We adopted Meraklis from Cyprus in November 2020.
We lost our old dog at the age of 14 to cancer and we were all broken. We didn't think we could take on another dog for some time but four years later we were ready to fill the huge dog shaped hole in our family. So the search began. In the UK the demand for dogs had shot up during lockdown so we had a lot of competition; it was also harder as our youngest was only five years old. My husband was set on a staffie but I quite liked the individuality of a crossbreed. We spotted Meraklis early on in our search and he looked perfect for us! Unfortunately we were having major work done on our house and couldn't guarantee it would be finished in time for his freedom flight from Cyprus.
Fast forward a few months, we had completed the work on our house and were still searching for our new family member; I came across Meraklis again on the FAAR Facebook page. Sadly he had missed his freedom flight as he had tested positive for Leish but he had completed his treatment and was now ready. That was it, I thought, it had to be fate, and I excitedly sent off the adoption application. I didn't want to be complacent about the leish so I researched online. Google is not the best place to research diseases(!) so I contacted his guardian, Melina, and she put me in contact with another trustee, Marina, who has a lot of experience of dogs with Leish. Marina was so helpful and I took on lots of information. After a long chat with my husband we were still happy to continue with our application. Meraklis flew over to the UK on 5th November 2020 and went into foster. The adoption checks were rigorous, which made us feel comfortable that the rescue were doing everything to ensure the right match. The checks culminated in a long video call with my whole family and two of the trustees. I remember feeling very nervous and saying to my husband that I felt like I was applying for the most important role (it is, aside from being a parent to my children!). A few days later we were advised that the trustees liked our home but had reservations around our youngest being only five so we arranged for us all to visit Meraklis in his foster home.
As we walked in to his foster mum's garden her own dogs were both barking and making lots of noise but Meraklis didn't make a sound. Meraklis' kennel was right in front of us as we walked in and he was much bigger than we thought he would be. His foster mum, Dee, warned us that he hadn't been around five people before so may be a bit excited. Dee let him out of his kennel and he excitedly ran to us and jumped up a lot. Our five year old daughter was a little nervous but she stayed firm and told him no. We took him for a walk and he settled down. He even made some friends along the way who also thought he was lovely😊 When we took him back Dee advised that we could have him! We weren't expecting a decision there and then so we became a bit emotional! We decided to collect him in a few days time so my husband could take some time off to help him settle. Dee was happy to look after him a little longer and I'll never forget her words "he is adopted, he is your boy". We decided to rename him Jax as Meraklis was a bit of a mouthful.
We collected Jax the following Friday when our kids were at school. He was wearing a little bow tie and looked adorable! He leaped into the car and didnt mind the journey at all. I sat in the back with him and video called our parents to introduce them to their new granddog! Our three children had no idea we were collecting him so they had a lovely surprise waiting for them in the garden when they came home. We brought him into the house on a lead so that we could correct him if he jumped up on any furniture. We had a brand new kitchen so were a little nervous but he was really good and learnt the house rules very quickly. We were wondering how dinner time would go but he wasn't too bad. We made sure to dish his up after ours and once he'd finished he joined us. We made sure we ignored him whilst eating and he was very good. We were nervous about house training as we didnt have any previous experience but he only had one accident indoors and learnt very quickly. My husband slept in the hallway downstairs for the first night, especially as he wasn't yet house trained.
Jax was very excitable and would be quite mouthy for the first few weeks. I guess he missed out on those boundaries as a pup. He mastered sit within 24 hours and is so keen to learn - it helps that he is very food motivated! He did show signs of some resource guarding around his food so we did a lot of work around this, eventually I was able to put my hand in his bowl and feed by hand, even the really good stuff!
We have no idea of his background other than he was living outside until he was rescued. It's quite remarkable to think that he had not lived in a home before as he seemed to settle in so easily. He loves dogs (whether they like him or not!). Everyone he meets falls in love with this boy, he's just so loving! We have had Jax for six months now and he is so settled. He knows our routine and I believe he knows he's home now. The change in six months is remarkable; he rarely jumps up or mouths us and walks really well on his lead. We often have squirrels and wood pigeons in our garden and he would leap about on the windowsill and up the curtains trying to get to them. Now he just sits on the sofa in his spot, watching them. His recall is perfect but only in a secure field; he's just such a social dog, he wants to greet everyone he sees and recall would go out the window! We love that he approaches us for affection and enjoys our company. He makes us laugh when he tries to join in with us, for example when my daughters are sat in front of me having their hair done, he will sit in front of them and look up at them as if to say "and me". Our old dog was very vocal but Jax rarely barks at all, only ever in his sleep! We have learnt to pick up on his very subtle body language. We are all totally in love with our dog and it's wonderful to see the bond he has with our children. He really is the perfect dog for us and he was the perfect fit for the dog shaped hole in our family. We look forward to taking him on many more adventures and making many more memories.
Despite Jax being from Cyprus, there is an awesome support network with FAAR and we really are grateful for our wonderful rescue boy.