Rowan

When we lost our rescue Collie Pippin suddenly in early September 2018 and we were deeply affected by not having a dog in our lives. I have been blessed to have three wonderful rescue dogs, all Border Collies, and my partner has had rescue dogs too. You could say that without a dog in our lives we feel somewhat lost!

My partner had always wanted an English Setter and he found SeBPRA on the internet. It is always saddening to see that dogs are mistreated in many countries and we knew immediately that we wanted to rehome at least one dog if not two.

Rowan (formally Dun) seemed to have been overlooked. To this day we think he was the dog meant for us. The process of adopting was smooth and I never for a moment had anything but complete confidence in the SeBPRA team. The most nerve racking part was the home visit, which we spent ages preparing for, building a new fence in our garden!

Rowan arrived in early October, came quietly off the van, walked over to our car and sat there and let us cuddle him. Nick said he was one of the most placid dogs he had ever transported. He was incredibly thin – not due to neglect but because he had been struggling in kennels. He took everything that day in his stride, the drive home, stopping at the motorway services, coming back to a new house etc.,

The first few weeks were a challenge, but to be honest we expected things to be much harder than they were. No matter where you get a dog from, you really don’t know what they will be like until they have settled in with you. Initially, we gave him lots of love and hand-fed him treats to build lots of trust. He was very hungry, so he got four small meals a day. Slowly he put in weight and started to settle into our routine. He learnt to go to the toilet outside in a few weeks, which I consider very good because we really don’t know if he ever lived in a house before he came to us. There were some accidents, but that is life!

Initially, he had his bed in our kitchen but it soon became clear that he suffered from separation anxiety, so after taking advice from our dog trainer, we put another bed in our bedroom, where he sleeps happily! The only downside is that he has a strong internal clock and for a few weeks we got woken up with a lick at 6am!

We have done lots of training with Rowan so far: he learnt quickly how to sit, his recall is pretty good (unless he has got a sniff of something interesting), he walks very well on the lead and has never pulled. He is now learning ‘bed’, ‘touch’, ‘paw’, and ‘down’, as well as a few other things such as ‘heel’. He loves to work for his treats! We practice recall at home and out walking and he is learning that he always gets a high-value reward, so it’s worth coming when I call. I generally have no worries about him running off, partly because he is trongly attached to us.

We can’t imagine our lives without Rowan. He comes to work with me (where he is spoilt by everyone I work with) and is somewhat of a minor celebrity in the village now! Everyone knows him, and he gets special treatment at all the pubs. He is a loving, sociable and intelligent dog and he enriches our lives beyond measure. He is a typical Setter, so slippers are frequently stolen, he loves to chew paper out of the bin, he can smell a treat a mile away, and he is obsessed with playing ball. He also decided that he had to share the sofa with us…..and that is where you will find him every evening, snoring his head off! My partner calls him ‘his sunshine’, and that’s exactly what he is to both of us.