‘My furry companions can make anything better, even ageing!’

Oct 04, 2019
Getting older is make that bit easier with a furry friend by your side, says this writer. Source: Getty Images

I have the most amazing friend who looks after me so well. She’s helped me start a ‘trust fund’ for my toy poodles to help with their vet bills (and we sure have had a few of those lately). The boys are half brothers (same father, different mother) and are only four months apart in age. They are inseparable and keep me alive. Without them, I think I’d be quite lost.

They are both now 10 years old, so in dog years they’re about my age, and are still feisty. I love them so much. Their names are Gordon (grey colouring) and Pepe Le Pew (white colouring). They are with me 24/7, except for walks and grooming and of course the vet visits to which my friend, Helen, takes them.

Pepe has had to have most of his teeth out, now he’s only got four on the top and four on the bottom in the front. He’s also had an eye out. He’s so far cost me $3,000 this year. Gordon has had to have the odd tooth out so he was only about $800. They keep me poor, which is why we started a trust fund for them and we both pay into it fortnightly. It’s amazing how quickly the funds build. I’m hoping for no more majors in the next couple of years, but you never know what is going to happen with dogs who are older.

They’re very active for their age. In their toy basket, which contains about 20 different toys, they will always pull out the tug-o-war. It’s rough and tumble and I have to admit I get tired long before they do.

My neighbour takes them walking to the local park. I used to drive them down to a park by the beach here in Auckland, New Zealand, but I no longer drive. Plus, they need to be on their lead. (Too many dogs are set free and are unsupervised and there have been quite a number of dog fights.)

When I celebrated my birthday recently, I had the boys groomed so they would look handsome for the occasion. I love that they don’t shed, but their coats grow so quickly so they need to be groomed every month — another expense. I’m grateful that the dog groomers will come and collect them and when the job is done, return them.

I didn’t always have the boys. Their original owner was a man who ran a furniture shop near my home. He kept them in a cat cage on a shelf in the shop and I regularly told him how cruel it was. He’d often laugh at me. He wasn’t the best dad for them, but I’d see the boys every week and have watched them grow since they were three months old.

At the time, I had a Jack Russell. When Pepe was one-year-old my Jack Russell passed away and I was very sad so the man who owned them asked me if I would like to take him and keep him. Pepe would give the guy a nip (probably deserved it) and he was sick of that and other bad behaviour. I said yes immediately and took him straight away.

I had him microchipped the following day at the vet. The vet also did a thorough health check. Pepe was a completely different dog with me, loving and frisky. He’s never nipped me or behaved in the way his former owner said he would. I think that goes to show that if you love your animal you’ll get that love returned.

Gordon wasn’t supposed to come to me but when the man remarried five years or so later, he asked me if I wanted to take Gordon as well. Obviously I was delighted to have the two boys together.

I often write when the story needs to be told and these furry companions are ever-so-patient. They’ll sleep on the couch and wait for me to finish. They come to bed with me, sleeping under the bedclothes on each side of me, which I adore.

There’s a lot to be said for the friendship and love I’ve received from these two. I’d highly recommend getting a pet if you’re feeling a bit lonely or isolated. They’ve done wonders for me!

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Do you have a pet? Have they had a positive influence on your getting older?

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