One very cold winter’s evening in November 2020, a terrified little dog was brought into us, having been found all alone in a park tied to a tree, in desperate need of food, warmth & shelter and trembling with fear. Our natural instincts were to want to wrap her up in our arms and give her some much needed comfort and reassurance. But after the trauma she had endured, this poor soul was understandably very wary of humans and all we could do was tell her we loved her and that everything was going to be ok. We called this precious little angel Esme.

Her kennel with her cosy beds was Esme’s safe place and we knew it would take time for her to allow us to touch her, but that was ok and we were sure that with time and patience, we would win her round. We were prepared to give her as long as she needed – it would be worth the wait! Esme had her own corridor at Holly Hedge, so we would open her kennel door and let her come out to explore, which she seemed curious to do. She got a little braver every day, emerging from her kennel and showing great interest in the sights and smells around her. From a safe distance, we also tried introducing ‘dog friendly’ dogs to her and it soon became apparent that she loved other dogs, even though many of her canine friends were about 5 times the size of her! Having them to play with and to take on the role of her guardians really helped Esme gain in confidence and we could tell that inside that frightened body there was a fun loving girl just waiting to blossom.

Esme may have looked a very delicate little soul, but it wasn’t long before she showed us what a strong spirit she had and with every new day we marvelled at the progress she made – little steps, and with each one taken came a huge sense of delight.

We could only imagine the sadness and despair Esme must have been through and promised her that from now on, she would only know love and kindness. She certainly enjoyed the tasty food we tempted her with and she adored her comfy bed. Our behaviourist worked very closely with Esme, helping her to realise that her world didn’t need to be a scary place and let her take everything at her own pace. It was amazing when she felt confident enough to venture into the gardens, woods and fields. And when she let us gently stroke her, there were some very emotional people at the Sanctuary!

Then in February, an amazing thing happened……Esme went off to live in her forever home, which she shares with her ‘fursibling’ Noodle and her wonderful family who adore her and give her such a special and enriched life. Fastforward a year and Esme is unrecognisable from the cowering little mite we first met. She’s now a fun loving, confident, content and much loved pet and we couldn’t be happier for her. Esme is a little miracle and we’re all so proud of her.

We are so grateful to Esme’s family for taking her to their hearts and home – they describe her as ‘just so amazing’ and we couldn’t agree more!

Esme is quite the holiday maker now and has been away several times already, including to Cornwall where she visited the Eden Project and enjoyed pub lunches, picnics and playing on the beach. Other ventures have included barge and train journeys and holidaying in Yorkshire where she stayed in a posh cottage and in the words of her family was a superstar!

Thankfully last Christmas Esme was safe and warm at Holly Hedge, though still understandably very fearful of the world and with a long way to go on her road to recovery and rehabilitation.

Well this Christmas couldn’t have been more different, as Esme got into the festive spirit and celebrated the season with her family. Here she is in her Christmas Pudding coat – looking fabulous!

And in the words of her ‘forever mumma’……’Certainly a very different Christmas for little Esme this year! Turkey & playing with her doggy cousins Christmas Day, lots of long walks, watching the Morris men and generally getting thoroughly spoilt by everyone as she is so adorable. She has grown so much in confidence it’s incredible – we are all so proud of her.’