Our Romanian rescue dog Barnaby has been with us now for 7 months and what an impact he has made on our lives so far!!!! It’s quite a long one, I’ll start with the negatives and end with the positives so keep reading as it’s not all bad!!!
The first thing I’m going to say is that is hasn’t been easy. Not by a long shot! It has been very hard at times and more then once we have questioned whether we can do this. It might help you to first read how we ended up with a Romanian rescue in the first place.
Now that’s covered, let me get you up to speed on life with Barney. For a start, he’s not quite the medium sized dog he was predicted to be. Found by the roadside with his sister and brother, there was no parent to go on, just some scary sized paws!
We are fairly sure that he has large doses of German Shepherd (Alsatian), Alatonian Shepherd and possibly slovakian pointer, husky or even wolf hound! Eek, that should give you some idea of the size of him, the fact that he is 10 months old and level with our dining room table and cruising counter tops with ease should tell you something else!!! He’s BIG.
Initially there were major issues with him and the children, he was never that cute, picture perfect puppy that they were hoping for, he arrived large and just kept growing. He also looks a little wolfy and I think they were frightened of him. He was also unpredictable. Go to stroke him and he would swing round to see, and also maybe snap. Only in play but due to his size it scared the children and they became wary of him. I wrote a post about how puppies and toddlers are not dissimilar, see it here.
He also chewed up a fair amount of their things. Pencils, pens, plastic toys and any paper would be destroyed in minutes.
His other flaws then, while we’re at it, initially he came to us with stomach issues and to this day can’t digest any wheat or grain. Until we sorted that out, he had the most chronic, room clearing wind. He also pooed everywhere outside as he had an upset stomach constantly, making the garden a no go area until it had been checked thoroughly and hosed down. Nice!
He also had some extreme fears, mostly people related, glasses, hats, gloves, fluorescent jackets, you name it, he’s bark at it! Making walks with him fairly stressful and not fun affairs, especially when he started barking aggressively at other dogs and certain people when on the lead. This isn’t uncommon for Romanian rescues though, they can be treated so badly by people.
Onto some positives! Because trust me, there are a million reasons I would recommend a street dog despite the above!
We found him the perfect food, he no longer smells so bad when he farts, (unless he steals an entire loaf of bread from the counter as he did over Christmas!!!) and the kids find his loud wind hilarious. He’s also much much easier to clear up after! (The company we get it from is called Harrys and they give a bag of dog food to the shelter for every bag you buy.)
He’s funny, really really comical. I got the idea to write this post after my friend and I watched him climb up onto the back of the sofa and carefully nibble a piece of bluetack off the window pane. Which he then choked on and coughed out with great gusto. He is always tripping over his long legs and really does make us laugh with his antics every day!
He’s calmed down an awful lot now. When you tell him ‘no’ he actually stops when he is doing something naughty and will drop the toy etc that he has in his mouth. The other thing which is an enormous bonus is that he will settle down now, he used to roam around the house constantly looking for things to chew and we had to shut him in the utility any time we left the room. Now he will come in the lounge and just lie down and go to sleep. Like a normal dog!
We’ve done loads and loads of work with Vinny at Cotswold Dog Training and he took him out on a socialisation day around town, since then, he has been so much better with people. The addition of a halti head collar has meant that I feel so much calmer and relaxed on walks and the children can also walk him now because if he does give the odd grumble or bark at another dog, you an move him smartly on with a few gentle tugs. It’s happening less and less which is brilliant.
He plays with the children. Just before Christmas we went on a little holiday to Wales, (he was even scared of the waves at the beach would you believe!!) and something changed in the children. They discovered their confidence with him and started playing with him with toys. He is so much more gentle when playing tug of war with them and lets them hug and stroke him. It’s lovely watching them all run off together as a little gang!
So there you have it, a brief, ‘in a nutshell’, rundown of our time with our Romanian rescue Barney so far. We have finally all grown to love him fully, and he us, and the vibe in our house is a happy one. It hasn’t been easy by a long shot but we wouldn’t change him for the world.