Just before we went on holiday in July 2016, a long awaited break for both of us, having lost my father and two beautiful BDW Dalmatians (Miss Sasha and Donna) in a space of less than a year, we saw a handsome Dalmatian which was in need of a new home. This stunning looking boy called Snoop stared back at us from the BDW website Dogs waiting page … we knew we wanted him.
But the big problem was that we were booked to go on holiday abroad and naturally could not cancel. Nevertheless, we contacted BDW Ann Gurnsey, who was coordinator at that time of the year to make enquiries.
Realistically, we were prepared for the fact that someone else would want him too and we said that if he is to be rehomed before we return from our holiday, we would understand. Snoop’s happiness in a new home was a top priority and we were prepared for that possibility.
Anne put us onto two lovely gents, Darren and Simon, with the BDW who had a chat with Snoop’s owners and it was agreed, that as we were definitely wishing to adopt him, he would be kept for our return. We were delighted with this unexpected response.
So when we returned home from holiday, arrangements were made for meeting Darren and Simon to collect this gorgeous boy Snoop.
A whole new experience was soon to begin…
Snoop arrived with a bang! As soon as we opened the front door he galloped straight into the lounge and picked up a ball that has remained his favourite ever since, then out into the back garden and ran round fast in circles. Then started playing with the football there, which he loves, and he tries to get any visitor to tackle him. It was as if he was joyously expressing his happiness at coming to our house. Incredible!
We found him to be a very polite, well-mannered dog from the outset. Two weeks into his settling in, we had our American family staying with us and they have two boys with Autism and Asperger’s.
Snoop was really happy in their company and the boys seem to take him to their hearts. My initial fear of how he would be with the boys was totally unfounded. He just loved them to be with him and play football in the garden. When they left to go home to USA, Snoop was really, really, sad and kept going to the window hoping they might come back.
Dogs are the enemy!
After all his plus points and having won our hearts, there is one mystery we cannot fathom. That is his innate dislike or fear of other dogs. It is so set in his mind, it is unbreakable! We were initially told it was a dislike for black dogs that was the problem but in actual fact, it is ALL dogs. Even the tiniest of dogs he sees in the horizon, Snoop gets revved up for a jolly good barking, this includes those he can see whilst watching TV! This is now absolutely discouraged and that aspect of his behaviour is very much more controlled.
After a stint of very unsuccessful dog training we took the decision that he really needs a Muzzle whenever we go out. Some see this as a setback but actually it isn’t necessarily so. When out walking on the pavements, people without dogs approaching can see that despite the muzzle, his tail wagging. They all stop to ask ‘ How can such a happy Dalmatian be wearing a muzzle?’ He gets lots of cuddles from passers-by and all say how handsome he looks.
This summer (2017) we hope to have another go at Dog training that Nina Byles has recommended. We are told that that particular trainer is an expert in the Snoop syndrome and we owe it to him to see if we can calm his fears of dogs.
Snoop is a very bright dog and has a brilliant memory recall on places we go to. Soon after we got him, we were in the process of keeping an eye out for an elderly neighbour whose husband was recently hospitalised. So on one of my visits to this lady, we took Snoop to be introduced to her.
The visit was now five months ago and recently I took a road to pass this lady’s house, Snoop stopped at her garden and looked at me as if to say ‘Are we going to visit her again?’. I realise now he is pretty clever and can remember something that happened so long ago.
We do wonder, then, why does he fear other dogs so vehemently? Given that his memory is sharp, we hazard a guess that such skill also has a down side. That being, it is possible that Snoop was attacked by a dog or several dogs some years ago.
Another talent he quickly developed was being clued in that his new Mum cannot hear the telephone ringing. So now he has developed his wonderful two-three toned tuneful howl which grabs her attention. So he is learning to become an unofficial hearing dog. Whether he’ll ever develop the same skill as my late BDW Dally Mr Loxley, is yet to be seen. Time will tell…
Snoop’s new Mum & Dad