Spirit of the Dog - Saving Dogs from Death Row

Helping rehome last chance dogs around Essex through rehabilitation,
educate the public especially in safety around dogs with children and dog welfare
in general and the prevention of cruelty and suffering towards dogs.

Stue the dog

Success Stories

My Tilly Experience
By Jane Nettleton.
I thought it was about time I told you all about the beginnings of Tilly. Tilly is a rough coated Lurcher she was rescued from a gypsy camp in Colchester and taken to Mistly Farm Park at the age of approximately 8 weeks. She was kept there with a lot of other dogs that Mistly take on.
They re-home as many dogs as they can. Not all can be rehomed due to illness etc so they keep them as part of the family.
Tilly was the only female left in the litter she was rescued with two other male dogs.I had been looking out for a Lurcher for a while, the cross I was looking for was Greyhound Bearded collie I had seen lots of them over the years and they all had fantastic temperaments and full of tim.
Then along came a call from the RSPCA to say they had some Lurchers at Mistly of course l decided to take a look. They brought the three dogs out for me to look at. The boys were lovely very attentive and wanted to please. Tilly however wanted to hunt the bird’s sheep goats and whatever else came into vision stalking anything that moved. How could I leave her behind?
Her breeding is Greyhound Deerhound Terrier cross and she was and still is full of prey drive. She was very thin so I took her straight to the vets and was told that she had rickets and was very mal-nourished my vet wasn’t sure if her bones would be very strong and advised that the prognosis may not be that good and she was that poorly she may even die.
She was so hungry she ate snail’s worm’s insects and anything else she could find that was remotely edible, So my job was to build her up day-by-day she got stronger and stronger. Obviously she survived her ordeal and now she has been trained to do some basic obedience and heelwork to music
As with all dogs the day to day Foundation exercises are very important, if I hadn’t have stuck with them Tilly would not have made the dog she is today. If I drop them she reverts to being a confused and difficult dog. She would at any opportunity attack my other female dogs especially Crystal who had Addison’s Disease and was 5 years older than her. Tilly at times was not an easy dog to live with. Sticking to the Foundation Rules means a quiet life for us all, dropping them means all hell breaks loose in the house. Tilly was the youngest dog in my pack at the time and tried to push the older dogs around. She is now in her 9th Year and has had her fair share of tumbles and scrapes. She is now the oldest dog in my pack she still has a very strong character but she is a real sweetie and we all love her to bits.
My Youngest Dog
A Personal Reflection
By Claudine Tisbury
I am the proud owner of three Border Collies, two of which are rescue dogs. My middle dog was rescued from a farm. He was the smallest of the litter and he was very shy and nervous about everything. He was twelve weeks old and was going to be shot. Since I rescued him, due to my knowledge and training as a canine behaviourist, he is now an energetic working sheep dog.
My youngest dog was nine months old when I decided to give him a home. The first eight months of his life was spent in a very small confined space, he hardly ever saw daylight. During this time he received regular physical attacks by his owner. He was very nervous and aggressive towards everything and everybody. The attacks were reported to a well known animal charity. He was rescued by them and taken to a rescue centre.
He was in kennels a week when he was spotted by a very kind lady. She was aware of his background but decided a couple of days later to give him a home. This lady had an adult son living at home and this dog took a sudden dislike to him and over a short period of time had bitten him a couple of times. Towards the end of two weeks this dog was proving to be more of a challenge than the lady could cope with. She could not take him out for a walk as he would chase traffic, show aggression towards people and other dogs. He showed aggression towards people who visited the home and he continued to be aggressive towards the son.
As a canine behaviourist working for the animal charity I was asked to attend the home to see if I could help her. What I found was a scared, frightened little dog. It took me a good part of an hour for him to get used to me. If I even moved a finger he would shy away barking. At the end of three hours the dog managed to gain some trust in me. I gave the lady advice on how to handle this dog. However, before the end of the visit I told her I would give the dog a home if she could not manage him.
The following day I received that call and immediately went to collect him. From the moment I collected him, using my knowledge and training methods, he started to change. By interacting with him, using the methods we use at Karma Dog Training School, he went from strength to strength. He is now a normal happy dog; he enjoys people and other dogs. He has lots of friends both human and canine. He loves to run free with my other dogs, chasing rabbits and squirrels. He has begun partaking in Sheep Dog Trials training and is doing well. However, lovely for him, but not so good for us mere humans he adores rolling in cow dung!
Our training school name Karma actually means movement and change. However in todays world, the word can have many interpretations. It is possible to consider it as a connotation of our English word calmer, which ties in with the calm and gentle methods used at our training school. It is also possible to look at the meaning as taught by Hindus and Buddhists, who believe Karma is subject to the law of cause and effect. Therefore our actions all produce a result.
My dog was lucky. I had the space to give him a home and the knowledge to be able to rehabilitate him. There are many more dogs out there that need the expertise that we at Karma Dog Training School can provide. We are lacking homes, new owners and most of all facilities to enable these dogs to be rehabilitated.
With specialist facilities that will enable us to use our methods and calming techniques, these dogs and potential new owners can learn how to live together safely and happily.
This is what drives us on with The Spirit of the Dog Rehabilitation Fund, the fact that we know we can make a difference, given the funds to fulfil this much neglected need.
A Success Story
Mitzi was born in November 2003 and her first owners had to re-home her as they were made homeless. So at age 3 months Mitzi was passed onto some friends who had her for about 5 months. During this time she was violently treated. These people whipped, starved and beat her; they even stubbed cigarettes out on her head and body. They penned her in a tiny concrete back yard that was no bigger than a small balcony. They left her there in all her own excrement. It was believed that she received no exercise or training whatsoever. She had been labelled as hyperactive. Eventually she was passed to another lady who was very distressed about the treatment and conditions Mitzi was kept in.
This lady felt she could retrain and help Mitzi. Unfortunately this lady simply could not cope with this broken and terrified dog. Mistley Animal Sanctuary agreed to take Mitzi as they believed the dog would never make a suitable family pet.
I became involved as my sister sometimes assists at the animal sanctuary and she was asked to go and fetch Mitzi. I went with her and instantly fell in love with this pitiful looking dog. At the house before we left, Mitzi eventually crept cross the floor to smell me and allowed me to put a hand out to her. I felt she had chosen me. I obtained permission to take her home on a weeks trial, she has been with me ever since.
To cut a long story short I have been through a lot with Mitzi, she literally used to climb the walls and doors tearing wallpaper and even hitting her head against the conservatory roof. Mitzi would keep this behaviour up for hours.
Mitzi had no socialisation with other dogs and her early experience with some adults was only of cruelty. Mitzi will readily go to children but is still very unsure of adults she does not know. I have owned Mitzi for two years now, I have taken her to dog classes twice a week but she was not progressing within that environment. I was told that she would never be able to partake in a dog display.
I started training at Karma Dog Training approximately 5/6 weeks ago and she has settled much better at these classes. I am learning how to handle her and how to create a good bond with her. Mitzi appears much happier and is responding so well to her training. She is much less stressed and her behaviour at home is much calmer.
I want to thank Jane and Claudine for accepting Mitzi and myself into the club. The approach they are teaching me has a marked effect on Mitzi?s behaviour and she is becoming socialised around other dogs and different people.
I have even done an impromptu display at Thorpe Hall with the team and Mitzi performed very well.So look out Crufts, here we come.
The trainers wish to state that the improvement in Mitzi and in Beryl?s handling within this short space of time is very encouraging and that with continuing input at classes Mitzi will continue to gain confidence and will become a well trained, and contented dog, with Beryl a competent and knowledgeable handler.
After all she has been through, all the confusion, pain, distrust and absolute cruelty, this beautiful black and white bitch is still willing to put her trust in people. She has approached Jane and Claudine, which is something she would never previously do.
Sue started bringing her 6yr old Yorkshire Terrier to class this year. Pippa is a rescue dog. She spent the first part of her life with unscrupulous breeders. Pippa was born and then kept in a child playpen. She never went outside, never socialised. The other dogs bullied Pippa. Eventually the R.S.P.C.A. closed down this establishment and Pippa ended up with Yorkshire Terrier Rescue in Bedford. Sue has always owned Yorkies and she was seeking another dog. She contacted the rescue service and eventually went along to see Pippa, who she fell in love with and bought her home.
When Pippa was first with Sue she just hid behind the Sofa, she would not eat. When Sue put food down Pippa would grab it and run behind the Sofa. She could not or would not walk in a straight line, only going round in circles. So long in a playpen, left her with just one option of circles. Pippa had never been on a lead or out for walk. Pippa was frightened of just about everything. At one stage Sue's vet told her the kindest thing to do was to have Pippa put to sleep, as he felt Sue would never make a difference. Sue absolutely refused, and knew she could improve Pippa's life.
Sue is a friend of Margaret who owns Rupert; they come to the Tuesday and Thursday classes. Pippa and Rupert became buddies.  Sue started coming to classes at Karma dog training earlier this year. Sue told me of the improvement in Pippa. Pippa is now a much more confident dog, she is learning new skills, socialising with people and dogs. She has jumped over hurdles, will go down on command. She will hand follow and do some heelwork to music moves. Sue has also learnt not to baby Pippa and to have a greater understanding of her dogs needs. Sue, literally, used to cry for Pippa now she glows with pride at her dogs progress. What a great happy ending.

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New home needed for

Border Collie puppy

5 month old puppy Jimmy has been surrendered by his disabled owner who felt couldn't give him enough exercise. Jimmy would make a fantastic working dog or companion to a breed experienced owner. He is in kennels waiting for a home.