READER REPORT:

Rescue pets: A lifelong bond

AMBER HUDSON
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2013

PALS FOR LIFE: Spike, Eddie, and Max.

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I was 10 years old when we began our search for our first family pet. I had nagged my mum for years to get a dog, and one day she just caved in. Best decision of her life!

We adopted Spike, a fox terrier from the Masterton SPCA. We were his second re-homing as there had been an incident between Spike and a farm dog and a little boy being too close. To this day I believe Spike was just trying to protect the kid. The boy was fine, he just got a nip on the foot. But unfortunately, that meant back to the SPCA for Spike. Six weeks later my family turned up to take him home.

The bond that Spike and I ignited was almost instant, we would joke around that it was always me and 'my shadow' walking around the house. But we quickly realised that he suffered from severe separation anxiety.

This became a problem when my brother and I would go to school and my mum and dad to work. He would wreck the house and cry all day. So my brother and I drew up a proposal for our parents as to why we needed another dog. My argument was purely medical-based for Spike needing company during the day, whereas, my brother's argument was 'I want a dog of my own 'cause Spike follows Amber all the time'.

My parents gave in, and we got news of a Jack Russell who needed a new home because his owners just had a baby, and he wasn't overly keen on the new edition. 

So for the last 13 years we have had Spike and Max, our little partners in crime. Max taught Spike everything about hunting rodents and Spike taught Max about the berries we grow and how yummy they are.

Spike especially has been my hero throughout my teens. He was always there for me when I went through my first heart breaks, and severe cyber bullying. If I was crying or angry he would sneak up to me for a cuddle and a comforting lick. It's incredible that your animals know and understand when you need them next to you.

As the dogs, my brother and I all grew older, I realised we would all be leaving soon, and it would leave my mother alone in a big house. One weekend when my mum had gone to Napier for work, an adorable little Jack Russell/Bichon Frisé popped up on my newsfeed on Facebook. HUHA was desperately trying to find him a new home, as he had been surrendered to the pound.

After discussing this with my brother we organised to go meet him the next day. It all happened so quickly and he was ours within that same day.

When mum came home we held up this adorable little monster and yelled "surprise!". Under normal circumstances we probably would have got into huge trouble, but Eddie bonded with Mum immediately. I saw quickly it was the same relationship that Spike and I shared. I knew we had done the right thing. Plus, Eddie has become best friends with Spike and Max and has given them the energy to play like puppies themselves.

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Eddie's previous owners were cruel to him and he is terrified of rolled up newspapers, loud noises and plastic bags. He also took a long time to get used to my brother because he was very obviously afraid of men.

Max is 14 now, and Spike is 16. We just had a huge health scare with Spike when he had a stroke and then a seizure and was partially paralysed for two weeks. It was a terrible experience and really opened my eyes that he won't be with me forever. But I think he knew I wasn't ready to let go because he pulled through. We discovered he had high blood pressure and is now on pills everyday. He's like a brand new dog; he's got his spark back in his eye and is completely healthy.

While it scares me sometimes to think that I could lose him, Spike has given me his unconditional love for almost 13 years. I never expected when I was 10 years old that I would meet a lifelong friend.

I believe rescue pets have something extra to offer you. Some of them have been through hell before finding their forever home, and I am proud to say we helped three of these animals.


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