You will remember that I wrote previously about some of the changes over the last ten years at Holbrook, including the growing number of volunteers which has also enabled more animals to be adopted into loving homes, which of course, is one of the main aims.
This time I wanted to tell you about some of the dogs that have been with us way before social media could share them with you. There have been so many that the memories become a little faded, but some stay with you for some reason more than others.
It is so lovely to be able to say that Tan, a setter from Zante, was there when I first started. This was a dog that Laura had personally rescued whilst on holiday there (busman’s holiday anyone?) and when the paperwork to arrange transport was simpler! Dear Tan was found very young and very poorly. She used to be gently hand fed initially, and gradually she gained strength. In fact, for years she would only eat by being spoon fed by one of us! She loves her life at Holbrook and will spend many a happy hour sitting in the middle of a field watching the birds, anyone else’s dog do this? She is a typical scatty setter, however, she is the most loving dog – absolutely loves a cuddle and to demonstrate her love with lots of kisses for either dog or human! She is an older girl now, loves her cosy spot in Laura’s kitchen but still enjoys the group walk even though you can see her joints are a little achy.
I suppose it is easier to remember some of the first dogs as there were fewer of them. Jess the Beagle lived all her years at Holbrook and only passed over the rainbow bridge a year or so ago. She certainly didn’t want to have many human friends to begin with, and she let you know where you stood. But she mellowed over the years as she became more comfortable and did love a good bum scratch!
Furby was in charge the first few years I was there. He was a black Irish rescue, and so fluffy. You could brush him for hours (he had a thick double coat) and get so much hair from him. He loved the attention though! He would teach the new dogs what was what, but they all knew he was pack leader, and he would sit near the entrance so he would be first to see who was visiting.
A lovely brown collie, Tom, who came over from Ireland with Furby was ball obsessed. You could waste hours on it with him, he would have made a great addition to a cricket team catching the ball! Tootsie, a black lab cross was a friendly girl who was rehomed locally and, I believe, is still with us. Little Dainty won me over straight away, she was so cute. Some of the more well-mannered dogs enjoyed being able to come out on an extra outing outside of Holbrook which was great as my children were able to walk them too. Over the early years we took Tom, Jazz, Honey, Dizzy, Munchkin, Ebony,Barney and Mitsy to name but a few... a really special thing to do but hard to give them back sometimes! Some really do get under your skin, no surprise really though, who can blame me?
Laura brought another memorable dog back from Zante in 2011, she had been named Storm as she was found sheltering when... well, I don’t need to spell it out! It was only once at Holbrook that we realised she was in fact going to have puppies! Storm did well and had a fair size litter, and what a treat to be able to hold a 2 day old puppy with it’s eyes still tightly shut. And watching them grow week by week was amazing, as was having puppy cuddles aplenty too - even if everything got chewed as they became more playful! I still see Storm locally walking with her “Mum”, and the pups were easily homed. They all turned out looking really differnt too, the joys of unneutered dogs roaming the streets I guess.
And I am happy to say that the memories continue to be made as my volunteer role continues. Watching some of the very troubled ones gradually gain confidence and come for a cuddle and a treat, seeing the ones that get under your skin adopted and happily going off to their new homes. And you know what, I think they all help me and my wellbeing as much as I help them.