A 13-year-old rescue dog is looking forward to spending his first Christmas in his new home after waiting years for a family to call his own.
This time last year, Eric was spending another Christmas at Dogs Trust Ballymena. The Staffy Cross arrived at the centre as part of an unwanted litter.
As a puppy, Eric was snapped up straight away, but things didn’t work out and a few years later he was returned to the rehoming centre.
To help find him a family, Eric was made the sponsor dog for Dogs Trust Ballymena and his photo and story were shared in the press, on marketing materials and on social media.
As sponsor dog, Eric got a lot of attention including visitors from England, who would come to see him every year to bring goodies and once bought him an armchair.
To impress his many visitors, Eric’s canine carer Steven taught him how to show off with a spin, give a paw or speak for a treat! The rehoming centre staff also worked hard on Eric’s training, particularly around being comfortable around the vet, and created extra difficult puzzle games to keep clever Eric entertained.
But despite all their efforts, finding suitable owners who matched Eric’s very particular rehoming needs remained a challenge.
Finally, the perfect family spotted Eric on a Dogs Trust Instagram post. Chris and his family were looking to give a home to a dog in need and they matched the description of the adopters Eric was looking for, so they contacted the centre to arrange to meet him.
Eric’s new owners Chris and Maria said:“We can’t imagine life without Eric now! We all love him dearly, especially my teenage son. Him and Eric are inseparable.”
The family went to see Eric on a number of occasions before taking him home to build up their contact with him gradually. As a result, Eric has settled into his new home very quickly. He loves to chill on the sofa, get belly rubs or explore the garden – when its dry at least!
Chris and Maria added:“We would definitely recommend adopting a dog. We feel very grateful that we have been able to give Eric a home that matches his needs, especially as his big, brown, loving eyes never fail to make us smile. He’s so energetic for an older dog and great around people.
“We really appreciate all the hard work of the staff at the Dogs Trust, especially Steven for the time he invested in Eric’s training - it has really made our job easy. We hope Eric’s story is a reminder to everyone that it’s never too late to find your happily ever after and we can’t wait for Eric to spend the first of many Christmases as part of our family.”
Conor O’Kane, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Ballymena said:
“Eric was with us for so long and while we will all miss his big Staffy smile around the place we are very happy that we were able to change the tale for him and help him find his happy ending.
“It was fantastic to finally wave a fond, if not slightly teary, farewell to Eric! Seeing our dogs go to their new homes is why we do the job we do and we’re delighted that he will be spending his first Christmas with Chris and his family, getting all the love and affection he deserves.”
Eric is one of 162 lucky dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes at Dogs Trust Ballymena who have found loving homes since lockdown began in March.
Conor added: “For us, the work doesn’t stop here. Sadly, we do expect to see more dogs finding themselves homeless in the coming months because of the pandemic, but we will be here to help. We will do everything we can to change the tale for them, making sure they all find a new forever family however long it takes, just like Eric.”
Dogs Trust Ballymena is currently closed to members of the public but we are still able to rehome some of our dogs, using our socially distanced ‘handover at home’ process. If you have space in your heart to give a dog a new home, now and after lockdown, check out our website to see who’s up for adoption.
As dogs and their owners face hardships that could break them apart, Dogs Trust wants to be there to protect their bond and to make people aware of how the charity can help before their situation becomes desperate.
Dogs Trust wants to change the tale for thousands of dogs who otherwise would have nowhere to turn, and want to remind people that they are there to help wherever possible, so if anyone is struggling and needs to give up their dog, to contact Dogs Trust on 0300 303 2188. Alternatively, please give what you can to help Dogs Trust change the tale for dogs like Eric, by visiting dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale