Dying woman finds new home for dogs
TJ and Bella's tails wagged as they were welcomed into their new family, but it's a sad goodbye for their sick owner.
Auckland grandmother Kim Girbin is battling terminal colon cancer and decided giving her dogs away was the best option as she struggles to look after herself.
The 40-year-old has cared for the dogs - who are "like sisters" - since they were puppies, but listed them on Trade Me last week for adoption. Offers to walk the dogs or look after them were offered, but nothing close-by or permanent.
Family members were unable to take care of the 10-year-old foxy and 6-year-old pomeranian-silky terrier mix, few Trade Me propositions were convenient either, but Gribin found a willing mother and daughter through friends.
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Misti Landtroop and her 10-year-old daughter Abi live close to the beach, not far from Girbin's Waitakere home. She says the dogs spent a lot of time around Takapuna when they were young, and they love the beach, so it is familiar to them.
"Their vet is over here as well, so there's not much that's going to be changing from the dogs' point of view," she says.
"They're just not going to wake up and have me, they'll have Abi and Misti and all the flatmates. So there will actually be more love for them here than at home."
Gribin returned to hospital this week, given news that she will undergo chemotherapy and may have surgery. She says it's "all worked out" timing-wise.
Abi is excited at the prospect of having the dogs around because she's always wanted one and already loves them both.
Misti Landtroop says Abi's a real animal lover, so adopting the dogs is a dream come true.
"We have some mutual friends, and have a met a couple of times.
"I saw it online, saw some friends that had posted on the ad. I just assumed - I hoped it wasn't - but I assumed it was Kim.
She reached out to Girbin over social media when she saw the news and organised the meeting for Tuesday. They spent hours together with the dogs.
"Now we have two dogs, two cats and six fish, but she would love to have a horse and every other animal you could imagine.
"She's been working on me for a while to get a dog. This is a bit of a different situation though."
Girbin wants to stay in touch with the dogs with personal visits and the occasional FaceTime over the course of the next few months.
"I told Kim that she can have a key to the house if she wants. We're not going anywhere," Misti says.