Rescue Dog from Mauritius

 In 2015 I became involved with All Dogs Matter Charity in North London and it was through them that I got to meet Val from Vals K9 training and her beautiful dog Bailey who she rescued whilst living in Mauritius. Val is a dog behaviourist and works closely with the charity helping them out at their shelter by caring for the dogs awaiting adoption and providing them with training and carrying out assessments to help match them to the right owner.

Val rescued Bailey a beautiful cross breed when she was living in Mauritius and I got to meet Bailey properly on a photoshoot at Trent Park in London, I was taking photos of a German Shepherd cross puppy that Val was fostering until All Dogs Matter could find him a home. Because of Baileys start in life Val warned me to not go straight over to her and let her come to me, she is a beautiful dog and it was lovely watching her with the puppy and how protective she was to him. Bailey was born in Mauritius  in a litter of 7 puppies, in the same home was another female who also had a litter of puppies, they all needed rehoming urgently. The owners of the dogs had told Val that if they did not find homes they were going to give them to the MSPCA (Mauritius Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) at only 4 weeks old. Even though the charity is a government run organisation they do not have a good reputation so Val was determined to do her best to find them homes and managed to persuade the owners that the puppies needed to stay with their mum until at least 8 weeks old. By the time the puppies were 6 weeks old the owners had lost patience and told Val they were going to get rid of them!! Luckily Val and a friend adopted a puppy each.

The day Val met Bailey she said she was timid, but at the same time curious and seemed to have a good temperament. Val described it as love at first sight, she did spend time with the other puppies but Baileys personality stood out and Val and her friend took Bailey and her brother and off they went to their new homes. She began very basic training with her at around 7 weeks and went everywhere with Val, by 10 months old she was well trained, spayed and fully vaccinated, it was at that point that Val decided to return to the UK for good and brought Bailey with her.

Bailey did not seem to cope too well with the journey.  She was crate trained from an early age and was happy to sleep in her crate and be closed in for short periods but when she arrived in the UK she refused to stay inside one, she retaliated and became even more anxious then normal. Val said she was suddenly very fearful of people, particularly men and could not be left alone at all, she would do anything to escape her confinement so she could find out where Val was. She thinks the journey must have been so scary for her.

It has been a long road with a lot of hard work involved in helping her overcome her anxiety and fear of being left alone. Bailey has been in the UK for 8 months and there have been many ups and downs, there were times when she was fine being left alone but would then regress to her fearful state. Each time they would start again with lots of patience and understanding. She is doing much better now and is less anxious then  before, it is also easier to control her when she is at her worst. She does not like strangers approaching her so Val warns people to let her come to them, then give her a treat so that she has a positive association with strangers, she is getting better each day but there is still a long way to go. Once she knows you then she has no problem with you.

Since being involved with All Dogs Matter I am always shocked by the stories I hear of abandoned dogs and will never understand how people can be so cruel. I have loved photographing and meeting dogs that need homes and am now also considering giving a rescue dog a home. I asked Val what is the best advice she could give people who are considering rehoming a rescue dog.

Val advices to do the research on the breed or breed mix they would like, take time to meet the dog a couple of times before making a final decision. Some dogs in shelters can have behaviour issues that should be taken into account, that is why it is really important to meet your chosen dog a couple of times first before you make your final decision. There are also lots of dogs who are incredibly well trained and well behaved when they arrive at the shelter. It is also a good idea to talk to the staff who can help you find a suitable dog that fits in with your lifestyle. The staff and volunteers work everyday with these dogs and are best equipped to help you make a decision, they dedicate their time to training and helping these dogs with any problems they might have before they go to their new home.

Val says taking on a rescue dog is one of the best things anyone can do and knowing that you can help a dog go from being shy and scared to being confident and sociable is the best reward you can have in return. However do not forget that there are some dogs that need more help then others. Being a pet photographer I can completely relate to that, I do lots of pet portraits but there is always something extra special when it is with a rescue dog, I cannot think of anything more rewarding then giving a permanent loving home to a dog who has had such a cruel start in life.