You see, when I started the 'Saving Caesar' blog and indeed the book, my main aim was always to reach out to other dog owners, particularly those who were having a difficult time with their dogs. Caesar is our first dog. We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for when we rescued him and, to be fair, neither did the rescue. Rescue's can't know how a dog will behave when they live in a house - unless they are a foster dog - it's not possible. During the first months in particular, I felt fairly down about everything. I felt like I hadn't done something right or that I just wasn't the right person to help Caesar through his issues. I tried really hard but every failure was a huge knock and soon I felt hopeless.
It was during these particular difficult times that I really began to believe that I wasn't a suitable owner. Every day at work, I would worry about it. Caesar should have been with someone who didn't work, I would think because he can't cope with being left. I would also worry that I didn't have a big enough house and garden for a dog who needs to be constantly on the lead. Perhaps he should have gone to a farm where he would have space to run about and be off his lead and he didn't have to be cooped up in a house and get so frantic that he destroyed things.
Then, one day, I met Emma. She also had a rescue dog and she told me of some of the issues she had come across over the years she'd had him. I apologised throughout our meeting for the noise that Caesar was making towards her dog but she was completely unaffected. "It's fine." For once, I felt like it might be.
I immediately went home and told Damien all about the girl I had met with the dog that slipped it's harness and ran off after another dog. She, like me, had been mortified by his actions. She was also willing to try walking our dogs together. 'What have I got to lose?' I thought.
Over the next few weeks, my attitude to Caesar changed entirely. Here was someone who was happy to walk her dog with him, despite the noise he was making and the fact that he was lunging about on his lead. She smiled at him affectionately and didn't seem to care that he kept jumping around like a maniac. She'd seen it before, I realised.
I took this photo because Caesar was actually sitting on a step next to another dog which he wasn't trying to jump on! He'd met Tango only a handful of times...
Meeting Emma made a huge difference to me - it showed me that I wasn't alone. And, after that breakthrough, I began to notice lots of other people who had dogs that broke into rooms, ate furniture, barked at other dogs, couldn't cope with being left alone and I had to admit that some of them were MUCH worse than Caesar. It was then that I knew what I had to do....somehow I had to get the message to other dog owners that no matter how bad things get, you are not alone! And so the idea for Saving Caesar was born.
Now to the advent calendar
Now to the idea itself. As I said, glimmers of ideas had been flickering in my mind for a little while. Somehow, I wanted to connect other rescue stories to the blog.... I chose specifically rescue stories because I wanted people to see the different issues that rescue dogs can have. Each day, from December 1st, a window will open to a rescue dog and you will be able to read each one's different story. In the spirit of Christmas we're going for lighthearted and fun with a few anecdotes and the reasons that we love our dogs.
How to enter
Just fill in the form with details of your rescue dog(s). And, before December 1st, I will pick 25 to put on the calendar.
Click this link to access the form:
Caesar's Rescue Advent Calendar 2014 Entry Form