foal farm rescue

Adopt don’t shop – a rescue story

Today I am so excited to share the first ever guest post on Jade Green Vegan; and I can’t think of anyone better to write it than my animal-loving, dog-rescuing, veggie-eating best friend – Maria.  As you guys probably know from my recent post, Maria and I have recently started volunteering at an amazing animal rescue center, after she rescued her dog Max from there just before Christmas.

I know people can sometimes be a little apprehensive about adopting a dog, but since I started volunteering I am just simply amazed at how many friendly, playful, gentle and just generally loveable dogs there are waiting to be adopted. According to this survey by the Dogs Trust,  7,058 dogs were put down last year by local authorities alone, that’s almost one dog an hour! With staffies at particular risk, I thought it would be great for Maria to share her adoption story with all of  us, to show what an amazing experience rescuing a dog can be.

black rescue dog

Maria and her previous dog Benny (one of the most special dogs I’ve ever known)

Maria Smith, guest blogger:

Yay I am so excited to be able to:

1. Share my experience of getting my rescue dog at Foal Farm (an AMAZING shelter may I start with, that we now volunteer at every weekend); and

2. To be able to write this on my incredible best friend’s blog- it doesn’t get much better than that!

To give you wonderful readers a background, I’ll start at the beginning. As you may know, in order to start a new chapter in your life, you have to unfortunately end one, which in my case meant having to make the hardest decision in my life so far – saying goodbye to our gorgeous previous dog called Benny! I know it may sound cliché but I genuinely think we were blessed to have a dog as gentle, kind, obedient and friendly as Benny, which made letting him go even harder. Something that only other dog lovers know is that dogs are family, and so to lose a dog is to lose a part of your family. They provide the same unconditional love, only they can’t speak to tell you this, which in a way makes the bond you have with them even more special!

cockapoo and staff

Benny with his girlfriend, Panda

After a couple of months of grieving over losing Benny, I was the first in my family to realise that we could either carry on grieving (which no matter how much we hoped couldn’t bring him back); or we could give another dog the love and care we gave to Benny. My mum was adamant that this was not going to happen. However, after gentle persuasion, she recommended we visit an animal shelter (Foal Farm), continuously reminding me that we were just ‘looking’, to which I would just roll my eyes…

The next step was sitting down with Dan and Kayleigh from Foal Farm (both amazing people who devote pretty much their whole life to caring for abandoned dogs) so they could find out more about us as a family, and find a dog whose needs we could meet. We were really passionate about getting a dog who had been in kennels for some time and who had been struggling to settle. So, with that in mind, Dan and Kayleigh recommended Max (who had been in the kennels for about 3 months after being rescued from a pound who were due to put him to sleep after 7 days)! He was just under one and he had his whole life to spend with us! He was well trained (thank you to the dog team at Foal Farm for this), gentle, kind, loving, bursting with energy (which is great for when my sister – Natalie – and I go for runs and play with him), the list is endless!

staff rescue

Max playing in the park

We were eager to provide a home for him before Christmas so that we could spoil him rotten with presents!  The first day we could have picked him up was 22nd December, which was actually the first day foal farm was closed for Christmas! However, foal farm opened for us, purely so we could take him home that day, and I quote the dog team said “we would never close our doors, if it meant a dog going home earlier”- This I will never forget! This truly is the motto which Foal Farm carry, they care so deeply for their animals! They are a no-kill animal shelter and do everything they can to try save dogs’ lives; and for that, myself and my family are so grateful, as we never would have found our amazing addition to our family without them!

cross breed dogs playing

Max playing with Poppy after a dip in the river

We have now had Max for over a month and considering his past, it is amazing how gentle and loving he is. I love learning new and interesting things about him every day, like the way he snores LOUDLY (that one we picked up on the first night), the way he cuddles you by jumping on your shoulders, the way he destroys every toy within 5 seconds (literally!), the way he thinks he can get a bird that’s flying 100ft above him (bearing in mind there’s one that is sitting right in front of him 10ft away).. I could go on! But the main thing I’ve enjoyed learning is even though these dogs have all had confused, troubled pasts, they all still find somewhere in their hearts to love again!

So if there is one thing I could say, it would be to foster/adopt a RESCUE dog (in particularly from Foal Farm, I’m biased- I know :))! Each dog has a unique character and I’m sure there would be one (two/three/four? Ha) that would make a great addition to your family too!

dog cuddling arm

Max making himself right at home with Maria and her family

Editor’s note: I’m totally not crying right now or anything! I am seriously so grateful that Maria and her family were able to open up their homes and hearts to another dog who really needed it. Max is a very lucky boy and I know Benny would be so proud. I think Maria pretty much said it all, but if you can foster/adopt a dog, not only are you helping to save that dog but you are also opening up a space for another dog in need like Max.

Volunteering at Foal Farm

Last weekend was extremely exciting for me, as I was able to fulfil a life-long dream of becoming a volunteer at an animal shelter. Just before Christmas, one of my besties, Maria, rescued her gorgeous dog Max from Foal Farm and shortly afterwards started volunteering there with her sister. When they asked if I want to volunteer with them, to say I was excited (like-pee-my-pants excited) would be an understatement, as as you all know I am a big time crazy dog lady and anything I can do to help animals in need makes my soul extremely happy.

animal shelter volunteer

We had a great time walking some of the dogs around Foal Farm‘s beautiful grounds, and after spending time with them I just couldn’t believe how many gorgeous, friendly, and just generally loveable dogs there are waiting to find their forever homes. If you are able to open your home to a dog, in my experience, rescuing is honestly one of the most rewarding things you could ever do.  Two of my dogs have been rescues and they are some of the most loving, loyal dogs you could ever meet.

animal shelter volunteers

All of the dogs that we we walked/spent time with were special in their own ways, like the lovely Stanley above, who has the most gentle soul and is extremely well behaved on the lead.

I particularly fell in love with this gorgeous boy Rex ▽▼▽▼▽. Five dogs wouldn’t be too crazy, right?! Seriously though.

border collie cross springer spaniel

All in all, my first volunteering experience was amazing, and I am so grateful that I can now hang out with all of these lovely doggies on a regular basis. Foal Farm is an incredible no-kill rescue that relies solely on voluntary contributions, legacies and money made from fund raising events, and I feel so humbled to be a part of it.

Have any of you volunteered at an animal shelter? I’d love to hear all of your stories, you know I can talk about animals all day!