We are delighted to feature the story of a clever rescue pup in our Dog Stories series this week. Apple recently found a very special home having been rescued from Foal Farm. This pup only went and wooed humans who, wait for it… make tasty and nutritious human grade food for dogs. David Nolan co-founder of Butternut Box tells us all about becoming a foster pawrent to little Apple.
They say nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent. The worry, the stress, the pee everywhere (the child not you… hopefully). Knowing that every little decision you make now could have a huge impact down the line – it’s the biggest responsibility you’ll ever have. As a new parent, I can absolutely attest to this.
Recently, we welcomed a new addition to our family – a rescue puppy named Apple – and already our lives have been turned upside down. Apple came to us from Foal Farm, a wonderful charity that Butternut has supported since 2016. The Head of Animal Welfare reached out to us to say that they had some puppies who desperately needed homes so we decided to go and meet them, not realising that we would be walking out that day as foster parents. As soon as we saw those big brown eyes looking up at us our hearts melted.
There were three puppies in total so we took Apple, our friends took her brother Marshall, and my sister took the other female, Noodle. We aren’t too sure what Apple’s story is prior to Foal Farm, but we know that she didn’t have the best start. When we brought her home, she was visibly malnourished and her fur was terribly thin as a result of mange. She was also very timid, and we knew we had a long road ahead of us to build her trust and confidence.
Shock number one – puppies need a lot of stuff. We stopped at Pet’s Corner to pick up the ‘essentials’ and came out with significantly heavier bags and lighter wallets. The shopping list included toys, blankets, accessories (lead, collar, identity tag etc.), bowls, cleaning products, a crate, and of course poo bags. With Pet’s Corner successfully emptied, Apple arrived at her new home – a one-bedroom flat which is now 80% dog supplies. There was only one thing missing – food.
Previously, Apple had been eating dry food, but we were keen to get her straight on Butternut meals. There’s usually a transition period for the first few days (where the dog has a small amount of Butternut mixed in with their current food), but Apple is a natural Butternutter and she gobbled up the whole thing in one go. We’re over the moon to report that there wasn’t a whiff of tummy trouble, however unfortunately the same can’t be said for her bladder…
Shock number two – you have to train yourself as much as the puppy. If you’re someone who values a tidy, odour-free home and uninterrupted sleep, then being a pup-parent isn’t for you. We didn’t realise how much of an adjustment was required and you have to be prepared to make sacrifices; whether it’s getting up four times in the night for toilet breaks, or appealing to the mercy of the neighbours for the constant barking.
Due to the lockdown situation, we’re able to spend more time at home with Apple than we expected, which has given us a great head start in terms of training. We were very conscious of how we responded to her, and didn’t want to get into bad habits or reinforce undesirable behaviour which would no doubt come back to bite us later on.
The key areas we focussed on were toilet training (it took three days for Apple to do her business outside), working on her separation anxiety, sleeping through the night, gaining confidence on the lead, and how to deal with unwanted barking and chewing. Luckily, we have a fantastic trainer, Oli Juste, at the end of the phone as well as the brilliant Butternut Vet Ciara Clarke to guide us and answer our endless questions.
Shock number three – the difference two weeks can make. Looking at the loving, lively pup we have now, it’s hard to believe she’s the same Apple who was shaking on the backseat the day we picked her up. You only have to look at her to notice a massive improvement; her fur is thicker and glossier, her confidence has come on leaps and bounds (literally), and she’s just an all-round happy pup. We can’t wait to bring her to Butternut HQ and introduce her to the rest of the team, and of course the office dogs (or Dog Squad, as we call them). We have no doubt she will be a bit hit with the team.