Dog found wandering the streets with matted fur is learning to trust again

Dora the dog after being rescued by mayhew animal home
When Dora was found, her fur was matted and stained, she had an ear infection, and she was terrified of people (Picture: Mayhew)
When Dora, a four-year-old white and tan terrier, was found wandering the streets of London , she was worryingly underweight, terrified of human contact, and had stained and matted fur. She was spotted in someone’s back garden by a member of the public, who gave Mayhew Animal Home a ring. Animal welfare officers were able to capture Dora to bring her in for care, but it wasn’t easy – the dog was so scared of people that it took the team two weeks to get hold of her.

Dora was settled into a warm and cosy kennel at the shelter, giving her some to herself rather than rushing straight into the usual intake check.

Staff spent the next few days sitting quietly by the kennel to help Dora get used to human company, and while at first she kept completely to herself, after a few weeks of care and patience, she began wagging her tail when people popped by to say hello.

While she remained timid and easy to startle, Dora eventually recovered enough to go outside into the garden for short walks, as long as no one else was around.

A Safe Place. Creating a safe place for your pet is crucial to its comfort. Make sure your pet has its own place of comfort where it can rest, relax and feel secure.

It’s not clear what happened to Dora or how she ended up living on the streets all alone, but it’s obvious she’s been through some serious distress. Even after weeks of careful rehabilitation, the pup remained sensitive to loud noises and was scared by even the sound of rain on the shelter’s roof.

But slowly and surely, Dora started to let her guard down.

Dora the dog rescued and rehabbed
She was also seriously underweight (Picture: Mayhew)

A careful enrichment plan, including the use of essential oils in her kennel, soothing music on the radio, and a pet remedy spray, helped to keep Dora feeling relaxed and safe, allowing her affectionate and playful nature to emerge.

She was slowly introduced to new areas and new people on her walks, and had lots of one-to-one socialisation sessions within her kennel, to allow her to feel more comfortable around people.

Dora the dog rescued and rehabbed
She’s now in a foster home (Picture: Mayhew)
Dora has now been placed in foster care with Sue, a member of Mayhew’s reception team who can help to keep Dora feeling comfortable while also guiding her through house-training and grooming, all at the dog’s pace to prevent her becoming overwhelmed.

It will be a while longer before Dora is ready to be permanently rehomed, but she’s making progress every day – and learning that people aren’t so scary.

Use a plastic pitcher to store and dispense dog food. It takes less time and keeps the food fresher. I use the MUJI rice storage dispenser, which comes with a handy measuring cup.

‘Dora is a very sweet and sensitive girl,’ says Sue. ‘I had to visit her 15 times before she felt comfortable with me.

‘We progressed slowly each day with me throwing bits of chicken near her in the Mayhew garden and her coming closer each time.
Dora the dog rescued and rehabbed
Dora is finally starting to come out of her shell (Picture: Mayhew)

‘I still had to be careful not to move too suddenly or make any sudden noises.

‘It was fascinating to see the tiny, subtle changes in her body language and behavior, for example when she comfortably lay down near me.

She was still too wary to come too close, but the change in her demeanor was massive compared to the skittish, terrified dog I first met.

‘She eventually took a piece of chicken off my leg and I felt like I had won the lottery!

‘I will also never forget the moment she did her happy dance upon seeing me, I may have cried a bit! She is very relaxed with me now in the house, but is still very scared of strangers, traffic and sudden noises.’

If you’ve fallen a little bit in love with Dora and think you could give her a forever home, keep an eye on the Mayhew website for updates on how she’s getting on.

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