Hannah and Vanya
Vanya is an example of another large, young dog that has adjusted to UK life so well. Sally and her daughter Hannah adopted him last year, and he’s now a happy dog loving city life. Here Hannah tells their adoption story…
Why did you decide to adopt a dog?
After I graduated from university in the summer of 2018, I went through a frustrating period of my life. An uneasy routine of being unemployed, taking on internships, being unemployed again, going to interviews, being unemployed...
Around December of that same year, my Mum and I began to think seriously about getting a dog. I had wanted one for a long time after losing my Cocker Spaniel, Jarvis, a few years before. Plus I knew I would have plenty of time to spend with my new furry friend. The stars were all aligned!
What made you choose Vanya?
So, we oohed and aahed over the pups at BMDR for a few weeks, but ultimately we were both swayed by a certain big, brown eyed puppy, so on the 13th of January 2019, we heard a knock at our door, and just like that, Vanya had come into our lives.
What was he like when you first adopted him?
He was very, very tired when he arrived at the house, so much so that he couldn’t even sit up on our hallway floor! I was taken aback at how easy that first night was. I had expected him to cry or whine or make some kind of fuss over being in a completely new place, but all he did for that first evening was sleep; first on the dining room floor, and then in the little crate we had set up for him.
By the next morning, however, Vanya had woken up and he was ready to slowly make his way around the house; by the end of the second day he was curiously sniffing around his new home, winning hearts and searching out any scraps of food he could find.
What were your first few months with him like?
Only a week after his arrival, my lovely Nana died and Mum rushed up to Wales to support the rest of our family, leaving me behind in London to look after Vanya. Luckily, I had my best friend (who has 3 dogs of her own) to help me look after him and between us we did a good job socialising him with the other dogs (particularly their GSD), getting him used to travelling on public transport and generally becoming a polite and well-behaved member of society.
That month on my own with Vanya was one of the most anxious, but also one of the most valuable of my life. I learnt a great amount about responsibility, patience, and making the best out of a bad situation, all the while I was watching this wonderful dog grow up to be the ball of love he is today. It really felt as if Vanya and I were in this together, both of us gradually adjusting to a new life, and that greatly strengthened the bond between us.
What was the training process like?
In April, we signed up for some dog training classes for Vanya, we are now on our fifth block of lessons – he’s an absolute star! He picked everything up so quickly and thoroughly enjoys his weekly sessions, and meeting all his doggy pals – especially the ladies.
We discovered a long, long time ago that he will do absolutely anything for a cocktail sausage, so that may well be the secret behind his success in his lessons.
What is Vanya like a year on?
Now that he has been with us for a year, I can safely say that Vanya has enriched the life of everyone he has come into contact with. My family and friends love him, and frequently ask if I am bringing him along with me whenever I visit them. He warms the hearts and catches the attention of people on the street whilst on walks, and always makes himself known to whoever comes to the door, with a loud voice and a wagging tail.
In fact, having Vanya has been such a lovely experience, that we have frequently discussed the possibility of getting him a friend in the future, because after all, you can’t have too much of a good thing.