Saved from kill shelter to Norfolk: How dogs found their forever homes
- Credit: Stephanie Israel/Alicia Lestat-Farrell
Whether it is an old dog looking for comfort in its latter years or a pup which has not had the best start in life, every year there are hundreds of pooches looking for loving homes.
But the rescue centres and animal charities could not do what they do without people who can give these dogs a second chance at life.
Here are five successful rehoming stories in Norfolk.
Wolfie, labradoodle, rescued from puppy farm
Alicia Lestat-Farrell, from Longham, instantly fell in love with a two-year-old Labradoodle named Wolfie when she rehomed him back in August.
Wolfie originally came from a puppy farm in Ireland and spent the first few months of his life locked away in a shed. But during the pandemic, he was saved by the Doodle Trust.
After hearing about the dog through a friend online, Ms Lestat-Farrell - who also owns two other Labradoodles – knew she could give him the home he needed.
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The 49-year-old, who drove to Carlisle to get him, said: “They bring so much into your life and I think to rescue a dog which has not had a great start is such a special thing. You are giving them a second chance in life.
“He was not socialised much as a puppy so he does have a few behaviour problems but other than that he is just the perfect dog.
“He is an incredibly affectionate and cuddly boy. He loves people despite his rocky start in life. We absolutely adore him.”
Frank, rescued from Romanian kill shelter
Nadine Weeks, from Great Melton, first saw Frank on TikTok after he was rescued by Pride Animal Rescue.
The rescue centre, which has an account on the social media platform, documented Frank’s journey after he was saved from a kill shelter in Romania and brought to the UK.
Ms Weeks welcomed Frank, who is about nine months old, to his new Norfolk home just four weeks ago. She said: “Hollie Smith at the adoption centre said there are so many dogs into rehoming centres after lockdown.
“If people are thinking about rehoming, do it. They give so much love and affection and it is such a rewarding feeling.
“I expected Frank to be nervous and timid but he is super chilled out. I call him a lovable rouge. He is brilliant.
“Frank is learning to be a puppy again and he is really enjoying life.”
Rosie, Irish greyhound
Michelle Watling is the owner of a dog walking business in Poringland who has always had a love for greyhounds.
After losing her own dog last year, Ms Watling was on the hunt for another pooch to give a home.
That was when she contacted Norfolk Greyhound Rescue and the 37-year-old was paired with Rosie.
Having never stepped foot inside a home, Rosie was very fearful initially but after just 12 months of socialisation, training and lots of love she is about to become a therapy pet.
Ms Watling, owner of Poringland Paws, said: “When we got her, she was very fearful and scatty.
“I worked as a professional dog walker and now she comes to work with me every day. Rosie has a beautiful temperament hence why I looked into doing pets for therapy voluntary work – and she just passed her assessment.”
Rapunzel, poodle cross-breed, rescued from Romania
Rapunzel started life on the street in Romania until she was rescued.
She was found in heartbreaking conditions and had to have her fur shaved off due to it being dirty and matted.
But this did not deter Rapunzel’s now owner, Stephanie Israel, who brought her home in 2017.
The 55-year-old, who lives on Mousehold Heath in Norwich, said: “When we first rehomed her from Safe Rescue Charity, she was traumatised.
“Rapunzel had such a bad life before we adopted her. But it is so rewarding, after coming from a life of abuse and neglect, to see how happy she is now.
“Rescues dogs are not for everybody but if you do adopt, make sure you get a good match. But if you do want a puppy, make sure you shop responsibly.”
Ms Israel – who makes homemade dog food for her pooches - and Rapunzel were also recently involved in filming with Channel 4, for its Food Unwrapped TV series.
Frankie, dachshund, rescued from Chinese meat trade
Kerry Morris-Smith adopted Frankie back in May from the Dachshund Rescue and Support Group.
She was rescued from China by the Little China Dog Rescue Fundraising Group, but was suffering with distemper and pneumonia.
Ms Morris-Smith said: “She was absolutely petrified of us when she arrived but with a lot of patience and love she has changed into a loveable girl.
“Now, we can not imagine life without her.”