So as I gear up to be in ‘the Dog House 2019’ for the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home I wanted to share with you the story of Tizer. Tizer is German Sheperd Collie cross who I walk every day and he is also a former resident of the EDCH. Tizer is solid part of the Edinburgh Holistic Dog Family, he is stubborn, chatty, a big sook and handsome (and he knows it)!
I spoke with his mum Blaithin about how they came to be each others new family.
1. What made you want to get a dog?I’ve always loved dogs, Growing up on a dairy farm in Ireland we always had at least one dog and they were my best friend. As an adult I always wanted one, but thought either my finances or my working patterns wouldn’t allow me to.
However a few years ago I was in a pretty low place. My days revolved around working and sleeping and very little else. At that time I had regular GP visits because my mood had plummeted and when she asked me what would make me happy? I said ‘having a dog’ My GP actually encouraged me to look into adopting a dog and helped me see how I could actually have a dog even with my working schedule. 2. Why did you choose to adopt? and why the EDCH?For me, I didn’t consider any other option but adoption. It just made sense. With so many dogs in shelters why would I pay a breeder who may be compounding the problem. I had looked into a few shelters and honestly, EDCH were the closest to me. I didn’t have the energy to travel to the borders to meet dogs that may or may not have been a match. EDCH were a 30 minute walk away so they were easy to visit frequently.
3. How long were you looking for a dog before you came across Tizer? How did you come across Tizer?I think I visited the EDCH a few times over a two month period and looked at several dogs. The kennel staff spoke with me in depth to find out about my working pattern and my living arrangements. Unfortanlty for me the kennel staff advised that none of the dogs I looked at were the right fit for me.
On one of the visits one of the kennel staff asked me if I had downloaded the EDCH app, as a better way to see the new dogs in the home. I did that day and obsessively checked it several times a day looking for my possible dog. On the 22nd July 2017 I saw Tizer’s picture on the app.
There was something about his cheeky grin and how much he resembled the collies I had growing up that made me notice him. I phoned the home straight away, they told me he was still available, and within 30 minutes I was at the home ready to meet him. 4. What process did you go through in order to adopt him?I had already registered with the home as a potential adopter before I met Tizer, so on the day I went to the office and was met by kennel staff who brought me down to the kennel area. I remember the first time I saw him, he was like an absolute lunatic bolting out of the kennel!
The first time we met there, he had absolutely no interest in me. The EDCH staff said I should meet him a few times to get to know him and to see if we would be a match. They also asked me to bring my flatmates on visits to see how he got on with them. I have 4 flatmates, this was a really important step to take in case Tizer took a dislike to any of them for whatever reason. I took half days from work in order to visit with Tizer and introduce him to my flatmates. I also introduced him to the dog, who at that time, he would be spending a lot of time with while I was at work. There was a point where I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to adopt him. There were several conversations about how I live in a flat in Leith, and would this busy area be ok for him. But finally I got the green light and I was able to bring him home on 29th July 2017.
5. What do you know about his past? what brought him to the EDCH?From what I was told, Tizer was left alone a lot by his owners. This gave him ample opportunity to figure out how to open ANY kind of door and escape. He would escape from where they lived, roam the streets of Edinburgh. This always eneded with Tizer being collected and handed into the EDCH. After a few of these instances, his owners decided to relinquish him to the EDCH.
One of the questions I was asked as part of the adoption process was what kind of front door I had! When he came home I found out pretty quickly why. Whenever he was left alone in a room, Tizer would work on the door handle to try and open it and get out. It took a lot of desensitisation training and reassurance that I would come back for this behaviour to stop, and it stopped after a few months. 6. What were your first few weeks together like?The first day I brought Tizer home, we went to a secluded part of Portobello beach to just get to know each other a bit. He was not happy being on the lead and kept trying to get away from me. At one stage he went to bite my arm and scared the living daylights out of me. I thought then “am I doing the right thing”. But after I steadied myself and he calmed down a bit, we walked the scenic route home.
When we got home, he fell asleep on my feet and I knew that was it. He woke up soon after that, jumped from couch to couch in the sitting room, tried to sit on a window sill and fell off, and I saw his goofy side and fell more in love with him. The first few weeks are a bit of a blur for me. I took him into my work a few times to get him used to the space because he would be coming to work with me two days a week. We rode the bus a few times. Did lots and lots of recall training.
We started to get to know other dog owners in the area. I got to know more people in those first few weeks than I did in 3 years of living in Edinburgh. Mind you, I know them still as “Millie’s Mom”, or “Penny’s Dad”!
We spent hours and hours together just him on m lap getting belly rubs, walking around Arthurs Seat, finding new walking paths. My world opened up in those first few weeks, and it continues to get bigger thanks to him. I felt happy again, which was something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. 7. How has your life changed since Tizer joined you?Pretty much everything I said above. Even if I’m having a bad day, I’ll still leave the house more than 3 times a day. And I’ve found every single time I go out, I meet someone I now know thanks to Tizer. I no longer feel alone. Loneliness is a horrible thing. It’s debilitating. I never feel alone with Tizer.
I look forward to waking up super early every morning for our walks before work, and chilling out with him before work sitting on the ground together watching TV and drinking coffee well, I’m drinking coffee….I’m not sure you’d appreciate a caffeinated Tizer!!
I look forward to coming home from work every single evening to his welcome, hearing about what he got up to that day from you. I look forward to our evenings when we play, and then he sleeps, and sleeps, and sleeps! My life is so full of happiness and joy since he came home. And worry when he’s ill. And pride when he behaves himself in situations that we work on training him in. As cliched as it sounds, my life’s complete with him in it.
8. Whats your favourite thing about him?In the past month or two, he’s started waking me up in the mornings about 20 minutes before my alarm goes off. I’ve no idea how he knows when to do it. But he’ll wake me up by thumping his tail on my leg. Then he’ll stand up when I reach to check the time, and will stand over me until he sees I’m looking at him, and then will collapse very dramatically into my arms for a belly rub before we actually have to get up. I love this about him. I don’t even mind (usually) that it’s 5:30am on the weekend when he does it sometimes!
I also love the fact that although he’s been home now for 2 years and 2 months, his personality is still changing and showing so many positive things. Like his ability to make doggy friends! He has his favourite friend Benny in Pilrig Park and to see the two of them playing is the most uplifting thing in the world. When he first came home it was so hard for him to meet dogs as he was so reactive on the lead. Other than that, he has a long list of doggie friends like Erick, Ally, Django, Chief, Bertie, Luca………the list goes on. And thanks to him, I also now know their doggie parents which has been great!
9. If it wasn’t for EDCH what do think would have happened to Tizer?I think he would have gotten hurt in a way I don’t even want to think about. I think his behaviour would have escalated to a point where he would have been in fights on the street, he could have been hit by a car and I don’t know if he would have experienced love.
He was very much loved and cared for in the EDCH. Vickie in his kennel was fantastic with him and every single time he meets her at an EDCH event he remembers her and has a big tail way and a face lick for her. All of the staff at EDCH were absolutely fantastic with him through out the adoption process and I’m so grateful for that. 10. What would you tell others when it comes to adopting from the EDCH?A big thing to consider when you’re adopting from the EDCH is that they eally do love every single animal that comes through their doors. And when that dog or cat is for adoption, they take this very seriously. This means, you may hear a lot of “no…..that dog/cat isn’t suitable for your life at the moment”. I heard this so many times before I adopted Tizer. It can be really hard to hear this.
But just know that they are saying this because it is so important for these dogs and cats to find the right, forever home for them. They are the most important part of the adoption equation. The care, thought, checking, and meeting that the staff do on a now daily basis, I really do appreciate so much.
Thanks to them and their hard work, attention to detail, values, and adoption guidelines, I found my best friend.
There are more dogs just like TizerAw such an amazing story, truly inspiring isn’t it. Its hard to believe sometimes that Tizer is living his second chance, but he is thriving in it. There are tell tell signs that he was use to to doing what he wanted when he wanted, but all the hard work that Blaithin has done with him has help undo these bad habits.
Can you imagine what would of happened to Tizer all those times he ran away from home if there wasn’t the EDCH to hand him into? Or what would have happened once his owners decided it was best to give him up?
You can see why the EDCH is a much needed part of Edinburgh? What makes them even more amazing is that they do all their work with money raised via fundraising. They get no government help or any form of statutory funding.
So can you help me while I am ‘In the dog house’ and donate to my EDCH fundraising page here
Take care Suzanne
Chief Canine Happiness Officer