Darwin was returned to me as his breeder in May 2014 due to a change in family circumstances. He is almost three years old and a friendly, outgoing boy who is good with other dogs, livestock and brilliant with children. He needs a little work as he is a very excitable boy.
He was quickly rehomed by SWD Rescue with a lovely family and settled in with them very quickly
We always had dogs growing up and I really wanted that for my children too but unfortunately my four year old son has allergies so getting a dog required some research! I spent a long time on the internet looking at different breeds that he might be able to tolerate and I came across The Spanish Water Dog Club website. It gave me lots of information about the breed and a list of breeders. I contacted Lynne via email to enquire if she had any litters planned and she invited me over to her house to meet her dogs and have a chat about the breed.
On arrival at Lynne's I was armed with lots of cups of tea and a good 3 hour chat about Spanish Water Dogs, covering all the pros and cons that come with these beautiful dogs. I also found out that Lynne is one of the people that run Spanish Water Dog Rescue so as well as meeting her lovely dogs I also met a very handsome, loud, lively and in your face young dog called Darwin! I have to say it was love at first sight for me but I tried to keep that to myself as Lynne had mentioned that there were people on the adoption waiting list she would be contacting to give them a chance to re home Darwin. I left Lynne's that day with all the information I needed and the knowledge that I had found a responsible breeder if I wanted to pursue buying a puppy but I just couldn't stop thinking about Darwin so a week later I emailed Lynne to ask if Darwin had found a new home.
To my astonishment Darwin was still looking for a new home so I filled in the adoption form and arranged to go back to Lynne's and meet Darwin properly. I could tell in the short time since I had last seen him that training was going well as he was calmer (although still greeted me by putting his paws on my shoulders and licking my face!) and settled down more quickly once he got his greeting out of the way! I came home again, spoke to my husband, daughter and son about Darwin and arranged for us all to go and meet him. He was his usual self with my husband and I but was noticeably more gentle with the children (I had warned them on the way there that they may end up trampled!). The only worry we had was that Ben (my son) had a runny nose and itchy eyes on the way home so we had to assume that he was allergic to Darwin. None of us were ready to give up that easily though! There was a chance that Ben was suffering with hay fever that day as the pollen count was high so Ben and I went back to Lynne's for another go! By this time Robin (Lynne's husband) didn't need to ask me how I take my tea and I'm pretty sure I had a cup assigned to me!
Ben didn't react this time so after a good long chat with my husband we decided to go for it. I let Lynne know that the answer was yes on the Monday and by Wednesday of the same week Lynne and Darwin came to our house to do the home check. As we passed the home check Lynne left Darwin with us which was a lovely surprise for the children when they came home from school.
We were ready for some teething problems to start with. Things like whining at night, chewing things that weren't his and maybe marking the house as his in that special way that boy dogs like to! We had none of those problems at all! He took to living with us as though he had been there since birth! With the training techniques that Lynne had showed us, we have almost got the 'jumping up' under control and he is making excellent progress with walking on the lead. I started using a head collar to walk him but now, with the aid of a clicker and a pocket full of chopped up cocktail sausages, he almost manages to walk to 'heel'.
We are very lucky to live right next to the river Trent so we have lots of wonderful, long and rural walks on our door step which Darwin loves. He loves to run off the lead but is always checking behind him to make sure I'm not too far away and always comes back to me when I call him. We go to a local obedience class where he gets to socialise with other dogs and show off how clever he is! The biggest problems we have with Darwin is that when he gets over excited he does 'play biting' like a puppy would and he also really hates having his nails clipped! These issues are taking a bit longer to overcome but we are making progress (again using a clicker and sausages!).
We have had Darwin for 12 weeks now and we can't remember how we used to manage without him! He has a special relationship with all of us but especially with my daughter Charlotte. Charlotte is 6 and has recently been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). She finds social situations quite difficult and struggles to talk to people and make friends amongst her piers. Darwin has become Charlotte's best friend! He is always ready for a cuddle when she needs one and she often prefers to tell him about her day at school than me! She loves to tell people all about him when they ask 'what breed of dog is that?' and always wants to come with me to walk him, not matter how far we're going!
I think it must have been fate that Darwin was at Lynne's house that day! We love him dearly and look forward to many happy years with our curly boy!