Will you be Stitch's Valentine?
A lovable hound is looking for a home with women only after a difficult life has left him cautious and uncomfortable around men.
Stitch has been patiently waiting for the right home at Warrington, Halton & St Helens branch, in Cheshire, since June, and he hopes he may find his paw-fect match this Valentine's Day.
The three-year-old American bulldog cross arrived at the centre after being signed over by his previous owner who was struggling to cope and he was extremely nervous and shut-down.
Stitch was petrified of dog leads
Our animal welfare team leader, Alana Bibby, said:
"Stitch has made one of the biggest turnarounds and transformations, mentally, that we've ever seen here.
"When he first arrived he was petrified and very untrusting, particularly of men. He was terrified of a lead and when he saw one he'd bolt to the other side of his kennel and cower. We spent hours and hours just getting him comfortable with being in the same space as a lead, let alone putting one on him and taking him for a walk.
"He was really shut-down and scared of almost everything. He found it very hard to trust people and was exceptionally nervous around men so for his first few months he was handled by female staff only and then we gradually started to introduce him to male staff."
Stitch needs time to trust a new owner
Stitch fell in love with one particular senior staff member and would always get excited when she came to see him.
It gave us hope that Stitch would learn to love and trust again. It was a real turning point for him. Over the months, his outlook on life has changed and he's really blossomed, more than we ever could have imagined. He's come so far but we still need to find him a really special home - and lockdown has made it incredibly hard as potential owners haven't been able to come into the centre and spend time gaining his trust.
Stitch loves food, enjoys chasing toys and has become really affectionate with the staff members he knows, even the men. But his carers know that he'll always be nervous around men and, so, would like to find him a female-only home where he'll feel comfortable and safe.
Stitch now has a positive reaction to leads
"Now he even loves going for walks and gets really excited when he sees his lead, trying to do zoomies in his kennel! He has such a big smile and a waggy tail, it's lovely to see him so happy, at last. We're so proud of him and the journey he's been on but we're all desperate to see him go off to a loving new home.
"He didn't have a great start to life and hadn't had much exposure to the outside world when he arrived here so, while we've done our best to introduce him to as much as possible, there's still work to be done. We've introduced him to a muzzle which he's comfortable wearing when he's out and about."
Stitch will need a female-only house
Stitch would like a female-only, adult household with owners with previous experience of large breeds. He enjoys the company of other dogs so could live with another dog, and loves to play with canine friends when out on walks. He's a bright spark, knows lots of commands and is always keen to learn more so would love to continue with training.
Stitch has so much love to give and really is a big softy. We know he'll make someone the best companion they could ask for and has so much love to give.
Looking for love
Stitch isn't the only pet looking for love this Valentine's Day, take a look at our find a pet for your perfect match.