Pup update – What it’s actually like to have a rescue dog

Lifestyle

Hello everyone! As you may or may not already know I became a dog owner at the end of last year, and by no means was it simple. If you haven’t read my original story on how I got my dog click here. But to sum up, I was away travelling/working in the Caribbean and was introduced to a woman called Charley who was friends with the people I was with out there. She owned 4 dogs at the time. Through some circumstances or another, she decided to decrease her dog pack size to just one loyal companion. 2 of the dogs already had other homes to go to, but one was still looking. This was Pea, and I decided to adopt her and ship her back to the UK with me. Yes. I know it sounds crazy. Anyway, 5 months have passed, and I thought it would be interesting to do a pup update post on how she is adapting (as it isn’t a regular rehoming situation) and just some general points of what I didn’t know/expect when I decided to adopt a rescue dog.

There were so many unknowns for me when all of this kicked off. I’ve never had a dog before, so knew nothing about feeding, exercise, health, interaction, sleep patterns and all the other things you don’t think about when getting a dog. But not only that, where do you go about shipping a dog half way across the world?! There was a lot on my plate, but it would have felt 100% worse for Pea, she would’ve been so confused at everything that was changing. It was pretty scary knowing what was at stake and whether she would like the change or even just settle properly.

From when she arrived mid December through to March, she has been bloody freezing. Imagine being used to 30 degree heat everyday, and suddenly it’s dropped to 5 degrees and you don’t understand why! She dealt with it very well, we just had to change her routine a little to what she was used to. When the weather started getting warmer, you could immediately see a change in her attitude, she was more bouncy, energetic and is probably feeling like she’s more at home.

The other big change for her is to have other friendly dogs out and about being walked. This was not a thing in the Caribbean. Britain is a dog loving nation, and she was not used to so many other dogs that didn’t want to fight with her for food. It has been a huge, and still is, a challenge for her and us as dog owners to get her used to other dogs, without her turning aggressive and defensive. As this would have been her only means of survival whenever she came in close contact with other dogs. She is getting so much better, and as she is still young we hope she will just keep learning and continuing to adapt to the pamper pooch lifestyle we have for our furry friends.

She has settled so well into our little home, and thinking back it was actually so risky to whether it was going to work at all, but I’m so glad I did it. She has become continuous entertainment for myself and my family. She is such a weird dog, she literally thinks she is human sometimes.

What it’s ACTUALLY like getting a dog – the things you don’t learn until you’ve done it

I took a lot into consideration when I made this decision, however they’re are things that you just have no idea about until they happen, or things you think should be simple to sort out, but actually…..you should know nothings simple! I don’t regret anything, but here are my extra top tips to look into and research if you are thinking about getting a dog.

Chewable items – It’s very much the same way of baby proofing your house, by moving things you don’t want them to put in their mouth…same thing. Pea proofing. I had never really seen Pea chew anything before when I knew her in the Caribbean so when she came over here I didn’t even think twice about her chewing anything being an issue. Oh boy was I wrong. Numerous times she has chewed, broken, ripped up the in soles of my shoes. Some just of very cheap nothing shoes, others expensive boots that I’ve had for years. Anything that can be chewed or even you think can’t be chewed (she broke our TV remote) – put out of reach!!

Vet appointments & insurance – This stuff seems so obvious. Of course you have to get pet insurance, duh! But when it comes to it, if you’ve never bought pet insurance before it is so hard to know what’s going to work your dog. How much is the average amount?What cover do you need? And on top of that, there is a bunch of extra things you need to be doing. Deworming. Fleaing. Nail clipping. Dental. Annual vaccinations. It can all be so overwhelming so just make sure to do your research, ask friends that have dogs, she was illness/diseases your dog could be prone to.

Commitment – This one just comes from the old saying ‘a dog isn’t just for christmas it’s for life’. I totally get it now, and understand why it’s so important to think about this properly before you commit. I’ve had to make a bunch of sacrifices to my everyday/ social life in order to put Pea’s needs first. It hasn’t been massive things but definitely extra things I’ve had to consider, things that wouldn’t have been an issue before. Who’s going to be home later? How long has she been on her own? Does she need another walk? She’ll probably need a wee by now? I need to go home to take her out. 

Rescue – This one only applies if you are thinking of getting a dog from the shelter. Rehoming a rescue dog is such a great idea, shelters are over full capacity at the moment and need people to adopt rescue dogs. However, as a biggest most lovely gesture as it is, it does come with it’s own baggage. When getting a rescue dog, you don’t know their history. You don’t know what has happened to them in the past that has made them the way they are. This can, for example, make training a lot harder when you don’t understand why your dog is behaving like it is. A puppy’s first months are so important, and without that piece of the puzzle, it’s hard to know the complete story. This doesn’t mean they’re bad dogs, it can just be more complicated than getting a pedigree or having them from a puppy. But, this clearly didn’t put me off getting Pea home but Pea definitely has her ‘qwerks’ let’s say, due to her past.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this little catch up with my dog, and I hope, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, this has helped even just a little bit.

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My packing extras: make the most of your trip!

Travel

I have always loved the idea of travelling to new places even from when I was really little, as soon as I was old enough to head off into the world I did! My first major trip without my folks being my month away interailing when I was 18. Since then I’ve done a few different trips and from each trip I’ve learnt different packing tips and tricks that have helped me make the most of my experience! Here is a little insight to what I ALWAYS take with me whenever I go somewhere.

 

Write it down!

I’ll start with one of the most obvious things, that I know a lot of people have already but I’ll still give it a mention: a travel journal! I first got mine years ago, it’s been all around Europe with me, to Canada and now to the Caribbean. I’m so happy I invested in one years ago as it’s really helped me document my experiences and how exactly I was feeling at the time. When I’m away I don’t write in it everyday, for me the best way is to write when you’ve had a particular special day, or you’ve done something new, met new people or even if you’ve had a terrible day, writing about it might help you get it out your mind and start fresh. You might feel silly at first (I know I did!) because writing what you’re feeling can sometimes be cringy and embarrassing but really you’re the only person that is going to see it so really it doesn’t matter. I was having a little glance back at mine and I’m so happy I kept it up on my trips because it bought back so many memories, stuff I’d forgotten and I even had a little chuckle to myself (I’m pretty lame sometimes). You won’t regret it!

Another quick reason why having a journal is great is to document your finances, I know this sounds suuuuper boring, but I think it’s essential especially if you’re on an extended trip. When you’ve got no money coming in, the best way to keep on top of it is just to write down what you spend everyday. I even set myself a rough budget for each week/month (miss cool over here) just to stay on track- easy peasy!

Home comforts

You can take the girl out of Yorkshire…

When I’m travelling, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, at some point I’m going to get a little homesick. It just happens, so when I’m ever feeling super down and maybe even lonely I find home comforts are such an important thing for helping me get over this little drought. One of the main things that reminds me of being at home in York is good ol’ Yorkshire tea. So I always pack plenty of teabags with me when I go somewhere, that way if you’re feeling a bit empty and low all you’ve gotta do is put the kettle on!

Keep moving!

For me travel is just a big old holiday and what does everyone do when they’re on holiday… Indulge. Calories is not a word when you’re on holiday right! You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want without that guilt!! Which for a 2 week trip is perfect, you can really let yourself go and enjoy going out but when you’re on a longer trip say 6 months, if you indulged like you do on a little trip on a big scale, you’re going to be packing on the pounds which is not goooood. I love fitness when I’m home so I always travel with resistance bands. I’m a massive fan of home workouts and there is such a variety out there that it’s so easy to find one that suits you, adding resistance bands just adds more of a challenge. I don’t stick to any particular workout schedule when I’m away, I just try to take advantage of the environment I’m in and do little workouts when I can. This way when I get back to the UK I’m not starting from square one with my fitness game.

Take your workout to the beach!

Stay clean!

The last one isn’t the most exciting but in definitely very practical! Depending on where you’re staying when you’re away you don’t necessarily always know what you’re washing situation is going to be. Air B&B’s don’t always specify and if they do sometimes it isn’t what you expected, so just to make sure you’re not caught off guard without a way off being able to wash your clothes I always a pack a little tube of travel wash. It’s basically a washing gel you can use hand washing or with machines. The one I got cost me £1.50 from my local hardware store. If you can’t get that, even packing actual washing powder is fine, there’s no major expense I always just think it’s better to be safe (and clean!) than being sorry (and smelly!).

 

 

Thanks for reading and happy travelling!

6 months on the West Coast

Travel

For me, Canada is one of those places where everyone should visit at least once. So when I had the opportunity to go (again) and stay for 6 months working as an Au pair on Vancouver Island- I had to do it! It all happened pretty fast, I never thought I’d do anything so adventurous all on my own but with nothing tying me down I thought it would be an amazing thing to do.

I was away from December 2015-June 2016, I was living in Victoria which is the biggest city on Vancouver Island. I had been once before 5 years ago, when my family and I decided to do a road trip from Calgary all the way through the rockies up to Jasper, down through Whistler. Then catching the ferry from Vancouver over to the Island to stay with my Auntie and Uncle who live in Nanaimo. That was such a great trip- one of my favourite family holidays too this date. But I was a lot younger then, so although even then I knew Canada would be a place I wanted to go back too, I didn’t appreciate it fully. Victoria was such an amazing place for me to live, I was so lucky with my location. It felt like the ‘big city’ but it had this ere of Britishness which made me feel so at home.

Being an Au pair was one of the most inspiring things, I got to look after a 4 and 2 year old. Baring in mind I was only 19 (now 20) it was such a big responsibility to take care of these children, I’ve always loved kids though so it never really felt like work. I got to re-live my childhood which these kids, so even though parts of the job were torturous (potty training and mornings to name a few) the best bits were when we would play ‘tag’, or pop bubbles or have a water fight- things everyone wishes they were never too old to do.

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Woody’s Lagoon

The job aside, during my free time I loved to explore the area around me. I always say to people that Canada is the land of hidden treasures, as sometimes I feel its not about seeing the most well known landmarks or places, it’s about discovering places that can just be for you. My host family were always exploring and taking the kids too new places so I was so grateful I got to tag along for the ride. There are so many things I’d love to share about my trip, definitely way too many for one blog post, so heres just a few photos!

Thanks so much for reading! x

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Nanaimo Bay

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Goldstream National Park