Rescue Stories – Bandit The Rescue

Bandit the rescue

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Rescue Stories - Bandit The Rescue

From A Stray Of Bosnia To A Loving Forever Home

Bandit’s Story

Bandit (formally known as Bumble) was a stray dog on the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia. September 2017 he was found at the local kill pound, awaiting termination, by a lady called Milena who is the founder of the Saving Suffering Strays Sarajevo charity, that rescue strays/ abandoned dogs and try to restore them back to good health, and appeal for people to adopt them.

Milena decided to save Bandit among many dogs awaiting a horrible, unfortunate fate, and had him taken to a dog’s safe haven, sharing a compound with a lot of other rescued dogs until he had a ticket on the ‘Happy Bus’.

March 2018 and Bandit had his ticket on the Happy Bus, taking him from Sarajevo to Derbyshire in the UK where he arrived late on Thursday 22nd March at a kennel called Just For Dogs in Brailsford. The next day, we went to view Bandit having been sent my photo prior, and as soon as he was let out of his pen, he attempted to kiss me as I was sat on the floor so not to intimidate him.

We took him on a walk around the local area and he was a pleasure on the lead, he came across quite timid and shy at times but overall he seemed quite content with our company. After another visit a few days later, we decided that we wanted to adopt him and let JFD know that we would collect him on Wednesday 28th March 2018. The day he was collected he had been bathed, had his first collar put on and put in the car ready to go to his furever home aged approximately 3 years old.

Bandit the rescue
The first week of Bandit being at home he was an absolute pleasure, he loved to chew his toys up and was so gentle on walks. And every morning when we would come downstairs he was always so excited to see us.

We realised we had problems


Not long after having him at home, my parents came to visit with their dogs but before they introduced the dogs to Bandit, my parents wanted to meet Bandit and this is where we realised we had some concerns. Bandit appeared to become quite territorial at home and would growl at my parents, particularly my dad. We had been warned that he may have issues with men, typically those of a big build and that certain clothing could be a trigger for Bandit such as hats and hi-vis vests, all of this could be a trigger for Bandit due to the dog catchers in Sarajevo typically being men, wearing said clothes. My dad wasn’t wearing any of this but he is male and of a larger build compared to that of my husband.

My dad feeling comfortable around dogs, attempted to get down to his level to see if that would ease Bandit but it only seemed to make him worse and not only was he growling, but his heckles had come up. On one occasion he attempted to nip my dad’s finger when he was talking to his own dogs.

Following this, we were concerned about what that would mean moving forward with people visiting our homes. Every time we had a visitor Bandit would back off, growl and occasionally bare his teeth. Primarily this was with men but also women, we also realised that he didn’t like it if visitors were loud.
Bandit the rescue
Bandit the rescue

We all were consistent

After seeking support and reading up on different things we could try, we felt it best that every time we had guests we would tell them to ignore Bandit and let him come to you if he feels comfortable doing so. This seemed to work as Bandit would slowly make the move to getting close to guests so that he could sniff them, we also advised people not to fuss him straight away and that things would be on his terms.

Over months of building up Bandits trust with people he slowly started becoming more trusting of people, more so in the house than on walks but ultimately he became a lot more welcoming to guests and this once scared dog that would growl and bare his teeth, started to become more trusting of people in our home. Since we’ve had him we’ve hosted a lot of gatherings at our home, some of which have been parties with 20+ people (adults through to children/toddlers) and Bandit has been fantastic!

He seems so content and safe around people now to the point where he has built up a trusting relationship with the people at doggy day care. 

Bandit the rescue
Bandit the rescue

He had to learn to trust

He still occasionally gets spooked by people on walks, particularly joggers in hi-vis but this is few and far between. And when he gets spooked he tends to just bark at them whilst maintaining a safe distance. I feel with Bandit he had to learn to trust people, and even the relationship between myself and Bandit, as well as my husband and Bandit, that took some time as we were all trying to figure each other out.

Since having Bandit I have worked on making him feel safe, and giving him an affectionate relationship which typically involves lots of cuddles and fusses, and I believe that is something that has made a huge difference, even over food and having regular meals. Whilst my husband is predominantly the feeder, the walker, and the playful one with Bandit (not that I don’t do any of those things with him), I have always been the more affectionate one with him and because of this I feel he is more connected to me, and is more obedient to my commands. 

Bandit the rescue

We had issues

Before I finish off, we have had issues with him going in the car. It would be difficult to get him in the car, he would try to walk away from cars, and when in the car he would pant and drool excessively – but he would never vomit. We tried using treat rewards, anxiety tablets, sprays, sitting with him etc. anything to make the car a positive experience for him. We would only ever put him in the car when it meant he was getting a long walk out of it, an adventure for him, something new and exciting.
However nothing seemed to work but then gradually, and I mean gradually, Bandit became more accommodating towards the car. Two years on and he will willingly get in the car now but can get anxious if he is in it for too long, and by anxious he will start panting and getting a little restless, fidgety. But ultimately he is so much better, we also learnt that if he is wet he seems to settle more, and if we’re on a nicer roads like motorways, dual carriageways etc. compared to small, windy roads.
I think with Bandit it just took a while for him to associate cars with being something that takes him to exciting places where he can have a nice long walk/run, lots of interesting smells and of course day care!
Bandit the rescue

Special part of the family

Bandit is a special part of this family, and I am so proud of how far he has come. This once distrusting dog that was scared of people, is now very welcoming and will seek people when he wants a fuss, and to say how him and my dad first interacted, Bandit has no issues with cuddling up to him now. And whenever he goes to the vets, to the groomers, to dog fayres/ festivals everyone always says how calm and chilled he is, and how he is such a sweetie.
Our local groomer calls him Mr Perfect! And the family who run doggy day care on their farm absolutely dote on him because he’s never a problem, behaves himself and loves to play and cuddle. One final thing, Bandit was phenomenal at our wedding in March 2019, he behaved so well despite there being about 70/80 people around him, everyone commented how well behaved he was. 
Bandit is so unbelievably special, he has such a loving, funny, wonderful personality! I wouldn’t change him for the world.

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