We recently spoke with Claire Clark to learn how she ended up with seven dogs, many of whom were rescued through EverMore.
Listen to Claire tell her pack’s story below, or scroll down for an abridged transcript of the interview as well as a photo gallery.
The Clarks’ pack:
- Lola – first EverMore dog, adopted April 2019 (now 4 years old)
- Lucy – second EverMore dog, adopted June 2019 (now 4 years old)
- Wilbur – third EverMore dog, adopted October 2019 (now 3 years old)
- Willow – fourth EverMore dog, adopted December 2019 (now 7 years old)
- Ronnie – fifth EverMore dog, adopted February 2020 (died in Aug 2021 at c. 11 years old)
- Max – sixth EverMore dog, adopted October 2021 (now 3 years old)
- Plus Alfie, a UK rescue (10 years old)
- and 10-year old springer spaniel Ziggy
How in the world did you end up with seven dogs?
Well, it was by accident, actually, believe it or not. We originally had three dogs from from the UK and then one of them died suddenly from cancer. And we saw an advert for what ended up being Lola. At the time, we didn’t realize that she was from Romania; there was her and her sister that were both being fostered over here and we just fell in love with Lola. That was back in April 2019.
We had our two other original dogs, who were both sort of getting on a little bit, and we just thought it would be nice for Lola to have another younger dog to play with. We started to get to know Marilyn and EverMore Dog Rescue … and you know, once you’re on Facebook and you see all these sad stories, all these dogs, you just can’t say no.
So then we ended up taking in Lucy; we adopted her only a couple of months later. And then we ended up taking in Wilbur in October/November-time that year, and then Willow in December. So we ended up having five.
Then Marilyn put a post on Facebook, in like January 2020, saying nobody wants to adopt the older sort of dogs. There was a group of older dogs and one of them was a disabled dog called Ronnie. And I just thought, ‘Oh, you know, we could help him’. He just needs a comfortable sofa and somebody to love him. So we ended up taking Ronnie in as well.
That was in February 2020 just literally just before lockdown sort of started. But he was more disabled than we thought and by the time he’d got over here, he couldn’t even stand. He couldn’t walk at all. He had pressure sores. He was in a really bad way. So we ended up spending a lot of time rehabilitating him. We had physio and hydrotherapy, which he wasn’t very keen on, but it was good for him and we got him to the point of being able to walk some of the time; we had to help him with a harness on his back end. But he had a wonderful, a wonderful time because [our home has] so many dogs.
We book a secure dog field at the weekends. So at the weekends we go out and all the dogs can just go absolutely wild. When he came over from Romania, they estimated his age at being around 10. Unfortunately, he died the following year. So we had him for about 18 months; he died in August 2 years ago.
Then we saw this very sad story of Max who’d been kept on a chain in Romania and the chain had gone into his neck. He had really bad neck injuries. Poor dog. He was obviously absolutely petrified of people and everything. And we just thought, oh, you know, we could take him in, we could look after him. So we brought him over in October.
He’s been the hardest one because obviously he had such a hard start to his life. He’s got a lot of fear and anxiety, so I still see a trainer every week. He’s fine with our dogs, but he has issues around other dogs and people; he’s scared of a lot of things.
So it was just by accident, really. We never, ever intended to have [so many] dogs. But once you get past three, one more doesn’t seem to make a huge difference.
What’s it like juggling all their unique personalities and needs?
They tend to be [in] two groups. There’s the young ones and the old, older ones.
Willow, when she came over from Romania – she’s the one who looks a bit like a Labrador – she was about three when she came over and she’s coming up to six. Now, she’s sort of classified in the older age group with our two original dogs. They tend to like the quiet life, you know. And then we’ve got the younger age group – they all play together and like a bit of rough and tumble and what have you.
So we just sort of try to, you know, meet their needs as best as best we can. We’re lucky as we’ve got quite a big house with lots of rooms, it’s not all open-plan. So we can separate them if we want to. Like for instance, at the moment Willow wants her own space so she’s in the kitchen. She just likes peace and quiet.
If you were going to give one piece of advice to somebody who’d never rescued a dog before, but was considering it, what would you say?
I think you’ve got to be prepared to give it time because a lot of the dogs have never lived in a home before and they have a long journey over to the UK. So you’ve got to be patient. They’re not going to immediately be your best friend sitting on your lap cuddling you and each dog is different. But if you put in the time and the effort, then you will get it back 10,000-fold.