5 days ago
Well done Ness and Sir Jack x
5 days ago
Well done Ness and Sir Jack x
1 week ago
Well done and have fun xx
1 week ago
Vanessa Holbrow is raising money for Border Terrier Welfare
Sir Jack Spratticus is taking on the 9k Wagathon to help other Border Terriers like him. Jack was rehomed from Border Terrier Welfare UK on 24th August 2012. He and his mum thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate his gotcha day 9 years ago!
I (Jack) was re-homed from Border Terrier Welfare (BTW) in 2012, aged 13 months. This was my fourth home, and I am mum’s first dog. I am integral to mums stability, on profound levels. I help mum live with enduring complex mental health (MH) illnesses (that have dogged her existence for nearly 4 decades) and have offered her an existence she never dreamt possible. She’s spent years sectioned, in old-style asylums to begin with, then general adult psychiatric hospitals, eating disorder units and general hospitals. She has been on life support twice due to attempts on her own life.
In reality we have undoubtedly helped one another. Two lives have been saved. I had an unstable start. We both had to overcome immense challenges, and bond through intense training. Fear aggression and no bite inhibition, were the most worrying aspects of my behaviour to overcome. It took a year, before mum could walk on a dog friendly (7 mile) beach and for me to know how to behave acceptably around other dogs, and enjoy their company,
We were excluded from the first few months of obedience sessions. Every time I opened my mouth, mum quietly took us into the cupboard (a very small space). Together we eventually found what worked and what didn’t out, and accepted failure instructed us, and were a leap frog to deeper understanding. The pinnacle of our journey together was being selected as a finalist for The Kennel Club Friends For Life competition 2018 (breed rescue category).
The remarkable finality was winning (and meeting Geri Horner (aka GInger Spice) and Prof Noel Fitzpatrick).
Prior to this I’d been placed 2nd in a Rescue and Rehomed Dog Championships at Buckham Fair (here we met Martin Clunes as this Old fashioned Pony and dog show was inspired by, and took place on his land in Dorset!)
Other fun facts:
1. I featured in The Dog Freindly’s 2018 calendar, (UKs Freindliest Dog Face) Mr. October
2. Also The Little Dog Laughed Co. 2019 Diary and greeting card Sally Walker Cards
3. Our story published in one of 11 in "Good Dog" by Kate Leaver in 2020
4. Made an ambassador for The Dog Treat Company in 2021
5. Alumni members for Recallers - Susan Garrett's online dog training programme
I love nothing more than zooming around with pals, exploring different walks with mum, playing and training through games and positive reinforcement. Now I am also rather good at posing for the camera! This is how mum found a love for taking photographs, capturing me in every imaginable way with different backgrounds, and Seasons (majority being taken outside in the open air in all weathers!)
We want to give something back, and support charities (and have raised in minimum of ten thousand pounds for mental health charities & BTW UK). Mum and I are not afraid to challenge others when it comes to the understanding people have of mental health illnesses. Together we actively raise awareness, breakdown stigma attached to mental health. Particularly for largely unknown conditions Complex Trauma (cPTSD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Together mum and I are fighting tooth and nail for these conditions to be recognised in the County where we live. So she, and others like her, may get the treatment they need and deserve. In a timely manner. Mum has been diagnosed incorrectly for 26 years. Even though I am a dog I have been able inject motivation & confidence e.g. for mum to speak on local BBC radio and ITV.
Mum & I began my assistance dog training August 2017 and passed all tests to be Mum’s Assistance Dog (AD) for mental health (owner trained). This was a dream mum never believed a reality so it is important to note here that rehoming me with the foresight of my being her AD was never on the cards. Mum has trained me to perform specific tasks that mitigate some symptoms and disabilities related to complex mental health illnesses she experiences. After hours of Public Access training I work safely and behave appropriately. Mum wants to highlight to everyone that it is perfectly ok (legal) to train your own dog to become your own assistance dog.(www.assistacedoglaw.co.uk). Now I am nearing the ripe old age of 10 mum has semi retired me.
In light of my neglectful start, others opinions e.g. “untrainable, needs muzzling” a remarkable character has been unleashed. I bring joy to numerous, whether in my local town or when mum is in hospital. I save mum’s life every day & confound early professionals who deemed mum untreatable. What they never saw or understood she was showing symptoms resulting from decades of trauma.
Without these life-changing opportunities, e.g. me! & Crufts, Mum, I strongly expect, would not be here to help me tell you this story. I am mum’s best mate!
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Vanessa Holbrow is fundraising as part of
28th August 2021 - 30th August 2021Join event
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