Find out why this rescue staffie is on Santa’s good boy list
One very special Staffordshire bull terrier who has been a very good boy can expect a visit from Santa Claus this Christmas after changing his new owner’s life.
Former factory operative Rachel Bowles didn’t leave the house for a year after her spinal cord was damaged during routine surgery for a trapped nerve in her arm in March 2016 – leaving her in a wheelchair and unable to walk.
But since rehoming two-year-old Hunter from Blue Cross in April this year, Rachel said she and her husband Jeff have gained a best friend and motivator.
Rachel says: “He’s my best friend during the day, someone to stroke and talk to and keep me company and my husband’s best friend when he gets home from work. They are inseparable.”
Rachel was forced to give up her full time job when the surgical complications left her disabled and while Jeff was out at work she felt isolated and lonely with no one to talk to. But her lovable rescue staffie has changed all that.
“When I don’t feel like leaving the house Hunter looks at me with his big eyes… So he gets me out of the house and we go for a walk with him walking alongside me in my mobility scooter,” Rachel adds.
“For a long time I couldn’t even leave the house and I’d be bored stuck at home while Jeff was out at work. I told him it would be nice if I got a dog to keep me company during the day.”
Rachel got in touch with our Lewknor rehoming centre in Oxfordshire, where staff recommended Hunter as a match.
She visited him with Jeff’s three sons, then aged 8, 10 and 12, to make sure they all got on for when the children visited the couple at their home in Banbury at weekends.
“They got on brilliantly and so we took Hunter home,” Rachel recalls. “We haven’t looked back since. I take him out during the day and then my husband takes him out for long walks – up to seven miles – when he gets back from work.
“Hunter’s a perfect addition to our family. He has settled in so well and brought so much laughter into the home. His character has really come out now that he knows this is his home.
“He loves the garden and lounging on the sun lounger or playing in his paddling pool. He loves the water and I can't water the flowers without him getting soaked.
“The children adore him and he is brilliant with them.”
Hunter is not only part of the family but he has changed his new owners’ lives, too.
Rachel says: “For me things have changed because I have company in the daytime now and someone to talk to and a reason to get out and about and I feel more confident on my mobility scooter if I’ve got the dog with me.”
Eve Brant, Animal Welfare Supervisor at Blue Cross Lewknor, said: “We’re so happy to see Hunter has made such a great addition to the Bowles family.
“Staffordshire bull terriers can make wonderful family pets and companions and are extremely loyal and affectionate but people who don’t have any experience of the breed are sometimes wary of them, because of the bad reputation they have due to a minority of irresponsible owners.
“Blue Cross has so many sweet-natured staffies at our centres - we would urge anyone thinking of rehoming a dog to look further than skin deep and come and meet some of them. Once you get to know them you will realise they can be fantastic, loving pets.”
This Christmas will be Hunter’s first in his new home and the Bowles family can’t wait to reward him with special presents.
Rachel said: “Hunter’s presents will definitely be wrapped up and he’ll definitely get to unwrap them all around the living room floor. I’m really excited I’m really looking forward to it.”