Saturday 24 November 2012

Rescue Pet Therapy. The rescuing goes both ways: Day 24 #NHBPM

This is Thor.

My beautiful, big, slightly out there, Great Dane.

This is Thor the first day we saw him at his rescue mum's house.

He was dramatically underweight had scars all over his little belly, his tail didn't work, his back legs had no feeling and he was completely withdrawn. He was the saddest dog I have ever seen. The black cocker-spaniel pups behind him were the same age and full of puppy enthusiasm, whilst he just sat there or wandered aimlessly. I'd never seen a pup that didn't know how to play before. It broke my heart and needless to say, there was no way we were going home without him. Just looking at this photo and remembering how sad he was back then still makes me tear up.

We are his fourth home, which is sad to consider given he wasn't even 5mths old when he came to us. I have spoken about how he and his sister Freyja, came to our home before so I wont rehash it all. But I do want to share how a dog that no one wanted and was so cruelly treated, has come to mean so much to us.

I often say that although we rescued him, he rescued me in turn. When he came into our life my world had been turned upside down by illness. I was getting sicker everyday, had given up work and was feeling very hopeless and helpless and then this broken pup came to us and everything changed for the better.

I found Thor's description on Pet Rescue and just knew he was the one. There was no photo just his story, but that was enough. I phoned his rescue mum and we chatted for about 30mins and arranged to come and meet him. After meeting him and deciding he was meant to come home with us, his rescue mum and her partner drove the hour and half from Mornington to our house to make sure he was going to a good home. Thankfully, they were happy with us and our yard and what we could offer him and Thor became the newest member of our family.

I wont say it's always easy or not frustrating. He continues to have problems from his early life. When I took him to our vet for his first check up, he said it was highly likely he had brain damage. He's not always with us, and does some strange lip smacking and air licking periodically. He also licks himself compulsively. Now he has progressive spinal problems (coincidentally at the point where his original injuries were) which mean his back legs no longer work well and he falls a lot. But the love he brings makes up for the drama.

He is a beautiful dog who only wants to be close. He has been (with Freyja) to my old physio class for pet therapy. And was gentle and loving. It's strange how he seemed to know we were all a bit fragile.

He's a little left of centre. This photo is from when he was still a pup. He continued trying to do this as an adult. His sister also followed suit. We no longer have a BBQ.

He can sleep anywhere. We like to think it means he finally feels secure.

He still thinks he is a lap dog. (Poor Grandma)

He puts up with his sister Freyja sitting on him.

And when I dress him up.

He and his sister know when I'm ill.
They sit by my bed and watch me.
If I pass out I am woken with barks and a slobber covered face.
They sit outside the shower to make sure I am okay.
And are my shadow on the bad days.
They will be my cane and walk slowly by my side as I balance on them.
And spend many hours on the floor beside my bed.

All this from the dog no one else wanted.

Rescuing a pet is one of the most rewarding things you can do. You just need patience and open heart. In return, you are rewarded with unconditional love and support. Don't be afraid to get a big dog (and Thor is big, he's nearly 100 kgs of dog now) or an older dog. Or even a dog who's start to life wasn't that great. They want to love and be loved. They want a family and forever home. They will bring you joy and laughter. They are a form of therapy for the soul.

I can't fully express the happiness Thor has brought us. If you follow me on Facebook you'll know he and his sister Freyja, are central parts of my life. And there is nothing more comforting than smelly, slobbery dog love when you're feeling down. If you are home alone (like me) they are the best companions. They keep me busy, drive me insane, and make me forget about being ill. Research has also shown that pet ownership has many positive health benefits. Woo Hoo!

You don't have to go big (although I have a soft spot for the giant breeds) there are dogs of every size, age and temperament waiting for their forever homes. Or there are cats to snuggle with. Or rabbits, or rats, or pretty much any animal you can imagine.

Rescue organisations can also match the dog, or cat, to your lifestyle, other pets etc. They check them for temperament and give them a vet check. You can often find out far more about a potential rescue pet and whether they are the right match for you, because they have been so thoroughly checked out.

If you're thinking of getting a furry companion, check out your local pet rescue centres.

Or you could consider fostering pets waiting for their forever homes.

Or support rescue organisations by volunteering or donating.

Check out: 
Pet Rescue : has listings for a wide range of different rescue groups.
RSPCA: has listings all over the country.
Or if you are after a particular breed, most associations also do rescues for their breeds. Simply contact your local organisation.

NB: This weekend the RSPCA (Australia) is waving their adoption fee on adult cats until the 25th of Novemeber 2012.

Michelle :)


  1. Sampson, our Siamese mix, used to check on me whenever the chest pains woke me up in the middle of the night. He must have been able to hear the boxsprings creak as I sat up in bed, from anywhere in the house. Perhaps he was just wondering if it was already breakfast time, but I appreciated the company either way. We adopted him and his brother right before I came down with a bad case of flu--much more fun to be stuck in bed with two kooky kittens galloping alongside your weary carcass, LOL.

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  3. Love, love, LOVE your dogs!! I had a Great Dane (Shamae) when I was little; she slept in my bed, luckily it was a queen size bed!! My mom used to show her and I loved her with all my heart. Dogs are so wonderful and I love that they love unconditionally. Now I have two yippy Schnauzers that are always by my side, whether on the couch, in bed or trying to bite my ankles as I walk down the hall. So glad you have your two as companions :)There's nothing like the love of a dog <3

  4. Of all your blogs (and i do mean ALL of them!) this one has touched me the most. Rescue dogs certainly rescued me -- though i can't imagine near 100kg of love! Mine are maybe 4 apiece, haha.

  5. My little crazy girl pup knows I'm upset about something sometimes before I even know it. Their capacity for joy and the moment is just what I need, especially recently being so sick. Great dames are wonderful, there is one at the park who supervises all the other dogs, breaks up brawls and is generally benevolent to all, such a dude.


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