Once when I was about six years old, I came home to an Australian silky terrier we were to name Scruffy. My Mum had found him ambling along the road, and he subsequently decided to follow her. He had no collar, or microchip, and had clearly been stray for days (even weeks). Henceforth my mother made the decision to introduce the first-ever dog to her own family. His stay with us was short-lived, due to complications, but nonetheless he gave us the most remarkable experience. Years later we went on to have Ruby the beagle, and Sandy the American cocker spaniel – both of whom had made their lasting impression.
The sad truth is, millions of incredible dogs are left without a home, or find themselves subjected to improper treatment. (The latter which I find to be absolutely infuriating.) Dogs are the most beautiful creatures; ask anyone and you're likely to receive a consensus. So, to commemorate the very existence of canines, as well as the five months since Honey's adoption, it's about time I got gushy.
Rescued by the RSPCA late last year, 2-year-old Honey was heavily pregnant and soon gave birth to seven gorgeous puppies. (Yep, that's right: a puppy having her own pups.) One by one they were adopted, leaving Honey for last. It was around January that Mum had considered getting another dog, so she started looking around. Upon my suggestion, we took to looking for dogs at the RSPCA. And so our search ensued, and ended promptly. The RSPCA had done such a fantastic job looking after Honey in the meantime. Just meeting her had my Mum convinced. As a mother herself, she fell in love with Honey's spirit and beautiful character (and vice versa!). I met her the day after, and never before had I encountered a Staffy x Kelpie cross. She was – and still is – stunning. We just knew we couldn't wait any longer to have her.
Till this day her title as our little-but-not-so-little heart-stealer remains. With us, it's effortless. She's more than just a dog. She's an angel. Not once has she showed us a single speck of spite, but rather just, well, unconditional love. She's super affectionate, and fancies herself as a bit of a lapdog. She makes a great alarm clock every morning, too. (Did I mention she loves her baths?)
She's not only intelligent and inquisitive (you'd best bet she's one heck of a sniffing detective), but she also has the most charming personality. She's a big fan of cuddling, as well as showering us with licks. She loves running marathons in our backyard, digging up holes, and discovering new toys she's never seen before. She knows when we're leaving, or when she wants to go for a walk, and she'll groan in intervals indicating her sentiments. Truly, yes, we do communicate! She really listens to us, is good to us, even if she is a bit playful or attached. Yet there's no doubt she's insanely protective, too.
Why so? The simply answer being: she's lost trust in others. And for some reason I am still racking my brain for she had managed to open her heart to us so quickly, and not once has it faltered. Sadly, she is the most insecure girl I have met. Nothing comforts her more than our company. Her anxiety has been a prime issue, particularly the first couple of months after we adopted her. It wouldn't be right, of course, to not mention the days where we had our doubts and off-days. Socialising her is a risky task, and previous attempts have ended in major distress, as well as lots of tears on our end. We know it's not her fault, as she is a dog, and she's not brave enough to see beyond the worst of her experiences.
Despite her still not being particularly friendly upon the introduction of strangers, we've been working on it patiently and have since made leaps and bounds. When she does eventually come round to someone, she's back to herself!
Though we do we have the responsibility of making sure awry incidents don't occur again, she's certainly proven herself. She's given us hope, every single time she accepts one of our friends, or lets the neighbour at the corner of the street pet her. Her approach to humans and calmness during walks has improved tremendously. I get so excited to see her thrive, and the best part of the day? Coming home to an excited Honey.
I love her with all my heart, (and not just for the fact that we'd let her into our lives on Valentine's day, but purely) due to our undeniable bond. I've never met a dog like her, and in all respects she is certainly the most unique. She's really not just a pet, but a valuable member of our family.
You see, having a rescue dog isn't just about giving them a second chance. It's about being willing to give them many more, with the right love they deserve. It's about making a commitment – to a sentient being that is so incredulously willing to dedicate themselves to you.
Right now? She's being the puppy she was never allowed to be – and there is nothing more that makes my heart sing. Of course there is the innate fear with new situations: but we're all in it together. I can't imagine a life now without her; she adds so much colour to our lives. She's also unknowingly strengthened the bond between my Mum and I, which is absolutely priceless. In some ways, change brings on the most cherished of times.
For both her, and us.
If you're looking to get a dog, don't be scared to visit a shelter and meet the lovely dogs you'll find there, who are all in dire need of adoption. Don't be quick to judge, especially if it's based on breed, or put dogs from breeders on a pedestal, for you might find your canine best friend (or other types of pets) waiting for you – and for their second chance at life.