Shirley Chan
This is writing…

Positively in love

by Shirley Chan
(Rotorua Daily Post, SPCA insert)

Discarded like a used rag, he never gave up on finding love

The exuberant 4-month old Huntaway puppy thought it was a day out, early one morning when all was quiet. Just him and his Daddy. Out of the car then tied to the gates of the SPCA, he was still hopeful. His Daddy got back into his car.

I’m still here. The puppy tried his hardest to get back to the car. He pulled and pulled. His Daddy drove off. Wait for me! He choked in desperation. Daddy’s angry with me. He forgot me, he whined as loudly as he could, lunging towards the car. His collar hurt him. Daddy, don’t leave me!

No, he was not forgotten. He was abandoned, unwanted, a reject, a cast-off. Hopeful and positive, as all dogs are, the pup’s ears perked up each time a car passed by. A mistake. Daddy just forgot. Hope diminished by the minute.

“Who do we have here?” The kind voice came from a cheery lady. She took him inside. He was checked out, de-wormed, de-flead, fed, exercised and played with. He was loved again.

One November day, Kim Pears and husband, Paul Skinner, with more love than their family needed, came to the SPCA. “We were just looking to give a dog a home,” Kim said.

His character and people personality warmed their hearts instantly. Flash is now a healthy 34 kg and lives with Kim, Paul and their two teenaged daughters.

“It was a family decision. We were keen as a whole family,” Kim said, clearly smitten by this Huntaway.

With more love to give still, Kim and Paul, with their two teenaged girls trundled down to the SPCA once again, this time with Flash in tow. As a family of five, they again fell in love – this time with 5-month old Huntaway-Sharpei cross puppy.

Bee, a rescued stray, with chubby cheeks from the Sharpei side of the family and ginger eyebrows and a black and tan coat from the Huntaways matched Flash’s temperament.

Everyone shares in caring for the dogs, from their two daily walks, to feeding, activiities and exercise. Flash is a people-dog, preferring to hang around the family but often poses a danger of licking people to death! Bee loves pine cones and fetch. While Bee jumps right in for a swim, a little water pistol is a put-off for Flash.

“Having a dog is great fun,” Kim said. “They are good company and funny. We get to go outdoors, do things outside.”

“You’ve got to be fully committed. You’ve to go through the tough times as well as the happy times” Kim says about adopting a dog. “If you’ve never had a dog and are unsure, go on the SPCA Fostering Programme, foster a dog and see how you cope,” then added, “Or you could volunteer to walk the dogs. Help out by walking them instead of adopting a dog if you are unsure.”

When Flash developed epilepsy it tested their unwavering commitment. Just as you don’t discard your children in their darkest hour, they didn’t dispose of Flash. They gave him a reason to live. With epilepsy medication, Flash lives a happy, healthy life today with this committed family he can call his own forever.

“It got so bad at one time. He had seizures every two hours.” Kim said they never considered euthanisia or returning him to the SPCA like damaged goods. Perseverance, love, hope and commitment bonded them all. Today, Bee continues to boss Flash around – and he lets her.

Kim is a beautiful example of ultruism. She and colleagues offer every other Saturday to walk the abandoned dogs at the shelter. There are insufficient walkers for all the dogs who need regular exercise. It is win all around – the love handles get a good work out too.