Dog Tales: A Girl’s Guide to Rescuing a Human

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1. Choosing a Human.

First things first, you need to choose the right human family to rescue. In my experience, a great place to find humans is your local pet rescue centre. I came to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) as a stray, so nobody knows for sure what my background is (if I told you, I’d have to kill you). Fact: rescue humans come in all shapes and sizes, just like us dogs!

2. Getting to Know your Human.

Some rescue centres suggest multiple visits, especially for dogs (I mean humans) from more difficult backgrounds. Don’t be afraid to take your time when getting to know one another. Wanting to rescue is wonderful and compassionate sentiment, so make sure you back it up with a wonderfully wise and sensible approach. Whether its exercise, affection, security or even a special diet, your job is to make sure that you can give your human what they need right now and for the rest of their life. I’m just kidding: that’s the human’s job, all we dogs have to do is look cute!

3. Going Home.

The big day finally arrives! I hope you’ve chosen humans with a nice home (the rescue centre may have done a ‘home-check’ for you). Everyone is bound to feel a little nervous. At least the humans know where they’re going – we don’t!

4. ‘Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken.’

That’s an Oscar Wilde quote (Border Collies like me are renowned for our intelligence). Personally, I can get easily overwhelmed by new things like other dogs and strangers, and that’s why it was important for my family to stay calm and give me space to adjust in the early days. In fact, the early days can include early weeks and even early months. My worries would probably make more sense if I told them my background but hey, a girl’s gotta have some secrets!

5. Day One is just that: Day One!

The most important point my humans needed to understand was that I’m no longer a puppy (although some rescue centres do have puppies) but an adult dog with a history behind me. In other words, I’m just like them! What’s already happened in my life can’t be undone, but us dogs have a great capacity for living in the present. We’re now coming up for the one year anniversary of my ‘rescue’ (sometimes this is known as a Gotcha Day, because it’s the day they ‘got me!’) and my new mum says I’ve taught her that taking people as you find them is the most rewarding thing ever. I can’t promise not to get dirty, or be naughty, or spend our walks finding the most disgusting things to eat in a five-mile radius. But I can promise that dogs like me will take you just as you are: return the favour and we can make something very special together.

While Gypsy added the finishing touches to her blog, Kirsten hoped that the ‘thing’ she ate in the park this morning was only a bit of mud …


Kirsten is a writer and artist who lives in Glasgow. In June 2016 she was shortlisted for the Vogue Young Talent award, and in November her poem ‘On Knowledge’ won the Glasgow Women’s Library 25th Anniversary prize. Her favourite things to do in her spare time include watching classic movies (hello Audrey Hepburn!), working on her first novel, and above all else hanging out with animals like her BFF Gypsy! Follow Kirsten on Instagram @glasgowgallerina.

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