Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Getting a new family dog

After losing a dog people often say that they will never get another one. Here is my story.

Many years ago, my mom and I were involved with rescuing dogs. We were terrible. We would take one in with full intentions of re-homing it, but then decide that we could not pass it on to someone else, so we would keep it. The peak was when we reached 21 dogs!

Then my mom got married again and moved to Scotland, taking most of the dogs with her. Some stayed behind with me. One of these was Sid, a small, black Welsh Collie cross. He was really cute and really smart . After a while it became clear that we could not keep him, so we re-homed him with someone that was also involved with animal rescue. Seemed the ideal solution.

Then we moved house, along the coast to the next town. A week or so after arriving there I was riding my motor bike (this was before I became a dedicated cyclist) through the town and saw Sid walking along, all alone. I stopped and called him. It was a meeting of old friends. The Police Station was nearby so I locked my bike and took him there to report that I had found him and was taking him home. I called at the house where I had re-homed him but there was no sign of the owner and no one contacted the Police about him.

So we kept him for the next 10 years, until he was taken seriously ill and we decided to part with him - he was old and we do not agree with putting them through unnecessary treatment. I took him to the vets in the town we had previously lived in (about 6 miles away) in a taxi, stayed with him while he was put down and then walked back home. It was late evening - I could have taken a taxi again, or the train or a bus most of the way, but at times like that I like to walk. Sid was the last of the 21 dogs that my mom and I had owned years before. At that point I decided I did not want another dog. And life seemed to agree - we became very busy, moving house again, and it just seemed impossible to make the time for a dog again.

Time passed. The kids started asking about getting a dog. My eldest daughter wanted a West Highland White, and we were planning to get her one for her 18th birthday, but fate decided that she would not live to see that day. However, the thought had been planted and we came to thinking that having a dog might do us good as a family, but I still had my reservations. Slowly but surely the hunt for a new dog began, in local rescue centres and in the ads for breeders. Eventually we ended up, one spring morning, in a farm yard looking at a Golden Labrador and her 2 remaining puppies, and it was only now that I felt that I was really ready for another dog, 5 years after we had lost Sid.

As you will know from reading previous posts, we bought Custard and have not regretted it for a single moment.


Logziella said...

What a touching story John. My heart breaks every time I read about Sophie. I am so sorry. Custard seems to be a very good thing for your family. I'm glad you have him.

mindy said...

I used to foster dogs too and had the most difficult time giving them up...I'm surprised I didn't end up with a pack of them!

I'm sorry about your daughter, that is so sad...

Kiki said...

Ther are no words to offer except to say how sorry I am for your loss. Nothing can express the depth of pain that death brings and nothing but time will heal. Know that we hold you and your family in our thoughts, and I am so glad to hear that you went ahead with the purchase of Grover. I am sure that he brings a smile to your face daily, and a lightness to your family. All my best to you today.

Jahooni said...

so glad that there are animal lovers out there that will do anything to help them. Custard is a cutie pit for sure!
It breaks my heart right now that with all the fires we are having in California that animals are being left behind to burn to death. It is really sad. It makes me wish I could rescue all of them!

Logziella said...

Oh my gosh Jahooni!!!! I forgot you live RIGHT THERE in's your family and your house? How close are you to everything?

Terri said...

John, I'm so glad you wrote this. It seems that Custard came along at a time in your life when you needed him. I think Sophie would be happy that you made him a part of your family.

Ali said...

Yep - Custard was a blessing in disguise - there was definitely a reason you felt that was the right time for a new dog.
Hugs, hugs and more hugs.

Jen said...

I love that you could foster dogs, that you were a rescue and you kept them all. I would be the same way. Never wanting to part with a special soul in need of good love.

I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child. I am sorry for your loss.

Dogs are good for the spirit, mind and body. Custard is just as lucky to have found your family as you found him.

Rock Chef said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Logzie - Custard has been great for us all, I sometimes look at him and think he was sent to us.

Mindy - You fostered dogs? Ha, I knew that Otis was more than a fashion accessory!

Kiki - Thanks.

Jahooni - Are people being ordered to leave the animals behind? I guess in a situation like that there has to be an element of ruthlessness, but I must say I cannot imagine doing that.

Terri - This was, of course, prompted by you. As I said above, I sometimes thimk he was sent to us, and if that is the case I am sure Sophie had a hand in it.

Ali - A blessing, but no disguise - he has been wonderful from the start!

Jen - Thanks. The pain of the loss is unimaginable - I may have hinted at this in some older posts, maybe one day I will go into detail, but I doubt it. Custard has been a great part of the healing that we have managed so far.