Dogs have been an undying passion of mine since my little brain was able to form the word ‘goggy’. Once, my brain was a little better developed I turned to books, books that most children probably did not read. Whilst most kids were reading their favourite Dr. Seuss I was deep in the world of dog anatomy, behaviour and memorising every breed Mother Nature has to offer. My Parents, especially my Dad gladly fuelled my love for canines and my Dad as always on the lookout for any dog related things to get me whether it was books or documentaries.
I couldn’t get enough of the four legged animals whether it be small or big, scruffy or smooth. This fascination only increased when I would be out with family and I’d spot a dog: if I spy a dog that is able to be petted, the creature will not go unloved.
Eventually, I found myself wondering, why didn’t I have my own fur-baby? This, was the beginning of the eternal pestering that I gifted upon my parents, bless them.
I cried, I moaned, I begged, I pleaded but the answer was always ‘No’ along with some excuse being thrown at me which always hurt because I wouldn’t ‘get bored’ or ‘never walk it’. It didn’t make it any better when suddenly it seemed, that everyone around me seemed to be getting dogs which only angered me considering most of the people surrounding me either didn’t care about their miracle or they got rid of it. It simply didn’t seem fair that as the years went by and I only grew more desperate for a beautiful fur friend that I was constantly denied that one thing I longed for in life.
I should point out that my Parents did provide other pets for me that I all loved with all my heart but in their own words, they were all to take my mind off a dog. It never worked because even with all the love I felt for Mist my beautiful Ferret and Shadow my beautiful black Bunny, I still felt like there was a massive empty crater inside me that needed to be filled.
My adoration and perhaps obsession with canines did not dwindle even with no hope of gaining one of my own, it only grew with situations proving that according to my Dad I ‘had a way with dogs’ and my knowledge of them growing.
Here in Scotland it’s always raining and freezing, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter it’s always the exact same, perhaps even colder than ‘The Wall’ In the miraculously, intensely warm Summer of 2013 life was good -with the exception of no dog.- I was becoming closer and closer with one of my best friends Jade which was fantastic, I’d grown up with Jade but as driftwood slowly drifts into the ocean so did Jade and I drift apart in the beginning of high school but like a miracle, we found our way back to each other.
In the cliché way good things turn sour my Summer turned more than distasteful as my hero, my guide, my Father was rushed into hospital and fell into a coma which he had a 20% chance of climbing out of. I’m not going to go into all the gory details of what was wrong with him, I don’t think he’d like that.
I was broken apart, like two halves of one person. Part of me was desperate to cry my eyes out in an endless river of salty tears, whilst the other half had built a fortress with my only time of outlet being when I was alone with my Dad. It didn’t make sense and it wasn’t fair but surprisingly the world was fair for a change. Against all the odds my Dad got better and continued to improve until he was ready to go home. And as we humans do, everyone moved on. Except me.
“And as we humans do, everyone moved on. Except me.”
On one of these particularly hard days of mine, I lay upstairs watching Aliens in The Attic (which isn’t my cup of tea but it was on and I had nothing better to do). I heard my family piling in through the door but didn’t really feel like greeting them, making small talk that would inevatbly lead to my Dad’s condition, and then bidding them farewell none of that interested me anymore, nothing did -I was such a lovely person back then.-
It was then my Mum shouted up to me, asking me down stairs which was honestly the last thing I wanted to do so I hauled myself out of bed and down the stairs to listen to whatever needed to be said. I was dreading it really, whenever your Mum calls you down stairs it’s always to ask about something you really can’t or don’t want to talk about.
I strolled into the room and something caught my eye. A fluffy golden ball of joy in the form of a Chihuahua was shaking in the arms of my little niece Brooke. My heart stopped and an intense hope trickled into my head before I banished it. It’s a bit of a policy of mine, expect nothing because then you can be happy with anything that is given to you. Incredibly pessimistic, I know.
I tried to form some kind of words but nothing seemed to be working anymore. It was my Mum who broke the awkward silence creeping around everyone with these words “He’s yours!” and me, the girl who had been desperate for a canine companion for 13 years replies with “No he’s not.” Which was repeated thousands of times as I was sat down on the couch and my baby, my angel, my dog was placed into my arms. That feeling is something that no mere words could do justice, it was like all the dark thoughts and pain inside was all washed away and replaced with something flawlessly beautiful.
“…it was like all the dark thoughts and pain inside was all washed away and replaced with something flawlessly beautiful.”
Things were very difficult after I got my Jamie. I soon for pieces and pieces of Jamie’s puzzle of a story from my beautiful sister Zoe who found Jamie for me. He was born in a puppy mill, in case you don’t know what that is it’s basically a disgusting place where an even more revolting person where people keep beautiful innocent dogs locked away in cages only let out for breeding purposes. You may think I’m being incredibly drastic by saying this but it’s the equivalent of slavery, the dogs have no quality of life and are exploited day in day out and I personally would fight with everything I’ve got to end this. He was then bought by an elderly woman but her neighbour was endlessly abusing him. A grown man continuously and relentlessly hurt my tiny little boy, how could you become such a person? I never got the full story but with his behaviour in the beginning I do not doubt it was horrific and I was spared by not learning the full story.
This meant, he wasn’t house trained and was peeing everywhere and that he was terrified of everything. It wasn’t his fault and I felt sorry for him but it wasn’t easy.
This was a big challenge for me especially since he was my first dog but I was more than willing to work with him but my Mum wasn’t as eager because she hates dogs. It was tough, really tough with a seemingly never ending battle between Jamie’s peeing and my Mum’s gentle hatred but with the patience and love that he deserved and needed my Jamie got better, he now told me when he needed the toilet and I praised him before running to the garden with him as he wasn’t able to hold it. He soon realised this was better than getting disciplined for going inside and that problem was resolved but his fears were another issue altogether.
He was afraid of a lot of things but thankfully he didn’t show his fear through aggression but chose to vocally voice it. I’ve read books upon books on dogs and their behaviour but after a lot of trial and error I stopped with the theories and as soon as Jamie got afraid I held him close and told him it would be okay and his barking stopped. It tugged at my cold little heart strings when I made the discovery that all he needed was a little reassurance which was again confirmed when he had nightmares: if I laid my hand on him and told him to “Remember our promise.” The nightmare would stop and he would sleep with carefree dreams. Once, I fixed those little problems we worked together Jamie and I to do little tricks and I am more than proud to say that he knows all the basics, can do amateur agility, walks great on the leash and my dog, my Jamie can dance and I am not joking, he will get up onto his little twig like back legs and prance forward and backward before finishing off with a tremendous twirl.
A lot of people may understandably feel that this is too much effort and dedication for a dog when they don’t really give anything back but I must tell you that Jamie gives me a lot more than I have given him. Even if it was only his never ending excitement to see me when I get home. He has changed me entirely for the better and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him. When I struggled, he was there to listen and listen wellbecause he did not get too busy or tell me immediately that everything would be okay he would just listen and when I had said my piece he would shower me with kisses. He is my idol in so many ways and I always strive to be the person that Jamie thinks I am.
He gives me companionship that I do not think is evident in anyone else because his trust is never doubted, his need nor want of me never ceases, his beauty is captivating and his love undying and so is my love for him. I honestly, without any doubt feel that if you give your dog your heart they will give you theirs and even more in return.
If you enjoyed this post, you should read “The New Addition” here.
Please leave comments about your personal rescue story, we’d love to hear more!