We were only supposed to be volunteer dog-walking at the rescue shelter. We didn’t have time for a dog, Him Indoors most definitely didn’t want a dog, and therefore we were Most Definitely Not Getting A Dog.
And then we met Harry.
Having been abandoned at a council pound back in February, Harry had been saved from doggie death row by the charity Monika’s Doggie Rescue. He had been living at the Ingleside shelter ever since, passed over by any prospective new owners – until we came along.
His hangdog expression tugged at our heart strings immediately. A quiet and gentle soul, he trotted along calmly and silently at our sides and sat placidly while we patted him. If he had been a barker, he would have had us at “woof”.
He was nervous, quickly becoming fearful and submissive if we made any sudden movements. Clearly he had been mistreated, and he looked understandably depressed by life’s turn of events (as wonderful as Doggie Rescue and the work it does is, the shelter environment is stressful for most animals and we had no idea what might have happened to Harry previously).
We returned home but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I looked up his details on the shelter website and discovered that, at 10 years old, he was one of the golden oldies. He had spent the last four months recovering from severe flea bites and fur loss and now all he needed was a loving home where he could enjoy his golden years in comfort.
“Please can Harry come and live with us?” I asked Him Indoors.
“No,” he said. “And our apartment doesn’t allow dogs anyway.”
“Good point,” I said. “Should I ask permission from body corporate?”
“No,” he said.
“Ok ,” I said. “I’ll just ask.”
Permission was granted – the place has several other dogs as residents anyway, and with all the gardens in the complex (including our own private back yard) it would make a perfect home for our new canine companion.
“I want to meet him again before I commit to anything,” Him Indoors said.
“Ok,” I said. “I’ll just get the adoption papers filled out on the off-chance.”
Harry was more adorable than ever on our second meeting. We walked him again and he behaved impeccably. When we turned around to return to the shelter, his tail drooped and his pace slowed. It was heartbreaking. We knew instantly this dog was coming home with us.
Luckily I had taken the liberty of buying him a collar, lead and a few other essentials, so once we had undergone our good parenting checks, we were ready to take Harry home.
For two selfish city dwellers, it was a huge commitment. How would Harry adapt to our life in the Big Smoke? And how would we tailor our routine to also suit a retired rescue pup?
On the journey home, as I sat in the back seat of the car with Harry snoozing on my lap, all I knew was that I was fit to burst with love for our new family member. Life would be one long romp of walks in the (off-leash) park – and nothing could blight that bright new landscape.
Monika’s Doggie Rescue: 2 McCowan Road, Ingleside. Tel: 02 9486 3133.