Prior to adopting Hallie, I was struggling with my mental health and felt like I had no purpose. Having Hallie, who relies on me and needs me, gave me a reason to start moving forward again. Without Hallie, I wouldn’t have looked for a new place to live, which means I wouldn’t have found the people who have become my second family to me (my own family is back in England). People often don’t understand the bond between Hallie and I. They say she’s “just a dog” and that the time and effort I put into her, her training, her life is too much. Hallie is so much more than “just a dog”. She’s my best friend, my housemate, my heart dog.
Meet Hannah and Hallie the rescue, a wonderful story about how saving a dog can also save you in return.
"Our “family” is small, it’s just Hallie and I. She is the perfect fit for me. She is super calm and relaxed at home, she would happily snooze her way through the entire day. However, when you ask her if she wants to go out and do something, she’s like “YES! LET’S GO”. Hallie and I both introverts in that we have a few, good friends who we like to spend time with but equally we like to be alone at home and recharge our batteries. We both have the same energy, we like a quiet home with calm vibes". She’s there for me when times are tough and she’s there with me to celebrate the good times. She’s also helped me to make friends and build meaningful relationships with other “dog mums” – all of which has come about because I created an Instagram and connected with people with similar experiences and understanding. Hallie has brought the love, sparkle and joy back to my life.
Hallie is an anxious dog, so sometimes her eyes show her fear of certain situations. Hallie expresses everything through her eyes and facial expressions, I can tell exactly how she’s feeling by looking into her eyes. If I could speak dog, I would let her know that she’s safe. That nothing bad is going to happen to her now and that she is SO loved by so many and doesn’t need to be fearful of the world.
Hallie has wiry hair like a wolfhound, but it is long and luscious in some parts. I love to run my fingers through all the soft scruff around her neck – I call it her lions mane! When I adopted her, her hair was much shorter and she was far less scruffy. The older she gets, the hairier she seems to get! It feels magical running my hands through her scruff!
One of my favourite things that she does is when she gets into bed with me and snuggles right up with her head on a pillow like a human! My favourite physical thing is her ears – they are incredibly soft and beautiful to touch. Probably overall, my favourite thing is that she is so cuddly and likes to be as close to me as possible for snuggles.
Hallie was rescued from a property by Fetching Dogs in early 2016, when she was around 8 months old. She had had little contact with the outside world and didn’t know much about being a dog. Hallie was in foster care for most of 2016, she went on adoption trial with two families but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I saw her on Pet Rescue in early October 2016.
I knew that I needed her in my life but was in a property which wasn’t pet friendly. I asked the landlord for permission to have a dog and despite a lot of back and forth, he wouldn’t relent. I went overseas for 3 weeks and whilst I was away I couldn’t stop thinking about her. When I got home, I looked on the website and realised she hadn’t yet been adopted. I gave one last try with the landlord and he finally said yes! I went through the process of having my home checked, extensive talks with the rescue about Hallie and about my lifestyle. It was love at first sight for me and I knew I had to have her. When I walked through the door, I had the same reaction as most people do when they meet her “oh, you’re bigger than I expected!” but she was so excited to see me and gave me a million kisses and then sat on the couch next to me for a cuddle and I knew she was the dog for me. We completed all the paperwork that night, I went and purchased some essentials and picked Hallie up the very next day! She settled straight into life with me, she’s so easy going at home and was content just to nap, hang out with me and generally be a good girl. It was like we’d always been together!
Hallie missed the critical socialisation period as a puppy and had limited interaction with other dogs prior to me adopting her. She had got along with other dogs whilst in foster care but wasn’t too sure of dogs that she met without introductions. During her first week with me, she settled in so well to life at home but I noticed she was struggling a bit on walks. I already knew that she had high prey drive to small animals and could be dog reactive so we were careful about where we walked and times of day etc. During those first few weeks with me, we had a few incidents with off leash dogs rushing at her which resulted in her anxiety around walks getting higher. I was a little lost with how to handle the situation with a reactive dog but with support from Hallie’s rescue group, my new Instagram friends and a trainer, we have worked hard since that time to build Hallie’s confidence.
I have learnt SO MUCH, not just about Hallie but about dog behaviour. I always thought I was a pretty savvy dog owner but I realise now just how little I actually knew. Like many dog owners, I felt the pressure to conform to the “norms” of dog ownership – surely my dog should be walked every day, should be able to play with all dogs, go to a café with me, like everyone she meets?! NO! All dogs, like humans, are different and I am now proud to advocate for Hallie. I refuse to put her in stressful situations where by her fears and anxieties will be triggered.
We continue to work with a wonderful trainer and make improvements each day. We are so lucky to have made some understanding friends through all of this also.
I met Haku and his owner, Rachel, at a dog training class a couple of years ago. We’ve since forged a strong friendship (humans and dogs alike!) with slow and careful introductions for the dogs, we are now at a point where they play beautifully together and can have a great off leash romp in the garden together. In fact, if there’s a weekend day when we don’t see them, Hallie will pout and sulk all day!! Hallie will always be a dog with fears and anxieties but we will always continue to work on it to make the world seem like a safer place for her. We have come SO FAR and I am so proud of Hallie. It is so special to love a dog like Hallie. I feel incredibly privileged to have been given the opportunity to provide her with her forever home.
You can follow Hannah and Hallie on Instagram @hallietherescue