My eldest daughter is a committed animal lover. If you’ve been around since the early days of my blog, you might remember the hamster breeding phase…that was definitely one for the memory bank!
Over the years, animals have played a key role in her mental wellbeing and at 17, she volunteered one day a week at a local pet rescue centre. During those six months, she would regularly send me photographs of dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and various other creatures that she thought we could offer a good home to.
In typical mum style, I loosely agreed that one day we *might* rescue a dog but only if it ticked all the right boxes. I cunningly thought that I had put enough stipulations on it, that the perfect dog would never come along.
A few months later, ‘Paula’ (name chosen by the rescue centre) had been found roaming the streets in Ireland. She was female, terrier-sized, and a similar age to our existing dog – all the three items on my wish list. Well I couldn’t go back on it, could I?
Two visits later and ‘Pippa’ (a little less middle-aged woman and a little more dog) was welcomed into our family.
A typical rescue dog, Pippa would plead at the window every time we reversed out the drive, cowered in the bathroom on bonfire night, and the postman was the devil incarnate! I’ll admit to regularly questioning my sanity during those first few months, especially as Paddy (our existing dog) was spending increasing amounts of time hiding under our bed.
But her affectionate, loving nature warmed our hearts very quickly and I could see that her presence was having a positive impact on my eldest daughter – a little friend who needed love and constant reassurance.
It wasn’t long before I was boring everyone with my advocacy for rescue dogs; who wouldn’t want a dog that offered gratitude in the form of unconditional love 24/7?
Then towards the middle of February, what initially looked like a sick bug, turned into a fatal brain tumour. A sudden seizure left her irreparably damaged and the worst part of all? Our passionately loyal little pup no longer seemed to recognise us.
The vet suggested we bring her home for 24 hours to evaluate the devastating effects for ourselves. The dramatic change in her was so hard to see and sadly we had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye.
There have been bucket-loads of tears (mostly from me) over the last three months. She has left an enormous Pippa-shaped hole that will never be filled. She was an affectionate, unique, loving little creature who we were thankful to have as part of our family for four years.
She brought our family together at a time when we needed it most. She was the gift we didn’t know we needed and will never be forgotten. Sleep tight our little Pip.
PS Once Pippa’s ashes were returned to us, we bought a rose bush to remember her by. A couple of weeks ago, it bloomed for the first time. We took this as a sign that it was time to get a new addition. Head to my Instagram profile for puppy news!