Saskia, Rain, and life at Babylon Saskia now!
First came Rain , it usually does. When my son had a horrendous car accident in 2007 he thought that a dog would help him get better. We had been having a dog free period since our elderly German Shepherd had died 2 years earlier. While he was still in hospital he looked through a ‘dogalogue’ and pointed to a Malamute and said that was the dog he wanted. I managed to find a litter in Essex after some initial research which was due about the time he was to be let out. After he got home we went to see the litter and we chose a puppy. We had 3 1/2 happy years with our not so little bundle of fluff by this point. At some point in 2010 my son started making noises about Rain needing a friend. No he didn’t, he had me. None of my Newfies ever needed a friend, they had the cats. Rain only ever had the cats as short term play things. We found Saskia on the internet, website AMCUK Rescue. In January 2011 SHE came to Babylon.
Saskia and I came back here in my car and my son and Rain arrived about an hour later in the van. In that hour Saskia had made herself truly at home both indoors and out. When Rain arrived home to all intents and purposes he no longer had a home. Babylon was now Saskia’s and she was in no mood to share it with him. This was the first indication we had that ‘friends’ was not going to happen soon.
Saskia From the history given to us we were aware that she had not had the best start in life but I was unprepared for her insecurity. In the beginning everyone was suspect and we all had to be careful about how we approached her especially in the dark. We had made the back half of our garden Rain proof.
In the first few months she would growl, but she would also want a cuddle. We went through quite a long period of her wanting to be friendly, all bouncy and tail wagging, but then the insecurity would show itself and she would warn you off. She snarled every time Rain came up to the fence to say hello. On the other hand she never showed any ill temper at feeding time and she was not possessive with her food. When we took them out together for walks there was no problem as long as she was on a lead. One day having locked the cats away I let the two of them into the paddock closest to the house to have a real run. They were fine for about 30 minutes and then when they ran back into the garden Saskia turned on Rain and bit his left front leg. Poor boy didn’t know quite what to do. They came into the paddock with me separately. This meant putting Rain on a chain in the front garden, taking Saskia on a lead into the paddock and shutting that gate, putting Rain behind the fence in the back garden and then letting Saskia have the run of the paddock and the front garden. The whole process was then done in reverse to get her back into the back garden. (I cannot leave Rain in the house on his own as he tends to use the duvet in the guest bedroom to wipe his feet on)...with much effort and integration it was improving.
Life continued in this vein for the next year except that the teeth were not on show quite so much and she did seem genuinely happy most of the time. We had had a discussion during the first few months about returning her but after talking it over with our neighbours who breed dogs and have 12 at any given time the best thing for Saskia was to keep on providing her with a place where she could be at peace with herself and the people around her. A place that was permanent and the same people all the time we felt were the best things we could give her. Returning her was then not an option we were prepared to consider.
2 months ago we had a terrible wind storm. Saskia dug up a fence post and got out of the back garden. About 11.00 pm we heard knocking on the front door. It was a bit late for visitors. My husband opened the door and Saskia walked in lay down and went to sleep. In the morning when I took her out she went and very politely said good morning to Rain and ‘friends’ finally happened.
They are now sharing the whole garden and not a cross word has been spoken. They play together and I have caught them sleeping if not together at least under the same trees. They come inside together and it is so nice! The hard work paid off!
Saskia and Rain
I would not say that it has been easy. Having said that, I am glad that we have been able to help a dog that so obviously needed help. She is now a real part of our family. Rain