Rescued Roxy’s Story

Ever wonder just how much good a dog rescue charity can do?

Roxy waiting to get in from her first visit in our garden

Roxy waiting to get in from her first visit in our garden, under weight, stressed and very insecure.

Roxy’s tale has dramatically changed the lives of more than one dog and at least 2 people – that’s a good start for one dog rescue don’t you think?!

Roxy is a DDB (French Mastiff or a ‘Hooch’), she is 3 years old and we took her in as her 4th carers (we were supposed to be her short term foster home – read on and see what happens :-)).

When Roxy arrived she was in a seriously poor condition both physically and mentally. Starved and under weight, cruelly treated, with chronic ear and skin infections across her entire body – apparently having been on steroids for past 2 years, which made her skin worse as it made it paper thin, so nearly everything  would scratch her and become infected.

Roxy's ears after a week of treating them with alternative remedies.

Roxy’s ears after a week of treating them with alternative remedies.

With ears so infected they were  puss filled from the tip all the way down her ear canal with one so deeply infected she could no longer hear with it. Her paws so distorted from not having been walked for years she needed to be sedated at the vets to reduce the length of her nails so she could walk without too much pain and discomfort (after the bleeding & pus-filled infections in her paw pads were healed enough).
Mentally she was scarred too,  dog/child aggressive & frightened of everything from fast movement of hands to squeaky toys to our other 4 year old male DDB Monty.

Today Roxy is a beautiful, grateful, happy, bouncy & larger than life Mastiff who loves nothing more than to run off lead with her ‘significant other’ Monty followed by a rest then a a great big juicy bone before cuddling up in either her or Monty’s bed in the living room with us and our daughter Kim. Roxy is and always was the perfect Dogue all she needed was the basics skills for life and some TLC.

Now best friends - Monty & Roxy

Now best friends – Monty & Roxy – One month after arrival

So what happened?

We lost our 2 German Shepherd Dogs (after 12 years) to cancer within 30 hours of each other, even harder than it sounds and totally heart breaking!

We, being a husband and wife team, have run a global IT company for the past 14 years (from home) and we have both helped family and friends with their dogs behaviour issues for over 30 years. We have never been without a dog or two or three – sometimes four.

We have owned and worked with dogs and have even had doggy passports for all our dogs (3 cats & even our 3 rabbits) since they were first available so our four legged friends could come live with us in Sweden & Spain for a decade. We have had Mongrels, GSD’s, Collies, Labradors, Poodles, Jack Russells, Scotties, Boxers and now DdB’s – the only thing that all had in common was that they were all rescued.

After the loss of Bear & Gem (our Shepherds), we felt that we needed to get back to life by giving another dog a chance to a forever home – we were planning on one dog but things change – as usual. So, we found & re-homed Monty from Simone at the DdB RR charity.  Monty is our ‘Mary Poppins’ dog (practically perfect in every way) he settled in brilliantly and quickly.

Our "Mary Poppins", Monty really is practically perfect in every way

Our “Mary Poppins”, Monty really is practically perfect in every way

When Simone from DdB RR told us of another French Mastiff in desperate need of rehoming or at least short term fostering – our first thoughts were – are we really ready for this and are we not taking on too much too soon (again)??!!

However, we listened to her story and it seemed Roxy needed help more than we needed a break so we ‘fostered’ Roxy:

Roxy had been rescued by another couple who have young children and during the 2 weeks Roxy was with them, she had growled at their young child twice so naturally the family had to get Roxy out of the house to keep their son safe. Roxy was about to become homeless and it wasn’t looking good for her – ill, scared, child aggressive with mounting vet bills and at 3 years old there wasn’t a queue forming to take her on, leaving not many options for poor pink and scaly skinned Roxy.

When we met Roxy she had as you know, already been sedated by the vet to have her nails clipped (around 3 – 4 cm/1.5-2 inches) as too people aggressive to have them done without sedation, she had been vaccinated, wormed, flea treated, antibiotics for ear infection etc. So we met a dog who, not only couldn’t walk but also, at the age of 3 had no idea of how to walk with anyone. Our first thought was that, being starved, she would respond to food but that didn’t work because she was too scared – she wouldn’t take food and would rather hide under the table whenever a hand came too close to her (food or not). Roxy was in serious distress and very unwell, had it continued for much longer, we believe she wouldn’t have been recoverable because not only was her immune system on its last legs but she was so badly misunderstood due to the way she acted as she showed her fear & pain through what we, as humans, see as aggression.

Roxy enjoying her first icecream with us

Roxy enjoying her first ice-cream with us

Over the coming weeks we spent 24/7 with her – yes we even slept on the sofa in the living room so we could keep an eye on her and give her mental & nursing support during the night.

We visited the vets a couple of times, patiently showed her what life is about including taking her on short walks (could not walk more than 5 minutes to start with), how to play (yep she did not know how to!) and introduced her to the best quality raw food we could get our hands on combined with other natural healing supplements and homeopathy. Added to that we gave her a place of her own (not a crate but a soft bed with a tall edge to make her secure) and showed her how to behave without fear in and outside of her new home.

We showed her she could trust us to let us lead and guide her gently forward – Roxy learned and let go of all those years of troubles much faster than we humans ever would have done – the key for Roxy was being patient & nursing, set the ground rules, good diet and lots of love.

Today Roxy is no longer fostered as we decided to be her forever home – surprise! 🙂

We sincerely would like to thank Simone from the DDBRR charity – Roxy has sharply brought into focus for us that even if a rescue dog finds a new home unless the owners are shown or know how to work with their dog to enjoy the new relationship, they can soon find the relationship has turned sour and the dog can easily be branded as a dangerous or difficult dog and end up being un-adoptable or put down through no more than a misunderstanding. It is not always JUST the dog, it can also be an underlying illness and/or their diet which needs to be looked into as well as in Roxy’s case.
We are and Vips in particular is an avid fan of the holistic view of a dogs situation. Hence we always discuss the dogs nutrition and current illnesses to make sure we are dealing with the ‘full picture’.

Although Roxy was classed as a ‘difficult’ case – due to all her issues, but even without those issues, Roxy is not alone in being brought into a home and being expected to understand the rules instantly even though we don’t speak her language and we chose her (not her us). When taking a dog with a ‘baggage’ from their past and expecting them to not only know the house rules but also to trust us right away is often asking too much even of the most wonderful of dogs – not a single person would be expected to do this after being badly treated in a place where they don’t understand the language.

We have successfully done this ‘transition’ many times and we work with any dog with any problem – regardless of size, breed or background to get the dog and the owner settled with each other as quickly and stress-free as possible.
We have introduced dogs to homes, with other dogs, cats and most importantly children and other family members many times – even after the first introductions have gone wrong, we work with families to repair the situation. We have seen some amazing and rewarding transformations by simply getting these introductions right and providing the owners a route plan to a happy balanced dog. We always stay in touch to ensure the owners have someone to ask advice or just tell us about their latest success.

We also work with non rescue difficult/problem dogs – those dogs who need to be schooled in polite behaviour. We strongly believe in training through positive relationship building but we
use many tools (no prong, electric collars etc, no violence or fear training) such as positive reward training, clicker training, extended lead training, food reward training etc.

We always do our best to be available for any dog in need – we believe that you work hard for your money and your dog needs the problem resolved so we make you a guarantee – if we cant help your dog there will be no charge (except any travel costs we incur)

Please watch out for our coming ‘Ban E-Collar’ petition – we need to stop electrocuting dogs because we are too lazy to put the time in to train them!

Warm regards
Vips & Simon Kirrage
Co-Founders Dogsify

Email: support @ (no spaces)

Where we got Roxy from: Dogue de Bordeaux Rehoming & Rescue in the UK