We’ve had a really busy day today 🙂
Now my knee is feeling better and better, I’m getting out and about again.
This morning we walked Kasper, then Rey, then Raiden came upstairs for a while as we sorted everything. Then it was a train journey, a busy journey and, because I’m doing better in every way, we were able to go volunteer at our local rescue centre again!
This is something we haven’t been able to do in a year, so it felt great to do it after so long.
It was sad as always to see the dogs. I remember when we first began volunteering in 2009, it would only be a very small number of dogs that were fearful and would bark as you pass – two or three out of thirty.
These days most the dogs have completely lost it 😦
Today 95% of the dogs were either in the corner trembling, avoiding eye contact and offering calming signals, or they were lunging, barking and growling.
We chose to take out Marley, a beautiful young Patterdale Terrier.
Marley is 18 months old and hasn’t been in rescue long.
He is so similar to Raiden in personality, but obviously missing a lot of crucial training…still, this boy oozes love, energy and a joy for life. He is beautiful.
We chose to take him out because he is a young, energetic breed, and he is small for my knee too…I didn’t want to risk walking a large dog on lead / having a big dog jump up so soon after dislocating my knee!
Walking Marley was a joy. First we chilled in the paddock.
Since we were last here they have made some wonderful improvements, which is nice to see.
Most importantly they now have rules outside the paddocks, in large lettering and in several places. The rules tell people not to wait outside the gate if a paddock is in use, NEVER to go in a paddock when another dog is in there, and not to mix dogs unless staff say so.
That’s fantastic as last time we were volunteering we had a few other volunteers trying to open the paddocks when we were in there with reactive dogs – thankfully we always ‘lock’ the gates using the dogs’ leads as well as the latch, but sheesh!!
Secondly there are now wonderful barriers all the way around the lower half of the paddock fencing, which is a fantastic idea and should help reactive and nervous dogs 🙂
We had a lot of fun playing fetch with Marley and working on a little training 🙂
Marley is such a great little guy.
He excelled at ‘drop’ and responded very well to a sit – by the end he was offering sits and could go to a sit when asked even if he was in the process of jumping up!
If you watch the first time he sits compared to the last, you will see how much more comfortable and happier he was after just 20 minutes 🙂
We noticed early on that an idiotic volunteer was hanging about watching us, outside the paddock gate, with a dog on a longline – she obviously wanted to use our paddock as she couldn’t be bothered walking uphill to the other.
We played in the paddock for 20 minutes (the minimum you can walk the dogs for), then clipped Marley up.
As we were heading to the gate, the volunteer with the other dog walked right up and towards us – I was furious, this is why we don’t enjoy volunteering much anymore, because a lot of the volunteers make it dangerous!!
Her dog was reacting a lot to Marley, and she was absolutely hideous – yelling “No!” and “Sit!” Then, when the dog understandably lost it because she’d brought him so close, she was popping the lead and doing that horrible Cesar Millan “Tsst!” noise – gross 😦
We ducked as far from them with Marley as we could, and happy talked him. To show how fantastic he is, he didn’t react other than excited pulling and a little whining…VERY impressive for a young dog in rescue!
As we walked up the hill for some lead walking I was even more impressed.
We passed close to the goats (mild excitement, carried on with some LAT / engage-disengage), he walked on loose lead with minimal pulling for sniffs, and he did great watching sheep run fairly close by too.
What a star 🙂
Before we left we checked out the wildlife area and the rabbit room.
We saw some beautiful chickens (the rooster wanted a fuss so desperately!!) and some young chicks (maybe 10-12 weeks old?).
The rescue were overflowing with rabbits.
They take extremely good care of them; they all have very large hutches to say they are in rescue, and they will only home them to people who can offer them more space.
My favourite was this little 4 month old Lionhead who was found as a stray…SO CUTE!
I think it’s great that they care so much, but I do think the reason they have so many rabbits (30+, with many of them being long term) is because alongside their normal requirements for adopting any animal from them, they ask rabbit owners have a lot of space too…
I know buns do need plenty of running space, but they say 8ft x 16ft for one rabbit, and it must put a lot of potential adoptees off who will just go to a pet shop…I think people would be far more willing if they said 6ft x 2ft / 6ft x 4ft with several hours in a run, y’know?
I did like that they had this though 🙂
And finally we bought some of the toys they sell on site.
We bought a bunch of stuffed toys for Raiden for £5, which was awesome, and then after I found a huuuge Bullbar for £9 in a nearby pet shop.
I’ve wanted to try these for so long, I was really excited – I will blog about it soon!