Demanding clients and long working hours had left me weary and grumpy with a headache so I decided to take young Ruby for a quick stroll as even though it was overcast, it was still very humid. Having left her for an hour and half that morning to do the shopping run, I was dismayed when I returned and she’d managed to open the cleaning cupboard and destroy a packet of wet wipes and tumble drier sheets not to mention a Yankee Candle diffuser. So I thought a short walk when the dark destroyer and I could cool off would be the order of the day
As we strolled on one of my favourite walks along the country lane that runs past the cemetery, I came across an elderly gentleman who I frequently met on his way to the graveyard with a bunch of fresh flowers in his shopping bag when we always stopped to say hello. He had confided in me the day before that he’d just adopted his little Bichon Frise from the local animal sanctuary. The pint-sized dog, now called Max, had been seized by the RSPCA from a puppy farm. You could tell he adored this little dog sporting a brand new harness and sparkling collar. He proudly told me how when he went shopping the little dog was always waiting for him on his little blanket on the sofa right where he had left him and after Ruby’s adventure that morning I couldn’t help but feel a little envious.
He sadly confessed he’d lost his wife earlier in the year so had taken his new friend up to the cemetery to introduce them both to each other and also to let her know that he wasn’t on his own anymore so she didn’t have to worry about him. He was also thrilled that he’d seen and met so many people since walking the little fella and I suspected like many elderly folk, he had felt isolated and lonely since his wife passed.
Did angels have a hand in bringing these two souls together, I’d sure like to think so. As I waved to the companions walking home alongside each other my day suddenly didn’t seem quite so grey as I was reminded that there are good people in the world and sometimes just sometimes there are happy endings too.
Yesterday was one of the saddest days ever as my big beautiful black boy, Hobo at the grand age of 14 made his journey across rainbow bridge. As he featured so much within the pages of this blog I felt that it was only right that I shared it with you. Life is sure going to be different without the big lumbering panther lounging around the neighbourhood and I know many will miss him.
I remember well the moment we met at the rescue centre when he was six months old and had already been returned several times. He swaggered into our lives much like Thomas O’Malley from the Disney film The Aristocats, charming everyone that met him and spent much of his time visiting all the houses in the neighbourhood; many where he had a basket awaiting him and a meal! Whilst he didn’t have much time for other cats unless they were kittens he adored people and would lie in the sunshine waiting for a car or van to pull up outside the house so he could greet any visitors. In fact one unsuspecting carpet delivery driver realised he had a stowaway only when Hobo awoke half way through the journey across the Tamar Bridge into Cornwall. His stubborn ways have both amused us and caused exasperation in equal measures particularly when we had a cat flap installed and discovered that he was simply “too posh to push”; trust me 3am wake up calls which increased in volume if ignored were vexing to say the very least.
I am without doubt a little lost right now as thirteen and half years is longer than many friendships last and he was the very best kind of friend; one that kept your secrets and was never dishonest. Without doubt he definitely chose us and if anyone is thinking of adopting an animal please don’t overlook the shy ones, the odd looking ones, the ones abandoned because of allergies or not enough time. They’re often the ones that so deserve that chance and I think Hobo would like that because I wouldn’t have missed the last thirteen and half years for a heartbeat.
I’d like to think of him up in heaven sprawled across the garden furniture in the sunshine as he so often did keeping the old fella company whilst he drank his cuppa and read his newspaper. RIP big boy & give the old fella a kiss for me x
I think it’s fair to say that since the old fella passed I’ve lost my way a little stumbling around like a lost soul but I think he’d approve of me becoming self-employed which is my first step in moving on. Bereavement without a doubt, leaves a gaping hole in your life and I vowed that because of the poor experience which we had with Dad’s care that I would make something positive come out of a bad situation; so meet Miss Wigglebum.
I thought long and hard about becoming a fosterer before completing the application form for a small rescue and when they announced they were coming for a house inspection it somehow made it all real. Truthfully I was expecting to foster an older dog whose owner had passed away so when I had a call unexpectedly one Saturday morning concerning an emergency rescue I didn’t have time to think too much about it. I had no idea that my new houseguest was a ten week old springer pup who when handed to me was yellow from being sat in her own urine. Having not had a baby in the house for some time I don’t think I was quite prepared for the puppy devastation whirlwind. We’ve baby-gated for England (in fact if I ever write my memoirs they’ll be called “Babygate”) and because we are Miss Wigglebum’s third home house-training is a bit of a marathon. I often wondered why with three cats and little experience in the puppy raising field the rescue chose me to be her fosterer but maybe they had few options as they tell me it’s getting harder to recruit fosterers.
As a rescue she is not without her problems; underweight with severe guarding aggression are just a couple of them but our puppy trainer reckons it’s because she left mum too early and then lived in a shed on her own so she’s told me to take one day at a time. On the days when this cute puppy transforms into the “Bride of Chuckie” I’m left wondering what the hell I’ve done but I’m determined not to give up on her and I know that I have enrolled the best help I can. I met Jenny her trainer as one of the judges at the fun dog show at a local rescue and she took pity on me and awarded Cujo a rosette for “waggiest tail”. She must have noticed my look of sleep deprivation and despair so we got chatting and I discovered that she was running a local puppy class. Jenny as a breeder of springer spaniels calmly reassured me that there is no perfect dog and added there is nothing she hasn’t seen before so fate had once again stepped in and provided us both with a saviour.
We have met some amazing people as part of her journey and accidentally meeting up with a group of dog walkers at 7am every morning has given her the socialization she was lacking. Dogs of all ages and breeds are teaching her manners and their patient owners understand this; in fact, she has a better social life than me!
Now Ruby, as we have renamed her is fourteen weeks old and it feels like she has been here forever; the training is one step forward and frequently two steps back but I am determined not to give up on her as I will be the one who failed her if I don’t do all I can to ensure that she is a happy, healthy and well-behaved family pet.
As the old fella often remarked when I would whine about some insignificant minor inconvenience, “life doesn’t always give you what you want, it gives you what you need” and somehow I think he would approve.
To our darling foster four-legged friends both past & present
We never intentionally set out to foster any other pets, in fact, we were content to be a two cat, one dog family but desperation, hunger, shelter from the storms or possibly fate drove you all in through the cat flap and into our home at one time or other.
You all must have been so frightened and hungry to sneak in past Hobo and Chloe Hellcat each night to steal a mouthful of biscuits.
We will never know what unimaginable horrors you faced living on the street when you outgrew your cuteness factor. How confused you must have been when the ones you loved and relied on the most were no longer there to protect you when they realised the extent of a lifetime commitment or surrendered you for the price of a couple of bottles of wine. We endeavoured for months to find out whether someone was missing you but all to no avail which was all the more distressing as we couldn’t understand why someone would let you go so easily. Each of you had your own very different problems but we overcame them in the end, with patience and time which was the one thing that this family has in abundance. With a cupboard full of pet food and a roast chicken each Sunday, another hungry mouth to feed would always go unnoticed in our household. Although we aren’t animal behavioural experts, we’ve learned from all of you as I hope that you have taken away from us that not all humans are untrustworthy and mean.
Hobo The Boss
Even old Hobo, who’s now ten, has endeavoured to share with you the joys of playing with an old piece of washing line or has sat alongside you for hours whilst you struggled to come to terms with this new bewildering world.
We promise ourselves after each heartbreaking occasion when we reluctantly relinquish you to your new loving families where we know you will each have the lives you deserve, that this will be the absolute last time but we also know that we won’t be able to resist another four-legged friend who steals in through our door on a stormy night. We are truly grateful for the help of every animal charity that has assisted us with finding and carefully vetting your new devoted families who won’t abandon you at the first hurdle. Thank you for choosing us and the privilege of allowing us to share a little time with you. We wish for you only the very best of things; a warm bed, plenty of good food and above all a lifetime of devotion, dear friends.
With much love from the Dyson Family x
Little Miss Thumbs
Fostering a dog or cat isn’t a lifetime commitment, it’s a commitment to saving a life.