When our beagle Cooper lost his long fight with cancer, I had to go to the vet alone to put him to sleep, as my husband Lyndsay was away for work. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
I cried over Cooper most weeks after he died. I was so upset, especially after all the vet trips and treatments we’d been through with him – he’d had a hard fight against cancer, and we went through a lot together. Being at home for much of the time with my daughter Lily and my work, Cooper was very present in our lives, and had been with us for so many years, so he left a huge hole in the household.
A few months later, I went out for the day to see a friend. I came home and Lyndsay said to me, 'Lily and I went somewhere today', and I said 'Yes, the movies, right?'
He replied, ‘yes and somewhere else too. I want to show you some photos.’
I knew what he meant and burst into tears, saying ‘no, I am not ready yet.’
He said he wanted me to have protection and company here, there were times at night when I was getting scared (we live on five acres) and was losing sleep over hearing things at night. He really thought it was time for a new dog and he knew my heart was hurting as well.
We had both always thought when the time was right we were going to rescue a dog, with so many dogs needing a good home it was the right thing to do.
Anyway...I ended up looking at the photos and agreeing to go to the shelter the next day.
Sasha was the dog from all the photos, and the only one I wanted to see - I really did not want a parade of dogs marched out to us, I didn’t feel I could cope with the sadness.
We got to the shelter and sat down, then Sasha was brought out to us. She came up to me and looked me directly in the eye for ages. I gave her a pat and a hug, then burst into tears and could not stop crying.
I don't know what happened, I think I was mourning Coop and sad because of Sasha and her story. She’d been pushed out of a car on to a main highway and left to fend for herself. Sasha felt comfortable around all of us immediately and I guess we just knew she was the right dog for us. We took her home and she has been perfect here.
She was the luckiest dog in the shelter that day - she has moved to a home with a stay at home ‘Mum’, our active daughter and plenty of space to run and play. She’s also come into a home ready to give her a lot of unconditional love. Cooper was a monkey quite often, so we are well versed in the mischief dogs can throw at you, and know what we may well have taken on!
At first it took me a while to learn to love her and accept her, to realise she was not Cooper, she was not the same - she is quite different, her own doggie self. Cooper was a little beagle, and Sasha is a Mastiff mix, so even breed wise, they are very different physically and temperament wise. But now, after about six weeks, I love her and she is a perfect fit.
On the practical side, the shelter had a behaviour specialist work with her when she went into their shelter, Sasha did not come to us with many issues, and could sit and stay and follow all the basic commands and toilet correctly.
Because she has been hit before and mistreated, we’ve had to approach her gently and with lots of love, she is learning to trust us. I’m glad my husband knew it was time to push for a new dog, because Sasha is now very much a part of our family.
*Note: While the folks in this story were ready to adopt and welcome their new family member into the fold, the amount of time this takes varies, and it’s important to make sure everyone in the home is ready to take on a new pet when adopting or buying a puppy.
New family member: Sasha and her 'Mum' Bec.
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