Updated: Apr 29
This story is all about Rainbow and her survival story from Danyflor Shelter in Romania
We work closely with lots of Rescuers and help as much as we can to save many souls, to find them homes here in the UK, when Dana was chatting to me one night back in July 2019, she showed me photos of a young dog she took from Danyflor that day, she had been attacked by the other dogs, most probably due to being in season or through hunger we will never know but if Dana had not been there that day her story would have gone untold as she would never have survived!
When I saw Rainbow's injuries I promised Dana I would help with costs and to find her a home here in the UK, Rainbows leg was so bad that amputation was the only option, she spent many weeks with Dana healing and getting stronger ready to embrace her journey to the UK ..... we had to find a home for this special girl and I wracked my brain thinking where could she fit it! I can only apologise to Michelle and say also thank you! a message sent and an answer received Rainbow had a home, we fund raised to get Rainbow to the UK and with the kind donations of our supporters Rainbow was set to travel ......................
below is her mums words of how she coped and settled Rainbow into her new life in Wales
Her Mum takes over the story Michelle Hitt - Wales
Tracie caught me at a weak moment. Her message:
“ I don’t suppose you have space for another little one?” tugged at my heartstrings. Yes, I had space (we are lucky to live on a smallholding in South Wales) but I also had 3 Romanian rescue dogs and an animal family totalling nearly 40 animals. Would one more really matter?! Once I knew her story and had seen the photos of her and the pain she had obviously endured in Danyflor, there was no going back. She was coming home to Wales to live with my foster daughter and I. Rainbow arrived at the end of September 2019.
She was so scared and physically very weak, particularly as she had recently had her hind leg amputated and had spent so much time locked in a cage. We gave her space and she spent the first week in a quiet corner of the kitchen, barking at anyone that came near. She was very accepting of the other dogs but she was very scared of humans. However, once Katie and I had gained her trust, she rarely left our sides. This did mean she became quite protective of us but we were careful not to reinforce that behaviour and as she gained confidence she worked out for herself that she didn’t need to resource guard us. In some respects, having other dogs made it easier for Rainbow to settle in but on the other hand, they were quick to teach her their bad habits!!
Any visitors to the door ignited frenzied barking and it was difficult to calm her. At one point I wondered if she would really settle around strangers. We started issuing any visitors with treats and they would ignore her and give her the treat when she had quietened slightly. To be honest, it was a ploy to be able to speak to my house guests without incessant barking but it seemed to work. She had space to be able to leave us in the house and gradually she started work out that she could stay or leave as she chose and that humans were not all that bad after all.
We started to exercise her with the other dogs and gradually introduced her to the other animals. The chickens were interesting, especially when they ran from her, but it only took a couple of conversations for her to accept the “family not food” motto that all of my animals have to have with each other. It must of been hard for her to differentiate between a potential meal and her new family but she worked it out pretty quickly. She was so eager to please, it was like she knew how lucky she was and the other dogs role-modelled living alongside other creatures really well. She was a quick learner. I guess it helped when our pet sheep and the cats just stood their ground with her despite her enthusiastic attempts at herding them!
We knew that she wasn’t neutered as it was important to get her back to the UK ASAP without the delay of a further operation. This meant we had to wait for her next season and then plan for a suitable date. However, I didn’t appreciate the extent of the bed shredding that was about to ensue - all of those lovely donut dog beds reduced to something resembling a snow storm in a matter of minutes! I had completely underestimated the upset that those hormonal changes would cause her but soon everyone was relegated to “vet bed” beds, which appeared to be far less shreddable! I did wonder at the time whether we would ever be able to have comfy dog beds again but suffice to say, since neutering, she has never touched another bed and all donut beds have been safely reinstated.
When we started walking her, we realised just how unfit she was and sometimes we carried her when she seemed tired. We started to exercise her off the lead and as my land is fully stock fenced so it was easy to allow her to run and strengthen her muscles without the need to worry about her escaping. However, it soon became apparent that her recall was exceptional, much more so than her new terrier family and she really seemed to find safety in being with us. This has not changed; even as she started to become more confident in exploring her environment with the others, she is still the one dog I can completely rely on to come back when I call her name. With 3 terriers preceding her, I realise how lucky I am with this.
Her three legs have not stopped her. She races up and down the hills and plays exuberantly with the others. Her helicopter tail helps to balance her down hill but apart from that you would not know she only has 3 legs. We did have an issue at the beginning of this year when her remaining back leg started to give way and occasionally she was unable to stand without manipulation of the knee joint. Obviously this gave us much cause for concern as she doesn’t have another hind leg to rely on and the possibility of surgery to fix this congenital issue was considered. However, as she has continued to physically strengthen and grow, this problem has not reappeared and she runs and plays as a young dog should. I am left with the dilemma of whether to undergo surgery, which would potentially introduce arthritis into the joint or to leave things be and allow her to live her best life now. We will be taking further holistic veterinary advice and I will keep you posted.
Rainbow really is the sweetest dog; she is so affectionate and is a joy to have around. I can now completely trust her with other dogs, animals, children and adults. She is best friends with Bertie (another Danyflor survivor) and Oscar the cat. She does still bark at strangers if they turn up unexpectedly but then so do the other dogs and it is natural that she would want to protect her family and home and communicate that to me by barking. However, once she realises that I am happy for those people to be here, she calms down and goes to welcome them.
I am a counsellor and therapist, working from home, and Rainbow has become quite a favourite with many of my clients. She seems to have a particular affinity with children and teenagers and is often seen cuddling up to them on the sofa in the therapy room during their most difficult moments.
I think the key to helping Rainbow become an integral part of our family has been allowing her to be a dog, first and foremost. By giving her the time and space to find herself and her place in the hierarchy of the pack and by also allowing her to grow emotionally and physically before trying to inflict any of our human agendas upon her, she has worked out for herself where she needs to be. Just over a year on, I really feel that we have built a mutual understanding. Welcoming Rainbow into our home has been so rewarding on so many levels and we simply couldn’t imagine life without her.
Rainbow you found your pot of gold in your new home in Wales - special thanks goes to Dana for saving her and Michelle and Family for loving her