Joy, tears and an inspiring book.

Rina was our miniature poodle.

She came into our lives ten years ago when she was aged six. She stole our hearts and inspired me to write Two Poofs and a Poodle. (I’m in the process of getting this manuscript published, but that’s another story.)  Rina died on the 30th November 2016 and Bayu and I cried an ocean. We’d shared a spectacular life.  Great memories remained, but I was consumed by grief and swore I’d  never get another dog.

Now it’s funny how life works.

The day before Rina died, a white Bali street dog walked into our house, sat down beside Rina and guarded her for the next twenty-four hours. Occasionally he walked over to me, lay his head in my lap, accepted a pat and then returned to Rina’s side to continue his vigil. He stayed on after she died, but I didn’t want another pet. I decided to find him a good home after I recovered from my sadness. I was never getting another dog. NEVER!

And then I read Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt.

The whole book is an inspiring read. David Rosenfelt and his partner lived in California and they were devoted to rescuing older dogs and especially golden retrievers. Animal refuges would ring them if an old dog was found or surrendered. They adopted many of these aged dogs and offered them a safe and loving home where they could live out their remaining days. But they couldn’t take them all. Instead they worked their networks and found loving homes for thousands of these dogs.

If you adopt dogs in the twilight years, death is always going to be a waiting companion. Somehow the Rosenfelts managed this and thrived. Every page told me to dry my eyes and appreciate the eight years I’d had with Rina. It told me to celebrate the memories. And as I read their adventure of moving their 25 aged rescue dogs across America with the help of 11 volunteers, I healed and realised adopting another older dog was not out of the question.

And then it happened.

In February 2017, Bayu told me of a dog he’d found living on the street. It had been abandoned months before and was barely surviving on rain water and scraps. He was covered in sores, had matted tangled hair, weighted only two kilograms and was a miniature something. Bayu’s a softy so had taken him to the 24 hour vet, had him clipped, cleaned and treated and left him there for the night until he worked out what to do with him.

“Do you want to look at a photo,” Bayu asked?

I knew what would happen if I looked but I did it anyway. Thirty minutes later we collected Temu, a miniature terrier and took him for a full examination at Sunset Vet, our preferred animal clinic. They assessed he was about eight to ten years old, had blood disorders, internal organ problems and a limited life expectancy, but we decided to give him a chance at love, a family off the street and worked towards his recovery. The vet assured us he was not distressed and medications might cure him, or at the very least allow him to live happy months or years.

After a week on a drip Temu came home. Over the next 10 months he thrived until he didn’t. He was good for about 2 months each time and then needed a few days of treatment at the vet. In November, 2017, Temu’s kidneys failed and he died peacefully that night. I cried as I buried him in the garden near Rina, but my joy at remembering his naughty playfulness pushed away the tears. I’d promised him a good life for as long as he lived and I’d delivered.

Temu and Joe, the white Bali dog were inseparable playmates, but now Joe was alone again. Of course, I never got around to finding Joe a new home and he remains a vital part of our family.

What’s the future hold?

We’re ready to accept another rescue when one comes along, but we’re not rushing the process. What is meant to be will happen. Pets enrich our lives. Old pets deserve love as much as young ones. I’m old and don’t want to be discarded to the street. I’m sure my friends must be tempted at times. Yes, I am ready for a new rescue, but I’m after another miniature; a dog I can spoil and who can sleep on my bed. It will happen when the time is right.

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