Journey - before & after (image courtesy of SAFE Perth)
Journey didn’t have a name when she was found nursing a litter of 12 puppies on a country property south of Perth. She was so painfully emaciated, the SAFE Perth carer named her Journey, as she had so far to go if she stood any chance of survival.
Her puppies were rehomed by another local rescue group and SAFE Perth took Journey straight to Swan Vets for treatment.
“It was very touch-and-go at that point,” says Corrina of SAFE Perth. “As well as her emaciated condition, Journey had developed mastitis and her uterus was infected. We weren’t sure she was going to live.”
Journey spent the next few days at Swan Vets and Corrina visited whenever she could.
“Even in her weakest state, Journey would wag her tail to greet me. She is so good natured,” Corrina smiles. “And, much to our relief, she made an incredibly speedy recovery.”
By the sixth day, Journey was strong enough to be steralised and Corrina went to pick her up that day. With a pile of antibiotics and lots of TLC, Corrina fostered and nursed Journey in her own home for several weeks.
“She certainly made up for the time she had been neglected,” says Corrina. “She slept on my bed at night and took over the lounge suite by day. And when she was well enough to venture outside, she would regularly greet passers-by with a tail full of wags.”
Within six weeks, Journey had reached a healthy weight, with muscles almost fully redefined. She was ready to find a forever home, but SAFE Perth didn’t have to search far. A local lady named Lisa, who had already adopted a SAFE rescue dog, had expressed an interest in Journey.
As a SAFE Facebook fan, Lisa liked to stay connected with the rescue animal world, but wasn’t actively looking for a dog when she saw Journey’s picture on SAFE’s status update.
“When THE photo of Journey came up on my newsfeed, I was instantly brought to tears by the dreadful thought of the neglect and pain she had endured. I instantly made a donation to SAFE and obsessively checked the Facebook updates over the following few weeks. I was so worried about her, those sad eyes haunted me at night.”
While Journey made her miraculous recovery, Lisa came to realise that she wanted to adopt her, but persuading her husband was going to be tough.
“As well as four kids, we have chickens, two cats, one rescue dog and fish, and operate an open door policy. Our home is frequently filled with neighbours, neighbours’ kids, family, school friends and chaos! And my husband had firmly put his foot down and said we weren’t getting another pet,” recalls Lisa. “But I hatched a plan to talk him around. The kids drafted a memorandum of understanding and I begged and cried. It all came to head with a row in a restaurant. I was in tears and he finally gave in!”
A few days later, Lisa took the children to visit Journey at Corrina’s house, where she was being fostered.
“We brought Journey some treats, which she took very gently from the children. Had a lovely chat with her carer Corrina, but for the most part, Journey ignored us – transfixed by a rescue rabbit in a cage,” says Lisa.
When they left Corrina’s, Lisa wasn’t 100% sure they should adopt her – feeling concerned that a bull breed might not be suitable for a home full of kids and other pets, including a cat with disabilities. However, still determined to give her a chance, Lisa took Journey for an overnight trial.
“As I drove Journey to our home, I had a serious chat with her. I told her how much I loved her and wanted her, and that the ball was in her court. I’m not sure she heard me, as she was so busy hanging her head out the car window, lips flapping in the breeze as her drool spattered everywhere!” laughs Lisa.
For Journey’s introduction, Lisa had arranged for a senior guide dog trainer to assist the family with two hours of one-on-one direction and guidance – such was Lisa’s dedication.
Consulting with her husband, the family also established some strict ground rules. Under no circumstances was Journey allowed on the beds or the sofa. But all that changed one day when Lisa returned home from shopping.
“I walked in with the shopping to find Journey and my husband, snuggled on the bed together, both happily snoring away!” Lisa recalls. “Of course, now she sleeps with us, sits on our dining chairs, lounges on our sofa, and even goes on the trampoline with the kids. She’s an equal and much-loved member of our family.”
Lisa is ashamed to admit that, had she known Journey’s breed when she first saw her picture, she wouldn’t have pursued adoption.
“All my media-fuelled doubt and anxiety about her being an ‘aggressive dog’ has quickly dissolved. There is not a single molecule of aggression in her. She is so gentle and affectionate, loves playing with the kids, and the kids love inventing new games to play with Journey,” says Lisa.
“It makes me sad when I see people react to her negatively in the park, and mortified to think that I was one of those people!” exclaims Lisa. “Now, I share Journey’s story to educate family, friends and anyone who will stop and listen.”
Billy & Journey
If reading this Happy Tail inspired you to consider adopting, we have thousands of pets waiting for their forever homes right now.
You can help us keep saving pets too, by making a donation to our rehoming programs. It costs just $10 to match one of our rescue pets with their new family.