Furkidz_FB_Logo_2 By Linda Harding / The Squashed Tomato

My puppy is now asleep, and I finally have a moment to sit down and pen the first entry of our diary. You see, Noodle is a rescue puppy, and has an amazing story to tell. Despite her difficult start in life, her brown eyes sparkle with the promise of her life to come. As she lies here next to me, warm and totally content, I cannot help but smile. I may have saved her life, but little does she know that she has made mine infinitely better for being in it. Read more...

Noodle, also known as Noo, was rescued on 12 July 2011, at the estimated age of 5 months, from the Du Noon township in Cape Town's Northern Suburbs. Small, incredibly thin and extremely scared, Noo was spotted by a member of the African Tails rescue organisation and immediately scooped up. Lola, Noo's rescue angel, said that she took one look at Noo's eyes and knew that she was destined for great things in life. In the blink of an eye, Noo was removed from her township life and placed into a safe and loving foster home. A few hours later, whilst browsing on Facebook, Noo's little picture caught my eye – and I knew that she was going to be my dog.

As I type, it has now been 72 hours since Noo moved in with me. Despite having spent two weeks in loving care, she was still very skinny and literally attacked her dish every mealtime, eating so fast that her little belly would swell up enormously. She also had very itchy skin, which she would endlessly bite and scratch at. Although semi-housetrained, she forgot all about that when she arrived. For 72 hours, my mother and I have spent every second giving this little girl the attention she deserves to make a new start in life. She gets fed four small meals a day, at the same times, and each meal is supplemented with a mixture of home-cooked chicken, fresh veggies and brown rice (which we call "Noo's Nosh"). Using her food obsession to our advantage, we have already trained her to sit, to take food gently, and to do her business outside on the lawn – each time rewarding the good behaviour with "high value" treats such as ostrich liver biltong. We give her an "eggnog" mixture every afternoon, with milk, a whole egg and Efazol, a fabulous oil for skin and coat maintenance, which has already made a marked difference to her scratching and biting. Her coat, although wiry in nature, is also appearing much shinier.

When it comes to playtime, Noo is a little livewire. She absolutely loves playing with her ball, and we have already taught her to "fetch", "bring" and "give" – it is truly amazing to watch. We keep playtimes short, and rather calm, as she is currently on antibiotics to clear up a bacterial infection. Due to her infection, she gets quite sniffy and snores loudly at night. Once the antibiotics come to an end (she has had 5 out of 10 daily doses), we'll hopefully get the green light to inoculate her. After that, the world is our oyster...or, should we say, dog biscuit!

I cannot believe the changes we have seen in such a short period of time. It truly goes to show that, with the right amount of attention, love and care, any dog can prosper beautifully. This diary, which I will write on a weekly basis, will offer our hands-on hints, tips and advice for raising a rescue puppy. I also hope that it will provide some entertainment, as well as encourage anyone considering adopting to adopt a rescue puppy. Noo has truly changed my life. I hope you enjoy her story!