Many thanks to Jemma for this article where she writes about her family’s reasons for wishing to adopt from the ScPA and the whole adoption experience.
If you would like to write an article about your ex- ScPA dog, please get in touch!
We’re a young(ish!) family with two children, Patrick and Aimée. We had Molly, a slightly overweight, always hungry, water loving Labrador for 12 years. We added Rosie to our family, a kind but a little grumpy Labrador a few years later.
The truth of the situation is we bought these two wonderful dogs as we were worried, with young children, that an adopted dog may be aggressive or unpredictable. Finally, we saw Cookie (previously sage), a Labrador cross puppy on the SPA Facebook page and we couldn’t resist adding yet again. She looked so sad on her photo that I knew I would do anything to see her happy. She is the happiest, craziest dog you will ever meet, so we quickly wondered why we waited so long to adopt. We made a pact that in the future we would always adopt. We were a happy three dog family for a few years.
In March this year, we had to say a tearful goodbye to Molly as age caught up to her and she was in pain. Of course, we knew how hard it would be to say goodbye, but we grossly underestimated the pain and loss we would feel. Our children were inconsolable and whilst we tried to be strong for them, in the evenings while they slept, we too cried tears of sadness.
We imagined that we’d wait a few years before adopting another furry friend, in fact I remember saying that I couldn’t go through that pain again so I was unsure I could ever have another dog. However, as it happened, over a few weeks, we noticed that Rosie and Cookie were also suffering, they were so used to being three that they seemed lost and lonely. We quickly realised it was the same for us. We spoke for a long time and decided that the time had come to adopt another puppy. We were happy to wait as long as needed. In fact, we didn’t need to. As soon as I messaged the ever helpful Darcey, and mentioned Gary also loves Alsatians, and that we were more than happy to have a cross again, she sent a photo of Frisbee. She was 6 months old and it was love at first sight.
We were in Holland on holiday but we had to meet her asap, so after a ridiculously long drive, we turned up at the SPA with the kids. We were a bit naughty , we told them Darcey needed our help walking a few dogs (as we’d done this before) so she gave us Frisbee and sent us off into the fields. Patrick and Aimée were taken with her straight away. Frisbee was kind and gentle, but very shy and looked like she needed a good dinner! She was nervous, but walked beautifully with us. She seemed particularly nervous of Gary and if we moved our hands too fast, she backed away and went low. She didn’t show any signs of aggression so at only 6 months, we decided that we could show her she could trust humans. The kids were ecstatic when we said we’d adopt her.
After Frisbee was sterilised, she came home with us to recover and from the start, created a firm bond with Cookie, running around our garden, wagging and play fighting. The relationship with Rosie took longer as she’s so damn grumpy! But I’m pleased to say they’re now good friends.
After a couple of weeks with hugs and fusses, Frisbee grew in confidence. She looks at us adoringly and quickly grew to love us all (although she’s a Daddy’s girl!)
I teach children aged 5-16 on Wednesdays and adults all week. I really wanted to socialise Frisbee more and as her trust in us grew, so did my trust in her. I let her meet all my adult students and she rose to the challenge, sitting in front of every new person allowing them to fuss her freely – whilst trying to sneak in the occasional lick! I then moved on to introducing to her to my younger students in groups of 8. Some of them are scared of dogs, especially bigger ones. For these kids, I assured them if they stood over the other side of the classroom, I wouldn’t allow her near them but those who wanted to fuss her could do this one at a time, sat down. Frisbee was simply amazing, she sat in front of each child individually, nuzzling their hands gently and calmly. It’s like she could sense some of them were nervous so she was as calm as possible. It was a beautiful sight to behold and pretty unbelievable for a 7 month old puppy! Now I only have one child who remains terrified of dogs, the rest have fallen in love with Frisbee and happily fuss her every week.
The whole experience of adopting has been wonderful for us, and although we still miss Molly incredibly, Frisbee has helped to heal our broken hearts. Dogs are with us for a short time, but the memories they bring us make the pain worthwhile. We’ll continue to adopt as we lose our furry babies, and in the meantime, try to help the SPA when and where we can in their mission. Their advice and help has been invaluable to our family and we’d encourage anyone to contact them to find their perfect animal member of the family.