Dog Breeds – When a Staffy stole my heart
Both my wife and I have been brought up with dogs and other animals since birth and between us have had a range of dog breeds from Dachshunds to a Newfoundland and as such have experienced many times the sense of loss when they lose their battle with age. Any committed dog lover and owner has to accept that this is an inevitable conclusion to owning a dog – they simply don’t live long enough!
When we lost our beloved Border Collie ‘Jazzy’ 4 years ago the sense of emptiness in the kitchen when I came down in the morning was shocking. I had come to accept that walking was not a daily thing anymore as Jazzy became less mobile over a period of time but when she actually died I had to cope with not having anyone to say good morning to, as I am always the first up in the morning.
We decided that we would leave it a bit before rushing into getting another dog and spent a little of this time considering dog breeds that might be suitable for us. One thing we were completely agreed on though was that we wanted to give a rescue dog a home rather than spending a fortune buying a puppy and to be honest we ended up fairly open minded about which dog breed we were actually looking for.
What Size of Dog we wanted
We did, however, have an idea of what sort of size of dog we wanted, not big although between my wife and I we have had both Great Danes and a Newfoundland in the past, and not small, like a pocket dog. So we went to the dog rescue centre and were overwhelmed by the number of Staffies and Greyhounds that were in there looking for homes. We had not even considered either of these dog breeds but we agreed that the Greyhound was too big for us but a Staffy was just about right. The fact that we had not even thought of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in our deliberations was unclear and we don’t know if this was a subconscious denial or we just had not thought of this breed but I did wonder whether we were affected by the poor image associated with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Anyway, the ‘staffy stole my heart’ culprit was called Diesel. Even his name seemed dodgy but we decided to keep it and Diesel got on well with our cats and he was also bald, unhappy and, at times, terrified.
Happily, 4 years on, he is the linchpin of the family. His best friends are the cats and my two grandchildren who absolutely adore him and he gets so excited when they come to visit. In my view he is a perfect dog although he does not like other dogs a lot and after much deliberation we have come to the conclusion that this is due to some trauma in his past as his attitude on this issue remains unchanging even after 4 years and much effort. We are not sure whether he is acting frightened or protective.
Now I am not an expert at dog training and I guess if I was we might have got Diesel to kick is problem with other dogs but in all other things he is an absolute gem. We can leave him at home and he does not chew, whine or bark, unless provoked. He does not mess in the house, at any time, he is friendly, cheeky, mad and fun and he farts a lot so the only not so good thing is the ‘other dog’ problem. So in our view, for a rescue dog, who we found out was already about 5 or 6 years old when we got him, he is just about as good as he could get.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Meet another Staffy owner, or any experienced dog owner to be honest, and their love for the breed is uncompromising. Another owner will have experienced all the positive parts of Staffy ownership and will have many stories to tell, whilst an experienced dog owner will know that no dog breed is inherently bad, as the Staffordshire Bull Terriers have been made out to be, but any big negatives on this front are almost always down to the owner. The saying is ‘There are no bad dogs, just bad owners’.
So when we started Gecko Designs, our first design was of course a Gecko but our second was a Staffy. The design was based on a photo of our own Staffy ‘Diesel’ and it has proven very popular with a wide selection of fabrics but the most popular is the black background with red hearts which, to be honest sums of the Staffordsire Bull Terrier breed.
This also alerted us to the fact that people are passionate about their choice of Dog Breeds which I talk about in another blog – ‘Dog Breeds – Does it really matter?’.
So if you are considering getting a dog, don’t overlook the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You will find many in rescue centres across the country and I include a few links below that you might find useful. But beware, once you become Staffied it will be with you for life, and you will have no regrets.
Staffie Rescue Centres
Most rescue centres and animal charities will have Staffies awaiting rehoming, and sometimes puppies too but there are a few dedicated Staffy centres and the links are below: