'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