Time for some very exciting news! I am very happy to introduce you to Mia, the newest member of our family! She is an absolute joy and a complete cuddle monster, I've never known such a soppy dog! She is a complete Heinz 57 mixed breed, I think sometimes I see Poodle, Tibetan Terrier, Schnauzer, but who knows! It's a exceedingly cute mix, I hope you'll agree.
Mia has been at home for two weeks now, and is our first rescue dog (as we got Mollie as a pup from a reputable local breeder!) as we just wanted to approach finding our next dog in a completely different way. I actually saw Mia on the Holbrook Animal Rescue Facebook page on my lunch break, and before I knew it, I was phoning the number. There was only one quirk, Mia is a Romanian rescue dog, and was actually in a foster home in Bucharest! Speaking to the amazing Lisa who has rescued hundreds of dogs from Romania, I learnt so much about the situation over there, you can read more HERE. There are thousands of stray dogs roaming the city streets, who get rounded up by the dog catchers and get two weeks in squalid conditions at the pound (or as the rescuers call them, dog death camps) to find a home or they will be killed, often brutally with barbaric methods.
Mia's story until now is a sad one, she did have owners once as she had obviously been loved and given lots of affection, and she was found neutered which is a rarity in these rescue dogs. However, due to unknown circumstances, she was tied up and left outside a supermarket for a week in all conditions. Her fur was matted into dreadlocks and goodness knows how terrified she was, but luckily local people gave her water and stale bread to live on. She then spent a week in the pound before being rescued. I learned they get the little dogs out first because as the dogs are only fed once a week, the big dogs won't let them near the food bowls and they are often dangerously dehydrated too.
Here is the 'Before and After' shots of Mia, can you believe the transformation?? She looks so small and helpless in the cage, I can barely recognise it's her! She was in a loving foster home for three months before being re-homed, and I know her foster mum misses her very much. For the dogs to come to the UK they have to pass all Pet Passport regulations, several vet checks, full vaccinations, flea and worming treatment and finally possess a microchip - this isn't an easy or cheap option, they are better checked than some dogs for sale in the UK! She spent three days travelling here in a safe, air conditioned vets van, and finally came the day we were picking her up! The van travels from Derby, down the M25 and stops at several 'drop off points' so people up and down the country can pick up their new fur babies! Ours was Cobham services, and after an anxious wait (and a sudden worry maybe it was all a hoax!) we saw the vet van approach! She was in a cage far into the van so I couldn't see her when they opened the doors, but after I said her name, she was put straight into my arms for a cuddle. She didn't shake, tremble or show any fear, and I couldn't believe my eyes (and Mum burst into tears because she couldn't either!) She was ours!
Luckily, the service station had a grassy dog walking area so we could spend some time in the air with her before putting her back into a car! She was happily strolling around, taking in the sights and the smells and already coming for a cuddle, we couldn't believe she was real! We also met her lovely rescuer Lisa who was picking up another beautiful dog, Bina, to foster her, (who found a home two days later, yay!) Mia travelled back home brilliantly, she didn't seem worried by the car or by our friend Nick who had driven us to the services (many of these rescues are fearful of men as most dog pound workers and catchers are male). I had no idea what to expect, but Mia really did put a stop to my worrying that day!
As soon as we got her home I practiced training her that the dog basket was her safe place to retreat too, and as she was absolutely shattered, she got the idea very quickly! She wasn't happy to sleep in her basket at night, as her foster mum had let her sleep on her bed, so we are working on that! But regardless, she slept brilliantly the first night, with no howling or pacing. The next morning she was much happier to explore her new surroundings, and I don't think she could believe that the garden was all hers! She was tentative at first, but the terrier instincts came through soon enough, watch out pigeons!
It took over a week to get Mia playing properly, as she was still unsure if she was doing something naughty or not! At first, when I threw the ball she'd look at me bewildered, then one day she just tore after it, her little legs galloping (she's rather gangly so not exactly poetry in motion!) and then looked SO proud of herself! She now fetches well, and will initiate playtime and amuse herself with her squeaky owl toy too! This is it with a rescue dog, already she has shown so much development and you see a little more of her cheeky character every day! She has also now found her voice which is a mixed blessing, but she will get more confident as the weeks go by. It can take a dog up to six months to truly feel settled in a new home, so for two weeks she is being a star!
Welcome little Mia Superstar! We are so happy to have you home!
Do you have rescue dog stories and advice? Please do comment below. Thanks for reading!