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I rescue dogs...

My work is never done – my home is never quiet – my wallet is always empty – but my heart is always full. Ruby Shorrock has always had a passion for animals, especially dogs. She prefers mixed breeds to pedigrees and says that her favourite breed is ‘rescued.' She has vowed that throughout her life she will only ever have rescued dogs.

I get a great satisfaction from knowing that we have given my three beautiful girls a great home that they might not have had if we hadn't found them. It hurts me when I think of all the homeless dogs out there.

We adopted Aggie from the Ashbourne Animal Welfare in April 2002. As this would be our first dog, we wanted a low maintenance dog with no behaviour problems. We asked the rescue centre if they had a well behaved bitch and they said yes, so we went down the next day. We walked through the kennels - we didn't know which one she was - but as soon as we walked in we immediately saw her. She was sitting down and leaning against the cage bars, looking up at us with big hazel eyes and her tail thumping against the floor. That was it. She was ours.

We don't know what breeds she is made up of but we have guessed that she has some Kelpie, German Shepherd and Labrador in her.

She was perfect from the first day. We let her off the lead on the second day and she was so good. She seemed to know that we were her family. She did pull on the lead but this was solved with a Halti.

We took her to agility classes when she was two years old, and she took to it immediately. I was only 10 years old at the time so we didn't compete with her. Our trainer moved away so she didn't do agility again until she was seven when we found some new classes very near our house. We took her along and she could remember everything even after four years of not doing anything!

I decided to compete with her but she developed early arthritis in her elbows so sadly had to retire totally. It was very sad but she still enjoys the occasional training session in the garden. She especially loves the weaves. Now she is nearly 10 years old and has very bad elbow joints. She goes to hydrotherapy, wears a magnetic collar, takes medication and many supplements which all keep her comfortable.

She is a very special dog and we love her to bits. It is sad to watch her grow old.

We got Marble from the RSPCA Walsall just over a year ago. I wanted a dog that I could train at dog agility and maybe compete with. We spent ages looking through rescue centres but couldn't find a collie X bitch. Finally we found her on the RSPCA website. She was in foster care and looked perfect.

We went to see her and there was no doubt in our minds that she was the dog for us. She was 10 months old when we got her, and she settled in perfectly. She is a collie X whippet and comes with all the expected traits like fussy appetite, obsession with toys, extremely skinny, very fast and an addiction to chasing rabbits. Her personality blossomed, and we saw that she is a crazy, bouncy and mischievous character, but has also mastered the art of 'puppy eyes.' The expression 'butter wouldn't melt' comes to mind!

She started training for agility in August 2009 and was clearly a natural. She improved quickly and had her first show on the 12-13 June 2010. She had seven runs over the weekend and got six clear runs and a 4th and 5th place! I was so proud of her, I never expected us to do so well.

She is such a great dog and I feel privileged to own her. I hope we have many fun years of agility ahead of us!

My nana's Chihuahua, Crystal, died suddenly from heart failure in June 2009 at the age of eight years old. It was devastating for the whole family, especially Nana.

After ta while, the grief had become less painful and she decided that she wanted another dog. We started looking around rescue centre and found a dog at Babbington Rescue who we thought was perfect. We went to see her, and she seemed to be a very mellow and calm Corgi X, perfect for Nana.

We brought her home and we quickly discovered she had kennel cough. After she recovered, we realised that she wasn't a quiet, calm little dog. She was actually a bouncy, fun loving, happy-go-lucky girl with a stubborn terrier streak. Nana decided to call her Ethel, much to the amusement of many people. Luckily she got on really well with Aggie and Marble and comes for long walks with us, so her high energy isn't a problem.

To bring down her energy further, I decided to try her at agility, just for fun. I quickly found that she was a natural and she has been training for about eight months now. She is going to start competing this summer which I never expected!

However, in March 2010 we got some devastating news. Ethel has terminal cancer. She had to have an aggressive mast cell tumour removed from her leg. The vets gave her two years left to live. We were so distraught. Nana had only had Ethel for eight months and she was only five years old. She recovered well from the operation and we decided against chemotherapy. You would never guess she was ill now because she is so happy and full of life. She never fails to put a smile on your face.

We shall make her life as enjoyable as possible so that means lots of agility! We love her to pieces and, when she is gone, she shall never be forgotten.

I would urge any people who are reading this and thinking of getting a dog to look around their local shelters. There will always be a homeless pooch more than willing to love you forever and bring you endless joy.

About the author...
Ruby Shorrock (17) is currently studying for her A levels and hopes to become a veterinary surgeon. She loves her dogs more than anything and finds that dog agility is a great way to form a firm bond with them.

Ruby lives in Derby, Derbyshire and loves walking round the beautiful countryside with my mongrels.

I would like to thank Agilitynet for having a rescue page on behalf of all the dogs that have found loving homes because of this website.

First publisher 14/07/10



From Mike Afia...
After reading this article it certainly brought a tear to my eye. I especially loved the first line- 'empty wallet, full heart'. It's fantastic to see someone with such compassion for animals. With people paying upwards of £500 plus for a dog Ruby is absolutely correct when she asks people not to forget the 'homeless.' (20/07/10)


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