'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