‘Soppy’ six-foot dog named Basher finally finds home after two-year struggle

A dog who measures in at 6ft tall when standing on his back legs has finally found his forever home after waiting more than two years in the RSPCA’s care. Three-year-old mastiff Basher made headlines after struggling to find a home due to his huge size and his fears about the big wide world.

He arrived in the care of The William and Patricia Venton Animal Centre – run by RSPCA Cornwall Branch – in St Columb in July last year after spending 18 months in other rescue centres looking for a home. Sammy Howard, from RSPCA Cornwall, said: “Basher was rescued in January 2020 and moved around rescue centres as we struggled to find adopters who were willing to take him on due to his size and his challenges.

“When he stands on his hind legs he’s almost 6ft tall – meaning he’s taller than most of the staff looking after him.

“While he’s a big lad, he’s an absolutely soppy gentle giant, and we all truly fell in love with him during his time with us but we were so desperate to find him the perfect home.”

After a total of 32 months in RSPCA care – and at least three failed adoptions – Basher finally met his perfect match and, in September, he went off to his new home, just a few miles down the road from the centre.

New owner Anna spotted his story on Facebook after a friend – who works at the rescue centre – shared it.

She said: “I’d just moved into a new home and had been thinking about getting another dog; I could see it working here for Basher as we’re very isolated and rural, and we have more than five acres.”

Anna went to meet Basher at the centre multiple times, spending time with him so he could get to know her, and taking him for walks.

She added: “I didn’t realise at that point how desperate they were to find him the right home. I spoke to the behaviourist and asked if he had a good soul because I could work through any other problems. She said, at that moment, that she knew we were meant to be together and that he’d be okay.

“I could tell that he just needed someone to give him a chance and to give him time to settle into a new home and a new way of life.”

After a few short visits to her home with RSPCA staff, Basher then moved in permanently in September to start his new life with Anna, her 14-year-old son, their two other dogs and a foster dog.

Anna said: “Basher is so gorgeous and is doing so well; it’s lovely to see. He is so adorable; he gives the best hugs. He’s incredibly sweet and he’s such an asset to have as part of our family; he’s really just loving life now.

“The other day I looked out of the window to see him sleeping in the grass in the sunshine; he looked so relaxed and I wondered to myself when the last time was that he felt so content.”

Basher – who weighs 60kg (9st 6lb) – had been rehomed before but struggled to settle into a house setting, destroying furniture. Now, he enjoys living outside.

Anna said: “The dogs live out in the stables and barn where they have carpet and their own sofas, although Basher has already destroyed three! He really suits living outside and he’s now finally learning how to be a dog. He’s picked up a lot from my other dogs and I’m just giving him the space he needs.

“I come from a farming background and worked with cattle in the past so his size didn’t phase me; he’s certainly smaller than a cow! And I’ve been used to having dogs who live outside on the farm so he really suited our lifestyle.

“He still has challenges; the other day he heard glass being thrown into the recycling lorry and he was terrified. I took him into the barn, his safe space, and we had some fun to distract him.

Anna added: “He’s got a lovely life here; he has lots of space and land to explore, the other dogs to mix with, he never wears a lead, and free-roams around the fields as he pleases. He loves to sit in the grass, watch the world go by, and spend time with us – preferably getting his back rubbed.

“I don’t know if he’ll ever make it into the house. He comes into the kitchen but that’s as far as he gets. He’s getting used to normal things like the dishwasher being unloaded. It’s a gradual process but he’s already come on so much.

“I have to watch him, read his behaviour and interpret what he needs. But we’re learning together and I think we’ll get there. I can see why he’s been difficult for people in the past, I think he’s missed out on so much in his early life and he gets over-excited and frustrated.

“But so far he’s proved himself at every hurdle we’ve faced and I feel like he’s really trying. I’m so proud of him and I’m so pleased he’s here with us.”

Basher is one of the lucky ones. The RSPCA is hoping to shine a light on the hundreds of animals currently in its care who are looking to find their forever homes.

The charity’s Adoptober campaign revealed that its rescue centres and branches across England and Wales are facing more animals coming into care, more animals being abandoned, but less people looking to adopt , due to the cost of living crisis.

Could you offer a rescue pet a loving new home? Visit Find A Pet to see all of the animals currently in their care who are looking for their match. To help RSPCA Cornwall continue its vital work, visit its JustGiving page to make a donation.