Terriers in Deed
Terrier Rescue has developed out of a deep sense of wanting to help canine friends in need in 2003. I am a therapist by profession and my husband a retired GP with a fantastic empathy for dogs! Our 1st dog was a rescue wire-haired Fox terrier; our next was an ex-show/kennel Lakie who worried a door and got tragically killed on the road. Our next Lakie Brandy ex kennel made it very clear he adored dogs and sowed the seed of having another … our Irish Terrier Fern for health reasons got held back by a breeder and came to us at nearly 4yrs old. Brandy and Fern have always respected one another; Fern being twice Brandy’s size was his mother figure; he her ‘son’. One year on and Fern became paralysed, our lives were turned inside out and we committed to help her. She gradually improved, she learnt to walk again and even jump up on furniture. We then put this time saved into a 3rd rescue foster dog and then 2.. We reached the point when we had terrier separated in every room and a big pack in the lounge area. We were bringing terriers, collies and lurchers over from Ireland, taking terriers in from Wales and the UK. We are not fussy with our breeds and cross breeds but very fussy with our homes! Our all breed rescue work is Rescue Remedies covering London and the Home Counties. We help Terriers generally and run Lakeland, Fell Breed Rescue (in the past and Irish Terrier rescue). We help them through to a home from pounds or own homes. We now hire 35-40 kennels and have to raise that money. We have never had a legacy but somehow the money comes trickling through. 2011 we homed 82 terriers in the year; 84 Staffies and 52 other breeds hard work 24/7/365
With a rescue consciousness; age, health or breed becomes secondary. Who needs a good home and matches my life style, or will change my lifestyle for the better! If people are open minded they end up with just the right dog for them. Disappointment comes when everything is focused on looks and dreams, rather than reality and need. We are not Marks and Spencers; if it has a thread hanging down when you get it home, take it back!!! Terriers are full of character and act as amazing anti depressants. One person will complain they do this; they do that…the next person is chuckling…they do this, they do that. Yes the post-person knows their terrier homes with the post box outside the front door! Terriers thrive on activity and are full of courage. They are pack animals and like to work to pack order and by the way, if you haven’t already made it clear YOU are top dog, they’ll be confused and lead you a merry dance if not. They can only really relax when you are managing things. Voice control; tactics to achieve harmony; fair- even treatment with the awareness of pack order within a routine is best. The occasional treat and outing to break the monotony!! Oh and distraction and substitution are very useful in ‘changing the subject’ e.g. to get something from their mouth or gaze! Debate of ‘on or off lead’ is a personal one. We use ‘H’ harnesses (not shoulder clip) for our terriers so the collar is there to carry the disc with address and mobile numbers and never slipped! Microchipping takes a second of the vets time and costs about £15 so why aren’t all terriers microchipped! We also use 8 metre extender leads to give our terriers freedom with security, because when their interest is caught they see and go over the hills and far away..and they have no road sense. Like foxes and cats many a terrier is killed on our busy roads. We would rather employ a muzzle if a dog isn’t fully trustworthy with dogs -to allow them to build up their confidence and socialisation skills without risk, rather than hold the dog back physically or psychologically from mixing and being a dog!
Terriers never seem to grow old just sweeter and more endearing…why do so many enquirers discount the older loves in favour of the out and out scamps! The thought they are gaining years. Well don’t forget terriers are long livers when I get a lively 11 yrs old in and ask my friends ‘how old’? You can bet the reply is “2 or 3!” with another 5 yrs ahead to enjoy I pray. So remember what life changes occur in 4-5 yrs and question why a pup why under 2 yrs!! You’ll be the losers of a very special experience of offering a middle-aged terrier a home, who has it all sorted; faithful and loyal. The older terriers tend to lose their homes through no fault of their own. Sadly so many people that selfishly want a ‘young terrier’ haven’t the skills, patients, time or nous to deal with them.
Diet & Treats:
Terriers should be fed a low protein additive free diet, they are like children -react strongly to colourants. I like to give my terriers moist food so they can enjoy flavour! I usually use naterdiet; chappie or butcher’s tripe mixed with small bit mixer or skinner field or trial dried food. A cook up of rice; cooked veg and reduced meat from the supermarket means bowls are pushed around the kitchen floor to get every crumb. I don’t give my dogs treats apart from hide bones as I hate to see dogs focused on food. But I do a treat session most days where the pack sits and each one waits in turn as their name is called out. I give them a little breakfast and an evening meal. Personally I like to feed my dogs before we eat. I can’t bear the thought of the dogs starving, starring up at us eating! I also hate to see a terrier over-weight and have rescued some in a terrible state, twice their rec. body weight. Long walks soon gives them back their vigour and figure! No excuses!
Should terriers live alone or with others? We have needed to rescue many a dog who, as they came through to maturity, challenged dominance and needed to be split. Other terriers have lived with other dogs make it very clear they want another dog in their pack and aren’t handling ‘the only dog life’. Its down to the individual dog, their skills, experience and also the confidence of the pack leader as manager. There are some terrier homes whatever the individual terrier’s traits, the pack leader is going to make it work..with cats..with other terriers..caged birds. We gained that confidence slowly and sometimes looked around and see 5 terriers, a collie, a rottie cross and a spaniel happily intermixing throughout the day. Some dogs however I don’t have the confidence to mix inside but will do on their walks. So whether you stay with an only dog or decide to home two will depend on your confidence and also the dogs concerned (chemistry). Generally I would not advise 2 pups from the same litter. I would advise a mix in ages, breed and sex. If you want to home 2 dogs -many a rescue will have dogs in foster where 2 dogs happen to be friends. Its sad when one finds a home to leave the other. Rescue Remedies have recently rehomed 4 dog pairs -dogs who have lived together in harmony, were losing their home together and now remaining together. What joy! 2 dogs are not double trouble; you do the same walks, the same feeding times, shopping etc. twice the laughs!
Finally we do not support breeding: We neuter all dogs coming through our rescue at our personal cost helped by our various vets. Dogs on death row are staring out hoping someone will help. Pounds know there are too few rescue places available for the dogs needing them- in the next few days they will have the label PTS (put to sleep) next to their picture. This affects Staffies especially as they are overbred. Few people come forwards to offer a Staffie a home. These death row dogs are just discards in our consumerist society, got rid of! These dogs come into our rescue and often prove brilliant all round dogs, just given another chance by us and BY YOU! The greatest asset to any rescue is YOU offering their homes. Yes we need financial help; we need publicity, we need fosterers, we need dog transporters but above all -our dogs need safe, understanding homes with secure terrier-proof gardens; care, companionship and social walks for life.
Why breed or buy whilst others die?