Thoughts of a Dog Therapist – Russell

I want to introduce you to the dogs that shared their lives with me and tell you about how their antics led me to learn the techniques I use today.

Let’s start with Russell seen as he was the first dog I personally took on.

Russell arrived with us back in 2005 and he pretty much changed my life forever! I can’t say that I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without him because I was obviously always drawn to dogs but he definitely shaped my future from the day he came into my world.

Kev came home from his yard one night and told me that there was a little dog in one of his cars and he thought it had been sleeping in It because it jumped out and ran off when he got there. We were still living with my Mum at the time and I just thought it was probably one of the dogs that wandered the farm occasionally so didn’t think much of it.

A few days later I went to the stables while Kev was tinkering with his cars and was told that there was a little dog in the field and he’d been chasing the horses. Worried that he was going to get hurt and still convinced I knew where it came from I went in search of this dog.

I found a little Jack Russell laying under a trailer in the field resting. He didn’t run off as I approached him so I just sat down beside him and started talking to him.

He soon got up and stretched and then moved so that he was touching me at which point I went to pick him up but he growled and snapped at me so I let him go again expecting him to run off. But he didn’t he just sat back down next to me and carried on allowing me to stroke him.

I should have known then how my life would turn out because instead of giving up I sent my friend to find kev and get his padded hi-vis coat and his thick gloves that he used for welding the cars up. I thought that way I could pick this little fella up and if he bit me I shouldn’t feel too much because I’d be protected.

He protested a lot as I scooped him up but didn’t actually bite me and I carried him down to the lady who I believed he lived with, only to be told that he was nothing to do with her and she didn’t know where he had come from.

We were actually going racing that night so I scooped him up nicknamed him Russell so that we had something to call him until we found owners and took him racing with us. I figured he’d been roaming the farm several days already so we could stop at the vets the next day to get his chip checked when we didn’t have so much to do.

When we got him to the vets there was no chip and no dogs of his description had been reported missing so we made up some found posters and put them up around the area but still didn’t hear anything from any potential owners.

Three months later I was sitting in the hairdressers and my phone rang. I answered the unknown number and was met with a lady who told me that I had her dog. She knew this because he was currently sat at her feet wearing our collar and tag. He was meant to be at the yard with Kev!

My heart completely sank I loved this little dog and I knew that we were now going to have to give him back to his rightful owner. Then she said some trying that completely shocked me she said ‘if you want to come and get him my address is…… he obviously wants to be with you rather than us because he’s been back several times since he went missing and it’s only ever to collect his toys or chews. If we try to keep him in he goes mental’

Since we’d had Russell he had always gone for a wander when we were at the yard usually just for half an hour at a time and had always come back to us. Sometimes when he returned he would have a bone or a toy in his mouth and we always wondered where they came from. What this lady was telling me was that she literally lived on the opposite side of the field to our yard and that he was disappearing home and effectively moving his things out of theirs and in with us! He was making his own choice about who he wanted to live with.

I was so happy to hear that and left the hairdressers as soon as I could to go and collect him. When I got to the house it was amazing!!

There were electric gates and horses, a massive horse box in the drive and the house was gorgeous, he was really slumming it with us.

I pulled into the driveway and she bought him out to me and placed him on my lap. It turned out his name was actually Buster and we sat and chatted about him for a bit and then she said goodbye and we left.

We have seen her several times in the last 15 years and she said that after that day he never went to theirs again. He would also never answer to the name Buster, he turned his back on us when we tried to call him that but would always come to Russell or Dufus as he because affectionately known.

I always find it funny how he chose his home and his name, almost like a dog on the run that changed its whole identity!

There are several stories surrounding the 3 months between me picking him up out of that field and finding his owners and hundreds more from after that day. I’m sure I will eventually share some of these with you on other blogs but adding them in now would turn this into a book rather than a blog so I think I’ll leave it there.