I think I was one of Justin’s first clients at ‘The Dog House’, as it was then called, so I don’t know how come I’ve never yet managed to write a testimonial for ‘Halo Dogs’ given that I must be their biggest fan and I never, ever miss an opportunity to talk about them to anyone prepared to listen!
When I lost Cracker [my beloved 14 year old German Shepherd] to cancer a couple of years ago, I didn’t think I could face having another dog. I was looking after my 85-year old mum who needed full time care at that time, as well as working. But although I was heartbroken and missed Cracker desperately, I couldn’t contemplate replacing her, the situation was just too difficult. My daughter, however, thought otherwise; my dogs have always been such an important part of my life and she felt the gap was too painful for me. So at her insistence, bless her, I ended up with Charlie, the last [but not least!] of a litter of 11 German Shepherd pups who I was virtually dragged in chains to see and, of course, couldn’t resist once I’d seen her.
My mistake; I’d forgotten that having a 12-week old puppy is a bit like having a baby all over again, really hard work , and between caring for my mum and looking after Charlie, I was beyond exhausted and almost at my wit’s end when I first heard of ‘The Dog House’ and the service they had to offer. I rang Justin and he came to ‘interview’ me at home to see if I was a suitable owner for The Dog House clientele and if Charlie would be a suitable pooch to introduce to the pack. I was beside myself at the thought of being interviewed, convinced I’d blow the whole thing and was on my best behaviour. Charlie, on the other hand, wasn’t remotely bothered at being interviewed and bounced around noisily for the duration, taking not even the slightest bit of notice of me as I tried to surreptitiously demonstrate to Justin how well-behaved and well-balanced she was, highly trained…… etc. etc. All to no avail: Justin didn’t seem to notice, he just chatted happily to my mum and they got on like a house on fire while I was dragged around the lounge floor at the end of a stringy chewed up toy. Anyway, fortunately, the upshot was that Charlie started being picked up by Justin in the mornings and whisked off to The Dog House for balmy, action-packed days on the farm. She was delivered back home [happy and exhausted] while I was still at work, when Justin would then sit and chat to my mum, something she really enjoyed and looked forward to do and something I’ve always been eternally grateful to him for. I think he lit up her day almost as much as he did Charlie’s.
And then, when my mum died, there was Justin again [and Sal and the rest of the team] unbelievably supportive and whisking Charlie off to the farm for as long as it took so that I could sort out everything that needed to be sorted. They just swept in and did everything to make life so much easier for me and my family at that awful time.
I now have a beautiful, beautiful two year old shepherd who is happy, bouncy, glowing with health, gentle, well-socialised and a joy to have around, much of which I’m certain is due to the incredible love, care and stimulation she’s been given at the farm at Botany Bay [… as well as extensive training from me at home, obviously……]
The team all have such an affinity with the dogs in their care [in fact I sometimes worry Charlie forgets who she’s supposed to love best…]. They put everything into the dogs, and you get everything back. They’re a shining example of how to treat and respect animals and what you get in return if you do.
I simply can’t praise Justin and the rest of the Halo team enough. They have made such an enormous difference to my life, to my Charlie’s life, and no doubt to the lives of countless other dogs and owners.
But above and beyond that, they are now rescuing and rehoming dogs who aren’t as fortunate as most of Halo Dogs pack, and for that I take my hat off to them all, and to Justin in particular.
[Sorry for the length of this diatribe: but they’re worth it; trust me.] Oh … and then there was Lola, my daughter’s little ‘jug’ who now goes to Halo with Charlie, she’s the one that looks a little bit like Yoda out of Star Wars….
Pam, Katy, Charlie and Lola