Or should that be a tail… no, let’s not start on the puns.
When we decided to start our hunt for a rescue dog we decided to start at Battersea Old Windsor as it was fairly local, had quite a large number of dogs and a good reputation. We paid a visit, filled in the required forms, had a quick chat with a re-homer and then had a look through the kennels.
There were about five dogs I would have taken home there and then. All Staffies.
The procedure at Battersea is that you fill in the forms to adopt a dog and then you get a general home visit to check that your home and garden is suitable before you start really thinking about which dog you would like. Consequently the home check is not specific and effectively covers any and all breed of dog. About 5 days after we’d been to Old Windsor I had a call from one of their home inspectors and we set a date for the following week for her to come and see us.
The home inspector was very helpful, she came up with lots of suggestions about settling a new dog in, especially with Cat. She outlined how Battersea check to see if a dog is likely to be able to live with a cat and we discussed feeding and training and everything involved in looking after a dog. However, she wasn’t happy with our garden, specifically the fences. We have a relatively small garden surrounded mostly by 6’ fences. There was one area of 3’ tatty mesh fence which really did need replacing and I couldn’t disagree with her on this. However, as we have a 4’ high bunker next to a 5’ shed against the 6’ fence, she was concerned that a dog could jump up onto these and then jump over the fence and break a leg falling the 6’ on the other side, despite the fact that our neighbour has shrubs growing against the fence at this point. She wanted us to raise the height of the fence in this area to prevent a dog jumping over it, and suggested putting trellis along the top of the fence. The bottom line was that until we had done the work and she had come back to inspect then we couldn’t go any further with adopting a dog from them.
So, that was pretty disappointing. Husband and I had a chat about the work that needed doing and determined that putting in trellis was not going to be particularly easy. Husband started applying his not inconsiderable DIY skills to thinking about the problem and ten days later the 3’ fence was a 6’ fence, which only left the trellis.
In the meantime, however, I had found a dog being offered for adoption by a much smaller animal charity who looked ideal so I filled in an application form and a call from the adoption co-ordinator followed fairly swiftly. She thought that we would be an ideal home for this particular dog, currently being fostered about an hour’s drive away from us, and set things in motion. A phone chat with the dog’s fosterer followed which only served to convince me that this could be the perfect dog for us, so a home visit was arranged.
I wasn’t aware but the smaller rescue charities tend to help each other out in terms of fostering and home checks. Consequently, this morning we had a home check from a local lady who fosters for another animal charity. The difference this time was that she had the details of the dog we were interested in and checked the garden for that particular dog. She saw the new 6’ fence and the existing fence (no trellis) and the small hole in the gate that we had temporarily blocked. She came inside and chatted to all four of us, asked about our routines, our holiday plans, our thoughts on training. She also recommended a particularly good dog training class locally.
Then she told us she was more than satisfied that we were a suitable home and that she would report back to the adoption co-ordinator to that effect as soon as she got home. Home check passed with flying colours! (And no more garden DIY required from Husband!)