Sometimes, bulldogs get a bad rep of being “bullies.” (This of course is usually far from the truth). Stanley, a rescue dog from the Christchurch Bull Breed Dog Rescue, defies the status-quo. Sam Clarence, Stanley’s “human dad,” first came across the sweet and loyal companion while volunteering at the nearby shelter.
One day, a mother and her two six-month-old pups were found in an abandoned apartment. Clarence was asked to care for one of the pups for just a week. That week grew into months, then years. It was clear they would permanently be a part of each other’s lives.
From the moment he saw Stanley, Clarence fell in love at first sight. However, Stanley was not yet able to share the same feelings towards his admirer. According to the Dodo, Stanley “was terrified” when the two of them rode off to Sam’s home. “It took him an hour to slowly come out of the car.” When the dog warmed up enough to proceed, he was greeted with a bath, good food, and a comfy fireside bed. This loving treatment was certainly not something he was accustomed to.
Trust takes time to build, but Clarence gave Stanley everything he needed to live the life of a pampered pup. Soon, Stanley began eating and drinking from a bowl, feeling snug and secure, and closer to human companionship than he ever felt in his life. Clarence recalls that “As a pup, he would sleep with me on the bed and we could never not be touching. If I moved, he moved.”
While Stanley’s puppy days are long past, he still holds on to his dad’s hand, no matter where they are. This becomes a challenge when Clarence needs to drive for a road trip, especially since Stanley can be quite forceful if they aren’t touching at all times.
“If I’m driving we have to be in contact or he will force it upon me,” says Clarence. But he enjoys lavishing his favorite traveling partner with loads of affection no matter what time it is. “If we are watching TV, same thing. I will get paws flying at me until I touch him. It’s just his quirk. If I’m not around he will do it to my housemate as well.”
These days the happy-go-lucky man and dog pair are never alone and Stanley finally feels comfortable and happy with the world around him. “Whenever Stanley sees a beach, river, or lake, he jumps right in” Clarence said, recalling the outdoor adventures they enjoyed around New Zealand. There is nothing that has made Stanley as happy as having a place he knows will be his “forever home.”
Separation anxiety is one of the things several rescue dogs face as they transition between different owners or from a shelter to a home. Being switched off to so many places leaves an imprint on the dog’s thinking. It begins to question “Am I really wanted here?” “Will they take me away again?” There is always a fear that the new home may be just one of many. But for Stanley, and his dad Clarence, these questions are out of question.