RONAN.. is a beautiful young purebred lab boy who landed in  Dundalk pound two weeks ago with his brother, Dixon

The pair of them were very stressed in the pound and last week, both were on the put to sleep list -  two unwanted young boys that had clearly been half-starved.

Wonderfully, as soon as they were out of the pound and into a foster home, the two boys transformed.  They are both extremely sweet and loving -  playful of course because they’re only young (we think about six months) and no one has put any time in to them, but these two have all the makings of lovely family dogs.

UPDATE 4/3/11

New pix of Ronan and Dixon reveal that they are a little older than they looked from their picture in the pound - perhaps 8-10 months.

The great news is that they are both wonderful - good-looking, working-bred labs who are affectionate and extremely well-behaved. Other than the fact that they eat like ravenous wolves, their Irish foster dad is full of praise for them, commenting on their perfect recall and how quick they are to learn.  He says they are a real pleasure to have around.

UPDATE 31/3/11

Ronan and his brother arrived 10 days ago and they are both just lovely - sweet, unassuming, biddable boys who will make wonderful family dogs. We still think they’d be fine as a pair as they really do get on very well, but, equally, they’d be great on their own and do not fret when separated from each other as long as they have you for company.

Ronan is the more confident/bolder of the two - more likely to head off to explore, and less likely to fret when left.  He is clearly working-bred and we think he has potential as a gundog.

Ronan is great with other dogs, people and children.  We are pretty sure he’d be good with cats too.

Ronan is completely housetrained, settles brilliantly in the house, is great in the car, good on the lead and although doesn’t have quite the same pin-sharp recall as his brother (he took longer to stop after a deer proved too tempting to chase on Salisbury Plain earlier this week!) but he is still very good and with a bit of training will be perfect. He adores water (and the muddier the puddle the better!) Like his brother, a classic family labrador.

UPDATE 20/5/11

Ronan has now been with us for 10 weeks or so and has grown up and learned a lot since his brother was rehomed.

He’s a lovely boy in the house - unassuming, rather submissive to the other dogs, lives for a hug and a cuddle but doesn’t demand it. You’d hardly know he was there most of the time.

Out, he absolutely loves his walks - and gets terribly excited on his way in the car.  Off-lead on Salisbury Plain, I never have to worry about him  - he runs flat out a lot of the time,  a mud-seeking missile (as you can see from the video below left) but keeps you within sight and keeps checking back in.  He does not, unlike my two collie-monsters, chase cars...  On lead, he is a an angel - walks beautifully by your side, no pulling (and he learned this very quickly).

Ronan has two small issues his new family need to be aware of. The first is that he will bark for 15/20 minutes when left, even if with another dog, so this needs some work. The second is that although he’s terrific with all the dogs here and has been fine with every dog he has met when out, we’ve had one blip: he took great exception to Sammy when he met him last week and despite some effort to reassure Ronan that Sammy was the nicest dog on the planet, Ronan was having none of it. Every time I let them off-lead together, Ronan would make a bee-line for Sammy and growl at him (only a growl, not a bite, but it scared Sammy who is a very submissive boy).

It was, as it happens, my fault, completely - and it just shows the care we all need to take when introducing one dog to another - especially a young, impressionable one still finding his feet in the world.

So what happened? Knowing that both boys are submissive and good with other dogs, I didn’t take my usual precautions  when introducing them... I took Ronan in on a lead  into the garden of Sammy’s foster home where Sammy and two other dogs crowded round him to say hello. This completely unnerved Ronan who, like many rescue dogs, felt compromised by being “trapped” on-lead, and he growled - which then prompted a rather alarmed Sammy to growl back. It was a nervous growl from Sammy (who is bigger than Ronan but a total pacifist) but Ronan, who is an impressionable young lad, got it into his head that Sammy was out to get him.

With more careful introductions (and we will show you how), Ronan’s new family should not see this problem. We are doing some work on this now (and haven’t seen the same reaction with any other dog).  Obviously, it is important to know this but don’t let it put you off. Ronan is a pussy-cat at heart -  and the most loving boy.

UPDATE 9/6/11

Ronan has grown in confidence and seems much more relaxed with other dogs now - still a tiny bit anxious with new ones, especially males, , but there is no vocalisation or any attempts to lunge.  He plays very happily, and nicely, with all our youngsters and likes to curl up with them (or us!) at the end of the day.

Ronan is fully vaccinated, wormed, flea-treated and was neutered last week..

If you are interested in Ronan , please email asap.  He is being fostered with us just south of Marlborough in Wiltshire.

There is an adoption fee of £150 + VAT (total £180) for Ronan, which includes the cost of transporting him from Ireland.

(added 1/3/11)

Above... Ronan the mud magnet and, below,  a very scared boy in the pound in Ireland

Above, the latest pix of Ronan, in foster with us near Marlborough in Wilts.

Below: at his first UK foster in Oxfordshire