Updated March 24, 2008 Categories: dogs, stories + poems, success stories, successfully rehomed.

What a success! James’ story

Well what a change I have made to the Olsen household since my arrival in April 2006 in a rather dishevelled state covered in sick and poo! Oh yes ,I was a very car sick puppy but not really any surprise after my long journey from Ireland by boat to Wales and then a car journey to Ringwood followed by a trip to Poole to my foster carer. The best bit was the lovely fish and rice food I was given when I arrived – a gourmet meal after the scraps I had probably been fed during my first few months of life in a shed in Ireland.

However, I rushed to meet my prospective new owners and made sure I showed them my tummy for tickling as soon as possible, so that they found me irresistible – especially Elliott who was more my size being only 11 at the time. His mum was staggered at the surprising resemblance to her parents much loved dog that had passed away a few years ago and totally convinced that fate had ensured we took on a possible relative, even though we had had our heart set on a black Labrador. The only resemblance I had to that was my colour, although a large patch of white on my tummy, tail and paws kind of spoilt that! I am a cross Border collie/German shepherd and very handsome with enormous ears!

My new ‘mum’ was easily won over despite the fact that her instincts told her that a puppy was likely to be a great deal of hard work and that her plans to adopt an older housetrained dog had been much more sensible. After the epic journey home, mum had to clean up the car and give me lots of tender loving care and I pretended to be a very docile puppy, but only for 24 hours then all hell let loose! I decided that I was definitely the most important living thing in the house and demanded to be taken out to do my business every few hours both day and night. Despite the inevitable accidents I soon got to learn about where it was appropriate to go to the loo. However I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t chew up everything in sight and soon the kitchen, where I was mainly confined to, was looking very sad indeed with all the table and chair legs chewed, the drawers and units eaten on all the corners and the back door showing my presence! Mum was cross with me and sprayed some ‘nasty’ spray stuff everywhere – I loved that even more!

I equally enjoyed barking and howling when we had visitors and protested wildly if I was restricted access to those who, of course had only come to see me!

Mum kept reading lots of books about puppy training and was very firm with me not letting me get away with anything. I soon realised I was bottom of the pecking order and that the cat was far more important than me and that mum was a much bigger Alsatian. I started to develop a great deal of respect for my mum and decided it was far easier to ‘fall into line’ than to keep protesting as I wasn’t making any progress (other than with Dad who has a soft spot for me despite not being keen on having a dog in the first place). I got the hang of the toileting business within the first couple of weeks, but still couldn’t cope with the car travel. I tried lots of different positions in the car, ginger biscuits, daily short trips, a variety of cars and finally herbal tablets from the vet, but things didn’t improve very much and a much wanted camping holiday had to be cancelled in May. My sickness only resolved when I stayed with my grandma in July for 2 weeks and I was taken out daily with my friend Dudley, the Labrador, and grandma stroked my head to and from the New Forest – I soon learnt that putting up with the journey meant lots of fun!

Once the travel was conquered my outings to dog training started in the September term and I excelled through the classes with my intelligent genes showing through. I made sure everyone knew I had arrived by barking very loudly on my arrival and trying to scare all the other dogs off!

Well that was all last year and now I have grown up. I am 16 months old now and a great deal bigger – mum can’t understand why she ended up with me as she initially wanted a short haired small dog that didn’t moult. I still have a tendency to drag her off down the road if I want to get to play with another dog and I still think every visitor is just for me! I am totally reliable about my toileting – so good that I won’t go when I am out for the day! I am very very handsome and very gentle. I had to give up dog training as I decided the trainer was too rough with me, but I may start at a different class soon – I also had a problem with the collies at the class who terrified me and tried to bite me! All my extended family adore me and I love them all. I have learnt to control my barking and only bark twice for the postman or paper boy for which I get a biscuit as our front door bell is broken and I only chew up my own bones. I have a cuddly toy which I love and cuddle but never destroy. I love my walks and swimming and have started to run with my dad now the vet has said my hips are fine – when I first arrived I was unable to walk even to the end of the garden where I had been confined in a small space for 3 months. I am never sick in the car and I love my friend Dudley and my new friend Tyler who belongs to my Uncle. I am looking forward to the challenge of a new dog training class as I am currently learning the names of all my toys. I understand most things mum says to me and I know if she is feeling unhappy or excited and I have a great lick if I think she needs it. Grandma died earlier this year and she and Elliott needed me more than ever – she says she doesn’t know what she would do with out me and loves me to bits!

As both Elliott and I are entering our teenage years together we are forming a strong bond and as the Olsens have had me from a puppy they can only blame their upbringing for any bad habits I have developed such as jumping up with my paws on mum’s shoulders for a dance!

I am such a lucky dog to have been found such a loving home after such a traumatic start in life. I hope to show off my handsome self and my skills at the dog show later in the Year organised by my rescuers, the Dorset Animal Worker Group, and see my foster carer, Helen and maybe my brothers and sisters there. I am particularly looking forward to the fancy dress competition as I hope to wear my favourite dungarees! Elliott has kept his promise and gets up early to walk me each day so he’ll be keen to show off his handling skills too.

By Mum, Clare Olsen