A dog living in a dilapidated Welsh barn who was so nervous after he’d been rescued that he wouldn't leave his kennel for weeks, has finally found his forever home.
Staff at the RSPCA's Newport Animal Centre say they are ‘over the moon’ that six-year-old crossbreed Charlie has at last found his special someone after nearly two years in their care.
Rescued by RSPCA Cymru from a run-down barn in Ceredigion along with 44 other dogs in January 2021, Charlie - the longest staying dog in the charity's care in Wales - was the only one from the group that had yet to find a home.
Such was his background that his new owner Bethan Davies, from Brecon, made numerous trips to the rehoming centre to build up a bond with Charlie, who in turn also had ‘days out’ at her house so that he could become gradually familiar with his new surroundings.
Three months on, and Charlie is thriving in his new home, alongside his new canine companions, a collie called Lily and basset hound Del.
The RSPCA is highlighting his story as part of the charity’s Christmas appeal which is calling on the public to donate to the charity so they continue to carry out rescues and help more neglected pets in need.
Bethan said: “I’m really proud of the progress Charlie’s made; he’s a different dog to the one that came home with us initially. There’s still a long way to go, but he’s a much more confident lad now. He’s made lots of doggy friends and is becoming happier and more at ease when meeting new people.
“When he was first settling in, he didn’t want to leave my side, but I’ve noticed he’s becoming more confident spending time in different areas of the house without me and doesn’t feel the need to follow me around everywhere anymore. It’s been hard work at times, and there have been a few little wobbles along the way, but I’m so proud of what he’s achieved so far.”
When Charlie first arrived at the Newport rehoming centre in January 2021 he was so nervous and withdrawn that he didn’t move from the corner of his kennel for nearly six weeks. He slowly began to show an interest in his carers and place his chin on their hand as he became more at ease, but it wasn’t until May of that year that he was confident enough to take his first steps outside.
Hayley Moorey, the centre’s behaviour and welfare advisor who, along with other centre staff, spent many months rehabilitating Charlie, said: “Like the rest of the dogs in the barn, he’d experienced very little human contact; he’d never gone outside, worn a collar or been on a walk, so his transformation has been quite incredible.
“Because of his background, he understandably needed a specific type of home, somewhere fairly rural and quiet with a large secure garden where he could get used to different noises slowly and do things at his own pace. His sociable nature also meant we were ideally looking for someone that had other dogs who Charlie could learn and gain confidence from.
“We knew that finding a home that met all of these requirements might take some time, but we sensed that Charlie wanted more from life and we were determined to do everything we could to give him the happy ending he deserved.
“Everyone here is incredibly grateful to Bethan for her patience and perseverance. Not many people would have travelled to an animal centre as many times as she did to get to know a dog, but she was committed to Charlie right from the beginning. She’s taken things very slowly and we are over the moon at how he’s settled in with his new family.
“It’s been a very long journey for him, but we’re hugely relieved that he’s found a wonderful home where he can thrive and flourish - it makes all our hard work with dogs like Charlie worthwhile.”
The RSPCA rescued all 45 dogs from the property in West Wales, after the owner agreed to work with the charity when the situation got out of control. The sheer number of animals meant the owner was struggling to meet their basic needs, with a lack of shelter, parasite control and poor diet all areas of concern.