Rosie came to Beast Barracks when she was in danger of being put down by her previous owner, supposedly for aggression to other dogs. I heard later (from someone I consider reliable) that Rosie had been tormented by youths when in the garden to the point that she became scared to go out and fouled in the house, that she was shut away when visitors came to the house, that on several occasions it was given Diazapam (on my way to collect her, her previous owner offered to sedate her – an offer that was refused in no uncertain terms) and, on at least one occasion, beta‐blockers to calm her down; reportedly with the blessing of her vet – not a vet I would personally care to use. Things apparently came to a head when Rosie got out – because teenage children left the door ajar – and "attacked" a neighbours German Shepherd. By all accounts the other dog was not hurt, yet Rosie is big enough to have done serious damage and there was not a mark on her when I saw her not long afterwards; not what one would expect from a dog fight. Soon after it was decided that Rosie had to go and a one way trip to the vet had been booked. Luckily for Rosie a friend put wheels in motion and her rescue was put in place. Through an online forum I was asked to take Rosie; I collected her on 15th August 2007. Due to work commitments she couldn't come straight here but Mal (her benefactor) managed to sort a few days in a kennel near to where I collected her.
I took Kai and Monty when I collected Rosie as they were totally bomb proof. When they met, Rosie pounced on Kai, but a simple "No!" was enough for her to stop; she looked at me like no‐one had ever told that before. We then had a gentle wander round an area at the back of the car park with much communal sniffing. As we had some time on the way to the kennel we stopped off at Delamere Forest and went for a walk; Rosie was absolutely fine with Kai and Monty. Then I dropped her off at the kennels.
A few days later I returned with all The Beastly Beasts to collect Rosie and bring her home. We did one to one introductions to all The Beasts and Rosie was fine until it got to Mack, but as he was the last she was probably bored. We went for a walk and she was fine with everyone. Then it was time to head home and I got the first inkling of how Rosie affected people. She was supposed to be a foster; Mandy asked, pleaded with, me, with tears in her eyes, to keep Rosie; in the few days she'd been there, Rosie had got under Mandy's skin.
Was Rosie inherently aggressive? Absolutely not – that was proven when she met The Beastly Beasts; with three very minor exceptions (and I am talking the kind of thing that other fosters have done on arrival) – right at the very start when she'd been uprooted, kennelled, and must have been wondering what was happening – she did not show any form of aggression towards them; in fact, quite the opposite, she became the matriarch and when Lucy got older and slowed down, Rosie would wait for her on the way back from walks and walk with her to the Beast Bus.
When she arrived at Beast Barracks, Rosie was suffering from severe muscle wastage in her back legs due to lack of exercise to the point that my vet expressed serious concern over her displacing her hips and/or damaging her lower spine and advised very gentle exercise over a few months to build her up. She was not a small girl and it must have been painful for her and undoubtedly contributed to her issues.
When I say Rosie was not a small girl, I am pretty sure she was Greyhound x Great Dane and I was not the only one that thought so; she weighed 50kg.
Rosie did have issues. I am sure that they were a combination of pain, lack of socialisation, lack of exercise, and lack of mental stimulation, all culminating in a fear reaction. The solution was to get her on a good diet, a sensible exercise regime, socialise her at dog school, and ensure she knew I was in charge; an authority figure who would not tolerate bad behaviour but who also took all responsibility so that she felt safe and secure. It took a while and there were many times it was two steps forwards, three back, but eventually things got better; after 6 months it seemed like she had made real progress. That she had became clear when everyhound was off‐lead in Salcey Forest and a couple of Weimaraners, also off‐lead, appeared around the corner; cue lots of sniffing of bits then everyhound going on their way. The moment I knew that Rosie had changed for good was when Libby (who had not long been with us) jumped in the Beast Bus and Rosie had a very half‐hearted grump at her then looked at me with a look that said "I can't be bothered with that any more."; and so it was. Rosie had become a very fit, happy, confident, sociable hound.
Rosie had a presence and touched something in many people. Mandy who looked after her for the first two nights of her rescue cried when it was time for her to come home and entreated me to keep her, I was told by a canine behaviourist that she been to that she was a very special dog, another Mandy (runs Northants Greyhound Rescue) fell in love with her and described her as my "proper dog", Trevor of Little Dumpledale fame was another victim of Rosie's charms and would have "had her like a shot", and here the feeling was mutual, Rosie loved Trevor. Rosie was a blood donor and at one donation session one of the nurses looked after Rosie while the others donated; when I took her back the nurse said that "If you could bottle what she has you'd be rich" – I already was, I had Rosie. Later in life Rosie had a Mast Cell Tumour removed and follow up radio therapy; on our first visit to the radiology unit the admission nurse brought Rosie back to me saying she was a beautiful and very special girl – she had been with Rosie for about 20 mins and it wasn't what she told other people, on our second visit she told me she'd told her family about my special girl.
And then there were the people she visited at St Andrew's as a Pets As Therapy dog; patients and staff loved her. If she didn't visit one week she was asked after, she had one guy telling her he'd miss her over Christmas, and when she had her operation for her tumour everyone wanted to know her progress, and when she started visiting again it was like she went home such was the warmth of the greetings she got.
Rosie was a Blue Cross Education dog and always went on visits to primary schools and nurseries as she was so good with the children. But perhaps the thing that demonstrated how far Rosie had come was when she helped on the Blue Cross stand at Crufts. That year Samsung were show sponsors and raising money for Blue Cross and wanted pictures of Rosie on their stand. This meant Rosie being off‐lead in the middle of Crufts – she loved the attention.
Rosie had a great sense of fun and loved playing games, with others or on her own. One of her "on her own" games was to run a few steps then deliberately fall over then roll on her back on the grass. One time at Salcey Forest Rosie did this after it had snowed heavily which meant that instead of rolling on the ground she slid along it and as we were on a track with a slope she went some distance; she thought this was great fun so ran a few steps, fell over, slid across the snow with legs waving in the air, got up, had a shake, ran a few steps, fell over, …
5 years after her rescue we had a reunion at Mandy's kennels and Mal came over to join us. Rosie enthusiastically greeted both Mandy and Mal; she clearly remembered them.
Early in 2014, Rosie started limping on a back leg; the X-ray showed the worst – bone cancer. Given her age and size I decided that amputation was not an option, so she went on palliative care. One evening a couple of week later I had watched Cider With Rosie cuddled up with Rosie; that night, despite lots of Tramadol, she could not settle and was clearly in a lot of discomfort if not in pain – the time had come. I remember the vet asking – as they must – if this was what I wanted; I replied it was the last thing I wanted, but that it was what had to happen. Rosie went having given everyone a final kiss.
Rosie was a beautiful, intelligent, playful, gentle, polite, friendly, funny, and loving dog, and just as she was lucky that Mal decided she deserved another chance, so was I.
Rosie was my "heart dog".
|Rescue||The Beastly Beasts|
|Date Of Birth||20 Apr 2002 (est)|
|Date Arrived||18 Aug 2007|
23 Feb 2014