Alani
Alani
March 2016 - the first time Carl and I met Alani the clumsy, pointy-eared, fox-tailed staffyX who would eventually join our family in August. Whenever we visited the sanctuary (most weekends), Carl would make a beeline for Alani’s kennel where she would press herself against the door, wag her tail furiously, and smile her big staffy smile. We waited, every week sure we were going to see the reserved sign on her door, sure that the right family would meet and fall in love with her like we had. Little did we know that she’d already met the right family.
The first few days were both wonderful and extremely difficult and we felt overwhelmed and panicked when her first walk turned into a series of barks, growls and lunges at everything. I rang Holly Hedge in tears, terrified that we had taken on too much. Holly Hedge arranged for Rosie, animal behaviourist, to come and see Alani. She explained simple, effective methods we could use to keep her calmer. Following Rosie’s advice and learning to adapt to Alani’s needs has been tough at times. However, watching her begin to relax and gaining confidence has been the most amazing journey for all of us.
We’ve now had Alani 10 months, she doesn’t behave perfectly but is learning to play and socialise with other dogs. She’s been to the beach, climbed hills in Wales, and spent many days stretched out contentedly in front of the fire. She has so much love to give and believes herself to be the perfect lapdog.
Two months ago we couldn’t get a sitter and she came with us to visit my friend who has a beautiful daughter with autism. I was worried about this meeting, almost cancelling it because of Alani’s sheer size, strength and clumsiness. But Alani was patient and gentle, placing her paw softly on the seven year old’s hand and sitting by her side even though her head was being patted a little too hard .
Alani is challenging, BUT more importantly, Alani is affectionate, loving, hilarious, intelligent and beautiful. She had a bad start to life and then spent a long time in kennels, as many staffies/staffy crosses sadly do. We intend to give her the most amazing forever home. We want to encourage everyone considering getting a dog to visit a rescue, not a breeder, and to consider a staffy. Just look at this irresistible smile…

Daisy
Daisy
We never meant to adopt her, but some things are just meant to be! This is Daisy. When we met, her name was Blaze and she was having a terrible time, having found herself at Holly Hedge. She’s a 9-year old Staffy who suffers with separation anxiety and she was really not coping well with being in kennels. She cried constantly. We didn’t go there to meet her. But when we met her, she was a whirling dervish of energy and noises, snarfs and squeaks galore and she had the waggiest of tails! My husband had the hugest “I LOVE HER” grin I have ever seen. She was ours from that very moment!

We were not 100% sure our 3 cats would appreciate this black tazmanian-devil-whirlwind-of-a-dog, so we agreed we would foster her initially, just to make sure everything worked out. Thankfully, after a month or so, everything settled down. As you can see… someone has made herself very comfortable! She's such a dappy dog, so gentle with the cats now and a lot less needy than she was! And a lot less farty too, thankfully!! Although we can definitely tell when she’s nervous!! ? She still bombs about like a loon, but is mostly chilled out and calm or demanding belly rubs. OMG, she LOVES belly rubs... There are never enough! She's such a vocal girl, making gremlin noises, snarfing about, snorting and snoring and we only really worry when she's quiet (as that seems to mean she's sneakily eating cat poo.... What a grim beast! ?). She still hates it if we go out though, but she’s so good whilst we are out, and she gets so excited when we come home she steals our shoes!!!! She's definitely a perfect fit for our weird little family!

Katniss
Katniss
Katniss came to live with us in November of 2015, after I had built a bond with her during my cat cuddling shifts. My heart went out to her, she had been overlooked for so long and just needed someone with understanding to take her on.
I went off to Australia and Holly Hedge kindly agreed for my partner, Dave, to foster Katniss with us adopting her soon after. It did not take long for her to settle in.
She spent a couple of days hiding, only emerging from behind the sofa to eat or go to the toilet, but after 4 days she ended up on Dave’s lap looking for fuss.
Katniss always had a habit of lashing out with her razor sharp claws when she heard something she didn’t like or if you moved too quickly. It has been a long haul to get her to the stage of letting us pick her up and fuss her without risk of her scratching and now she can be an absolute Angel!
We have moved to a house in a quiet village. She has a cat flap and comes and goes through the day but mostly just sits on the fence catching the sun whenever possible. When she is not outside she is keeping the end of our bed warm.
Katniss loves to play, particularly after her dinner where she thunders backwards and forwards at the top of our stairs chasing her favourite green ball or kicking her Kong Kickaroo!
We are so pleased to have Katniss. She has settled into home life with us and proves even the difficult ones deserve a chance. We wouldn’t swap her for the world!

Jackson
Jackson
In memory of Jackson who passed away on 9th November 2016 who was very much loved and whose wonderful owners felt very lucky to have had him.
R.I.P. beautiful boy.
This is the story Jackson wrote for us with the help of 12 year old Minnie:
Hi my name is Jackson. I am a 14 year old Labrador and this is my story.
I was found wandering in Basingstoke 3 days before Christmas 2014 I don't know why I was lost in the world with no one to love me but that I was. Basingstoke dog pound found me and took me in. I went to see the vet there. I was so old and thin that they said there was no hope for me...
Holly Hedge heard about me and gave me a second chance. They were so kind to me because they sent me straight to a foster home where I was loved back to health. It was very confusing for me because the foster home I went to had two dogs there both called Millie.
6 days before Easter Sunday I was adopted out to a kind and loving, forever family. They always give me what ever I need. I love going camping with my family because they always go every where with me.
I am so grateful for every thing Holly Hedge has done for me and the foster family for helping me to get back to health. My family would have not have had me with out them. Even though I am old I still love walks and playing with my rope toy. Thank you again Holly Hedge.

Fozzie
Fozzie
We love Fozzie and he has such a great character. In the morning he follows me everywhere, even to the toilet! until I feed him (even playfully batting my ankles, if I'm taking too long taking the food out the cupboard). He'll then have a little play with his toys with my daughter before spending most of his day sleeping in our wardrobe. In the evening he comes and sits with us in the lounge. On top of the sofa is his favourite place but will often move to my lap for a cuddle and a brush.
Thank you for helping us adopt such a fab cat and one who has fitted in with us brilliantly.

Bryn and Mars
Bryn and Mars
Our family cat died of an illness last June and our home wasn’t quite the same without her around. We decided we would visit Holly hedge at the end of the summer, so as soon as we were able we made our first visit. We were looking for two kittens and there were so many kittens available at the time, but two really stood out because they were so different and already you could see their different personalities. Mars was right next to the gate looking out at everyone and had the cutest little ears and a short stumpy tail and was just adorable, he was the last one of a litter of three kittens and had been put with another female kitten called Bryn. Bryn was a stray and was very shy, but with Mars being so confident they had been put together. We decided that day that we would have them, so after passing all the checks we were back a week later to collect them. As soon as we were home, Mars was straight out and wandering around and within a couple of hours he had been all over the house. Bryn on the other hand wouldn’t even come out of the cat basket and for the first few days would only come out when there wasn’t anyone around or only for food. By the end of the first week she was letting us stroke her and within two was completely a different kitten, she was so affectionate and wanted lots of attention especially when Mars was around, little bit of kitten rivalry going on there!!
They have settled so well and love playing with each other and anyone else who is around. Mars we have nicknamed mischievous Mars as he is always up to mischief and Bryn, well she just loves her cuddles and is always sneaking off to someone’s bedroom for a long nap. As you can see below, Bryn and Mars snuggled up together and very much enjoying their home comforts. We love them to bits and our home wouldn’t be the same without them.
From The Gurneys, Bryn and Mars xx