I’m sure everyone that follows me on instagram has realised by now that I have a new puppy in my life named Caramel. I’ve inundated social media with pictures of her, sorry not sorry. I can’t help it, she is equally the most adorable, funny and demanding little puppy and I couldn’t imagine a life without her.
I’ve loved dogs since a very young age but my family have never been dog owners and circumstances wouldn’t allow for us to get a dog. I’ve always been jealous of people that have dogs, I’m that person that goes into a friends house and plays with their dog before talking to anyone else.
As soon as I saw Caramel I knew she had to be mine.
All puppies are cute but Caramel is the cutest, not biased at all! She has magical green eyes, the most beautiful markings and a cute face that I just couldn’t resist.
That was that. I contacted Wild at Heart Foundation and fast forward a month, she was living here in London with us!
Caramel and her 5 siblings were found abandoned, only a few weeks old, in the tiny village of Skalahori on the small island of Lesvos in Greece.
All of the pups were malnourished and starved but thanks to Vassilia Mavraghani and Wild at Heart Foundation they were rescued and given the care they desperately needed. Vassilia looked after all the pups until adopters were found and they were old enough to travel.
Poor little Caramel contracted deadly Parvovirus. Tootsie (now Zeffy) and Fudge also contracted parvovirus. You’ll be pleased to know that Caramel and Tootsie made a full recovery but unfortunately, and I only found out this week, little Fudge couldn’t fight any longer and very sadly passed away.
Without the help of the shelter in Lesvos it is unlikely that any of these pups would have made it and I’m extremely happy to report that each and every survivor has now found their fur-ever homes in the UK!
We had a pup-date recently with three of her siblings but sadly I couldn’t locate Nugat’s owner.
Adopting from Wild at Heart Foundation
Wild at Heart Foundation work with various small scale dog shelters all over the world to raise money and support them through organised projects. By doing so, they help to rescue, re-home, neuter, educate and tackle the increasing population of stray dogs.
The process of adoption through Wild at Heart Foundation is really simple.
You start by filling in an adoption form online with some general questions about yourself and your history of dogs. You can also specify whether there is a particular dog you want to adopt or, failing this, the type of dog you are looking for. The team will then read through your answers. If you have specified a dog they’ll check whether it is still available for adoption, or they will start considering dogs suitable for you. Often not all of the dogs are featured on their website, so they may have one in mind that you haven’t seen yet.
After this, you will be assigned a home-checker to liaise with and arrange a Skype/facetime to check that you are a suitable adopter for that dog.
A few days later you will be told whether you are successful and can adopt your chosen dog. You are then sent an adoption contract to sign.
Then it’s a patient wait for your new furry baby to begin its journey home to you!
Adoption fees vary depending on the location of the dog. This fee only covers the cost of transport and vet bills.
Why I adopted from abroad
What most of you don’t know is why I decided to go to the trouble of adopting from abroad when I could have more conveniently adopted from the UK.
Personally, I know plenty of people who have adopted rescue dogs from the UK, which is great! But this proves my point, rescues from the UK have a far higher chance of finding a forever home.
So when I visited Sri Lanka the sheer number of strays was completely unbelievable.
Prior to travelling, I had read a lot of blogs describing how distressing it was to see so many stray dogs wandering around aimlessly in the roads. I felt extremely sad reading this but I reasoned with myself that not everywhere in the world has a sound legal system that protects dogs like the UK does. I brought myself round to thinking, well, unfortunately that’s just the way it is.
But picture this: David and I are sat in a bar in Ella, Sri Lanka, over 1000 metres above sea level, enjoying the evening breeze, me sipping on arrack sours and David drowning himself in his fourth 500ml Lion beer as we look out onto the hills of Sri Lanka. Heaven. That is, until a car hit the front leg of a helpless stray dog that couldn’t avoid the car as it hurtled towards it. The yelp that escaped this naive and vulnerable dog is enough to make me sob like it was yesterday. It echoed along the street, making people stop and turn back to look. Unfortunately, we were smack bang in the middle of the situation and couldn’t ignore the agony this dog was feeling. The dog tried to hobble off to safety but a lot of the other dogs around it started trying to attack it, thinking it was a threat to them.
As it limped away into the distance I couldn’t help but tear up. The dogs injured leg literally bent in the opposite direction, as it whined trying to walk away and avoid all people in its path. One man attempted to help the dog, I’m not sure if it was the man that hit the dog or not. But by this point the dog had lost all trust in people. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever laid eyes upon.
Only the previous day I was mesmerised by a beautiful dog that kept lying in the middle of the road in Ella. It had previously damaged its leg so was already limping around and couldn’t walk far. It was almost as if this dog had given up all hope and wanted to be put out of it’s misery as it sprawled out in the road. I prayed to god that the dog would find the strength to move and avoid each car as it went by.
I can’t tell you how many times I thought about rescuing various dogs and taking them back to the UK with me but it just wasn’t feasible. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I was only on a ten day holiday and time wasn’t on my side to even begin to assess what I could do to help.
I researched whether there were any organisations in Sri Lanka that you can adopt from but my research revealed nothing. If anyone does know an organisation please let me know! I would love to help the Sri Lankan strays if it is possible.
David says no more dogs but I’m sure he can be persuaded…
Otherwise, Wild at Heart Foundation, there’s some very loving dogs in Sri Lanka that need your help next!
I was already following Wild at Heart Foundation on instagram for a long time before I visited Sri Lanka. Seeing the widespread issue of stray dogs in Sri Lanka was the final push I needed to get in contact and rescue one through them.
At the time I’m writing this, Caramel is lounging on the sofa with her belly full and all four legs in the air catching her well earned z’s.
This is a stark contrast to day one.
When we collected Caramel from the couriers, 101 Pet Express, she was shivering crazily. Nothing to do with the pet couriers, they were amazing and looked after all the dogs perfectly! Unfortunately, this particular night it had dropped to 1 degree and we’d just taken her from a country where it was 14 degrees(!). She was also probably nervous at what was happening, or a combination of both!
But as soon as she entered her new home it seems she felt instantly at ease!
Caramel was described to us as a very affectionate puppy that is happy to take herself off and chew her toys while the rest of her siblings are bounding around after each other.
Over the first 2-3 days she was very timid, relaxed and fit this description.
She mostly slept her way through the days and investigated her new toys and home.
But now she has done a complete 180! She bounds around everywhere, often getting way over-excited and we have to calm her down again. She’s become a mischievous little pup, getting her head and chops around anything she can reach and really tests you when she knows she’s being naughty!
She will happily sit and offer you her paw (for treats!) but we’re still working on other commands!
We’ve just started letting her off the lead and she happily explores her surroundings and comes when you get too far away. She absolutely adores other people and other dogs but doesn’t yet understand that they may not all love her as much as we do. We’re still working on Caramel not bounding over to strangers for attention with the help of David Drew, the behaviourist for Wild at Heart Foundation. He’s fantastic, after only one session we’ve managed to get Caramel a lot more focussed on us where she was barely listening to us before.
From night one she was an angel and slept right through the night with no accidents, despite us getting up at ridiculous o’clock to take her out in fear of it happening!
In fact, she doesn’t even want to get up in the morning for a wee! She often wants to continue sleeping far past when we wake up.
She’s got her routine, she sleeps in her own bed until 6am when David surfaces…then she hops onto the bed and curls up next to me for cuddles.
I love that Caramel’s personality has truly come out, I know this means she feels loved and comfortable in her surroundings.
As first time dog owners, she is more challenging than we first expected but her little face and loving nature makes it all worth it.
Even if she has bitten through my straighteners, steals all my socks and cleans up every bit of rubbish on the floor given half the chance! She’s now a normal puppy beginning her life again.
Very recently, Caramel was also very privileged to be chosen to model for the latest Mungo & Maud for Mulberry dog accessories range, ‘The Misfit’ Collection.
At one point in her life she could barely imagine somewhere warm to sleep and now at only 5 months old she is part of a national fashion campaign. A real rags to riches happy ending!
In typical diva stardom, Caramel has her own instagram, if you would like to follow and see how she’s getting on!
Wild at Heart Foundation
Wild at Heart Foundation are an amazing organisation that devote so much of their time to ensuring dogs find good homes. I owe so much to them for uniting us and for everything they do to help the stray dog population around the world.
A big thanks to Eve, who initially chased up my enquiry about Caramel when I was too excited to wait patiently for a response! Also, a huge thank you to Alicia for liaising with us about Caramel’s adoption and giving us lots of pupdates on Caramel’s journey to the UK. Thank you to our home checker, Francesca, who was very friendly, professional and helpful and went the extra mile to give us recommendations on what to purchase for Caramel’s arrival based on her own experience. Lastly, thank you for the continuous support that Wild at Heart Foundation offer to all adopters. They are always on the other end of the phone, via call, text, WhatsApp, facebook, instagram or email if you need anything. I haven’t stopped shouting their praises since we adopted Caramel and would urge anyone interested in rescuing a dog to consider Wild at Heart Foundation for a thoroughly rewarding experience.
If you would like to rescue through Wild at Heart Foundation you can browse the dogs available for adoption here. You can also check their Instagram for new dogs.
If you already have dogs and cannot adopt anymore, Wild at Heart Foundation also ask for people that are available for fostering. They do not have a UK shelter, so ask for willing volunteers to foster while they search for the dogs permanent home. You can apply to be a temporary foster home here.
If you aren’t quite ready to adopt but would like to donate to Wild at Heart Foundation, you can do so here.
‘The Misfits’ collection by Mungo & Maud for Mulberry are also donating some of their proceeds of sales to Wild at Heart Foundation. They are an organisation that depend solely on contributions to be able to keep helping shelters around the world. Why not treat your pooch this Christmas and simultaneously contribute to a charitable cause, allowing Wild at Heart Foundation to continue helping strays all over the world!