinchey
'We rescued Delilah just before Christmas last year and it was without doubt the best decision we could have made. She has had such a positive impact on our lives and we simply can't imagine being without her. Whether it be cuddles on the sofa in the evening, the way she wakes us up in the morning with a lick and a nuzzle or the long walks in the forest at the weekend she has undoubtedly changed our lives for the better. Coming home after work and seeing how happy she is to see us and taking her for a walk around the park in the evening is lovely even on the darkest, wettest winter nights.
The first couple of months were a challenge as she was getting used to us and her new surroundings - there were of course the inevitable toilet accidents and a few sleepless nights. Having her has been a big commitment as we now have to plan carefully in advance if we want to go away for the weekend or go out for the night and it has meant compromising our plans at times in order to look after her. However, we don't regret our decision for a moment and the joy she has brought to our lives far outweighs any of the drawbacks.
We can't think Wild At Heart Foundation enough for introducing us to Delilah and making the adoption process so smooth.'
- Richard Paul
'I started following Rudy when he was adopted by the lovely Erica and really felt for her during her anguish at him not settling with her. When I read her heartbreaking decision to find a more suitable home for him I felt that we could offer what Erica felt was missing in a forever home for him, i.e. the company of other dogs.
I contacted her and arranged to visit Rudy. It was love at first sight! This poor little puppy who had been through goodness knows what on the streets of Cyprus and then thrust into this unknown world - I knew that with my love and the help of my two other dogs (both rescues) we could let him feel comfortable and loved.
The first three days or so were awful to say the least! What had I done? I'd put this dog through yet another upheaval which he was struggling with. He didn't eat or drink. He cowered away from any human contact and just glared and growled at my dogs who were so gentle with him, if a little wary. I thought I had made a huge mistake and was so worried about what I was putting Rudy through, physically shaking and startled for most of the time. I spoke to Dave, the fantastic dog trainer who works with WAHF and expressed my concern for Rudy's welfare. Dave encouraged me to not panic and to build on what little trust I had gained so far with lots of rewards with treats.
After about six days Rudy started to show trust in me and my other dogs. He gained confidence in trying to play with the others and slowly, day by day his love for us all became evident. This wonderful personality of a puppy was starting to come out. Rudy began following my other dogs everywhere especially Monty, the cocker spaniel (similar size). He began to join in with feeding time and play time in the garden. Obviously, having picked up traits of stealing whatever he could on the streets of Cyprus he continued to (and still does!) 'borrow' anything. We constantly found socks, leaves, stones that he'd retrieved and saved in his bed for later. He became a little monkey who came alive at dusk and tried to play with everything whilst whizzing around the house and garden!
It's been just over three months now and Rudy is well and truly settled. Don't get me wrong, he still has a long way to go. He really doesn't like going out the front door for a walk and we haven't even tried training him basic commands yet. It doesn't matter though as these things will come in time. What we have now and most importantly to us is that Rudy feels settled, comfortable and loved by us all. He is very much a part of this family.
Do I regret getting him? No not at all. I still feel guilty for putting him through yet another upheaval in his young life but it has all been worth it to know that he is finally where he belongs, in his forever home. He is now a star with his own Instagram account @rudy_boy1 where I update his 1600+ followers of his progress!! Go Rudy!!'
- Mandy Henry