I’d like to introduce you to Poppy. She’s a 7yr old Jack Russell girl who I adopted on November 7th.
It’s taken us over six months to feel ready to welcome another little dog into our home. But a couple of weeks ago I started making enquiries about some little dogs I’d seen online at a local rescue centre. The first little one I asked about had been adopted just that afternoon. And the second had several meet and greets lined up with potential new homes. The third, Angie, had also gone out on a trial period just that afternoon. That was all ok, as I told them, we were happy to wait for a little dog that fit our terribly specific criteria of small breed and short haired! We comforted ourselves with the thought that at least they all had homes to go to, or would have a home to go to soon.
That Friday morning, I received a message from the rescue centre that Angie’s trial hadn’t worked out, and asking would we be interested in meeting her. I burst into tears, as, in her pictures, she seemed a dear little dog. Bearing a striking resemblance to my departed girl Bonnie, I wondered for about half a second if it might be too strange having another one so similar. The thought was promtly banished, and an hour or so later, we were walking in the door of the “adoption centre”.
Led through to the open area with a couple of boisterous puppies, some kittens in cat runs, several cats free ranging and against the far wall, in a little crate type dog cage, was Angie, and Toby, one of the other dogs I’d made enquiries about. It felt like Sophie’s choice (my mum’s own words, and my thoughts!). We’d briefly discussed if they were both available, which would we take, as we can only manage one. I loved the look of both of them, but Toby, being mostly Chihuahua, would be at risk of getting under the small gap under our gates. Angie on the other hand, being of the Jack Russell type persuassion, was unlikely to be able to squeeze under the gap. (Bonnie had, even at her skinniest never gone close to fitting under the gap.) The decision was made, albeit it feeling dreadfully guilty about leaving one behind. A problem I always knew I’d face, because, loving animals as I do, I hate the thought of any of them not having loving, and importantly, safe, homes.
I will admit, I welled up when I first spotted Angie. She and Toby were huddled in the corner of the cage, obviously uncertain of what was going on. Typical to the Chi type, Toby started the shakes. More guilts from me for not being able to adopt the pair of them. I know I can’t save them all, but still, I’m only human, and I have a lot of love to give little furry ones.
Angie bounded out of the cage to meet us, but was a bit timid and more keen to follow the rescue worker. After a short time, offering upturned palm as a gentle greeting to her, Angie decided she quite liked me. We let her run around our feet while we talked through a few things with the staff. Angie’s previous trial had fallen through when she displayed “fear aggression”. Meaning, she growled or snarled when she was frightened. We explained the Bonnie had been somewhat “special needs” as some have termed it, with some post traumatic stress type issues (yep, animals get that too), along with some other small dog type issues, including dental trouble. It was clear to them that we’ve had a lot of time with little dogs.
I filled out the questionnaire the adoption centre uses to check suitability of owners. No problems. The staff thought, with my life being as quiet and as mostly house bound as it is, we could offer Angie a good, quiet home, where she could be allowed to get used to her surroundings without any fear.
The forms were completed, the fees paid, and Angie exited the building with us, carried by me! She looked a little uncertain, but not too much. In the car she promptly buried her head in under my arm, showing more signs of uncertainty. She remained that way on the short drive home. Until, when we pulled into our driveway, the little tan and white head popped up and the ears pricked up. She knew this was our place.
Her first moments were spent exploring the yard, and dealing with a slightly nervous tummy. I can’t blame her. It must be strange, if not outright scary for them.
She trotted inside without any hesitation, and then followed be around while I located the water bowl (pink with silver paw print outlines), and dinner bowls. Then, without being asked, she hopped up on the sofa without any second thoughts. Smiles all around here.
We talked about keeping her name as Angie, but, knowing that pets do well with a new name, not least of which is due to it breaking any sad, or bad, past associations with the old name. We threw around a few names. We’d been making a short list for a while. But, Poppy seemed to suit this little monkey perfectly. The name, aside from being perfect for our little girl, also fits with the November anniversary of Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day here in Australia, (also known as Poppy Day elsewhere in the world, I believe.) Poppies are everywhere in November. For obvious reasons. And, having had all three of my little dogs (all girls, through fate, not design), have either been born or adopted in November. Poppy’s adoption date is November 7th, Bonnie’s was November 8th, and Suzy, my first girl, was born on November 25th. Poppy seemed to be the best, and only name for our little adoptee.
As soon as Poppy had had her first feed, she was very comfortable with us, and settle in for a big snooze next to me on the sofa.
Over the next 48hrs, Poppy very firmly adopted me as hers. To the point where I don’t think I adopted her, I think she very definitely adopted me. No risk of a trial fail here!
By the end of her second full day here, Poppy was happily climbing all over me, and going to sleep on my belly. A very confident (in the right hands, clearly), little girl. She sleeps very happily on the vacant side of my bed. Vacant no longer!
Poppy has met some of her extended family. She loves the adults, but is still a bit unsure about the little family members. My four year old cousin and she initially got along well, but loud noises and sudden movements scared Poppy, and she did growl at him. I think slow introductions with constant supervision will work in time. She’s not by nature an aggressive dog, but any dog will show some aggression if scared. It’s something we’ll need to work on, but it’s the only hiccup we’ve had so far.
It’s two and a half weeks since she came home, and she’s just the most delightful little dog. True terrier in nature, proving to be a terrific little watchdog, but not a compulsive barker. The first meeting with Madge the cat from next door wasn’t exactly a hit, on either side, a short chase and a bit of a bark saw Madge bolting for home, and Poppy bouncing and huffing like she thought it was a game. I tried to tell her off for chasing the cat, but she’s a dog, and it was really funny.
Right now, she’s curled up next to me as I type. Rescuing an animal, be it dog, cat, lizard, horse, donkey, bird, rabbit, or any of the other weird and wonderful types the rescue centres have, is one of the most rewarding, heart warming, uplifting experiences an animal lover can have. I urge you, when you’ve made a decision to adopt a pet, please, visit shelters, the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League, here in Adelaide, Paws and Claws inc. where Poppy was adopted from, SA Dog Rescue, and a number of others. If you can’t adopt a pet, consider having a look through your old towels, blankets, bedding etc, as the rescue organisations always need that stuff. Food and monetary donations will always be accepted by these places. There’s lots around. There’s a lot of breed specific rescue organisations around the place too. Make contact with them and find out how you can help. It’s coming up to Christmas, and the shelters will see in influx of surrendered and abandoned pets in the next couple of months, be they unwanted gifts, or whatever.
The rescue centres often have people grumble about the adoption fees. But their animals are vet and health checked, vaccinated, microchipped, flea and worm treated. If you’re not happy about paying the adoption fee, then please don’t have a pet at all, as there’s ongoing costs with vet fees, registration, food and so on. It’s all part of being a responsible animal guardian.
Animals have a humanity and compassion often lacking in people. They feel sadness and heartache much as we do. They also feel happiness and love, as much, if not more than we do. Or perhaps it’s just in a more pure way.
Poppy has lifted my heart up from the loneliness and sorrow of losing Bonnie. She’s company when I’m too sick to get out of bed and a ray of sunshine on those bed bound days. It was love at first sight. Hearts joining together in a true friendship.