When I first saw on a Facebook post about the 40 dogs that needed saving from death row in Cyprus back in April 2015 my only thought was to donate money. But I started looking at the photos and staring back at me was Violet, a German Shorthaired Pointer. She looked just like my GSP Barney, same colouring, same face. I fell in love.

My husbands first reaction was NO! But I left her story on my iPad and knew he would read it. The next day he asked “ so what’s involved in adopting a dog from Cyprus?” I emailed SPDC and very quickly it was all sorted.

Violet was neutered in Cyprus and then went to a foster home to wait for her flight to us. Worryingly she had to be moved to another foster as she chased cats with alarming vigour, we have three cats! She was fostered by a lovely lady called Suhair, who gave her a first taste of a real home.

Violet, who we renamed Pippa, flew to us via Paris on May 6th 2015. Her journey was horrendous, a delayed plane, hold ups at the Channel Tunnel and a closed service area all led to her being late arriving to us by 7 hours. We slept in the car overnight at a service station on the M25. She arrived at 6am. She had an accident on the way home in the car, when we stopped to let her out for a wee she nearly pulled my arm off trying to chase a magpie. Her hunting instincts were very, very strong.

We arrived at our house at 7.30 am and introduced her to Barney who immediately accepted her. Phew! We walked them and then collapsed into bed for a couple of hours. Meeting our cats didn’t go well, they ran, she chased. The cats left home and didn’t return into the house for some while. They lived in the garage and garden, thankfully the weather was good.

Pippa, unused to a house, thought nothing of jumping on the table, stealing food, soiling the carpet, we even found her on the garden shed roof one day.

Pippa was extremely thin and her coat was in poor condition. She has many physical scars including a chunk out of her ear and broken toes. Her teeth had been filed down. When she was found by SPDC she had a lump on her chest that was feared to be a tumour, this turned out to be mastitis. Pippa had recently given birth but when she became ill was dumped. We think Pippa was probably a hunting dog who did not make the grade but because she was purebred was used for breeding then dumped and left alone to fend for herself when she became sick.

She was extremely loving from the very beginning. She wanted cuddles and reassurance all the time. She was scared of people she didn’t know and freaked out by loud noises. But our biggest issue was the cats. How would they ever live together happily? I hated that my cats lives were upside down, but I never thought of giving up. Slowly we house trained her, taught basic house rules and she became less scared of people and noise, she learnt to come back to us off lead, loved to chase a ball, gained weight and turned into a beautiful dog, but the cat issue remained.

I took some professional help from a dog behaviourist. He helped me understand Pippa’s needs and about being a pack leader. With his help we stopped the food stealing quite quickly and the cat situation improved but we had to keep them apart most of the time. Over the next few month with perseverance we kept going and  5 months later we  finally turned the corner. Cats and Pippa living happily side by side. It proves that there is nothing that can’t be overcome with patience, love and time.

During the first five months we have had many highs and a few lows. We nearly lost Pippa when she swallowed a small toy which blocked her intestines, she had emergency surgery and had 1.8 meters of intestines removed. We realised then that we loved her totally and she was part of our family. She has given Barney our old boy a new lease of life. She has taught us so much. I can’t remember life before Pippa. Pippa introduced me to SPDC. I am proud to be part of the SPDC family. To anyone thinking of adopting I would say, it’s hard work, it takes time but it is so worth it.

Two years on from adopting Pippa and she is a happy and healthy dog. She is still nervous of strangers but improving. I am now very involved with SPDC and a volunteer in the UK. Pippa changed my life and I am helping to change the lives of more Cyprus rescue dogs.

Thank you for reading!