My name is
Mike and I live, with my wife Jill, in Cornwall at the most southerly point in
In 2004, I adopted
an extremely traumatised Standard Poodle bitch. 10 years later she died
suddenly and I was heartbroken. By early 2016, my wife said that I was
beginning to make the house look untidy, that I should stop mourning Bella and offer a
home to another dog in need.
happened. We were both researching hypoallergenic breeds, mindful of my
allergic asthma, when a beautiful IWS bitch appeared on the IWS Association’s
previous owner was very reluctant to let her go but circumstances were such
that re-homing had become a necessity. I was subjected to a very thorough
vetting process including references being taken up but, eventually, the day
arrived for the handover to take place. Duana was absolutely stunning from the
moment I first saw her in the flesh. She clearly had no idea what was happening
but did leave her tearful owner and jump into the back of my estate car for the
long drive back to Cornwall. We stopped twice on the journey – once for a
toilet break and once to make sure that Duana was still alive. She was
obviously used to car travel and settled straight down to sleep as soon as the
car started moving.
Duana seems to see the back of my car as her ‘safe place’ and she is still
quite happy to spend her resting time in there, lying on her Vet Bed, with a
bowl of water at her side. She is also a great Guard Dog, letting us know when
there are strangers about.
As soon as
we arrived home in Cornwall, Duana put down her marker for what was to come. We
made up her bed, gave her the meal that her previous owner had provided
together with a bowl of water. Then we sat down to eat the sandwiches we had
bought, but not eaten, on the journey home. The phone rang, I answered it and
when I looked down at my plate, Duana was just finishing off my supper – right
from under my nose!
And so it
has continued. Recently, one Sunday afternoon, my wife waved a clean oval dish
under my nose and asked ‘where’s the chicken’? What chicken? ‘The one I cooked
for lunch; did you open the door to the veranda?’ Yes. ‘Then YOUR dog has eaten
the chicken – bones and all!’ We raced off to the Veterinary Hospital, 30 miles
away, for an emergency emetic. After the injection, we were ushered outside to
a drain. The Vet came out to see what was going on and said ‘my God, did all
that come out of one dog?’ Keeping food and Duana apart is a continuous
exercise - just one split second of lapsed attention and it’s all over.
was one of the conditions of my re-homing Duana and this was done, by my Vet,
shortly after she had settled into her new home. She is enrolled in the Healthy
Pet Club and receives her regular medications and check ups.
I walk with
her 4 times daily and we cover between 5 and 6 miles each day. Additionally,
one of our neighbours is a trail runner and very kindly takes her out with him
on his training runs 2 to 3 times weekly. He says the only problem is that he
cannot run fast enough to make her do anything more energetic than an extended
Duana is a
real character and has become very much part of the local community in the 12
months that I have cared for her. She gets on well with most other dogs that we
meet, is particularly gentle with puppies and just loves children. All the
villagers seem to know her by name and it’s not unusual for a complete stranger
(to me) to greet her by name when we are out walking. I presume they meet her
when she is out ‘running’ with our neighbour.
Duana has an
incredibly accurate internal clock. She knows when it’s mealtime – to the minute.
She sleeps on the foot of my bed and never fails to wake me up at her breakfast
obsession is a real challenge and we worry about her welfare when we see her
picking up such things as sheep droppings. But, on the other hand, I can take
anything out of her mouth without any fear of being bitten. It’s just a case of
spotting what she has done before it’s too late.
It was a
very sad day for her previous owner, when Duana came into our lives, but a life
changing day for me and Jill. We love her dearly and are looking forward to
many more happy years of the intellectual challenge of caring for our ‘baby’.