This article was submitted by NUPSA Student Representative Support Officer (SRSO), Georgia Killick.
I love critters. I especially love furry, dog-shaped critters. All of them. From snoot to tail, I think they are all perfect. I apparently get as excited seeing a dog as most people get about seeing celebrities, which I think is the only proper response. But I didn’t have one of my own. (I know, it is a very sad sentence.)
After moving into a house with a big yard, it just didn’t feel like home without a furry creature for me to love. The birds that visit my backyard stubbornly refused to be picked up and cuddled, or taken for walks on leads, so I decided to eschew them as a pet option (and to be honest, I suspected they may bite/peck my face if I ever managed to get my hands on one).
After many ‘hints’ – translation: me lying on the floor screeching that I neeeeeeeed a puppy – my partner agreed that I could start looking for a potential pet. The choices available were overwhelming. Did I want a little squishy shar pei covered in delicious rolls, a feisty bull terrier who could tell fantastic jokes (bullies are the funniest breed), a tiny Pomeranian who would look like a fluff explosion on legs, or a labrador who was permanently sweet and as food obsessed as I was?
I contemplated a puppy, as they are possibly the cutest things on earth. Their breath always smells like devon (I have no idea why, but it most certainly does) and everything they do is adorable and makes me emit happy squeaking sounds. I also considered buying a purebred puppy, as I really feel I could make a name for myself in the dog showing circles. It would be the perfect showcase for my glamour and lunacy, but I digress.
However, my heart wasn’t in it. There were too many dogs out there without homes, that – while not purebred – were pure of heart. I also didn’t want to spend lots of money on a designer dog (possibly from an evil puppy mill) when so many beautiful dogs are euthanized in overcrowded pounds. A rescue puppy was what I wanted!
I was looking on the page of Newcastle Dog Rescue and I spied my dream dog. He was smiley and it said he loved people, cats and chickens. Clearly we would be a good match. And this handsome devil was fully grown, so that meant no house training required! I filled in the application form and submitted it.
I honestly put so much effort into that application, I left a little piece of my soul in it. A job application, cover letter and responses to 18 selection criteria could have been knocked out faster. A meet-and-greet was arranged (of course it was love at first sight), minor fence repairs were completed and, about two months ago, I adopted Bob.
Bob is a magnificent Great Dane cross mastiff and I tell him he is my tiny baby because it makes him wag his tail. In reality, Bob weighs more than some adult humans I know. Adopting Bob was one of the best days and decisions of my life. He needed a forever home and I needed a Bob – everybody wins!
Bob loves everyone, and I mean everyone. He is at his happiest when meeting people and being given pats. He thrives on making doggy friends, be it on the leash when we go for walks or in the dog park, where he can romp and frolic to his heart’s content. He is kinda lazy, though, so he mainly just walks around the dog park with the occasional three-second run thrown in, so it looks like he is being active.
Having Bob is so good for me. He gives me motivation to get out of the house and go for walks and adventures, and is permanently delighted to see me in the mornings, even with bed hair and unbrushed teeth. When I get home, it is amazing how welcome I feel. He is my snuggle buddy on the couch, will always patiently listen when I tell him about my day, muse over my problems or just generally waffle on at him.
I hope I can be just as good for him. I make him delicious chicken porridge (we call it chimken porrj, because we have our own special language like all true BFFs) and provide scrumptious treats and bones. I make sure he gets exercised, receives all his vaccinations and flea treatments, and has a home where he feels safe and loved. Oh! I also make sure to let him watch things he likes on TV. Yes, Bob loves telly. Babe is his favourite movie but he doesn’t like dinosaurs, so at this stage, Jurassic Park is a definite no.
Anyways, I could prattle on about the glory and wonder that is Bob forever, but I probably shouldn’t (since Hugh will yell at me, as he has to fix my poor grammar and typos)*. My take-home messages from this article are simple:
- Bob is fantastic, and if I ever bring him on campus, you should come meet him and give a generous amount of pats. He is super-friendly and would love to meet you!
- ADOPT, don’t shop! There are so many amazing rescue organisations who are often staffed entirely by volunteers, and they have amazing pets available who need loving homes.
- Dogs are very good for physical and mental health, so you should get one. If you are not in a position to do so, see my first dot point (or you could volunteer with a rescue group)!