Someone once said to me that rescue dogs are problem dogs and should be avoided. Saying that to me was probably not their best move! Over the years I have had three ex racing greyhounds from kennels, an American Bulldog from rescue and now, Tyler, another American Bulldog from rescue. Each of these pooches have had their own issues and behavioural problems, but all five have become the best companions and made me the proudest mum ever.

Personally, I prefer to take on dogs that need that an extra special someone to understand them. Not only do I find it very rewarding to help them to enjoy life more, but they give you so much in return.

Strangely, I have never had to choose a dog, they have always found me one way or another, but when we lost our last old lady, Pearl, we knew she would want us to help another they way we did her. Pearl was an American Bulldog that had been used as a puppy machine, neglected , starved, beaten and then dumped on the streets to fend for herself. The dog wardens picked her up and took her to safety. She sat in the kennels for several months, overlooked due to her breed, size, slobber, strength etc. During her abusive history she had sadly gained several phobias, but over the seven and a half years that we had her she become more confident and was the most loving and comical dog you could ever have.

pearl cropped
Our beloved Pearl

Pearl totally hooked us on the breed and knowing how they can be hard to rehome, a little while after her loss we jumped on the internet and started googling American Bulldogs in rescue and up popped Tyler.

tyler garden
Tyler posing for the camera

Tyler had been in the centre for six months. No-one had reserved him due to various reasons. He had had a number of homes and some behavioural problems, is over 8 years old, has a health condition, was big, strong and excitable. On meeting him he came across as a nutter on steroids, but living in kennels with limited attention can make a dog appear to be something they are not. We met him a few times before he came home, we were instantly besotted with him, he took to us very quickly and we could see him calming down and becoming more used to our company.

His dad collected him and brought him home, he came straight into the house and seemed to know this was where he was meant to be. In the weeks we have had him he has settled, learnt his routine, accepted he’s not allowed to eat the budgies, calmed down and become a snoozing teddy bear, taken to a number of squishy beds, rewritten the house rules and trained us well!

He really isn’t what we expected to be dealing with, the majority of his ‘issues’ are not apparent, and it is almost as if they gave us the wrong dog.

The only obvious problem Tyler does portray is a fear of being beaten in certain circumstances, which breaks our hearts, but he is slowly learning that this will never happen and we can see visible improvement in his trust day by day.

Pearl and Tyler have inspired us to do what we can to help other dogs in rescue centres that are struggling to find their forever homes.

When we were searching through the rescue centres it was very sad to see the number of dogs that do have problems that go against them with being rehomed. I use the word ‘problems’ very loosely as it covers a multitude of things including, age, breed, colour, behaviour, health, size, breed, looks and so on. There may even be no obvious reason, other than bad luck.

It is great to see any dog rehomed or reserved, but the puppies come and go, the pretty and easy ones come and go, and too often those that are overlooked because of ‘something’ end up with a longer stay in kennels than they should have.

Admittedly, committing to a dog with problems is not possible for everybody and we would certainly not pressure or persuade anyone into doing so, but with Totally Dog Network we very much want to educate and help people understand that just because a dog does have some baggage doesn’t make it a right off. If anything, the love and commitment they need can be given back tenfold in more ways than you can imagine.

Stay with us and follow our blog to learn with us as we develop Tyler’s training, follow his antics and help teach others that dogs with problems are not to be avoided. Join our community of dog lovers with the same passion and help us achieve our goals.