“Better Together: Simba and Brody”

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What happens when the Council tells an owner of six dogs that he has too many for his suburban section?  In this case, the owner turned to Retired Working Dogs NZ.

What happens when you are getting ready to move full time from California to a rural property in Golden Bay, and starting to shop for an old dog to keep you company?

You get lucky. And then you get lucky twice.

I was still a month out from my move, when Simba’s story showed up on the Takaka Noticeboard, shared from Retired Working Dogs NZ. He was everything I wanted, as someone who specialises in saving and adopting senior working dogs.  A fluffy old boy needing a good retirement berth, with such a sweet face, in good health except for some signs of laryngeal paralysis. . . .  My house-sitter agreed to take care of him till my arrival.  Done deal.

Until Simba’s owner mentioned his other dog, Brody.

Brody was a few months younger than Simba, but the two had been together for 13 years.  Brody was a harder one to place: she was a stronger personality, and had been a pig dog.  Not so many people want those; it was getting dire for the old girl.  Plus, she had fairly advanced arthritis.

In for a penny and a pound: housesitter and neighbour agreed to share care till my return, the dogs were delivered from Nelson to Golden Bay, and I came home to find two incredibly sweet and affectionate oldsters waiting for me.  (I’d had some worry that they might not let a ‘stranger’ in, as they had been living there awhile and not met me.  I should have — they greeted me like they already knew I was their new owner!)

Both dogs had arthritis, which responded well to medication.  Both were lovely sweet things, delighted to have warm dog beds by the fire, time on the couch, and a spot on my bed. They loved their beach walks.  Brody could be a bit of a handful with other dogs, being the alpha female, but she wanted to please badly enough to settle down when required. And the two clearly loved being together, with Brody grooming Simba from time to time, and Simba gracefully accepting her ministrations.

Luck sometimes runs out, and ours did after not too many months. First it was Brody: her arthritis became rapidly worse, even with a number of medications on board, until she couldn’t even sit upright. Euthanasia was the only right choice.  Since easygoing Simba liked having company, I adopted another Retired Working Dog, 10 year old Lola.  But Simba’s laryngeal paralysis was progressing, and a few months later, it was time too.

I didn’t have enough time with either of them, but I felt so lucky to have had any time at all with two such lovely old souls, and to allow them to enter retirement together.

And of course, Lola needed a friend after Simba’s passing, so I adopted Pip through Retired Working Dogs NZ. . . .

Thank you for the many dogs you have helped to good homes, and for letting me be a part of that.

Tukurua, Golden Bay