Friday, 15 February 2019

We loved our Hungarian rescue dog so much, we got another

We loved our Hungarian rescue dog so much, we got another

A WOMAN who rehomed two rescue dogs from Hungary has urged others to follow her lead.

Louise Harris adopted Buda the Pest, a wirehaired vizsla, in 2012 as company for her smooth-haired vizsla BrandySnap.

After BrandySnap died, she adopted Hasta La Vizsla Baby, another smooth-haired vizsla.

Both dogs were rescued in Hungary by the charity Vizslamentes, which finds, rescues and rehomes the breed.

It has found new homes for more than 2,200 of the dogs since it was founded in 2012, along with dozens of other animals, including cats, hedgehogs and even mice.

Mrs Harris, 48, who lives in Remenham with husband Andy, a corporate finance partner, says she came across the charity online.

She said: “It came up on Facebook because I’d liked certain things about vizslas and it makes recommendations.

“We started supporting the charity, which is based in Hungary, and then they started to rehome dogs in the UK.

“Brandy was five at that point and I thought a bit of company for her would be quite nice.

“I contacted the charity to ask what I had to do. Someone came round to check the house, you make a donation to the charity and then the dog comes over.” Mrs Harris had planned to adopt another smooth vizsla but fell in love with Buda, who was only seven months old when she came on the home visit with a charity representative.

She said: “The lady who was checking our home said she had a dog with her which had just come over and she hadn’t had a chance to check the home of the people that wanted her.

“She asked if we minded her bringing her over to socialise.

“She brought Buda with her — this great, big, hairy creature who jumped all over my husband!

“I hadn’t seen many wires at that point and I had wanted another smooth but she came bounding in and that was that.”

After BrandySnap died in August 2017, aged 12, the couple adopted six-month-old Hasta.

She gets on well with Buda but both dogs’ energetic nature can be tiring for their owners.

Mrs Harris said: “They are very exuberant and Hasta loves playing with everybody. Buda is more selective but that’s probably just age.

“They are very sociable dogs and are very happy and energetic when they are out. They just like to be with you and will even follow you to the bathroom! They are very close. Vizslas were quite unusual seven years ago when we had Brandy and no one knew what she was. Now there are a lot around and Henley has quite a number.”

The charity provided some background to both dogs’ previous lives in Hungary.

Mrs Harris, who now helps the charity by carrying out home checks of potential owners, said: “Buda was chained up and half-starved, while Hasta was a stray at six months old.

“Vizslas are hunting dogs but Hasta doesn’t have any hunting instincts so I think someone got her as a hunting dog and turned her away when they realised she didn’t have the instinct.

“They are really happy and friendly but there are certain things you need to look out for. People with Nordic walking sticks are one because they could perceive those as weapons.

“There was a chap the other day with an extraordinarily long camera lens and they were both terrified . A dog of any breed could be frightened by that though.

“You wouldn’t really know they are rescued.”

Such is Buda’s transformation, that she appeared on the ITV show Britain’s Top 100 Dogs Live on Tuesday evening.

Ben Fogle and Sara Cox presented the show in which they counted down the nation’s favourite dog breeds, complete with facts about each variety, before the top 10 is decided by a public vote. The vizsla came 91st.

Mrs Harris travelled with Buda to London for the filming in
October.

She said: “They filmed her for about an hour sitting, rolling over and doing things like that. She loved it!”

Mrs Harris wants more people to become aware of dog rescue charities and to adopt rather than buy their pet.

She said: “For every dog in the UK there is a rescue charity, it’s not just vizslas. If you look on the Kennel Club website there is something for everybody.

“Too many dogs are going into kennels now and that’s where people should look. You can find a breed that suits you.

“I look on adopting Buda and Hasta as Brandy’s legacy. If she hadn’t been such an amazing dog we would never have thought about adopting another one, never mind two! I’m definitely glad I did it and I will be doing it again.”

Vizslamentes has just celebrated its seventh anniversary and posted online about all the animals it has rescued.

Mr Harris said: “They are primarily Vizslas but it never turns anything away. They even helped a British lady get back to the UK!”

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