23rd Aug 2022
This is Axel (was Axel at SDR - we kept his name!). Apparently, he was found wandering the streets and had been at SDR for about 18 months before adopting us. He’s still a scavenger and a scrounger. He loves toast, he would sell his soul for butter; no food is safe! He’s also the most loving, good-natured dog you could wish for. We often talk about the day we first met him at SDR when he brought a toy to the front of his run as we looked at him and dropped it as if to say, “Please play with me”. We fell in love with him right there and then. When he came out from the kennel area to meet us outside reception, he came bounding over on a lead and buried his head into each of our laps, his tail wagging with such eager enthusiasm. We took him for a short walk to get to know him. It’s important to know at this point that I am a full-time wheelchair user and, given the state of the paths around SDR, was a little slower than the others. Axel kept stopping and looking round, seemingly knowing that one of the party wasn’t with him. I think we had barely driven out of the gate on our way home before we agreed that we would love to have him in our family.
A successful home visit complete and 10 days after we first met him, Axel got into the car and came to his forever home for the first time. That first night was a challenge… we were determined to crate train him and, with a little coaxing with some meaty treats, he soon got the message. We discussed potential names for him but in the end, we couldn’t come up with anything more suitable than Axel… so it stuck!
We soon learnt that Axel had lost none of his scavenging know-how and any food on the work surface was fair game as far as he was concerned! On one occasion, he was even bold enough to steal a piece of freshly buttered toast from the plate on my lap tray as I came out of the kitchen! Amongst other things he has also enjoyed the meat off of an entire roast chicken!!
Axel became one of the family pretty much immediately and greeted everyone coming through the front door as a friend!
About six months after Axel had become part of our family, and remembering his playmate at SDR who had been there even longer than Axel, we went back to see if Chase would still get on with Axel with a view to him becoming part of the family too. We had a few “get to know you” sessions with him, including a couple in the large run… it’s so good to see a Lurcher at full speed enjoying running free. Chase is a much lankier dog than Axel and quite happily put his front paws onto my lap in my wheelchair when I first met him. He now stands with his paws on my shoulders and looks me straight in the eye… all well and good until he breathes doggy breath in my face!
We agreed to have Chase in our home on a one month trial basis to see how he – and we – got on. That was in February 2020… within a month, the country had gone into lockdown as a result of the COVID pandemic. He was (and still is) a reactive dog when he is out and about but gradually, with love and patience, he has become a good natured, cheeky dog at home. For a long time he wouldn’t make eye contact with any of us when we stroked him, hated having his paws touched and seemed a bit wary. But one day, he decided he’d had enough of the comfortable dog bed on the living room floor and decided to climb up on the sofa… Axel had never got on the sofa, or any of the armchairs and we’d set a “no dogs on the furniture” rule. However… with Chase showing the first sign that he wanted to be close to us on his choosing, we didn’t have the heart to tell him to get down and so that rule was quickly forgotten. Within a couple of weeks, Axel too had realised that the sofa and armchair were very comfy places to sleep! Chase was still not completely relaxed and would keep to his end of the sofa. But gradually, he has relaxed and now climbs onto the sofa and will rest his paws and head in the lap of whoever is there. And he will now look you in the eye as you stroke him or tickle him behind his ears, which he absolutely loves.
Axel and Chase are very much part of the family; they have been on camping holidays, trips to the Lake District and Somerset and are set for a week in Scotland in the autumn. We will always be grateful to SDR for giving them both a home until they found us and we are so glad they did… Our home is their forever home. We think they like that as much as we do…