Friday, 8 June 2012

The New Sunshine in my Life!

Marley, Sam & Haily

By Kim McDiarmid

Let me just preface this by saying I never intended to get another dog at this time…

My history with dogs began as a child. My Gran always had dogs, both parents grew up with dogs, most of my aunts and uncles had dogs and we had dogs growing up. Usually they were cocker spaniels. So when I finally moved into a house of my own naturally having a dog was one of my top priorities! And since I had grown up surrounded by cocker spaniels, that was my dog of choice. I found Bailey in an ad in the local paper, went to see her and brought home this sweet little eight week old pup that day! She was a lovely dog, a little on the neurotic side, but very smart! She only lived eight years and due to a heart condition I had to make the heartbreaking decision to end her life humanely.

Chloe was my second dog and she came home with me on Bailey’s first birthday! She was a little terrier cross that I rescued through a work colleague. She was a feisty little girl! Chloe lived to be 13 and sadly died of cancer almost three years ago.

Next Hailey came into my life. Hailey is my nine year old golden retriever. I am embarrassed to say that Hailey came from a pet store and I’m sure part of the reason she came home with me was that I was still mourning over Bailey and wanted my next dog to be a golden retriever. So naturally I brought home the first one I found! None the less, Hailey is a wonderful gentle girl who I can’t imagine living without!

And then came Sam. Sam ‘the man’ I found in an ad on Kijiji while stressed at work and looking at pictures of puppies to try and reduce my stress. And there was this ad for six week old half golden retriever, Irish setter cross puppies. Irish setters were another breed I had always been interested in, however had stayed away from due to their reputation for being high strung. I figured I should get the best of both worlds here- the gentle nature often attributed to goldens and the beautiful red coat and looks of the setter. Wrong!!! Although he definitely looks like a setter he’s nuts! He was a very active high maintenance puppy, who now at almost four still thinks he’s a puppy at times!

And that brings me to the present. About six weeks ago I took in my first foster, a little black 12 week old puppy named Trix. This sweet little one was adopted after she had been with us for two weeks. A couple days later, MMDR dropped off a mother and daughter, Sunshine and Lollipop. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have such lovely dogs coming into my home to stay until they found somewhere to live forever! Within a couple weeks a nice young couple came to meet Lollipop, fell in love with her and took her home. That gave me the chance to see what Sunshine was like without having to still be a Mom to her puppy. Uh, oh, I thought… I am in trouble!

And now back to my preface… Sunshine is now Marley (would have liked to have kept her name, however Sunny and Sammy were too similar) and I have done what is known in the foster world as ‘foster failing’! She was just too wonderful to let go! Even though we have some rough months coming up as she is treated for heartworm, I just could not imagine not being there for her as she gets well and seeing her evolve into a beautiful, happy, healthy girl. She is a wonderful addition to our family, a very respectful, loving dog who gets along so well with Hailey and Sam. And we are very excited for the day that she is healthy and can play when she wants and come to the lake with us and swim and run around to her heart’s content!

Through all this experience I have learned a few lessons. One is that I will never again look for a specific breed of dog or purebred and I will always encourage anyone I know who is looking for a dog to do the same. It’s the personality of the dog that is most important not what their papers say they are or what they look like. I will also never again buy a dog from a pet store or ad in the paper or on the internet and will also encourage all others to do the same. ‘Adopt don’t shop’ is my new mantra! Of course I love all my dogs equally, however there will always be something extra special about Marley knowing that she was once homeless and hungry and now living in a warm loving home with Hailey, Sam and I. A HUGE thank you to MMDR for bringing this lovely girl into our lives and for opening my eyes to the world of dog rescue, fostering and adopting!

For more information on Adopting and Not Shopping please visit

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