Here's your formal introduction to Paw Print Project, a place for and sharing inspirational rescue stories and helping those four legged friends in need.
Sometimes I think we rescue these animals and sometimes it think they rescue us!
I originally decided to set up the project after being rescued by my dog Buster. We first met at Apac Animal shelter in Portugal. The research I was doing the weeks up to us finding each other made me realise there is a huge issue with over breeding and unintentional pregnancy in Portugal and all over the world, that leads to the abandonment of animals. This is putting a huge strain on the voluntary organisations working tirelessly to help these mistreated souls.
If you’ve never been to a shelter trust me, it’s one of the most heart-breaking environments you’ll ever find yourself in. As an animal lover I found it really disturbing and frustrating hearing the stories of the animals I was faced with. I felt an overwhelming need to try and help these exhausted volunteers in some way and hoped to be able to help them help others like Buster.
I hope that by raising awareness of the problem through sharing our story and the stories other others like him. We are able to encourage people to go and find a soul mate for themselves at shelters worldwide.
Here is our story…
I’ve been living the single life with no commitments or serious responsibilities for a long time now and it comes with its downfalls. I’d developed a complete lack of self-control, no ability to forward plan or to stay in one place for any length of time and definite commitment issues. My health and mental stability was paying the price; team that with the scary over 30 feels of needing to reproduce and we have a full on crisis on our hands…
We found each other when I was having a few mechanical issues with the van I live in, in Portugal. I was receiving help from friends of my parents in Cadaval, around an hour North of Ericeira and a few coincidences started to occur. Now if you’ve read any of my other blogs, you will know I’m not really a believer of coincidences. I’d been having lots of thoughts about adopting a dog, but being an (almost) practical human, I’d realised the time hadn’t been right. However the very unpractical part of me kept telling me, if the time is right I will know. I’d never adopted anything before so I was worried that with no fixed address and not being a resident of the country it was potentially going to be a little difficult whilst on the road, and this would be true if the next situation hadn’t occurred.
The lady who was helping me with the van just happened to be a volunteer at a dog shelter in the local area, we got talking and agreed that when the van was fixed I would go and take a look at the pups at the APAC Animal Shelter. Now, who was I trying to fool (take a look!) I challenge anyone to go and look at these animals and not bring someone home! I spent the next 3 weeks fretting over the fate of the van, but more than that, I was incessantly searching through the shelter page looking at these poor helpless animals. Of course I wanted them all, but there were a couple that really got me thinking. I knew without the van I couldn’t chase them up, as in my heart I knew, if someone came before me to take them, I would want them to find a forever home sooner rather than later. So I stopped looking.
After what felt like a lifetime the van was fixed and off to the shelter the same day we went. It sounds cliché but, I walked in the door and there he was. He was the first pup in the first cage. He didn’t bark he didn’t jump up, but he didn’t cower away either. We just had a moment right there and then looking in each other’s eyes. My heart had already chosen him, but my head told me, he’s much bigger than you wanted, and he’s a nervous dog with an injured paw. I also knew I couldn’t make the decision without giving the other dogs a change and looking around the whole place. There are so many needy animals with so much pain and wanting in their eyes. My heart broke every cage I walked to. I tried to connect with a couple from the other cages but I couldn’t get him out of my mind the whole time.
I asked if we could go back inside to where he was and see if he liked me and reacted well to me. I realised it wasn’t just about me, he needed to want to be with me too. He was so calm and still didn’t make a sound but he gave me enough indication that we were meant to be together.
I’ve never known a statement to be more true. Since the moment we left the shelter together that day, both of our lives changed forever. He was a little nervous of the van to begin with, but we took it easy on the way back to Ericeira to collect my things form the yoga retreat I’d been staying in and went for a long walk along the cliffs to get fully acquainted and meet some new friends.
Later the same day we jumped straight on the road to Andalucía, to spend a month with my parents. It’s a 9-hour trip from where we were, but we were in no rush. He sat up front with me looking out the window and smiling. The first time I felt him move closer and licked my arm I immediately burst in to tears. I felt like he was saying thank you, maybe he fully understood that he was safe now and I’d protect him from the scary world he had come from.
This however is just the beginning of our journey together. Adopting and abused animal is no easy task. Just like humans they have ghosts and scars from their pasts that no amount of love will take away. He still suffers from irrational panic attacks and night terrors. But, I’m almost certain he wouldn’t change his new life. Everyday we visit somewhere new together and every night we cuddle up in bed together tightly. For both of us the world is a happier and more exciting place together and for that I will never be able to thank him or the shelter enough!
Want to help or get involved? I’ve created a bracelet to help the shelter that took care of and rescued Buster. 50% of the profits from these bracelets will go directly to the shelter to help them feed, vaccinate and sterilise the animals that are brought to or often abandoned on their doorstep. Click Here to see the full range we have to offer.
Maybe you have a shelter yourself and would like to stock the bracelets to generate some income for your own company? Contact me direct with the organisation details and I will send you a discount code for 50% off and you too can enjoy the rewards of the Paw Print Project!
Lastly, perhaps you have a rescue pup yourself and want to share your story? Send me over the story and some pictures and we’ll share it with the world and hopefully together we will inspire the world to help these wonderful beings to find forever homes.
If the Paw Print Project helps at least one beautiful pup in need, I’ll be a happy girl!
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