Well let’s face it, we think all our sanctuary animals are special but Bertie is definitely unique. Like many of our dogs he had a challenging start to life. We don’t know too much of his history but believe he was locked in a cage for years and probably chained.
Bertie is incredibly gentle, well mostly, but more about that later! As one of our volunteers says ‘all he wants from life are cuddles and his lunch to be on time’. Just like many of us really. He is very affectionate and the first dog to run up and make friends with new volunteers. He then spends the whole shift being cuddled while the new recruit oohs and ahhs over him.
His affectionate nature combined with his thick fluffy fur mean that he is ideal cuddle material. As Theresa, our volunteer coordinator observes ‘he will lean right in and give himself completely’. He often stands in front of my legs and leans against them, preventing me from moving so he gets one last cuddle. It can take ages to walk down the field with a large fluffy dog glued to your legs.
When taking treats he does it so delicately and with such dignity you’d think he was being given the doggie equivalent of caviar.
He prefers to sleep outside but is welcomed into the home whenever he chooses. He hates fireworks and like many of our dogs is frightened and spends the night nervous and trembling. He spends these nights indoors and Laura has been known to stay up with him throughout.
So why hasn’t Bertie been rehomed? He has some behavioural issues and when stressed can become a little aggressive, but not towards us, towards himself. He spins around trying to attack his own foot. It’s a compulsive behaviour which probably developed when he was caged or may be due to neurological problems. Over the years we have learned what triggers this behaviour and the episodes are far fewer than when he first arrived. He needs routine, becoming rather anxious when lunch is late, and lots of love and understanding. Luckily there is an abundance of that here at Holbrook. And thankfully his foot does not get injured.
Bertie is getting on a bit now, we tried to work it our recently and we think he’s probably older than 9, perhaps about 12. We have noticed he’s slowed down a little but he still enjoys the daily walks and the occasional run up the field.
If you would like to support Bertie please take a moment to look at our sanctuary animal page by clicking on the picture below.