A DOG owner says a rescued German Shepherd has come on ‘leaps and bounds’ after finding his new home in Basildon.

Bill Jeffs, 63, of Craylands, Basildon, and his wife Lesley adopted seven-year-old Dakota in January last year. 

The pooch had been at Dogs Trust Basildon since March 2022.

Bill said: “He’s cheeky, very cheeky and he loves playing ball.

“It’s an interesting concept because he doesn’t really play fetch, he just puts the ball in his mouth and expects you to chase him around and get it off him.

“I’m in my 60s now so my running days are a bit behind me.”

Bill and Lesley’s previous dog died and they "didn’t like being without a dog" which led them to browse the Dog’s Trust website where they found Dakota.

The couple visited him at the Dogs Trust Basildon rehoming centre and started having Dakota visit their home for a few hours over a few weeks.

Bill and Lesley like bigger dogs like huskies and they found out Dakota had been in Dogs Trust kennels for a year with not much history prior.

Bill added: “It looked like he was a dog who needed a home so we gave him that.

“Dakota is quite a nervous dog and can be very stressed at times, he barks when he hears phones so we’ve turned down the volume on ours.

“We have to let people gradually meet him when they are first introduced but once that’s done he is fine.

“Due to the prior history we don’t know if he’s had any past trauma, if he’s been beaten or anything like that so we have to gauge each situation very carefully.”

During his time at Dogs Trust Basildon, Dakota worked with the training team and took part in positive reinforcement training.

Lisa Cooper, centre manager at Dogs Trust Basildon, said: “He came on leaps and bounds during his time here, and we are so happy he’s settled with his forever family – what a fantastic success story.”