Harold says hello!

Posted by Nerilie Watson on 13 June 2011 | 9 Comments


Gosh it’s about time I let you all know how the ‘big boy’ is going. Especially as he was a bit of a favourite during his 2 year stay waiting for that right someone to give him a loving home.


So how did Harold find his way to me? Harold didn’t often show his ‘best side’ to the many refuge visitors looking for a dog to adopt and was quite possibly perceived to be a little ‘scary’. I confess I was a little intimidated when first introduced to him by the Refuge Volunteer Coordinator Lynda, to take him for a walk.

Yes, I was a volunteer dog walker for a short time until Harold became part of my life. When it was walk time Harold was such an excitable dog it was overwhelming. He would bark and jump and spin and let the whole refuge know about his joy at the prospect of a walk. For visitors, this would have been a very intimidating sight and perhaps a perception that he would be a difficult dog to manage would be formed. However, this could not have been further from the truth.

Before I adopted Harold I used to take dogs home for the weekend. This filled a big void of not having a full time dog which at the time I didn’t think was possible because I live in a villa. I remember those dogs fondly but none touched my heart as much as Harold. There was definitely something very special about this boy. He was a big personality, a real smooch and always wanted to please.

The staff at the refuge would talk about how wonderful Harold was and it was hard for them to reconcile that week after week he was overlooked for adoption despite understanding that he didn’t always offer a good first impression to visitors. I was determined to help find him a loving home.


During a period of intense promotion by the refuge and their sponsors to find Harold a home, I brought him home for his third weekend stay. I was dreading the time when I had to take him back even though he would be so well looked after for as long as it would take to find him a permanent loving home. Little did I know how distraught I would be! I said my goodbyes, left him with a treat and came home and cried and cried. Yep! Harold had stolen my heart. I couldn’t deny it anymore, I had to find a way to adopt him.

Well, the rest is history as they say. As I was taking Harold out of the refuge gates for the last time I received the best peace of advice.... ‘Harold is a strong dog and he needs to know who’s boss. One way to demonstrate this is to go about your business and ignore him for about 5 or so minutes when you get home after being out’. Those 5 minutes seem like 5 hours when you have a dog who is so pleased to see you.

I was also told that it might take a few weeks before we both adjust to the change but I could expect a very loyal and loving companion. The staff couldn’t have been more right and I can’t imagine life without my loyal, loving, fun little buddy.

Harold gives so much more in a day than I could ever give him in his life time. He still gets excited about his walks and many other things but he doesn’t jump and bark or go crazy. In fact he’s one very chilled out dog. Apart from walks, food, balls, and cuddles, he absolutely loves the beach. I’ll never forget the first time I took him. I haven’t seen pure joy like I did in Harold that day. It put a big smile in my heart. His joy brought pleasure to two beach walkers also who stopped me and commented on how happy he looked and of course sounded because people who know Harold know he can talk, a lot!

It’s cold now and he loves wearing his coat. It brings great pleasure to me when he sits all expectantly waiting for his coat to be fitted. And of course lastly but not least he loves his bed. He’s in it now curled up with his coat on looking very cute and gently snoring.


One final note, I can’t thank the staff at Shenton Park Dogs Refuge enough. To Karen, Lynda and Jane and all the other staff including the volunteers who lovingly care for the rescue dogs and who cared for Harold. Harold came to me well trained on the lead, and was great to take traveling in the car. He already knew the words wait and sit and how to shake his paw for a treat. But most importantly he knew how to receive affection and was open to trusting that people can be a dogs best friend too.

Please, if there are dogs who hold your attention but you are unsure, perhaps because of how they appear in their kennels, keep an open mind and talk to the staff. Nobody knows and understands the dogs more intimately.

I feel so blessed.


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  • Hi Linda.. I knew Harold would bring someone so much joy, I had a staffy just like him, but she didnt like other dogs much so couldnt take Harold home, when she passed last year I thought if Harold doesnt get snapped up soon I was going to go and get him! I am so super pleased he has found a home with someone who understands his needs and gets pleasure out of the pure pleasure he gets from the simplist things! Thank you for sharing, it melts my heart :)

    Posted by Tanya, 17/06/2011 6:49pm (7 years ago)

  • Thanks for sharing this with us . Harold just looks so happy and I know you are too. Let's hope more of our long term dogs find great homes like Harold. Lynda

    Posted by lynda, 17/06/2011 2:17pm (7 years ago)

  • I remember Harold so clearly, for a while there he was looking so terribly sad, but look at him now.
    Thanks Linda, you have made this boy so happy and given him the ultimate gift in life - unconditional love.

    Posted by Jackie, 15/06/2011 12:13am (7 years ago)

  • This is timely as Harold is this months dog on the Refuge calendar. out of all the dogs I took home, he was by way the easiest dog to get along with and his different sounds he makes really give him a unique personality. I would like everyone reading this if they like Staffys to have a look at Charlotte, with a little work she also can be a fabulous friend

    Posted by Rick Anderson, 14/06/2011 6:06pm (7 years ago)

  • What great photos! Harold looks so happy and sounds like he is living the life he deserves. Thank you for adopting him.

    Posted by Donna, 14/06/2011 3:16pm (7 years ago)

  • So happy to know there are people who are willing to give long termers a second chance. They just need time to blossom! I hope Tyler gets that chance too. He has been there 3 years and is my favourite (cute, smart and full of love when he trusts you).

    Posted by Patrice, 14/06/2011 12:08am (7 years ago)

  • I used to love taking Harold out to one of the runs after we had been for a walk. He was such a chilled boy, who loved nothing more than to lie close and play with a tennis ball. So happy for you Linda, and thanks for giving Harold a loving home.

    Posted by Melanie Yarnall, 13/06/2011 8:32pm (7 years ago)

  • What a beautiful story Linda.That gorgeous smile paints a thousand words and it's no surprise that handsome Harold is this month's calendar boy too!

    Posted by Gay Nathan, 13/06/2011 8:00pm (7 years ago)

  • He looks so happy and is so lucky to find such a loving home!

    Posted by Rebecca, 13/06/2011 7:49pm (7 years ago)

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