The benefits of adopting a dog – the story of my Mabel
July 29, 2019
Reactive Dog Walking

There are lots of reasons why people adopt a dog instead of buying a puppy the desire to reduce the number of dogs in shetters, save a dog from the streets, the cost as adoption is generally cheaper and so on. For me it simply came down to time.

I knew hand heart that even if someone handed me a lovely 8 week old puppy to keep I just wouldn’t have the time that a puppy needs to raised correctly. You see for the first 6 months of a puppies life you need to spend a lot time socialising her, toilet training – giving toilet breaks on a regular basis, training her, playing with her the list goes on.
I have been raised with dogs all my life even as a toddler I shared my play pen with our family pup Sooty…. OK so he technically wasn’t allowed in there but the minute my mums back was turned he’d jump in. But I have seen at least 5 times over what goes into having a puppy in the home on a day to day basis.
Don’t get me wrong I would love to go through all of the above but when I decided the time had come to get a dog I was 29 years old, single, living alone and working 9 to 5 in an office. No way I could I pop home on a hourly basis to check on a puppy.

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The Search for my dog

I was always going to have an Old English Sheepdog, this is the breed of dog I had been brought up with. To me that was a must as no other dog breed came close to beauty and in my eyes perfection that was an Old English Sheepdog. So I started my hunt for my first dog.

Back then all I could search was gumtree, homes 4 pets and pre-loved, I was naive to these sites, now I avoid them.
I wasn’t accepted by Old English Sheepdog Rescue as I was living in a 1st floor flat, with no direct access to a garden which went against their policy.
I always recommend checking local rescues, Charities, the Kennel Club for Breed specific rescues, when on the look out for a dog to adopt.
My parents show their Old English Sheepdogs and used their contracts to find me a dog in need of home.
Enter Mabel, she arrived into my life August 2012, she was 6 years old and a retired show dog. She was absolutely the best first dog a girl could ask for she had the sweetest nature and had one blue eye and one brown Eye. She became my Mabes.

But what were the Benefits of adopting Mabel?

Housetrained. She was house trained, a big big plus I didn’t have to go through toilet training or endure puppy pads or getting up in the night for a toilet break. Because Mabel was older and fully grown she could hold her bladder enough to survive being left for a couple of hours while I went to work, it meant she adapted to my schedule of when her toilet breaks were.
I knew what I was getting.She was calm, Mabel was a gentle soul who everyone loved. But because I knew where she came from and what her background was I knew her temperament and behaviour would be this good.
You do have to be careful when adopting a dog with an unknown background sometimes these older dogs are given up due to behaviour/training problems. You have to be prepared to face these problems if they do arise and that will take time and patience – something I would learn from my next dog Flash.

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My Health Improved.She helped me deal with my depression, not long before I got Mabel I had really been struggling with depression. But having Mabes in my life improved my health no end, I was getting out more and we developed a close bond. Because I was taking Mabes out for walks I didn’t feel invisible anymore, I felt like I belonged to my community too.
I had someone who loved me as much I loved them. Well to be honest nothing really beats dog cuddles and getting dog kisses. The unconditional love from a dog is the best medicine.
No Hidden Costs.She was healthy so I didn’t have the financial worry to ‘fix’ any problems, Mabel was upto date on her flea and wormer, she had been well looked after, groomed and fed well so I knew what I was getting.
Although Mabel was a private adoption if you adopt from a shettler or charity you will be getting a healthy dog, as they ensure dogs being a adopted are free from short term/cureable illness, they are generally spayed or neutered and are upto date with flea, wormer and vaccinations.
My ShadowMabel became my best friend and shadow in no time at all, I loved coming home to her and I loved her bouts of playfulness. She was really friendly and I was never short of volunteers should I need someone to pop in on her!
She really did save my life the day she arrived in my life and changed it forever. Because since Mabel came into my life I have really never been without my own dogs, she showed me how perfect life could be with dogs and her love is still with me.

Unfortunately after 10 months together Mabel passed away to Stomach Cancer, it was missed by one vetinary practice and when it was eventually discovered it was too advanced to treat. She passed away with me by her side after we spent a weekend doing what we did best which was lying on the sofa together cuddling.
Mabel really taught me about the power of unconditional love and the feeling of belonging to another being is the best feeling in the world.
Since Mabel I have adopted Flash (you can find out more about his story here), Nora, Erick and Ally all Old English Sheepdogs with their own stories and lessons they taught me. Lessons that continue to share with my dog training clients and all the wonderful dogs I work with. If you’d like to know more about my dog training class click here.
Take CareSuzanne

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To find out more about my dog training classes click here

Further Reading

How to Change Your Reactive Dogs Behaviour

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Dynamic Dog Case Study: Brodie

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