A mangy, dreadlocked dog. I was in love

Last updated 14:00 28/01/2014
Stuff Nation pet story

ACTION GIRL: Anakin Skywalker, or Ani to her loved ones.

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From the moment Anakin Skywalker was handed to me, I was in love.

My partner and family, however, were left wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into.

We had received a call from a family friend who is a dog ranger in the Coromandel. He knew I had been looking around for a fur baby to complete my family.

He said they had found a tiny rat dog that was in a bad state. She had been running around in the bush by herself and no-one had come to collect her. They were probably going to put her down if I didn't want her.

I didn't want that on my conscience, so my reply was 'yes', and I sent some money to have her flown down to me.

Some days later, after waiting a good hour at Lyall Bay, impatiently tapping away at the steering wheel and trying to spot her plane coming in to land, I found myself at the pet pickup area of Wellington Airport.

Excitedly I went up to the counter and was handed a crate. Out popped a Shih Tzu, the same breed I had been on the verge of buying the day I heard from my ranger friend.

I. Was. Ecstatic. I had always wanted a Shih Tzu.

All I could see was a gorgeous little girl, who needed a little TLC.

All my partner and family could see was a mangy, rat of a dog covered in dreadlocks. Her nails were so long they were curled over; her teeth were green and slimy and her breath actually stunk out the car. It was so bad that we drove along the motorway with all windows down.

She was in bad repair. We had to shave her. We brushed her teeth every night for a month and took her to the vet to get her nails done.

We were at the vet every week for the first two months with her for infections, ear mites, vaccinations, de-sexing, cutting nails, removing teeth - the list went on and on.

I was adamant that she needed to trust me, so we went to dog obedience classes. We lasted all of one lesson. She kept sitting in between my feet and freaking out at other dogs and at people. I was advised kindly by the trainer to just be happy with how she was.

I wasn't happy with her being scared of life so I worked to get her used to other dogs, with the help of my mother's bichon. And with the help of my partner and my dad, we got her used to men.

A lot of money was spent in that first year but now three years later we now have a confident, pretty, lovable and playful girl.

She rules the house, and my mother's house, and my sister's house, with an iron paw.

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