Didi was found 5 years ago in a municipal pound, totally shut down and petrified, curled in the corner of a wooden crate. We don’t know where she came from or exactly how old she was but one thing is for sure, she had been very badly treated and was extremely traumatised.

Terrified of humans to the extent that she poo’d and wee’d if you touched her. Thea took her to her house where she hid immediately in the smallest space she could find – the downstairs bathroom. Despite all of Thea’s efforts and the many other dogs at Thea’s house, Didi remained shut down, wouldn’t go outside, couldn’t be touched, only ate and drank when she was alone. She stayed in the bathroom, for 16 months. Thea says she has never seen a dog so damaged.

In October 2017, she travelled to the UK to foster with me. She spent 3 months in the (open) crate in my kitchen where my 3 other dogs sleep. She wouldn’t come out, she froze if you went near her, we had to feed her in the crate. One day I bought a hard shell dog bed and moved her blankets into that and took away the crate. Gradually, very slowly, she started interacting with my dogs, 3 months later she started to venture into the living room and we could put her food bowl next to her bed and she would half step out of it to reach the food, if we weren’t in the room she would run outside in the .garden with the other dogs and started to toilet outside. 3 months later she sometimes allowed us to touch her, but always shivering in fear.

3 months later we started putting a lead or harness on her, terrified as she was. The real turning point for her was last October 2018, after a year with us, I decided one day that she was coming to the woods with us, so I put a harness on her, picked her up (didn’t mind getting poo’d on) and carried her the 300 yards to the edge of the woods. After 10 minutes of sniffing there was no going back! She absolutely loved it. The next day I only had to carry her half the way and she wanted to walk, the next day I put her down as soon as we were out of the gate.

Over the next 2 years the confidence she gained from being out in the woods and fields started to transfer into the home setting. She now joins the other dogs to sleep on the sofas when we are there, a few times she has jumped up next to me (no other space!) and gone to sleep. She now actually quite likes stroke, but only from me.

Didi continues her long long journey away from the fear that overwhelmed her for so long. She is now a happy girl and relatively confident when outside. She will never be a dog who will snuggle up next to you on the sofa, but that’s fine by me. I know that she trusts me more than any other human and that is enough for me. I see her initiating play with my other dogs and running free and bouncy in the woods. It warms my heart. In October 2020, after 3 years in foster with me, I decided she was staying and adopted her. She has taught me so much and is part of my heart.

Thank you for reading!