'I had been considering getting a dog for a year or so before I came across Wild at Heart Foundation via Instagram. Why did it take so long? Well, I'm an over-thinker and despite owning my flat, working from home full time and living next to the great outdoor space of Streatham Common and Norwood Grove, it always "didn't feel quite right".
However, I'm a big believer in things happening at the right time and trusting your gut. I reached out to Eve in January 2018, filled out my adoption form and began checking the website every day hoping to find the right dog. I had a fairly clear idea of what would be a good fit for me but despite Eve's best efforts, we couldn't seem to find a dog and I was beginning to lose hope... I even contacted a local English Cocker Spaniel breeder as I thought perhaps the problem was that my "ideals" weren't available in a rescue breed due to the uncertainty around size, personality, age etc. One evening, I decided to check the website one last time and BOOM, it was like fate. I frantically emailed Eve and enquired about a little black, fluffy dog called Domino and said I thought she could be "the one".
After what felt like forever, a very scared and tiny black puppy arrived at my front door on the evening of 26th April. I took her straight into my garden and sat down next to her on the grass but this little dog, now renamed Leni (meaning "Light" in Greek), wriggled up onto my chest and wouldn't let go. It was like she knew that she was home.
I was right about the uncertainty though - my parents and friends all wondered what she would be like and whether she would have any "issues". I always thought she might and had already booked private training classes with Eryn from Believe in Magic to help me understand her and settle her as best as I could. Alongside this, my approach was to "start as you mean to go on" in the sense that I would get her into a really good routine and introduce her to lots of things: friends came around to the flat, I took her to cafes, BBQs, walked her on the common with lots of other dogs, took her on the tube, bus etc. I don't know if this is the advised approach but it worked for us and she took everything in her stride as long as I was there next to her. We were spending 24 hours a day with each other some days and still do a lot of the time! The only problem we had was car sickness and we have overcome that now, thank goodness. It turns out that no food before a drive, sitting on the front seat and patience were the tricks for us...
4 months on and this little girl is living up to her name more than I could have EVER imagined. Leni radiates happiness and kindness and is wise beyond her years. There has yet to be a friend or family member who hasn't fallen in love with her (they genuinely like her more than they like me...) and she is trusting of absolutely everyone that she meets. So much of this is thanks to her brilliant foster family and WAHF carers who I will be forever grateful for and I hope that the rest is thanks to me.
She is my little sidekick and I couldn't imagine life without her!'
- Kate Finch