Rescue pets: Everyday breakthroughs

Last updated 05:00 01/05/2013

BUDDING FRIENDSHIP: Mac on the left, Tommi on the right, note the cat on the dog.

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Nearly two years ago I decided to get a dog. I got an 11-week-old 'German Shepherd' puppy, Tommi, from a backyard breeder. While she was not a full German Shepherd, she turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.

After having her for a nearly a year, and putting her in day care everyday, I decided that I needed to own my own home so I could get her a companion dog and be able to leave them at home while I went to work.

Last November, I applied to The German Shepherd Rescue Trust for a dog. I got Mac. Mac was a 19-month-old German Shepherd, uncut, who had been tied to a fence and starved. He had spent three months with his foster carer getting him up to a normal weight.

I took Tommi out to meet him and they got along beautifully. I took possession of my new house and my new dog the next month, within four days of each other.

The very first thing Mac did was chase my cats away. It was an extremely stressful time, settling in to new noises, settling my cats into a new home, and settling a prey-driven German Shepherd into a new environment. Luckily, my cats were brave enough to come back.

We have had our share of vet visits to check out his joints, to remove stitches and to have his weight checked. I have to buy special intestine sensitive food for him in order for him to maintain his weight and his hair has gone from being dull and falling out, to being shiny and beautiful.

What I have found with a rescue pet is that everyday there are breakthroughs. I was lucky enough to have Tommi, so when Tommi came to me, Mac came to me. It took him nearly three months to realise that he could choose to come to me and have a cuddle, until that moment he was coming because I had called him or to reassure himself that I was still around.

It took him about four months to consistently come back when I call him and even now he regresses if he sees something that he likes to chase.

The cats have taught him that they are entitled to be in the house and loved as well. He is learning to be gentle with them, but still can't be left alone with them as he likes to make them run, still a work in progress.

The one thing that I notice in him is a desire to be good. He tries so hard. He is such a big personality and my home would never be without him now. He is gentle, kind, loving (if a little clutsy) soul and between him and Tommi, they bring a lot of humour to my life. Tommi is a therapy dog and the motto in our home is, that Tommi's role is to be a working dog, Mac's is to be beautiful. So far, so good :) 

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