Dogged determination - owner ensures his dog stays by his side come what may
Eight-year-old Akita Burt was a resident of Dogs Trust Canterbury for over a year before being adopted by his new owners in March 2017. He came to the rehoming centre with a history of separation anxiety and it soon became clear that he became attached to certain individuals very quickly. Staff took the time to help him grow in confidence with a dedicated training programme during his time at the centre.
After 12 months of settling in to life at the rehoming centre, Martin Saunders and his partner fell in love with Burt and decided that they had the time and patience required to give Burt the attention he needed in a new home. Once rehomed, with the ongoing support of Dogs Trust’s training and behaviour advisors, they began to work on Burt’s separation anxiety, gradually building up how long he was comfortable with being left for.
“To start with Burt was getting so stressed that he was actually chewing holes in the fences and getting into neighbouring gardens, but he is such a loyal boy that he simply then waited at our gate for me to return rather than running away. And thank goodness, because you can see how when not able to cope alone, it could have led to him potentially getting lost or causing an accident.”
When addressing separation problems, it’s important to avoid leaving dogs alone at all, just to begin with, so they’re not put in that situation until they have better skills to cope with it.
As Martin agreed:
“Our neighbours were great at checking in on him, and my partner was home most of the time to be with him anyway, so it all began to settle into a great routine.”
Unfortunately, due to a breakdown in the relationship, Martin’s partner moved away and he had to rethink how he could make ownership of Burt continue to work. As Burt didn’t get on too well with other dogs this wasn’t the easiest situation for Martin to manage, but he was determined to try.
“By now Burt was firmly a part of my life and I knew I had to do everything I could to ensure he was happy alongside my working full time. I began to slowly introduce him to other dogs and work on his trust issues. I managed to find a few canine companions for him and this opened the door for me to try Doggy Daycare as a solution for us.”
Burt now attends Doggy Daycare one day a week and spends the other four days with a dog sitter where there is also a poochy pal (and even a cat!) for him to spend time with. Now aged nine-years-old this hound has his own bedroom in the home and an outside doggy play house described by neighbours as a ‘palace’.
Dogs Trust Canterbury’s Rehoming Centre Harriet Blaskett added:
“Martin is testament to a dog owner that decides they will not give up on their four-legged friend against all obstacles that may present themselves. He did fantastic work on building Burt’s positive attitude and feelings towards other dogs, to the point he is even able to be cared for alongside other dogs in daycare. We knew the thought of giving Burt up would break Martin’s heart and are delighted they’ve made such progress and worked through it to a very happy ending.”
“He’s my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without him. He loves daycare now, and evenings and weekends are our special time together.”
Currently in the care of the rehoming centre is Diego the seven year old Akita, also looking for his happy ending. He has been at the centre since December 2017, now approaching a year. He has never had a home and so has sadly never had the chance to build a relationship with new people and show off his affectionate side. Just like Burt, given the chance he would make a lifelong companion.
Dogs Trust provide all owners with behavioural support for the lifetime of their dog. If you think you could provide Diego with the perfect home, please call the centre on 0300 303 0292.