They’re on loan, make the most of it

Rosie, my special needs foster dog, went to her forever home on the 18th of February. She provided me with canine companionship in the weeks following Izzy’s death and, although I was happy that we found a good match for her, I was sad to see her go.

Two months is a long time to care for a dog, and during our time together Rosie showed me that not only was she misunderstood, but that she was clever enough to have learned how to live in a hearing world despite losing her own. (Rosie also told me one day in no uncertain terms that someone had bashed her – and more than once). Despite all her hardships, Rosie likes company and she still freely gives and receives affection.


In the weeks since she left, I have reflected a lot about our dogs. I am still grieving the loss of Izzy, who was followed across the Rainbow Bridge by her friend Ben just last week.

Izzy and Ben, in their younger days, after an off-lead run

I have witnessed foster dog Pumpkin teach Rosie about living in a multi-dog household and Pumpkin has now moved to another foster home. And I am on the search to find my next forever dog because a Doggy Mom without a dog is never a good thing.

Rosie (top left) and Pumpkin learn to co-exist. Since Rosie was here first, she claimed the best bed in the house

We are indeed lucky to have our dogs.

The law considers our dogs to be property, hence the use of the term ‘dog owner’ is common. On reflection though, whether they are a foster or a family dog, they are not property. At best, they are on loan for a life that is far shorter than ours.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love; they depart to teach us about loss” – so the saying goes. In between, however, these loaner dogs teach us:

  • Never underestimate the power of a good nap
  • Drink water daily
  • Live in the moment
  • Regardless of your age, get out and play
  • The best things in life are free (these includes cuddles, kisses, walks and just being there for one another)

If you’re reading this, I hope you give your loaner dog a big hug and kiss and take an extra long walk today – for time gets away from us and they are gone too soon.

P.S. Rosie is enjoying her new forever home in Blenheim where she can run off-lead with her greyhound brother and lie in the sun every day

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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