LUKE'S STORY

Luke first arrived at HULA in August 2008. It's been a long journey for him but he has now found a wonderful new home with HULA volunteer Heather Spragg.

Photo of Luke the dog

SPRING 2010


Hello everyone, my name is Luke and I am one of HULA’s special dogs. I am a bouncy, happy boy, who loves people once I get to know them and I am always looking for new adventures to explore, such as a new ball to chase, catch games and new tricks. Agility is my passion and ambition in life!!

Photo of Luke the dog
I am very friendly chap and love to meet other dogs. I am an excellent communicator with them and can always tell if they are up for a play with me, or just want to chill and have a quiet sniff and a chat.

A walk in the woods

Photo of Luke the dog
Now you know a bit about me, I thought I would get one of my human friends Heather, to write and tell you about my lovely walk in the woods the other evening with Dizzy and Denzil the rough collies and Heather, who cares for them. Also, Debbie, who is one of the staff at HULA who cares for me and loves me loads !!

Debbie and Heather arranged to meet at HULA first, this was a great surprise to me, as they didn’t tell be before hand, so I jumped in the HULA van with great anticipation as usual, not sure where I was going, but I knew it was going to be fun!!! About ten minutes later, we arrived at Apsley Heath woods, where I was taken out the van on the lead to have my first encounter with Dizzy and Denzil.

Photo of Luke the dog
Dizzy was a very pretty girl, but a bit shy. I soon showed her I was a friendly lad and she wagged her tail and relaxed. Denzil, is a big strong boy, up for a good game, but not quite as bouncy as me. But he let me know he wanted to say hello and then a steady walk, so I agreed. (They are a bit laid back, which does me good). Then, off we went. There were so many nice smells and things to see, that I didn’t know what to go to first. It was a lovely spring evening and great to be out of my kennel block and making new friends. I am very good on the lead, but Debbie let me have an extendable lead so I could run about with Dizzy and Denzil a bit as we had lots of trees to sniff and sent mark!! Tee Hee, naughty naughty!!

Photo of Luke the dog
On the way round, we met a man with a young black labrador, he looked like he was up for a bit of a game, so I introduced myself gently, found he was so we had a little bounce around and chase together. Debbie had to join in too as I was still on the lead as Woburn is a big place for me to get lost in.

After about an hour or so, we arrived back at the van. I said my goodbyes to Dizzy and Denzil and climbed into my travel crate for a rest. Debbie then took me back home.

I do love my trips out and I am such a good boy.

Bye for now,

Luke (and my friend Heather who wrote this for me, as I can’t read or write!)



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19TH JUNE 2010


It is now the end of term, for Luke at training school. On Saturday afternoon, he jumped into the HULA van, almost knowing by now where he was going. Made it even better when Steve and Debbie came along too.

We arrived at the training paddock in warm sunshine, which reflected Luke’s mood. Warm, sunny and ready for action!! Yes, he was excited as usual. But even better, all the agility equipment had been set up. He was in heaven!!

Photo of Luke the dog
Angela decided to let him go first as he could hardly contain himself. So we lined up and off we went. He did a couple of jumps, but then lost concentration as he wanted to play with the other dogs. I got him back and had another go. Again, concentration was lacking because he got over excited and upset Karl a little. So, Nicola took Karl off site for a little walk. I then had to do some steady walking and down stays with Luke, to bring him down a level, so he would concentrate on the job in hand. It worked; all distractions were out of the way, so we tried again. This time, I was able to maintain his attention and retrieve it back a couple of times. This enabled us to complete most of the jumps, the tunnel, the cloth tunnel, the tyre hoop and the high walk platform several times with no problem. Only one who needed training was me – to slow down and remember my route. So I guess, I am the one that needs the most training now!!

Luke then went into the back paddock to have a rest and have a go at the dog memory puzzle. This is a training tool a bit like a babies block toy, where you fit the shapes in the holes. But instead, Luke had to find treats under the shapes and move sliding blocks to get at more treats. He is a very clever dog and only had to be shown a couple of times, then the pieces of sausage were all his. He was very calm when carrying out this exercise and kept his attention on me and the puzzle block all the time. Well Done Luke.

Photo of Luke the dog
The next task was new to Luke, it was finding objects by scent. Angela hid various items for Luke to find, one of them was very fluffy with a treat inside, which got his attention. These were hid in easy places at first, like under some branches in front of him and in the agility tunnel. No problem for Luke!! So Angela then made it harder, by hiding the fluffy toy in the long grass at the far end of the paddock. Luke bounded over, I told him to find and he did !! Only problem, he didn’t want to let go, so I stood on it to claim the toy back. He gave it up eventually. We tried again and he then started to leave when told.

Finally, it was Luke’s favourite bit, play time with the other dogs. He was shaking and whining with excitement. Sat while I unclipped his lead, then told him to go play with the other dogs. They all had a great time for about twenty minutes.

To Luke, this had been his end of term party; I believe he went back to his kennel for a long sleep and happy dreams.

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AUGUST 2010 - Agility Class

At last, a lovely sunny, warm summer’s day for Luke’s Sunday agility training!!

I collected him from HULA late afternoon, ready for his training to start at 5.30pm. He knew exactly what we were going to do and was so excited, it took a while for him to calm down so I could get his harness on. Once in the car, he calmed down and enjoyed the journey.

Photo of Luke the dog
We always arrive at least half an hour early so we can go for a nice steady walk through the parks around Milton Keynes. Today, we went a little further than normal following bridle path leading into a huge field, then diverting to the left, leading to a wooded area. It was great country side and Luke loved being in the open space and didn’t stop wagging his tail. He is wonderfully behaved when we meet other dogs. There were two young girls having a water fight in the park. They were throwing full watering cans in the air, so they came down like a big water bombs. Luke just watched with interest, but was not afraid and did not bark.

Photo of Luke the dog
I estimated the walk, so we got back to the training site on time, Luke could hardly wait to get started. Angela had set up jumps and the tyre jump into two lines. My job was to work Luke from the middle of the lines, making him weave and jump in and out. This was harder than it looked, but by the second go, we had got the hang of it. In fact, Luke was so focused on the commands; he completely ignored a jogger that ran through the site. We stopped, let the jogger go by then carried on. He got a nice sausage treat and lots of fuss for that, as at one time, he would have just wanted to run after him.

Photo of Luke the dog
The second course Luke and I had to complete was a set of jumps set out in a circular pattern. I had to stand in the middle and get Luke to jump each one. Then call him into the middle on completion of a circuit. We then repeated the exercise in the revise direction. The best thing about this course for Luke was, we had to do it as fast as possible and he definitely likes FAST!!!! We started doing a left hand circuit, which was perfect and very fast. Then we had to do right hand circuit. Both Luke and I are not used to handling on the right, so this was slow and rather disjointed. Angela came to the rescue and instructed me how to get him focused and going forward this way round. We tried again, this time a little better, but we need more practice!! Again, something that seemed so simple was harder than it looked.

Finally, Luke and his friends got their big reward, yes, at last, off the lead play !!!!!!!

Photo of Luke the dog
Luke is quite laid back about this now and does not charge around so much. He greets them, has a little run round, then wanders off to find some interesting scents. A much more laid back approach as he is getting used to being off lead with other dogs. His recall in is brilliant, coming to me immediately. I continue to call him in and give a treat, then send him away to play again, before finally calling him to be put back on the lead.

What a great evening we both had. Luke went back to his kennel happily for a well earned rest.

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AUGUST 2010

Luke has just completed six weeks agility training and he is improving in leaps and bounds, Tee hee !! Over the training period, his confidence has increased so much that he is now happy to follow other handlers, take treats and work really hard around the course.

At first, he was a little naughty when other handlers tried to take him round, he kept wanted to run off to play, come back do a jump, then run back to me. He has now learnt that if he completes the full course, he gets lots of fuss and praise, plus a lovely treat.

Photo of Luke the dog
He now works like a dream and hangs off your every command. He is excellent at the tunnel, the tyre jump, the high walkway, the table (although he needs more practice on the time he needs to stay on the table) he is just keen to get on with the rest of the course. He jumps as high as you put the jumps, the higher, means more exciting!! He can do the weave poles, but needs more practice.

He is very fast and I have had to learn how to slow him down, or I get lost on the course. He listens intently and always wants to please.

Photo of Luke the dog
He gets on wonderfully with the other dogs and all the handlers love him. Angela’s husband Steve, even gave him a treat at the last training session then kissed him on the head. Amazing, Luke just sat and wagged his tail; his trust of people is truly taking over, which is lovely to see. He also climbed on my knee to watch the other dogs go round the course, and then licked my face as if to thank me for bringing him to agility to have a good time.

I have never seen him so happy as when he is at agility. He will make someone a brilliant agility dog.

Well done Luke. xx

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SEPTEMBER 2010 - Agility Training

Photo of Luke the dog
Hello, its Heather again, just writing up a progress report for Luke. He would really like to say to you all how much he absolutely loves his agility classes, but all he can do is whine with excitement an constantly wag his tail. But, the other trainers tell me that his face has changed. It has lost the tension and looks relaxed and almost smiling.

He was so excited when we went to Milton Keynes on Sunday; as usual we started with a walk. This time through a long wood covered path that leads to one of Milton Keynes large lakes. This helps get him into a calm state so he is able to concentrate on the task ahead.

Photo of Luke the dog
This week, the jumps were much higher and the course was twisty with long fast stretches. Luke took it in his stride and completed the course with speed and accuracy, with the only wrong turn caused by me getting lost ! He now waits if I get lost, as if to say, well mum, which way now? He doesn’t’ think we have finished and run off. In fact, at the end he stops, sits and waits for a treat and lots of fuss.

The high dog walk was out this week. Luke loves this and we went over it a couple of times in one circuit. He completed it the best out of all the dogs taking part. In fact, he would just go up and down that one all day if we let him!!

This week, we continued to practice the right hand circuit, I am still distracting Luke with my left hand, so Angela made me hold my bum bag with it, so I didn’t wave it about. He is very good at keeping an eye on me when I have to cross over to the shortest route round the jumps now. We are both learning together, but I think he is making faster progress and loves learning new skills. He is such a happy and very clever boy these days it is a pleasure to watch him.

Photo of Luke the dog
At the end, they all had off lead play and lots of fuss and treats from all the trainers.

As you can see from the photographs he is very well behaved and polite when being given a treat, especially from very nice ladies!!

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"Enjoying a break from kennel life"

Recently Luke has been enjoying some time out of his kennels at HULA. Volunteer Heather Spragg has spent many hundreds of hours getting know and training Luke at classes. She has also given him some much needed "home life" as you will see from the pictures below.

Photo of Luke the dog Photo of Luke the dog Photo of Luke the dog Photo of Luke the dog Photo of Luke the dog Photo of Luke the dog

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A new forever home

Hello to all my friends at HULA,

Photo of Luke the dog
Just to let you know that I have settled into my new home very well and have two new house mates called Dizzy and Denzel. They are collies, so yap a lot, but I am getting used to it and quite often join in. I used to be such a quiet boy!! They are teaching me a lot about how to behave in a family environment and I am learning quickly as I do!!! I haven't broken or stolen anything, so my wild days seem to be coming to an end. In fact, I like nothing better than going for a walk in the park and chasing my ball when not too my people are around and bounding over the fields for a long explore with Heather. But, best of all I love curling up on my chair to sleep in front of the real fire heavenly peace at last, hurray!!

Photo of Luke the dog
I had a great Christmas with lots of presents, such as a pigs ear, treats, a squeaky newspaper and LOTS of Balls !!!!!!!!! I also got a new collar, coat and dog tag. I had a turkey dinner and my eyes nearly popped out when it was cooking, but I still sat well behaved and watched.

Photo of Luke the dog
I miss my friends at HULA, particularly all the staff who looked after me for so long. I miss going in the house with Steve and Debbie and I am always pleased to see them when I pay a visit. But I am happy now I can relax in my own home. In fact, Heather says I have become a very cuddly, affectionate dog, who'd of thought it. I hope to continue with my training so I can build up more confidence with people I don't know very well and Heather said she would take me to agility if I get on well with my social training, Hurray!!!!!!!! I can't wait.

Well bye for now,

Love and Licks from Lukey

Photo of Luke the dog

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Update two years on

Photo of Luke the dog
It has been two years at Christmas since we adopted Luke. They say a dog is for life, not just for Christmas and with Luke, that is certainly true. We could not bare to part with him now, as he has turned into the most loyal, loving, well behaved dog anyone could wish for. Julian loves cuddling him on the sofa and Luke is a big softy with him.

In the past, his big fear was of tall men, what a change in him now...
  • Luke loves his walks and goes off lead and never goes far from our side. If he does, he comes running straight back at a great speed when called. He loves his play mates, Denzel and Lily and they get on great as a family pack. Luke loves his ball, but always gives it up to Denzel when Denzel indicates. Luke is not the head of the pack, but is very amenable and gets on great with the other dogs.
  • We are so glad we gave him a chance, as due to his fear aggression, he may never have known what a home was like. This aggression has now gone, but we are still always cautious around strangers, so he and the people that meet him feel safe.
  • He has been into boarding kennels a couple of times and was very well behaved. But most of the time, he comes on holiday with us. He has stayed in a hotel and cottage and was a perfect gentleman.
  • We love him to bits and are looking forward to a lovely family Christmas in our new house in Aspley Guise. Yes, he now lives down the road from HULA, but seems to like the area, especially the wood.

Thanks again HULA for the chance you gave him over the long two years he was with you and the training and help you gave him. He may not have had that chance anywhere else.

He says thank you very much too. Woof woof xx

Heather and Julian

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