Butch and Maddie, our ‘prefect’ rescued staffordshire bull terriers. Butch came to us over 12 years ago as a very excited/scared and very confused 4-year old fighting dog that had been seized in a police raid, he needed a safe place for a week or two. The rescue lady said he had been assess as red zone and was due to be put down but, they needed a foster family just til the paperwork was all done. The scars on his huge head, the bulging muscles were enough to scare the life out of any sane human being…. but when he stopped for a second and we looked into his eyes we knew there was a loving dog just waiting to be treated right. The rescue lady said she would come back after the weekend to see how we were doing and discuss Butch’s future, she never came back, didn’t even phone. Steep learning curve is the only way I can explain the next few weeks, months and years. Butch was petrified of everything that moved or made a noise and he showed it with pure aggression – red zone dog?! – more like red, black, blue and green zones all in one!!! We tried the local dog training sessions, we were asked to leave after the first 2 minutes, the first vet advised we have him put down, the second vet said he would call the police if we didn’t have him put down, the third just asked us never, ever to go back. Needless to say with 2 young children it was hard work but, over 12 years later, Butch is more a part of our family than we could have ever imagined. He is loving and soft, caring and protective, in all these years he has never, ever shown any aggression to any person. Yes, he had major issues at the start but with loads of training research and Stafford research, we started to understand Butch’s needs. He is old now around 16, he can’t walk far, going deaf and his eye sight is not great, he can only eat very soft blended food, but he still loves his cuddles and loves his little brother (our 14 yr old son).
Over the years we have rescued and re-homed around 24 other dogs, at the start it was difficult to introduce them to Butch, but with patience and discipline he accepted his new friends well.
Two years ago we were asked to take in another red zone case, Maddie. Small, skinny, very timid brindle Staff – we were told at the start she had a problem with dogs and she was 9 years old!! Problem with anything that moved more like, and our vet assured us she could be no more than 6 years old. Butch was used to new pups coming in the house by now, but working with Maddie that first few days it was clear she had never been socialised, never even been on a lead. In fact, she had no training at all, not even house trained. The lack of hair around her neck, obvious sign of being tied up outside most her life. The next few months were hard, working with Maddie 24/7, she was scared of her own shadow, couldn’t deal with raised voices, petrified of people moving too quickly near her, we had to keep ask visitors to be very calm and gentle. Her first few walks on the lead were manic, but now she loves her collar going on, and doesn’t even mind when we had a party – she is the life and sole. A few months ago Maddie went very quiet, her head started to swell, her eyes closed up – we rushed her to the vets, it was awful. The vet explained she had been bitten, not once but three times by a snake, probably an adder. They took her straight in, put her on a drip and gave her anti-venom, she wasn’t expected to last the night. A week later she was running along the sand with her pal Butch as if nothing had happened.
Our brindle staffs, they had such horrid, undeserving starts in life, Maddie still can’t deal with other dogs except Butch but I am working on that. Without them we wouldn’t be a family, they are the most loving, happy dogs, kind and gentle with everyone that comes into our home.
I have tried to upload a picture but it kept failing, if you would like to use our story and I really hope you do, I would be very happy to email you pictures. Thank you, Crawford family