Fiona is a member of our VIP (Very Important Paws) Team, and chances are, if you’ve ordered from Poppy’s Picnic, her warming Welsh tones will have called you to follow up and see how you’re getting on. Having never imagined having a pet, Fiona has recently adopted a Romanian rescue dog. In this third part of our four part blog series, Fiona shares her experience of adopting her new four-legged friend, Mabel:
My friends Jeanette and Caroline were as desperate as I was to know when Mabel would be arriving, and in the morning the three of us got together to speculate about how big she would be and what her personality would be like. The girls went home late afternoon when there was still no news. When my partner, Sean, arrived home at 17:30, there was still no dog. I was like a child waiting for Christmas morning!
My daughter Luci eventually messaged to say the van had two drops in North Wales and that I was next on the list – phew! That meant however, that it would be past two in the morning before Mabel would be dropped off. Sean went to bed around midnight but I couldn’t resist waiting up.
Just as my eyelids were starting to droop there was a knock. The driver stood in front of the door with all the paperwork and we went to open the side door of the van. The dogs travel in cages – big dogs on the bottom and little ones on top. Mabel was in one of the bottom cages, all curled up. When the driver opened the cage door to put the lead on her, she jumped out and I was amazed at how big and furry she was!
The driver patted her, wished her good luck and drove off into the night. I Ied her into the kitchen and gave her a drink. Bless her, she was really thirsty and drank quite a lot. Then I put down her first bowl of Poppy’s Picnic and she absolutely wolfed it down!
I gave her some Poppy’s Picnic Dried Venison Bites as a welcome treat and took her into the garden to see if she needed to do her business. It was freezing and the grass was frosty. As I called her to come in, she picked a little spot under my tree fern and curled herself into a ball on the cold grass and looked back at me as if to say ‘is this where I am to sleep?’
Gosh. I stood by the backdoor with such a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Poor little mite! I brought her back in and showed her the blanket I had put down for her. I put some puppy pads down and was expecting the worst, as these dogs come from shelters and have not been housetrained. I went to bed but couldn’t sleep at all. After tossing and turning for half an hour, I went downstairs to check on her. She was lying quietly on her blanket and seemed quite happy so I went back to bed.
First thing the next morning, I decided to take her out for her first walkies. We were advised not to take her out until she had been in the country for 48 hours, but that time had already elapsed so I put her slip lead on and off we went. A lot of the dogs are terrified of having anything around their necks as they are caught by dog catchers who use metal nooses, but she submitted very quietly and walked with me beautifully on the lead. We had a good walk and she came back and tucked in another bowl of Poppy’s Picnic happily before sleeping.
I must admit that she didn’t smell very nice on arrival because the dogs were living in cramped, dirty shelters. As I don’t have a bath at home, my friend Jeanette helped me lift her into the bath at hers. She did try and get out once but soon settled. We sloshed jugs of water over her and used almost a whole bottle of doggy shampoo! The water was BLACK!
We towelled her down and of course she shook all over us, but Jeanette had the heating on and she dried out quickly. We were amazed that the tan colouring on her legs had become about three shades lighter and her coat was really fluffy.
Once home, I immediately served up her dinner. These poor dogs have only had the tiniest amount to eat all their lives and a lot of them have food aggression, so most of them wolf the food down. It took a lot of patience and holding the bowl up until she sat and ‘stayed’ but she actually waited until I told her that she could have her food.
I am amazed at how bright Mabel is, recognising her name and having had two clean nights already. She’s the most affectionate dog, although still a bit shy with strangers. Mabel really is the most laid back dog I’ve ever met and I adore her so much already, even though Luci says she looks like Sprockett from Fraggle Rock!
She is currently panting in the kitchen as the Winter weather in Romania is considerably colder than here, and although she loves her new bed she has to lie on my slate tiles to cool off. I’ve booked her into the vets this weekend for a checkup. They also have a grooming parlour so I think I will get a lot of her fur cut so she is more comfortable in the house. Plus, I’ve ordered her a coat to keep her warm during our walks.
Meeting Mabel has also encouraged me to join a wonderful group on Facebook called PPTF Happy Paws Adopters and Fosters where myself and other adopters share stories of our mishaps, successes and sometimes triumphs, with incredible dogs like Mabel. It’s heartwarming to know how many caring people there are out there and how much trouble some of them go through to try and rehabilitate some of these dogs who’ve never known a warm bed, a loving touch, a regular meal or a kind word.
I’m truly happy that Mabel’s come into my life. With each second she’s here, she’s changing our lives for the better.
If you have your own experience of adopting, we’d love to hear it. Please post on our Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.