Lenny — the NBN Rescue Dog from Leeds

“Let’s foster,” we said. “We have experience of special needs rescue dogs how hard can it be?  It will be worthwhile… They won’t stay long…”


The call came. “We have a lab x staffi that’s in need of emergency foster placement. Can you take him?” And so Lenny, originally from a Leeds pound, arrived in our lounge, complete with large pen, dog bed, duvet, raw food and tranquillisers! Apparently he had been a bit over the top at the kennels.

What have we done? We sat, cuddling our old dog Molly, watching this twelve month blonde puppy stare at us from his pen. We had never had such a young dog before preferring older dogs in need of a retirement home. This dog was different. He was VERY excitable, amorous, liked the sound of his own voice and LICKED! The size of a Staffordshire bull terrier but looking just like a Labrador he certainly ticked the cute blonde bombshell box.

The raw food was a new one for us and our noses, especially the smell of tripe that brought back horrific memories for my husband from his childhood of his father preparing tripe for their Great Danes. And the tranquillisers, which were intended to keep him calm, simply did not work!

After 4 weeks, however, Lenny began to settle into our household. Despite having no training, he was a happy dog and a quick learner. He loved a cuddle and wanted to please, but sometimes his over-enthusiasm landed him in hot water! Our older dog, Molly, started to play with him and taught him which behaviour was acceptable.

Then came another phone call. Could we write 100 words for his adoption advert?


Working with Lenny in our garden (image credit: Karen Bacon)

We wrote 100 words explaining how Lenny needed an understanding home with owners prepared to put work into helping him settle. He had separation anxiety and would require ongoing training, as he pulled like a steam train and had no recall. He was reactive to dogs when out and about and play was often inappropriate. Lenny could not be homed with young children as he was too bouncy and barked and licked A LOT!

Lenny needed a home that was, well…  just like ours. Needless to say, we failed at fostering… and we ended up adopting him. 🙂   He is now our Naughty but Nice dog.

Sadly, within three months of his adoption, Lenny started to limp. He was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia and arthritis. The poor lad had an operation on both elbows followed by 4 months of rehab when he was only 16 months old. We did our best to be optimistic, but sometimes we looked at Lenny and asked, “Why did we do this?”  But the way we look at it — fostering is a good thing to ‘fail’ at. We could never have given him up.

We still have issues to overcome, but we enrolled Lenny into the Spring into Transformation programme. He loves learning, so it’s definitely been a journey worth going on.  He is now 2½ years old and still a very happy blonde boy.

Karen Bacon
Leeds, UK

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