Jessica and Lupin
At Barking Mad Dog Rescue we usually have little to no problem adopting out fluffy and little dogs. But sadly larger dogs can often get overlooked and even stuck at the shelter for years at a time.
This is what makes Lupin’s story so wonderful. His adopter Jessica wasn’t put off by this huge puppy. She went above and beyond to make his transition from street dog life to that of home comforts as easy as possible. Here's their story.
What is Lupin like?
Lupin was called Matty when we first got him. I renamed him Lupin after my favourite Harry Potter character – Professor Remus Lupin – which is also a flower.
The best way I can describe him is he is like a giant marshmallow – tough on the outside but a big softy on the inside! He’s a big baby at heart, always wanting attention and at times very sensitive and needs reassurance. He is now almost two years old and was eight months old when adopted.
What made you choose him?
I love the look of German Shepherd and Husky breeds. And he charmed me with his cute puppy face and pose, and with his story my heart was stolen. Also, when I was allowed to get my own dog I knew that I wanted a rescue, and a rescue from another country as I wanted to help a young street dog.
What’s his back story?
All I know is that he was found at three weeks old on the streets with his litter by BMDR and was in their care for eight months of his life.
What was he like when you first took him home?
We were so excited! I was in particular as he was my first dog, and I knew that I wanted a rescue. Lupin was so scared that he had to be carried into the house as he wouldn’t walk. Not an easy job as he’s a big dog! We got him inside to his safe corner of the kitchen and he stayed there for the rest of the evening till morning with me at his side.
From that point on he has only grown with confidence. In some situations he very quickly overcame challenges and in others it took a little longer. He needed plenty of time to adjust to his new home and the surrounding areas like the garden. Luckily I didn’t have to toilet train him, he just knew to go outside!
What are some of the challenges you faced?
A particular task that took a good six plus months to achieve was getting Lupin in the car. I’ve spoken to other adopters and it’s a popular problem with rescues being scared or refusing to go into a car. We started off feeding him his dinner in the boot, which did work till we attempted (after many positive pre-runs) to shut the boot, even with me in there with him, but that was too much.
After months of on and off attempts we got in contact with a trainer and followed her advice, which was pretty much what we were doing, positive reinforcement. When we met in person she suggested using a crate, and when she fed him treats in a crate of the back of her own car, he didn’t freak out when she shut the boot door. The key to his fear was that of the car boot door shutting down on him. But with a crate he was secure and covered by a blanket so he couldn’t see the door coming down. Success!
Soon after I purchased a crate and now his fear of the car seems like ancient history. He practically flies into the car before I’ve opened the car boot door! He’s learned that the car leads to new walks and treats. We found a solution that worked for Lupin to overcome his biggest fear!
What advice do you have for other BMDR adopters?
I would say that taking the time and having patience is key. However, don’t stress and worry thinking that all rescues are going to be hard work. If you give them the chance to grow with confidence and to accept them for who they are - faults and all - you will get to the best parts that make the whole thing worthwhile.
Not all rescues are difficult, I’ve read so many stories on social media on how other people’s rescues have been the easiest adjustments into their lives. And while others have had some issues, no rescue or even domesticated dogs haven’t had some sort of issue with something. You have just got to take the time to be with them and learn how they cope and thrive, what they love to do, what’s a bit of a struggle for them and how to help them in that moment of uncertainty.
I chose a dog that was quite big compared to a typical Romanian rescue, which can be quite small. Lupin is a big dog who had no experience or guidance from other older, wiser dogs, had a fear of travel (especially after travelling 55 hours to the UK), and was a bit cautious around men. However, we learned how to deal with that and now know we have the most affectionate, cheeky teenager who’s loving life!