Baxter rescue dog

Just look at that happy smile!

On the 17th January we will be celebrating one year that Baxter has been part of our family, it is his ‘Gotcha Day’ a fun name given to the date you rescue a pet and bring him or her home.

We signed up with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in early January last year having taken the decision to give a dog a home. We went a long to the Brands Hatch branch and spoke to a member of staff who assessed us and we then visited the kennels and saw how many wonderful pets are there waiting to find a home. As our girls were under 8 there were restrictions as to which kind of dog we could home, our name had to go on a list and we would have to wait for a suitable pet to arrive.

Only a fortnight went by and we got a call from them saying a young dog by the name of Baxter had been brought in, he was a King Charles Cavalier and would we be interested in meeting him?

I said yes immediately and then googled King Charles Cavalier so I knew I was looking at the right breed.

One year later…

It’s marvellous. It’s fabulous and we now know his character and his likes and dislikes. We also know how cheeky he is too, he often makes us smile with his attempts to outwit us.

We discovered he didn’t like going in the water much at first, he didn’t want to get his paws wet but he loved chasing seagulls and entered the water in the vain hope of catching one. Now he loves splashing in puddles.

We learnt that he is rather partial to a dog biscuit and put on a bit of weight which needed to come off.

He sleeps a lot and snores really loudly.

Baxter with dog toys

He loves his toys and has got through so many chewing them until they are in bits, even Santa bought him some new ones to play with and one has already been destroyed.

He will sell his soul for a treat and is addicted to Dentistix at midday.

If he doesn’t like the route you are walking he will quite simply sit down and won’t budge. In the early days I didn’t know how to react. Then I got fed up of his antics I yanked him, raised my voice and he trotted along head down and a ‘good boy’.

This last point made me realise that it’s all about knowing who is boss. If he thinks he can get away with it, he will.

Baxter loves snuggling up to you. the minute anyone sits down he is making moves to get on your lap.

Now that I am working three days a week we have a lovely neighbour who comes in and takes him out for a walk on those days, she then takes him to her house until we come home. from what she’s been telling me, he’s been playing her up too. I must remember to tell her to yank his lead when he sits down on the pavement!

Has he changed our life?

Yes. We can’t go out on day trips without thinking about him and his needs as we never leave him on his own for too long. When we look for holidays we look for pet friendly places, like Trevella park in Cornwall.

Would I change anything?

No. We haven’t regretted taking him into our family once. He has given us so much, smiles, hugs and laughter too. The twins adore having him and he’s the first person they say hello to in the morning and he has made me get out and walk so much more.

Baxter - King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

Baxter - King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

This weekend we had no plans set, just a quiet family weekend that would take care of itself as it passed. I had our normal weekend preps sorted; a roast for Sunday, presents and cards for the children’s party on Sunday morning and wine in the fridge.

However a couple of weekends a go we had taken the final decision to rescue a dog and welcome him or her into our family. This required a trip to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in Brands Hatch, a morning spent visiting the kennels and the girls falling in love with all the dogs (and cats) there and registering with the home.

The registering process was interesting in as much as we were invited into an interview room where a dog called Lola was. She’d apparently been naughty but I didn’t ask what she’d been up to.

Lola was fun, she played around my leg, holding her tail in her mouth and spinning round and round as fast as she could.

The process of registering with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home only has to be done once and you are then on the computer of all three homes. They asked us our experience with dogs, I have had a Rottweiler, Tyson in the past who was a real softie and a Schnauzer Grande, Ellen who was a love but my goodness territorial, she would bark at anyone and anything.

Battersea asked us what kind of dog we were looking for, we answered a medium sized animal who would be good with children. We weren’t particularly fussy about which breed.

It took over an hour to fill out all the forms and we left on the understanding that dogs suitable for children under 8 were snapped up very quickly indeed so they said keep in touch, email us so you are in our minds.

I did. I emailed and I tweeted but I understood it could take weeks.

We were having a lazy Saturday morning, we’d read in bed, enjoyed a late breakfast and I was still in pyjamas when the phone rang. It was battersea Dogs and Cats Home and they had a dog, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. A boy. Would we like to see him?

Husband was in the shower so I took the executive decision and said we’d love to! And an appointment for 11.30 was fixed.

I searched for a picture on internet of the breed to show the girls and dad and I mentioned to them, we may not bring a dog home today as I had no idea how the rehoming process worked?

Our rehoming process

Chloe was our contact and she took us into an interview room where she ran us through Baxter’s history. We learnt that he had been bought from a breeder who had intended to keep him for breeding initially but changed his mind. The old couple who took him away kept him for about 8/9 months but sadly the husband came down with dementia and his wife found it increasingly difficult to cope. Her son took the animal into his family home and Baxter spent 4/5 months with them and learnt about small children too but the son and his wife also made the decision that it was too much for them and took him along to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home one day early last week.

We met him, fell in love, and watched as he interacted with two other dogs from the home, a small dog where they whizzed around the enclosed field having tons of fun and a larger dog which went fine as well although Baxter wasn’t as lively with him. It was a really interesting and valued moment watching and learning from the staff how to react when out and meeting other dogs.

We then were invited to take Baxter for a walk and there were lots of ‘Can I hold the lead now please?’ from the little people…’Mummy! It’s my turn now.’

We said yes we’d love him and the next thing we know, we are signing papers, learning about neutering in the near future and taking Baxter home in our car! Surprise. Thank goodness there was a shop at the home and we were able to buy a few toys, a bed and oh … some poo bags *sigh*.

NB: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home do send you home with a bag of dry food, a couple of canned food, a toy or two, a collar and a lead and lots of information.

Baxter our rescue dog

I think we have been incredibly lucky as Baxter (so far) has been as good as gold. He’s not chewed, eaten, destroyed anything. He’s not messed indoors and he’s not barked since he arrived.

One thing we did learn pretty quick is how he LOVES a walk and on yesterday’s trip to Jeskyn’s Park dad opened the boot and Baxter sprinted off smiling from ear to ear. We managed to catch him and put him on his lead and now I stay in the car and hold his collar from the back seat whilst dad opens the boot to let him out taking the lead from me.

Eating

We have been warned that King Charles Spaniels are fussy eaters and if they can they will turn their nose up at dry dog food preferring steak or chicken breast – wouldn’t we all! I have persisted with the dry food that Battersea sent us home with, he turns his nose up at breakfast but come teatime he eats most of his bowl.

Walking

I am taking him on the morning school run, although with all the new things to remember, two excited twins and a very excited dog I did shut the door and realise I had left my house keys indoors today! I will also be walking him in the evening when dad gets home.

House rules

So far I’ve not allowed him in the bedrooms. I’m not sure I want to find him on the beds but I’m happy for him to be in the downstairs area with us. He is very obedient. He is house trained and like I mentioned above, so far he hasn’t barked once. He loves a run in the garden and he loves to play fetch with dad. Our next training will be recall which right now is utter rubbish!

I bumped into a dog walker at the park yesterday and we got talking, she said that only after 4 months could Baxter lose his ‘Rescue’ title, so watch this space.

INFO

We paid a rehoming fee. The rehoming fee is £135 for dogs (over 6 months) or £165 for puppies (under 6 months). Included in this cost are the following:

  • Microchipping
  • Initial vaccinations, flea and worming treatment
  • A collar, identification tag and lead