It was with great sadness that I rehomed my dog “Floppy” some years ago. Floppy came to me as a deserted, tick paralysed stray. Fearsome in appearance, I was reticent to even pick her up for fear she might bite my throat out…. 4 days after she recovered from the tick paralysis she turned out to be anything but(fearsome). She was a delight, gentle with my children and other animals though protective of her turf. My children could be rough as rough with her with no chance she would retaliate.
For an abandoned dog, she was remarkably well trained. She healed. She sat. She sang. She rolled over. She stayed. She “got the rat” which meant run around trying to find something…! 4 days paralysed with no food…. when i put food in her dish? She would not eat it…. just stood there looking at me. She’d been trained not to eat anything unless permission was given. “EAT” I commanded and she wolfed the lot in about 10 seconds.
I’d never seen anything like it. Hundreds of hours must have been spent on her training.
I later met her former owners, a scruffy pair living on a bush lot who had bought her to guard their “exotic garden” and abandoned her when they were unable to train her to be vicious.
She became mother figure and companion to a male German Shepherd Dog(Shadow) we acquired the following year and they became inseparable. They would run around playing on our farm, swim in the dam, even come surfing with me at the beach. Both learnt excellent surf awareness skills including how to duck dive waves. Shadow died at 4 years of age from Pancreatitis, a victim of Floppy’s ability to open our sliding door(bang her nose into the corner, lift the heavy glass door up and off its catch, then slide the door with her paw) and go on kitchen raids – he found a couple of kilograms of German Chocolate and ate it bringing on his pancreatitis. His passing was unexpected and tragic for our whole family, especially Floppy who had lost her best mate.
4 weeks later a blessing in disguise arrived with a notice from our real estate agent that our house was being sold and we needed to move out. Try as we might, we could not find another home where dogs were allowed so Floppy went to live temporarily with my sister. My sister had another dog, a full blood border collie(Ryka) and the two hit it off immediately and also became close friends. A year later and I was still unable to find a house suitable for a dog….and then Ryka passed away. There was no question in my mind that it would be cruel to now take Floppy back so sister kept Floppy for the next 6 years.
I did not think Floppy would live to an old age, she already seemed old at 8, but now at 15…. she is still alive and is my dog all over again. It’s my sisters turn to move – 5000 klm away – a trip Floppy likely would not survive. I’m now in a position to provide a home for Floppy and she has returned to me.
She is still the same. Just old. She takes arthritis medication, heart pills. She is profoundly deaf, though if I whistle she can hear the high pitched sound, and she can hear my car rumbling down the road(old diesel 4wd). Her walks around the block are slow, 300 meter maximum affairs though she would like to go further but just can’t. One such attempt led to me carrying her the final 150m and I remebered fondly the day I found her and carried her a similar distance to my car.
She loves nothing more than to sit under my table as I work on the computer. Tail wagging, punctuated with occasional foot licks and singing(her not me which is odd as I am sure she can’t hear herself).
I don’t know how much time she has left, but for now every day is a joy for me.
This is my old dog, Floppy