Chela came to us with two other Spanish Water Dogs at the beginning of 2013. She was in a bit of a state, as were her companions, which you can see from her photographs. As she was quite shy, and because her coat was so bad, we sedated her to clip her so that she wasn't traumatised or hurt in the process of being clipped. She was also blood tested for Leishmaniasis as both her parents had been imported from Spain and she had travelled to Spain herself. Fortunately the results were negative. She was introduced to her potential adopters while still in her original filthy state but this did not put them of at all. Debbie writes in her own words:
“Having found ourselves in need of a companion for our 10 year old Spanish Water Dog, Tux, we were introduced to 18 month old Chela. She had a matted, filthy coat, was 2-3 kilos under weight and was a little shy, but she ended the evening's introduction with her nose well and truly glued to my treat pocket.”
As Debbie, Reg and their son, Artie already had a Spanish Water Dog and were very experienced owners they were able to take Chela as soon as she had completed her 'make-over'. Debbie continues:
“She settled in incredibly quickly ‐ I'm sure she took one look at us and thought “this is a cushy number!!!!”. A dog that was used to living in a kennel quickly discovered the joy of lying in front of an open fire, staked her claim to a space on the sofa and loves nothing more than to collapse on someone's lap for a cuddle!”
She's put on weight, eats like a horse, and will steal anything edible if no-one's looking. She's also putting on condition and filling out in all the right places.
She is affectionate and good natured and really quite laid back (most of the time!!) When she does get over excited, she does have a tendency to spin on the spot, and she can forget herself and mouth people when playing or really excited about going for a walk. We are working hard to stop both bad habits ‐ she doesn't seem to have been taught that neither is acceptable or necessary.
Her training was limited, so we are concentrating on establishing the basics (she has taken brilliantly to clicker training), before moving on to more advanced training and Agility. I'm ashamed to say her heel work already puts our older dog's to shame.
She's also discovering the joy of toys ‐ ignoring the brand new ones we bought in honour of her arrival, preferring a grubby old football she found at the bottom of the garden. But it's great to see her coming out of her shell as she races round the garden, ball in mouth!”
Chela has certainly landed on her feet and is all set for a wonderful life with plenty to do and owners who understand her. Her friends, Nieve and Pedro, have their own stories to tell. See their pages.
Chela has been with us for a year and half now. She has quietly and calmly become top dog in our canine pack, while playing the fool with the human family. Although thoroughly laid back at home, Chela is capable of playing the "traumatised rescue dog" which we now know to be an act if she is slightly uncertain about a situation! She is braver than she would have us believe!! Having been 3 or 4 kilos underweight when she came into Spanish Water Dog Rescue, food is an important part of Chela's life. We had to buy an anti-gulp bowl for her as the speed at which she inhaled her food was frightening and the huge belches afterwards were worrying! She has put on plenty of weight and condition in fact, since she was spayed in December she's put on too much weight, and much to her disgust has had to go on a diet! She has learnt how to play with toys and loves to chew on a nylabone, or play tug of war with a raggie. But the most exciting toy to Chela is the toy another dog has got!!!! We have started agility training, which she thoroughly enjoys and seems to be quite good at! The long term goal will be to gain more experience and hopefully compete in the future as her confidence grows.
Above: Chela enjoying her new life with Cookie