Spectre Ryan Hirsch

As I mentioned in my last post, it's been a busy few years in our household. Back in 2017 I'd decided to move job and was placed on 8 weeks of gardening leave. The first thing Nick and I decided was that meant we were getting a dog.

The "I stood in poop face"
Both of us have grown up in labrador families since birth so it was a no brainer when deciding what dog we wanted. However, we felt that despite my 8 weeks of Gardening Leave a puppy would be a little too much to handle and wouldn't be able to be left through the day once I was back at work.

Not entirely convinced he enjoys fancy dress, but I do....
So we set about looking to adopt an older lab who was looking for a new lease of life. We tried all the dog re-homing charities however were told we weren't eligible due to our working hours so realised we'd have to cast the net a little wider. That's when we discovered Preloved, a site where owners can list their older dogs that they can no longer look after.

We spend more on Bonios than we do food for ourselves...

We spotted a lovely 8 year old chocolate labrador being advertised alongside his son so decided to go and visit...

We arrived in the middle of nowhere and were introduced to Spectre... It was love at first site. Sadly his son had already been re-homed however Spectre was still very much available and ready to retire from life as a working dog.

Not sure when or why it happened but he loves Nick more than me these days...
We scooped him up, put him in the car and have never looked back. He was in a terrible condition when we first re-homed him. A male labrador should weigh on average 28kilos... Spec weighed under 21kg, you could see every rib, his paws were burnt from where his previous owner had cleaned out his kennel with bleach and hadn't watered it down enough. He devoured food like he'd never been fed and he followed me everywhere. Safe to say he was a broken dog in need of much love.

I left the room for two minutes...
Spec had lived outside his whole life so found the idea of being in the house a little unusual to start of with... we bought him a lovely bed to sleep on but he'd just sleep next to it on the floor, not used to any luxury, that was until Nick taught him how to jump on the sofa. It's now Spec's sofa and we are invited to sit on it when he deems suitable.

I miss the days where he followed me round like my little shadow!
The highlight of Spec's early life with us has to be his first birthday, he'd had such a miserable life that we decided he deserved to be spoilt. So we ordered him a doggy birthday cake, bought him a party hat and a birthday badge and had a mini birthday party for him. Not entirely sure he was convinced by the hat or the badge but he loved the cake!

Spec's first birthday

Fast forward two years and not once have I ever regretted bringing home our little brown bear... even when he ate stones in the garden and cost us two months worth of mortgage in vet bills. We always say Spec is our first child, he was at our wedding (in a bowtie obviously) and goes everywhere with us (sorry to our friends who now only get to see us in dog friendly pubs!) I just hope he doesn't hate us too much when we bring home the mini egg!

Day 1!

For those of you who are interested in rehoming a dog, a few pieces of advice:

  • There are a lot of dogs out there who are older and in much need of a friendly, caring home. These dogs offer all the love of a puppy whilst being much happier (generally speaking) to be left at home during the day, as they mainly sleep. 
  • Make sure you have a local dog walker you're comfortable with letting into your house so they can let themselves in, in the middle of the day to keep your dog company/ go for a walk. There are some fantastic websites out there, we have used: Tailster, Rover (formally Dog Buddy) and Pawshake
  • The big animal charities such as Battersea, The Dogs Trust etc. will not let you re-home a dog if you work full time (which again generally speaking is ridiculous) so try looking in the classified section of your local paper or on websites such as Preloved. 
  • My final point would be, think carefully before adopting a dog, it is a huge responsibility and commitment and whilst I think it's 110% worth it you need to make sure you have researched and are fully prepared for bringing a dog into your home. It's expensive and time consuming but so incredibly worth it when you come home to a smiling face after a really shit day at work.

The first family portrait


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