Sherman on a cream carpet looking to the camera

Loveable dachshund helps other dogs in need

At just 12 weeks old, he needed our help – and now, little Sherman is there for other dogs coming through Blue Cross doors.

The dachshund found himself at our Burford rehoming centre in 2019, after his family were forced to give him up due to one of them developing such a severe dog allergy it required hospitalisation.

But it didn’t take the puppy long to find a wonderful new home, with Hannah Bowers and her seven-year-old daughter, Gracie.

Sherman with his new family, Hannah and Gracie
Sherman with his new family, Hannah and Gracie

Having had dogs all through her 20s, Hannah was missing a canine presence in her home and was over the moon to be able to give a second chance to a dog in need.

She recalls: “I always say to my friends: ‘adopt, don’t shop’, so I wanted to be proud to say I’ve adopted a dog from Blue Cross!”

“We visited him on the Wednesday, and he was home with us by midday on the Saturday. Life’s not been the same since."

But in his short time at the centre in Oxfordshire, Sherman showed himself to be a very sweet and gentle soul who loved the company of other dogs. And this continued after he was rehomed.

Dog Sherman out on a walk in a field

So, Hannah volunteered him to be a Blue Cross Ambassador Dog. The scheme, believed to be the first of its kind in the country and launched in 2017, allows dogs like Sherman to give support to new four-legged arrivals who are unsure of their own species or people.

Hannah, who also works for Blue Cross, explains: “The centre team borrow Sherman when they have new admissions and he helps assist with walk bys, meet and greets and play in the paddocks.

“He loves it as he has lots of treats, so he walks away from me without looking back.

Sherman being held by his new owner Hannah
Sherman is changing other dogs' lives as well as that of his owner

“He has such a good temperament and I have him on site here in the office as he is so placid and is just the happiest little sausage dog I know.”

Centre Manager, Hannah Wiltshire, says: “Ambassador dogs are an amazing option for us to have at the centres. We regularly find ourselves in a situation where all our dogs in kennels need help with meeting dogs and so can’t help each other.  

“So, to have a group of confident, relaxed and social dogs that are happy to help us means we can progress training and assessments quickly to get dogs ready for their new homes.  

“Sherman is particularly great because he is so small and so helps us massively with our smaller kennels residents who need to build confidence around dogs and a bigger dog would be extra worrying.”

Dog sherman out on a walk alongside his owner on some grass

And Sherman’s happy disposition has also transformed homelife for Hannah and Gracie, who wouldn’t be without the loveable boy.

Hannah says: “He’s happiest hidden between the clean washing, warm out of the tumble dryer – although, his worst habit is stealing the rolled-up socks! He is so funny with such a little personality. Everyone falls like putty at his hands.”

The past year has been a challenging time for Hannah, who separated from her husband and moved homes – but the unconditional love Sherman provides has helped her through, she says.

“He’s been through a lot this year as Gracie and I had to move to a new house. So, he’s had to deal with all of that, but he takes everything in his stride!

Dog Sherman relaxing on a red blanket with a toy
Hannah says Sherman has brought her 'joy' at a difficult time

“I think after going through what I have this year, that unconditional feeling of having a pet that loves you has been so beneficial for me and Gracie. When a pet doesn’t have to say anything but senses when you’re feeling down or unloved.”

Hannah continues: “He’s been Gracie’s companion. I just don’t know how she would have survived all of the change otherwise. 

She adds: “He’s just added that little bit of joy at a time that was quite sad for us. I popped out for some drinks the other night and I’d never been so happy to get home to him. I said to him, I don’t need any other man in my life, just you Sherman!”

— Page last updated 06/10/2021