It has been a decade since Floyd first arrived at the Freshfields Animal Rescue in Liverpool, England. Having spent so much time there, employees believed that this long-haired german shepherd might never find a home.
Floyd was abandoned in 2007. He was sent into the shelter for neutering but his family never returned to pick him up. This wasn’t especially surprising, coming from his prior owners. He stayed in the backyard all day every day. The family’s eight children would pull on his collar and use him for target practice. Given his harsh treatment, it’s not terribly surprising that Floyd had trouble adjusting to new people, at first.
Still suffering from his puppyhood experiences, Floyd didn’t like being touched and would bite when he felt threatened. He made friends with the Freshfields staff fairly quickly but it took a lot longer for him to grow friendly with outsiders.
Floyd had a hard time trusting strangers.
“He soon became protective of us,” explained Debbie Hughes, PR coordinator at Freshfields. “I think he had to accept us—he had been taken away from the only environment he’d ever known, even though it was a bad one.”
Over the years, Floyd became more affectionate and playful but he still had a hard time trusting strangers.
“He stayed here for so long because it took time to introduce him to new people. Most people didn’t want to take the time to get to know him, as it meant visiting many times and taking things slowly and gradually,” Hughes said.
It soon became obvious that it would take a very specific type of person to take care of Floyd, one willing to put in the time and energy required to establish a sense of trust.
Luckily, Freshfields were able to find that someone in the form of Floyd’s long-time dog walker, Louis.
When Louis first started taking him on walks, it took a while for Floyd to warm up to him. Yet, once Floyd got used to him, Louis decided to take the next step toward adoption.
He knew that were he to adopt Floyd right then and there, it might not work out because Floyd had never met Louis’s wife before and might not trust her. So the three of them began going on walks together.
It took a long time, but eventually Floyd became comfortable with both Louis and his wife.
“Floyd was extremely protective of Louis, so much so that none of the staff, who he loved, could approach them when they were together,” Hughes explained. “Louis would have loved to adopt Floyd earlier, but didn’t know how it would go if he had to introduce him to his partner. He also has a cat and Floyd was not good with cats.”
When Louis’s cat passed away, he knew it was the right time.
“The day we drove Floyd to Louis’s house we stood back and let Louis take him out of the van, he trotted off down the large garden and never looked back,” Hughes said. “From then on, it was perfect. He loved it in the house, got on the sofa and welcomed Louis’s wife when she came home from work.
“He has amazed all of us!”
Over the years, Floyd had seen multiple dogs come and go and served as sort of a mentor to them. People had become so accustomed to seeing him at the shelter that they considered him “part of the furniture”! So it was very sad for Freshfields to see him go but also extremely happy.