Our reader rescue story this week was submitted by three-time world kickboxing champion Helen Bannan. Honey, her Staffordshire Terrier mix pound puppy, has become her personal training assistant and constant sidekick (so to speak).
If you’re the pet parent of a rescued dog, we want to share your story, too! For information about submitting your rescue tale, click here.
She was so nervous the day I picked her up from the shelter – she had a constantly worried facial expression, as you can see in the picture below. She jumped straight into my car, where she promptly curled up on the floor in front of the passenger seat and went to sleep.
Honey was so worried I’d leave her that for the first couple of weeks she would stick by my side everywhere I went, and she would get up every 30 minutes during the night to check that I was still there. Luckily for my sleep-deprived brain, Honey quickly learned to trust that I wouldn’t run out in the middle of the night!
Basic training proved easy for her. Despite her being my first dog, within a month I was able to teach her to sit, stay and leave. Over the past two years, we’ve gone on to take up agility and Heelwork to Music (competitive dancing) as she is so bright and loves the time spent with me totally focused on her!
Honey has turned out to be the most adaptable dog, despite the fact that she must deal with a wide variety of situations. She is so calm and relaxed in the car. If I take her for a pub lunch, she’ll sit quietly by my feet.
Honey is a “working” dog. She comes out to play when I take my personal training clients out walking/running or boxing/exercising in the park. They all adore her – in fact, half the time I think she’s the reason they are keen to come work out!
In addition to being my personal training assistant, Honey has been the inspiration in my new business where I have teamed up with a dog trainer to offer exercise classes where dog owners bring their four-legged friends to train with them.
I know all pet parents believe their dogs are special, but mine has been my best friend, work colleague and comfort in the last year. At the start of this year I badly injured my back, which is threatening to end my career as an internationally competitive kickboxer. However, having Honey to focus on or just cuddle with when I’m feeling low has made the situation infinitely more bearable!
PHOTOS: Helen Bannan