Friday 2 September 2016

How my rescue dogs rescued me

Those who know me will know that I am the proud mama to three fur-babies -My dogs Emily and Louis, and my old cat Tubby (aka Tubbz/ Sir Tubbsalot).
Tubby doing a big, sleepy stretch.
I inherited Tubbz many moons ago through a housemate -A cranky, greedy little princess (the cat, not the housemate lol, I'm still close friends with her!) whose only desire is to wake me up at 5am screaming for food, and the odd cuddle under the duvet but only to steal my heat. A creature once referred to as "special needs" by a vet (he really is pretty dumb for a cat) he has only became worse with age (I think now he's slightly senile?) and resides in my bedroom, unable to leave the house as he can't coordinate with the world outside -and in general unwilling to even leave the bedroom, as that's where all his favourite  things are (our bed/ what he probably considers his bed, his cat bed on the large windowsill which overlooks the front garden aka his TV viewing on the world, his cat climber and of course, his beloved food bowls). Seven years after meeting his step dad Bicky, we can tell he still sees him as a visitor. The "second human" who feeds him, the "tall one who moves around a lot in bed and generally annoys him". I love him anyway, however. For all his poos that miss the tray, for all the crying in the night and morning (literally, like a screaming baby), for all his eating his food too quickly and vomiting immediately (usually on my freshly changed bed sheets), I do love him. 
Looking cute and innocent -I swear, he's actually a massive prick.
We've always wanted dogs -especially "the tall one" who I honestly believe is part dog. When we were moving to the countryside one of our main objectives was to find a house that at least had a small, enclosed garden. A safe place for a small dog (we were realistic -we knew that we would only have the energy and time for a smaller breed) to use the bathroom, so to speak. Obviously sleeping indoors would be something very important to us for the dog's comfort and well being. However, we felt it only fair that Tubby, now an elderly cat, have his comfort of the bedroom -he was around first and now that he's a full-time house cat, it would only be right. 

So it's 2012, we eventually find a place to rent in the countryside but also not too far from the town. A place that has a garden and allows pets. We're only in the house a couple of days and still unpacking, and so our minds are far from adopting a dog just yet. I find myself however, casually scrolling through Facebook, looking at the wee cuties on our local rescue's Facebook page, Dundalk Dog Rescue. Something I would often do, who doesn't like looking at pictures of dogs? And of course I would share pics too, help the pooches get some attention and maybe attract a new owner. When out of no where I come across a picture of a small, scruffy, square-headed yorkie. The description says they have called him Percy. I show him to Bicky and we coo and aww over the image. When I click next up pops a photo of a honey blonde, wiry terrier, a big silly tongue hanging out of her happy head. The description tells us that they have named her Saffy and that her and Percy are little friends.
The first ever photos of Emily and Louis from Dundalk Dog Rescue's Facebook page
-Formerly Saffy and Percy. 

The next moments, the next couple of days are a bit of a whirlwind. Unable to take our attention away from both dogs, talking about how nice it would be to have two -and two that you know already get along with each other, have a little history together... We really quickly fell in love with the images on the screen. Knowing that we were probably a bit crazy (getting two dogs instead of one, and literally as soon as we moved into the new house) I mailed DDR Facebook page in the hopes that maybe they would consider our application. Soon I had a reply, and the next thing I know we are driving out there to meet the two fur balls, take them on a walk -see how we get along and take the discussions from there. Afterwards we sat in the car, watching the DDR volunteer get into her car. 

We had said we would have a chat and let her know. The "chat" basically was two seconds -we got into the car and before we even sat down, I turned to Bicky and asked "we're getting them, yeah?", "oh yeah" he replied, and we laughed -surely it would be too soon to ring... Neither us or the volunteer's car had driven out of the parking spots yet, lol. 

Soon we were having a house check completed (the day of a moving in shindig with friends), then next thing we knew it, they were here. After a trial run, we signed the "adoption papers" and they were officially ours. We renamed them Louis and Emily. Bicky had previously had a dream about a dog who had been named Louis, so it seemed fitting, and Emily just sounded nice as a matching pair. Plus human names for animals? All the win. 

Rescue dogs aren't easy -dogs in general aren't easy. Louis has "man issues" and has taken a lot of slow, arduous training over time. Even simply to trust us. Emily loves everyone, perhaps too much -I think that may be why Louis is so on guard. He is very protective of her, even though at times she does his head in. Like literally, does his head in -stands on his head, jumps around and general boisterous playing/ rough housing with him that he's just not into. But he loves her all the same and is very concerned for her well being. In turn, Emily's fears (the dark, being alone, slight noises in the distance, sometimes even silence) are usually soothed by having even his presence in the room, when we can't be there. She's a strange mixture of anxious and happy all in one. So loving, so trusting, so eager to please humans. She particularity loves men, while Louis is definitely a ladies man. It's funny how we told each other from the start that we would never pick favourites, as you might think this could happen with two dogs. I didn't realise that they would pick their favourite humans though!
With their daddy at Christmas. 
Louis now trusts us wholeheartedly, and we have systems in place for introducing him to new men. He loves cuddling with his mammy and can tell when I'm sad or in pain -he really is a clever boy. He's knows FAR too many words... Like with most dogs, we can't say terms suck as "walks" or "walkies" around them, but with Louis we can't say a host of words, in any context, or else he thinks he is either getting the object, going to the place or going to see the person/ animal. Including but not limited to - walks, walkies, garden, toilet, bed, breakfast, dinner, treats, food, park, pond, Blackrock, Dundalk, Shelley (his groomer -who he loves!), Gabe (a male friend who he associates with treats), dog, cat, ball, rope, bone, daddy, mammy, water, Daisy (my sister's dog), crate, snack box (another term for the crate, lol, cause they get a treat when they go into it)... Other words that he knows are pretty harmless and just make him wag his nubbin tail, like "good" which he just associates with being a good boy and "baby", or simply "kissies" which is met with a little lick. He's too clever. Like obviously I'm totally biased on this one, but he is ridiculously clever at times. His memory and ability to learn new tricks keeps me entertained on a daily basis.

Louis newly groomed. 
Louis scruffy. 
Emily is clumsy, uncoordinated (nearly as much as me), licks any part of bare skin she spots (I think to show love and an attempt to gain both affection and approval from humans), has amazing eyesight and tries to kill any small thing that moves (must be part hunting dog in her -we keep her completely away from the cat, although she's always been too clumsy to catch anything other than a mouse). As much as she loves me, she absolutely adores Bicky more than anyone or anything in the world. She really is a daddy's girl.
Emily licking her daddy. 

Emily is like a giant, goofy baby. Where as Louis reminds me of an older, more serious gent. 

Four years on and my health has deteriorated year by year, month by month. I spend most of my time in the house, with my little hairy munchkins. On "good" days we go for quick walks. A small walk to them tires them out and they are in need of a nap afterwards -lol, much like myself. It's one of the occasions I don't use my cane, but it's worth it. We go on little adventures out to the beach or the local pond. They sit happily with me in the back of the car. As someone who has become so bed ridden, I cherish our days out -my excuse to leave the house. Often there are times that I'm not fit for much, or don't want friends to see me in so much pain. But if I can walk, even a little bit, off in the car we all go. I don't mind them seeing me in pain, and Bicky is there to take Louis' lead if I need a rest. 

Without the dogs I probably wouldn't even go to the pond, or to the beach, or even just walk around the village -I wouldn't have the confidence if I hadn't washed my hair (a regular occurrence when you lack energy) and I would lack the will power if there wasn't fluffy four legged friends depending on me.
Louis and me at the pond. 
Bicky with Emily and Louis at Clogherhead beach.
I wouldn't have the giggles from the little adventures and waddles around the house, the enjoyment of seeing how happy one fluffy little being can be rolling around the floor after their toys, the warm fuzzies in my heart as I tuck them into their doggy bed with a blanket wrapped around them and their face full of pure contentment as they drift off to sleep, the small licks of affection and the cuddles that turn into full snoozing and snoring on my lap.
...Instead of all the happiness and noise, there would be silence (well, apart from Tubby screeching and clawing at the bedroom door for more food). And for someone with a chronic illness, who doesn't get to interact with human beings or socialise as much as she would like to, that silence would be deafening.  

So to Dundalk Dog Rescue, and indeed to all the animal rescues in the country -thank you. I know I'm not the only disabled/ unwell person in Ireland who owes you gratitude for bringing some little furry light into our lives. 
Emily and Louis.

In the spirit of sharing and because I know this is a common subject in online forums for spoonies -tell me about your little fur babies in the comments section, and how they brighten your day.

And just so he doesn't scratch me in my sleep (again), I'll finish with a photo of the princess himself
-Tubby admiring himself in the mirror.


  1. I enjoyed looking at your fur babies. I have a cat who's been missing for three months that I think it's time to give up on. My other cat is attached to my boyfriend. I take care of two cats that live on my porch and have heated houses in the winter. I'm thinking of getting another cat, maybe a kitten who will bond with me. Among other things I suffer from depression and could use some company and cheering up! Stoping by from Spoonie Bloggers and Vloggers.

  2. Your dog is so cute. I am not a cat person at all. I have read how much dogs help with depression and healing.

  3. They are adorable!! Kudos to you for rescuing dogs in need of a great home! I love my fur baby mini schnauzer!