DAWN is an ex breeding bitch aged about 6yrs who came into our care. She was quiet and loving but, understandably scared. After a wash and brush up she looked absolutely beautiful. As normal with our dogs, we gave her a special flower essence combination to suit her which would help her adapt to her new life and help to relieve the stress she was feeling (she had been a self mutilator).
She went off happily with her new brother (Roger the lab) to live in Dorset and is doing brilliantly already.
 Dawn is progressing very well, she's eating well and enjoying life with us. Last night, she managed to climb back into the car (after a walk) by herself (I stood behind her to help and encouraged her), which is great news and we're very proud of her. She's met my Mum, who came down on Monday and tonight, we will be visiting Mum and my Stepdad, Hugh in Weymouth - so another car journey, a different house and a familiar face - i.e. Mum. We're trying to introduce her to different things gradually.  

Dawn loves her bed - it's bigger than Rogers' bed but she has her own duvet and she was OK when Roger decided to lay in her bed for a while. She likes to bark indoors and also likes to chew but we will try and discourage these but all in good time.  She gets groomed every day and both Andrew and myself have fed her, so she'll eat for either of us.  

The other day, we decided to not go to the vets, yet, so that we could continue the 'car' training without there being a 'nasty' at the end of the ride. We will visit the vet once we get back off of holiday, just to register her. She hasn't shown us her belly yet but she will I'm sure. We want to continue building her confidence and praise her when she does well.

She's a lovely dog and beginning to come out of herself - she carries a tennis ball around and will collect it if thrown a short distance. We remove her collar and leash when in the house or our garden but we will be keeping this on when we go on holiday next week to the cottage as it will be a new thing and she might want to explore!


We had a great holiday and Dawn and Roger had a wonderful time. We visited lots of places and they had plenty of exercise.

The first night at the cottage was a bit upsetting for Dawn because it was somewhere new and, after a long car journey, she was unsure whether she was going to get dumped somewhere. We had an early start the next day bacause of this but she settled right down after that.

It was good for her to get in and out of the car a few times and am delighted to report that getting in the car by herself is no longer a problem. She does not get out without a tremendous amount of coaxing because she likes the car, being an enclosed space, and feels quite happy in there. She travels really well.

Things are going great here - The dogs have had a bath today - I think we got wetter than they did but that's that done.  We're going away at the end of the month - to Sussex, I think.  We've been there before and Roger will recognise it anyway, so Dawn should be alright.

We cannot believe it's been a year since Dawn arrived with us.  She's come a long way from that frightened little girl we met a year ago.  It gives us great pleasure to report that she's happy, playful, precocious and loving.  She enjoys a cuddle with her Mum and Dad and doesn't mind baths or being groomed.
She has lots of toys (her puppies) and we've recently bought new beds for both dogs (although the sofa is always more appealing).  When we go walking around the village, Dawn meets lots of friends (both canine and human!) and stops to make a fuss.  Dawn is no longer worried about anything (traffic, cars, doorways) and you would think she'd been with us a lot longer that 12 months.  
Only 'once in a while' Dawn will give us a woof in the night just as reassurance that we are there but she soon settles down.  
We hope that we have in some way made up for all the love she missed out on in her earlier life and that she's found her life-long home in Abbotsbury.  We attach a picture of Dawn laying outside with her friend Roger - you'd have thought they'd been together forever - never a cross word between them.  They sleep together on the sofa quite happily. 


Kate says "Three weeks ago, my father came to stay and this seemed to unsettle Dawn considerably, especially through the night and it didn't stop after a few nights it carried on every night.  We started to let her stay in the lounge overnight just to see if she would be happier but this didn't help.  She was totally stressed out and especially at night and wouldn't take any pacifying from us.  I tried sleeping downstairs with her and she just paced back and forth for 2 hours, we tried herbal pills, I even tried sitting in her bed but as soon as I disappeared, she would start barking.  It would best be described as classic signs of dementia.

 She had started to behave strangely during the day too. We could be sat there in the afternoon and she would be seized by panic and go from one to the other with us and wouldn't settle.  We wondered if she was in pain but there was nothing that obvious except for a lump by her eye so we had arranged an appointment with the vet for tomorrow, 3rd June. 

Yesterday afternoon, Milly was barking and I went out to discover Dawn with a squealing rat in her mouth and blood everywhere.  Milly had not attacked the rat as she had no blood on her muzzle.  I ran round to my neighbour, as Andrew was still at work, and he came back with me, by which time, Dawn had killed the rat.  Dawn had received a bite on her muzzle from the rat and was quite calm.  I put her on the lead and my neighbour held her for me whilst I rang first Andrew and then the vet.   

After much persuasion, our vet agreed to see us at the end of surgery so we drove over to the vets and waited our turn.  The vet saw the lump by her eye and we told him the story of the last few weeks and he felt that she had probably gone senile - he offered us drugs to thin her blood to get more oxygen to her brain to relieve but not rid her of her mental problems.  He also suggested that a scan would prove whether there was a brain tumour or something, not that they would be able to do anything about it, if there had been.   

We decided it was kinder to put her to sleep rather than watch her getting so upset all the time and not being able to comfort her. 

She would have been 9 years old today and has been with us for 3 years exactly.  We feel that we have given her the best 3 years of her life after the hell of being used extensively for  breeding. She had enjoyed lots of lovely walks in the countryside, wonderful holidays and plenty of love and attention.  It is always a difficult decision but for Dawn it was the right one and we had only her best interests at heart. 

She was a beautiful girl and will always be a our little princess!"

2007 Irish Retriever Rescue UK