Linda Hesp

Linda Hesp – Dachshund Rescue coordinator for Mid, South & West Wales

Linda Hesp is the newest coordinator team member, joining us in June 2022. She spoke with fellow coordinator Sue Page having seen our appeal for help and decided to volunteer.

Rehoming | Adoption | Emergency Fostering

After she was contacted by our Chair, Lynn Hall, it soon became clear that Linda would be a great asset to the group.

Linda is a retired PE and Science teacher, so she is used to dealing with people of all ages. Being a PE specialist, she totally understands the importance of teamwork and how people support each other.

She really enjoys learning from all the other coordinators and their experiences which is helping her with all the different situations her new role brings. During Linda’s final years in teaching, she acted as an assistant headteacher in a secondary school responsible for pastoral care and safeguarding.

These skills have really helped with her work for Dachshund Rescue and in her care for everyone involved in the process of rehoming.

Just to enlighten everyone as to Linda’s sporting prowess she represented Wales up to the age of 16 in Tennis and played circuits around England and Wales.

She specialised in Dance at PE college and choreographed lots of school dance routines for concerts during her teaching career. She has also worked on producing dance performances within local theatre shows.

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Linda has had dachshunds in her life since the age of three. Her first dachshund was a standard and she has gone on to enjoy the ownership of all different dachshunds within the breed!!

Alongside her own dachshunds Linda and her family took in lots of rescue dogs whilst she was growing up. Her experience and knowledge cannot, therefore, be questioned!!!

At present Linda has three dachshunds, all of which are rescued, having sadly had two pass over the rainbow bridge earlier this year. Fletcher and Deefa had both lived to a wonderful age before cancer cruelly took its toll.

Her loss has enabled her to show great empathy towards people having to surrender their dogs, who can also undergo those heart-breaking emotions felt when losing their dachshunds.

Rehoming | Adoption | Emergency Fostering

Having retired from teaching Linda set up her own little business for boarding dachshunds and often had up to eight of them running around her home. She did this for six years. One of her boarders, Emily, ended up staying permanently!! Emily had severe anxiety and was only comfortable in Linda’s care.

Despite all this experience Linda feels she has fallen behind with all the changes going on with breeding in the world of dachshunds. She has come across “dilutes” and “double dapples” and feels there has been a massive increase in dachshunds developing back issues!!

Like many dachshund owners, she has concerns for the future of the breeds’ health and well-being. She has experienced IVDD with her dachshund Daisy, who for a while lost sensation in all four limbs.

With dedication and hard work, Daisy made a remarkable recovery, and her story can offer hope to others. Linda was someone who helped to set up the South Wales IVDD group with Charlotte Baldwin and Dachshund Rescue has helped in supporting this wonderful group.

Like so many of the team, Linda worries when a dachshund enters their new home. We all want everything to go well, and Linda’s greatest reward is when that happens, and she receives lovely feedback from the new owners.

All of our team are volunteers and Linda can struggle when owners want immediate action once, they have decided to surrender their dachshund. She understands that it is hard for people to keep their dogs a little longer having made the decision and that makes the emotions involved even more difficult.

Linda has a saying that “It takes as long as it takes” and assures owners that she will be doing her best to resolve everything as soon as she can, but her priority is always about the dachshund finding its best future life.

What little spare time Linda has now is spent listening to children reading at her local Primary School and singing with her local choir. Despite all her PE teaching and sporting knowledge, she chooses to support Arsenal!!!

This choice was made on her respect for manager Arsene Wenger who was the first to involve science within football training methods in this country (her two subjects combined). We’ll forgive her!!!

If you would like to volunteer to help Linda or any of our coordinators in their work for Dachshund rescue, then we would welcome your support.

Rescue Coordinator Lauren Thomas

Lauren Thomas is the Dachshund Rescue coordinator for London, Berkshire and East Sussex.

She has always had animals in her life and grew up around horses. She became a dachshund owner 8 years ago when Blue came into her life. Lauren had until this point worked with gun dogs and assistance dogs and she was fascinated by the complete difference in the psychology of dachshunds and other breeds of dogs.

Rehoming | Adoption | Emergency Fostering

Lauren Thomas, the Dachshund Rescue coordinator for London, Berkshire and East Sussex

Lauren’s dog, Blue, had a few behaviour issues when settling into his new home with her, and she was eager to work on helping him to improve.
She worked alongside a behaviourist and was fascinated to learn that the drives behind most breeds differ from those of the dachshund.

She discovered that for most dogs the main drive is to please the owner and gain their praise. Dachshunds have other ideas!!!!! Lauren was fascinated by what she was learning and how it changed her normal ways of dog training.

She has worked for dog charities, training assistance dogs for people with physical and mental disabilities. The role meant spending time working with the dogs to learn their personalities so that she could then find the owner best suited for each particular dog.

As you can imagine these skills fit alongside her work for the charity perfectly.

Rescue Coordinator - Lauren Thomas pictured walking across a footbridge with her dachshund, Blue

Lauren’s work in training assistance dogs was ideal experience for her role with Dachshund Rescue

More recently Lauren has been working for a charity that puts together teams of dogs and horses that act as therapy for children and adults of all disabilities.

Whether it be the physical exercise or emotional connection she finds the right ways in which animals can help. As you can imagine this is incredibly rewarding work.

One of Lauren’s concerns is how many owners expect their dogs to conform completely to their lifestyle.

She has learnt through her work with disabled children and adults that communication is sometimes difficult and you need to find different ways to relate to people.

This has made her very aware that the same is true of our dachshunds and that often they communicate their underlying emotions through aggression and barking.

She believes that sometimes we need to try to view situations through their eyes, to help us to recognise the cause of their anxieties, and then try to avoid those triggers in the future or find a way to work around them. Some good advice for all dachshund owners.

As a rescue coordinator, she wants people who apply to adopt, to do so only when they are completely ready to make the necessary commitment.

It is not always practical to believe our dachshunds can be “fixed” with their behaviour but they can improve tremendously with hard work.

Lauren has only been in her rescue coordinator role with us for a few months and she has really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and helping to find our dachshunds’ wonderful new homes.

She has loved being part of our team and is learning every day how different every situation is.

As you’d expect, Lauren is very busy and, like many of our coordinators, is always on the lookout for extra help.

If you are in and around Lauren’s neck of the woods and think you might be able to help with Home Checks, Transport, or anything else to support her in her work as a rescue coordinator for Dachshund Rescue, get in touch, she’d love to hear from you. You’ll find Lauren’s contact details here.

We’re always on the lookout for good people. If you’d like to get involved in the work we do, check out the information on our volunteer roles here.

Rehome my dog – if at first, you don’t succeed …

Rehome my dog – Bertie’s Story

Earlier this year Bertie was surrendered to the charity. It is rare that we would consider a crossbreed and he clearly had Jack Russell in him, but this was an emergency.

He had begun to show aggression and had bitten. He was becoming increasingly protective of his male owner as the lockdown ended and children were coming into the home as his wife was a nanny. For obvious reasons, it was necessary for them to let Bertie go.

There was no immediate home available and so he was put into temporary foster. Within 24 hours he was showing aggression again and had bitten his foster carer’s partner.

Bertie had to be removed immediately and one of our coordinators was able to collect him and take him home. It was clear he was incredibly stressed and needed time. His issues meant it would be difficult finding him the right home.
He was very reactive to noise and reacted badly initially to any visitors. Barking was also a problem and much of this was anxiety related. 

He settled in with the coordinator’s family and was fine with her 2 dachshunds. She would have kept him, but his youthful exuberance was too much for her older dogs who enjoy the quiet life!!

Eventually, a new home was found after much searching and off he went.

It did not go well 😔 The new owner’s dachshund did not react positively to the new addition and was overly aggressive towards Bertie.

Within 48 hours it was apparent poor Bertie would have to move again. Fosterers were found and yet again he was moved.

Of course, this was not what anyone wanted, and it was devastating for everyone who wanted this lovely boy to find the happy future he deserved.

So back to the drawing board and the search resumed.

A couple were found who were prepared to give Bertie a chance, so a week later he travelled to his second new home. Surely this was going to work!!

Bertie tried hard but again there were problems. He started guarding one of his new owners and became aggressive towards her husband and their Labrador. After 2 weeks they couldn’t continue to keep him and again he would have to be moved.

Back to our adoption applications and all the coordinators were looking out for the home that would suit him. We had to get it right. All the moves between homes were not helping Bertie’s issues and he needed an experienced owner who would be able to give him time and the proper training.

Eventually, one application became known that sounded perfect. A quiet home with lots of space and land for Bertie to release all his youthful energy plus, another young dog in the household, who was receptive to other dogs in the home.

Luckily, a family related to a dog trainer was available to offer help and support. They were told EVERYTHING about Bertie’s history and his problems, and they were thrilled to be considered and eager to give Bertie his opportunity.

rehome my dog - berties story a dachshund jack russell cross sitting on a young girls knee

Their 14-year-old daughter put in a great deal of work creating a training programme to support him as it was clear Bertie was a highly intelligent dog who would respond well to new challenges.

This was Bertie’s sixth placement, and it took place just a few weeks ago!!!!

We are delighted to tell you he has settled in brilliantly. He is learning new tricks and revelling in his new environment.

Everyone involved in this story could not be more thrilled with the outcome of this emotional rollercoaster. It took a long time but all the time and commitment to Bertie has been worthwhile.

We will ask Evie to let us know how his training is going and update you on his progress in a few weeks. We love a happy ending 💜💜

When we get a call to “rehome my dog”, we’re always willing to help. As you can see, it’s not always as straightforward as we’d like. It’s great to see that our team of voluntary coordinators were able to work together to provide a successful conclusion and a new permanent home for Bertie.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing to rehome your dog, for whatever reason, feel free to reach out to your local Dachshund Rescue coordinator. We have a UK-wide team. You’ll find their contact details here

Being a UK charity, all of our work is funded by our fundraising efforts and the generosity of donors and supporters.

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Rehoming | Adoption | Emergency Fostering