Thursday, 12 January 2012

Letter from Tara Valentine & family

We adopted Tara about 18 months ago now, aged about 4 or 5 years.

Tara was rescued from a farm on Ireland where she had been chained up for chasing the chickens. We will never know what actually happened to her.

She did not know much of anything really. To me she seemed quite nervous, cowering at some things. At first she would not play with any ball or toys! She now plays with a tennis ball in the garden and I still encourage a ball when out on walks, but to no avail. I think there are too many interesting smells which she would rather investigate. However, she is still nervous of squeaky toys, so we don’t bother any more as they seem to stress her out too much. She picked up basic commands like sit, wait, leave, stay within a few months. Although, if there was another dog around she would not listen to commands at all!

I introduced a whistle not long ago to help with her recall – she grasped this very quickly – who said you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.

At first she was extremely feisty with other dogs, to say the least. She would not let them get anywhere near her. She would go down on all fours and started shaking or lunge and nip. The first few months were difficult. Dog walkers used to see us coming and walk the other side of the road. I felt a bit alienated, some comments were uncalled for. I should have got a T-Shirt that read “I didn’t do this to this dog”. To me, if any think, it was fear. My husband did wonder if we should throw in the towel, I suggested we tried a local trainer. Their only answer was to muzzle her. I did not want to do this as I believed she was not a nasty dog, she needed a chance in life and I was not going to give up on her.

I took a few steps back and thought about what Paul had said at the Wiccaweys “Understand your Collie Talks” and that was to find out what was right for Tara. This was invaluable advice.  "What works for one dog may not work for another."

We got a long lead which we christened “Purple Ronnie” so we could give her a good run around on walks.

As time went on she would let dogs get closer and was happy to let them sniff her. She is fine with the majority of dogs that she meets now, but is still not keen on dogs bounding up to her, its as if to say “I’m a lady mind your manners”.

Yes she is a border collie. Yes she is a rescue dog, but first and foremost she is Tara. I would not be without her for the world.

She is a sweet girl, calm, patient and gentle. She makes me laugh with her little noises as she tries to talk to us. Her snuffles and sneezes after her rolls on the lawn. She adores sunshine – she will always find the sunniest spot even if it’s the size of an orange and plonk herself down.
When we are out walking, if there is a puddle on the pavement, then she will always walk around it, not through it; “I’m a lady! I don’t like to get my feet wet”. Hee, hee LOL!!

She follows me wherever I go and gets a bit worried if I’ve gone into another room and she has not realised – she comes looking for me.

Tara has made tremendous progress and it has been hard work with a dog that has had a difficult past, but gaining her trust and love has been brilliant and continues to be.

Thank goodness there are super people like Sarah & Paul and all who help at Wiccaweys, so that rescued dogs can be given another chance at life and find the LOVE that they deserve.

Love Sarah, Tom & Tara xxx

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