I became a member of the DMT rescue page in the spring after coming across the page on Facebook, at the time they were asking for fosterers in the North of Scotland. Although we are in Orkney I completed the foster form and advised I would be willing to travel to Aberdeen, Edinburgh etc to collect a dog if it required fostering. Then in the summer Norman was advertised for adoption, he was rescued in Korea from a kill list, at the rescue he gained a reputation as being the pack leader and being quite dominant. Following a discussion with my husband Martin and with Sally and Lesley, it was agreed that we would give wee Norman a chance with our two dogs, our year old Dachshund Sizzle and our rescue older Staffy Hooch. We had experience of rescue dogs having previously had a rescued Rottie, a Spaniel and another Staffy. However nothing could have quite prepared us for Stormin Norman!! I travelled down from Orkney to collect Norman on the 18th October, another member of the group Carol Walker had kindly offered to bring Norman up to Falkirk when she collected her rescue pup Bonnie when they arrived in the UK. Initially Norman was very stand offish, although friendly he was aloof, he liked the sanctuary of his travel crate. however once we got home it was like a whirling dervish had appeared!!
He has gradually become very attached to us and will ask for attention by jumping up if you are working or distracted by something. He follows us around and shares out his affection to whoever will talk to him including strangers. He is extremely destructive, and will 'kill' any toys he has or items belonging to us he can get hold of. We have to make sure items are well out of his reach as he will stand on his hind legs to get to something he see's (his latest being the head torch and a lovely knitted snowman I had as a present years ago)! All toys are for shredding and stuffing and squeakers are to be ripped out, I have yet to find a toy for him that he does not attempt to destroy. Norman has bonded well with our other dogs, there was no fighting or growling and Norman sleeps quite happily on top of them if he gets the chance.
He comes into the office with Sizzle and I during the day, this gives Hooch a chance to have a rest due to his arthritis. Sizzle and Norman will charge around the office and the house doing zoomies which is helping Norman with his waistline. Norman was very overweight when he arrived at 10kg, he is currently on a diet and gets lots of exercise, he is good on the lead but he cannot be trusted off the lead. He has a strong hunting instinct and will chase any bird he sees including ones in the air!! Yet he is no bother with our farm cats and he ignores them. Norman has no concept of danger, he will walk near the horses feet or attempt to run around cars. Norman loves meeting customers who come into the kennels and he is quite the local celebrity.
Norman has lots of peculiar behaviours where once he is focused it can be really difficulty to distract him. He will 'hoard' anything he he has found or taken, he will hide it in his bed then sit on top of it like a 'broody hen'. He will not move or give it up and will growl at the other dogs if they go near the bed. He will also guard the bin in the kitchen both in the house and in the kennels and if not watched he will attempt to knock the bins over to get at the contents. We have to be extremely careful with him to make sure he comes to no harm eating anything he shouldn't. He will shred any plastic shopping bags he finds as he can smell the food that has been in them.
House training has been very hit and miss with Norman, we watch him for cues and now know that he goes outside as soon as he wakes up or has a meal, however even then he can come in and tootle off and then leaves a little present somewhere, he will also mark territory around the house. Unfortunately its not great weather in Orkney and Norman does not like the wind or the rain so will often just try to come inside if he has been put out for the toilet. Anyone wishing to adopt one of these dogs need to be aware they have psychological issues that may never leave them. All we can do is provide them with stability, safety and security and give them time to express themselves. In the evening Norman goes to sleep with Sizzle and Hooch on the settee next to me, I am often squashed under a muddle of dogs, I stroke his soft head and wonder what he has been through and what does he think of things now. I hope he knows he is loved and he is safe, he has a whole new adventure opening up to him and I hope he lives and enjoys his new life to the full, we will certainly do everything we can to ensure that he does. Welcome to our lives Stormin Norman, we could not have wished for any dog better than our wee Norman.