Thursday, 27 October 2011

Jeff the sleepy shar-pei

The first thing I would say to anyone who is thinking about adopting a dog or getting a new puppy, is to do lots of research into the different breeds of dogs.   When after years of longing we decided to get a dog, I could not wait, to get my new furry friend. I didn't realise the huge difference between breeds and how they behave. I thought that all dogs were pretty much the same as Ben my jack russell.

Breeds of dogs vary massively in the amounts of exercise they need, grooming and temperament. Many  breeds of dog, have been bred to carry out a specific task, such as herding, guarding or retrieving. Even if a dog is a pet dog it will still have the characteristics of its ancestors. I guess that's why Labradors often love fetching tennis balls, they were bred to retrieve stuff.

I started my search for a dog, by going to Discover Dogs an annual event at Earl's Court, where  you can meet lots of different breeds of dogs. My big mistake was not talking enough to the breeders, and asking questions. I spent the day cuddling and fussing over lots of dogs, and by the end of the day had my heart set on a Shar Pei.

I contacted Shar-Pei rescue, when I explained what I planned to do with my new dog, a very patient lady did explain that a shar-pei,  and arranged to meet a shar- pei called Jeff who was looking for a new home.

When I met Jeff, he wasn't very interested in me, and quickly curled up on the floor and fell asleep. My previous experience with a jack russell who would demand lots of fuss from any visitor, led me to believe something was wrong with Jeff. Of course if I had researched the breed properly I would have found that   and a shar pei doesn't behave like a jack russell.  Shar-pei's take their time to assess visitors and don't always rush to  make a fuss of them. Plus he had just returned from a walk, so was naturally going to be worn out.

I still cringe when I think about the phone call I made to shar-pei rescue, explaining that I had never seen a dog that slept like Jeff, and was there something wrong with him.  I feel particularly embarrassed when I think about my own labrador who will just about sleep anywhere!  Needless to say shar-pei rescue gently suggested Jeff wasn't the dog for me.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

In the beginning

Dexter's story begins with Millie.  I have always loved dogs, my first dog was a little jack russell called Ben. We went everywhere together. After Ben, I wasn't able to have my own dog for many years, as I had a full time job with a long commute.

I filled the gap by sponsoring a greyhound through Dogs Trust who,  I was able to go and visit and occasionally take for walks.

In 2007 I got a job just 20 minutes from home, so I could easily get home at lunch time to see a dog, my partner David also worked shifts. So generally there would always be someone at home. So we decided to start looking for a dog.

I liked the idea of adopting an older dog , and wasn't sure if I had enough experience with dogs to train a puppy.  So we began looking for a rescue dog.