Friendly and lovable, no one imagined that Hector would eventually end up being such a lonely dog, unable to get a forever loving home.
It was October 2017 when Hector found himself at the Little Valley Animal Shelter. Having been rescued by the RSPCA from his original home thanks to welfare reasons, he was just a puppy when he arrived at the shelter. And for more than a year now, all he has done consistently is win the hearts of those who take the time to get to know him. And, his adoption page reflects exactly how much everyone really loves him. "Handsome Hector is a super 2-year-old Lurcher with a huge personality and the size to match! Hector is an active boy who is looking for like-minded owners who can take him on plenty of adventures! He especially loves the beach and we have learnt that he can swim," it reads. It also goes on to say that he is very, very loved by all the staff. But sadly, it has been more than a year since he arrived at the shelter and in the 500 odd days that he has been there, he hasn't found his way into a forever loving home.
At 2 years old, this Lurcher type is a rather large dog. Standing at an imposing 3-feet with all his paws on the ground, he can be intimidating to those who don't know him particularly well. But those who do know him, know that he is lovable, goofy and friendly as friendly can be. "Hector is adored by staff and everyone he meets! He's got the lurcher lean down to a tee, and enjoys a gentle fuss," the website tells us more about him. However, being a friendly dog doesn't mean that he will be okay with any home opening its doors wide for him. You see, he has a set of rules for his to-be parents.
"We would love for Hector to be able to live with other animals and children if this was the case he would be happy in a home by now which is what we all want for him. However, he does have some behavioral issues that mean this would not be safe. He will be a project, but if you have the time and patience to commit to him, you will have such a rewarding and fun-loving companion in return," the RSPCA website reads. It also says, "Hector is a fantastic dog who in an understanding home will blossom! Despite his behavioral quirks, he is an amazing dog with bags of personality."
But attached to these posts is a list that you have to check out if you are really to take Hector home. First off, it's important to make sure that he is the only dog in an adult home. Why? RSPCA has an answer: "Hector will guard items he sees as valuable such as toys, food and often other items – due to his size (around a metre tall with all 4 feet on the floor!) he can reach a lot of items that the average dog can’t! Hector will guard from people as well as dogs and so needs to be the only pet. If approached when he has something he can display aggression, so he would be a risk to other pets and children in the home who may not pick up on his early signals. This behavioral issue can be managed and over time work can be done to improve this behaviour, however it is unlikely to completely resolve."
The site also elaborates on his separation anxiety: "Hector loves people and finds being left alone distressing. He will need someone home throughout the day who is able to slowly and gradually introduce time left." Next, they go on to explain that it isn't a great idea to take Hector home if you have cats or other small pets. "Hector has a high prey drive and will chase anything that runs," the site elaborates. Though he doesn't behave badly with dogs at all, and is in fact rather friendly with them, it doesn't mean that he can easily cohabit with them.
But while there are a few cons to taking Hector home, the pros outweigh them rather easily. To start off, he is already trained! Though his rescuers claim that he is clicker trained, they also add that he responds rather well to reward-based training. "Hector is bright and intelligent and he knows lots of commands – Sit, lie down, touch, play dead, in your bed, recall and wait," they explain. When it comes to being social, the big dog doesn't shy away. "Enjoys meeting dogs out and about, but would be better suited walking with other medium/large dogs as he can be a little over enthusiastic at times," the website informs us.
Like many dogs with a history of a traumatic past, Hector has trust issues as well. You see, while he does enjoy the interaction and being smothered with affection, he prefers to wait till he can trust you. Additionally, he is also known to brighten up your day! "He is hilarious! He never fails to make us smile and is a firm favourite with all who meet him," RSPCA reveals about him. "Hector will really benefit from a consistent routine so his days are predictable and he won’t have to worry about the unexpected. He settles well in his kennel and may benefit from an outside space such as a converted barn, play house or shed where he can have time and space to relax such as if his owners need to go out or when meals are being prepared," they add.
While the list of do's and don'ts might seem intimidating to you, the Little Valley Animal Shelter ensures people that their staff will be more than happy to help you get used to this big, playful dog. "Due to his size and bouncy nature, Hector may be able to share a home with sensible teenagers who are used to being around big dogs. This big lad has lots of love to give so if you have space in your heart and home for Hector then please get in touch," they plead, hoping to find Hector a forever loving home after more than 500 days of getting to know and love him.