'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