Some animals need a little more time and assistance to find their forever homes. This was true of Charlie, the Labradoodle. Not even a year old, Charlie arrived at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home in September 2017. Over the course of the next six months Charlie was rehomed and subsequently returned to SDCH a few times.
Understanding that Charlie would need a bit of extra training to overcome behavioural and anxiety issues that had emerged, SDCH staff member and volunteer Sue decided to make Charlie her first foster doggie.
Sue recalls, “it took Charlie about three weeks to settle and for me to be able to observe what would trigger Charlie to run for the tea towels, hand towels, socks or any small item he could potentially eat”. You see, in addition to suffering from anxiety, Charlie had Pica. Pica is a condition where an animal craves and subsequently eats non-food items such as dirt, fabric, plastic, etc.
Sue worked diligently with Charlie for more than two months so that he stopped eating things he shouldn’t. She was able to teach him to be a much calmer dog who would not mouth nor run around in circles when people came over for a visit.
Charlie’s rehabilitation involved provision of a structured routine including vigorous daily exercise and walks and reinforcement of acceptable behaviours to help build his manners. Charlie, under supervision, was also exposed to various stimuli – different dogs, family and friends including kids as well as trips to the beach and cafes.
Along the way there were hiccups, including a memorable emergency trip to the vet after Charlie swallowed a dressing gown cord before Sue could take it away from him. However all the hardwork and time that Sue, Charlie and the SDCH team invested paid off.
In February of this year, a lovely couple Peter and Michelle expressed interest in adopting Charlie…it seemed like a perfect match. The couple had experience working with behaviourally challenged dogs and already had a Labradoodle named Chad that needed a mate. And a doggie mate was just what Charlie needed to help him with his long-term emotional stability and to help him burn all his excess energy.
Charlie won the hearts of Peter and Michelle, and is now living the life going to the beach in Newcastle, playing with Chad, and exploring his new home, a 50-acre property near Mudgee.
Charlie is the perfect example of why SDCH doesn’t place a time limit on any adoptable animal. It may take a little more time and a little more work, but animals like Charlie are worth it and make our work rewarding.
A big thank you to Sue and everyone at SDCH who played a part in Charlie’s journey to his forever home, and to Peter and Michelle for opening up their home to Charlie.