Today I fancied writing, and seeing as though I could probably write forever about Jess, I thought today I would write her story :)
The story begins nearly four years ago…
First walking into the kennel block of Manchester and Cheshire Dogs Home was overwhelming. There was one long row of kennels, and barks and whines filled the air. I’d been to a shelter before, but the dogs were viewed in the outdoor part of their kennels, so the noise wasn’t as intense and it didn’t feel so enclosed. It was a very emotive place, and I couldn’t decide whether to feel saddened or angry that the dogs were there.
Jess was one of the first dogs we saw, she was sat in the far left corner of the kennel, kind of slouched and quiet, while her three kennel-mates paraded themselves at the front of the kennel. Each kennel housed multiple dogs, which must be so daunting for those who like a bit of peace, but I assume it’s the only way the shelter can house so many dogs at once. So we walked up and down the row, taking in all the different faces, then we noticed a couple taking Jess, who at this time was known as ‘the black dog’ out of her kennel. I was a little disappointed. I did like the look of another scruffy looking mutt. He was literally jumping up the walls, barking wildly. My boyfriend, Ashley, just looked at me and said ‘No, are you serious?’ I did like the look of him, but being a terrier type he might not have become the best of friends with our rabbits! Speaking of rabbits, as we read the information for each dog, one of them said ‘reason for re-homing – ate our pet rabbits’. So we steered clear of that pooch too…
Suddenly my mum was calling me, ‘It’s back, the black dog is back in its kennel!’ For whatever reason the couple who took her out, decided not to take her home. Now when I look back, I like to think it was fate. Straight away we asked the kennel staff if we could take a look at her, it must have been so unnerving for Jess, four strangers towering over her, and she just stood, with her tail between her legs. The staff mentioned her nervousness, but it didn’t really faze us, she was just lovely.
As for her name, she didn’t have one. She also didn’t seem to suit anything unusual or fancy, she just suited a traditional dogs name, hence ‘Jess’. Her age was estimated at around 1 1/2 to 2 years, and her breed guessed to be cross Labrador. I’ve since seen photos of other dogs that look very similar to Jess, one being Lab x Collie and another Lab x Boxer, but she also has spotted markings like a pointer or a dalmatian so who knows! In terms of her life before us, all we know is she lived with a large group of dogs previously, and was picked up whilst roaming the street.
We soon realised Jess’ nervousness was quite severe. On walks we would have to cross the road when a pedestrian was walking towards us, as Jess would panic so much she would try and slip out of her collar. Jess also has a love for food. This is great for training, but hard work when she will eat anything she can get her paws on! Now, with the help of positive reinforcement and never punishment, she will happily trot past fellow walkers, both canine and human, and will sometimes allow them to give her the loving attention she deserves. Jess does still present us with a few ‘challenges’, but I don’t mind tackling them at all, as it means she will be a happier dog. It’s the least I can do in return for the love and trust she puts into us.
The pair of us thoroughly enjoy training time, and Jess’ selection of ‘tricks’ include sit, paw, lie down, up, roll over and spin. Jess has such expressive brown eyes and her tail is usually wagging. Her personality is warm, loving, obedient and trustworthy and she listens to your every word.
All in all Jess is a wonderful dog, and a perfect companion.