First, thanks for all your expressions of sympathy after we lost Sam, last month. He really was a once-in-a-lifetime dog and it amazed us how many others thought so too.
We were therefore thrust into the state of being a one-dog family for the first time in 8½ years – something which saw the household considerably, unbearably, quietened. After a week of such torpor, we could stand it no longer and began the search for our next dog.
Having found both Marley and Sam to be wonderful examples of their breed, we naturally gravitated to searching for a labrador. We also felt it was important that we tried to see if there were labs out there that we could re-home, rather than purchase commercially. Both our dogs had come to us (via friends of friends) as a result of needing to be re-homed and in both cases, we firmly believed we were able to vastly improve their quality of life with the home we could offer them.
As in most instances these days, the next port of call was a google search to see where our nearest rescue centre was. We were amazed to find that The Labrador Rescue (North West Area) was only a few miles up the road, in Eccleston, Chorley. On their site was a 14-month old bitch called Elsa. It wasn’t a straightforward process (I suspect deliberately so, to deter time-wasters or those people who aren’t sufficiently committed) but we registered our interest, filled in all the necessary details and waited while we were screened by the LR(NW).
A week later, we were invited to visit (the whole family, including Marley) to see if we would be a good match. Nothing was guaranteed but if all went well, we would be able to bring her home with us. We agreed to visit on Friday 16th September (Charlie’s 12th birthday) and spent the interim trying not to raise our hopes unduly.
It wasn’t the easiest place to find but we eventually arrived, full of anticipation. We met Glenys, who introduced us to Elsa. She ran towards us, a sleek, black ball of submission and curiosity. I was reminded of our first encounter with Sam, back in 2005, and his similar nervousness. Amid all the timidity, we could sense the same strength of character.
Naturally, we warmed to her immediately. Marley was perfectly well-mannered towards her and she was keen to make friends with us. We were invited to spend some time together in the adjacent field to see how we all got on. In less than five minutes, we knew we couldn’t leave her behind. With everyone satisfied with the arrangement, we paid the fee, bought the harness and lead and brought her home.
So now we’re at the beginning of the process of encouraging this very energetic, puppyish youngster into becoming a more responsible, mature adolescent. As you’d expect, she’s very boisterous, wilful and prone to misbehaviour (with a penchant for running away with shoes) but she’s also affectionate, playful, engagingly startled by tiny things and quick to learn. Needless to say the level of chaos in the household has increased exponentially since her arrival.
Here she is, already challenging the status quo by jumping on the couch. Like I said when we got Marley, “if he proves to be half the dog that Sam is, he’ll be great”. The same is true of Elsa and she’s already well on the way to that particular accolade.
If you’d like to support the Labrador Rescue (North West), there are a number of fundraising initiatives for you to consider. Follow the link to see how you can help.