I have 2 dogs now.
After losing my faithful Dizzi on New Years Eve 2008 I held back from getting another. I did not want to replace my friend. She’d been with me and my family for 17 and 3/4 years (we say 18 for ease). My son was 4 and my daughter was 6, so we all grew as a family with Dizzi.
After finally feeling that the loss was bearable at some point last year (2012) I set about constantly hinting, whining, nagging, and such at my husband for another dog. Late last year he agreed. The search began. I set myself realistic targets, rules for type, size, age, gender etc. I trawled websites for rescue centres. That was my main aim. I wanted – a rescue dog, a female, 2 – 4 years old so out of the chewing everything stage, mid size, not fluffy (dogs shedding hair constantly is not my preference), quiet-ish, but most of all, one that reached my heart.
I looked at the RSPCA sites, I found one, she got rehomed before I even got to look at her in the flesh. I looked daily.
Oooo that one’s lovely, and aaah that one’s cute eminated from me and my stepdaughter. Hubby was not enthused. He did want us to have a dog, if only to shut me up, be he holds his feelings in reserve to save disappointment – my son’s like that so I understood.
Now two factors started to come into play, one I anticipated, money – to rescue a mutt in the UK from a centre currently costs upwards of £100, and that’s before you buy insurance, bedding, toys, food etc. We’re not rich. We’re not really poor, we just don’t have a lot and work hard to earn what we have, and it’s spent on the rising costs of living far too quickly. So, whilst hunting, I saved money, I collected food – a tin a week in the shopping didn’t get noticed, I scrounged for old throws for bedding and so on.
By Jan 2013 still no dog. My search went to twice daily until……………..
I mentioned it with a woeful tone to my line manager at work. He’s an animal man through and through and lost his dog to kidney failure in the December. He doesn’t mourn his friends in the same way as I – he rather prefers to think he’s doing his best for a dog each time he has one (he had 4 at one point, the eldest of these died age 15 2 years ago). SO he was soon trailing Norfolk looking for another to save. He found a rescue centre 50 odd miles away from base but was soon enthusing about their attitude and work and the fact that he went for one dog and came back with two.(bear that in mind as you read)
SO, I searched them on the internet and got in touch. I saw photo’s of a lonely female collie 2 years, shy, short haired – perfect… but I hadn’t got enough money. Katie was her name. Please wait Katie I said daily. The stepdaughter ooo’d and aaaah’d at the pictures. The rest of January came and went. Katie was still there.
We had a family loss, husband’s nan, and so he said I had to wait until March – let things settle. I agreed and Katie went to another home.
Then mid Feb, the centre brought across a bunch of dogs from Romania. They were gorgeous. All shapes and sizes and ages etc. I picked a couple. We went the 50+ miles one Sunday. After following a winding road to what seemed to be the depths of nowhere, we found F.A.I.T.H (For Animals In Trouble (there’s) Hope).
Now here’s where plans went wrong but in the best way ever.
We spotted the dog we had ‘picked’ from the website. Another spotted us and Paul took to it’s laughable pushing-for-a fuss attitude. The staff said to just wander and look and call if we needed help.
We looked. We found pigs (another story indeed). We found cats, stepdaughter was now gushing and pleading (a cat preference for her even though we have two already). We were even introduced to 2 resident peacocks. All very entertaining but I wanted my dog.
We looked and looked again, but only one touched my heart.
‘Chloe’ as she was called was shy and reserved. We asked to walk her, and it was more a case of drag and run and she tried to hide or run off whichever she deemed necessary at the time. This was going to be work. But I liked her.
So we asked for information. Female is about the only pre-requisite box she ticked. Chloe was large, fluffy, like a small german shepherd (in fact she’s a romanian shepherd dog we have found since), never been in a house let alone trained in any way, raw from the streets, then kennels of Romania and only 1 year old. But she was mine. I knew it. I could feel it.
So we walked a few others, but each time I looked longingly back at her, and to my surprise she did the same for me. Stepdaughter noticed. Husband noticed. But she didn’t tick all of the boxes so I looked for one that did.
My heart could not be over ruled. All the rest were too old, too loud, too male, too skittish, too temperamental … the excuses flowed.
So we had lunch and a chat and eventualy took ‘Chloe’ out again. We had travelled for 2 hours, walked various dogs for another 2 and I knew I couldn’t have left without her. Carrying cage was in the car ready. She was mine and I hers.
So then the question – how much? £130. Oooya! But I was prepared. I had saved for months.
What happened next I didn’t expect, want, need or could afford but somehow it happened.
Just as I was signing papers to make this fluffly mini german sherherd type 1 year old dog my own, a staff member came to us and said ‘before your sign for her do you want to look at a collie we have?’
Now Dizzi was a mixed collie. I say mixed not crossed as her mum was a bearded collie / border collie cross and her dad was a pure bred rough collie. I love collies. But No, I had my girl. The staff member listened to husbands “ok we’ll look” response rather than my ‘I’m busy with MY dog’ growl under my breath.
The next thing I knew a dog was sat next to my legs. He was lovely, true black and white, long haired border collie with the lightest brown eyes twinkling at me.
Please, please, oh lets walk him, were the cries from my human companions. HIM!? I don’t want a boy dog. I fail with boy dogs. I never can train boy dogs. I don’t know why but I can’t. I protested as the lead went on his neck. I protested as we walked the country lane. I protested as we walked again but this time with Chloe in tow ‘to see if they get on’.
To See If They Get On?! Who cares? I can afford one dog. I want only one dog. I want this young FEMALE dog.
Another £60 lighter I came home with Chloe – who has since been renamed Annie, but I also came home with a 6 year old male collie who was called Jodie – since renamed Joe.
We got him for ‘half price’ because he’d been at the centre a while after recovering from severe injuries from beatings and dog baiting attacks. Husband and stepdaughter adore him. I like him. I love Annie.
Having the two has had it’s benefits though. Annie learns from Joe, we had a mere 3 puddles in the house and she’s house trained. She walks on the lead beside him. And they are company for each other when we’re out. I don’t regret having Joe. I love having my fluffy Annie, even if I do have to clean up dog hair every day.
My Dizzi smiles at me from her photo and in my dreams. I think she approves too.
(https://www.facebook.com/nature.association.romania is just one rescue gourp, there are more). Dogs there are vermin to most people. They are left roaming, often chased down and maimed or even killed for fun, but they are still breeding in the thousands. Here in the UK we have a dog problem, in Romania it’s a dog crisis. JoeAnnie