Last Christmas Poppy was a shadow of the happy, outgoing dog she is today.
After being found abandoned as a puppy she spent the festive season with Blue Cross dreaming of a home to call her own and hoping that the world outside her kennel would stop seeming so scary.
The red setter-cross-Labrador was just four months old when she was found roaming the streets with her sibling, and had clearly missed out on much of the socialisation that puppies of that age need.
Such a traumatic experience so early on in her life had left the young pup uncertain and afraid of many things.
Between three and 12 weeks of age, a puppy should encounter a wide variety of people, situations and other animals – after that point, a dog will approach new things with trepidation, as was the case with poor Poppy.
But thankfully, she came to our Hertfordshire rehoming centre just in time and we were able to help her overcome her fears so that she still had a promising future ahead of her as a happy pet.
Kirsten Findlay, Rehoming Supervisor, said: “Poppy was worried about lots of different sounds. She would alarm bark and her hackles would rise at seeing new things or people and it was sometimes difficult to recognise her trigger. So she needed very gentle exposure to things that frightened her to prepare her for life as a pet.”
The team gradually learnt what Poppy was scared of and adapted her to new sounds, people and things in the centre’s sensory garden, using toys and treats to make all of the experiences positive.