Ian has suffered from depression for quite some time, but since fostering and adopting Amber, he has noticed a significant positive change in his mental health. He says having a waggling tail to come home to each day has given him something to look forward too. On top of that, Ian has made new friends and reconnected with old friends because of their mutual love of dogs.
Today is Mental Health Day, a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. An initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide and we’re starting the day off with an incredibly heartwarming story from Ian, who adopted ex-Refuge pooch, Amber.
Please take a few minutes to read Ian’s story – it’s worth it and is sure to bring a smile to your face.
If you know someone who may benefit from having a furry friend in their lives, we’d love to hear from them. Give us a call on 9381 8166 to discuss our foster and adoption options.
A big thank you to Ian for everything he has done for Amber and for writing such a beautiful update.
Hi Dogs’ Refuge Home,
I’d always wanted a dog. When I was a kid, my parents were concerned that my sister and I wouldn’t do the right thing, like taking it for walks.
After leaving home, it was ‘never the right time,’ and I always found an excuse. Truth be told, I was fearful of having the responsibility of another being’s welfare on my shoulders I guess?
I started dog sitting for friends when they went away, and loved every moment of it. To be honest, I didn’t want to give them back, they grew on me that quickly.
A close friend of mine is involved at the Dogs’ Refuge Home of WA. When I started seeing the beautiful creatures flooding my Facebook feed, it tugged at my heart strings. I spoke to my friend, and asked what the go with fostering was, as it seemed a better way to see if I could handle a dog full time. They ran me through the details and I started thinking about it more and more.
The thing is, I’m a single guy, living by myself and also have had to battle what Winston Churchhill called the ‘Black Dog,’ his term for severe depression. Ironically, it was a black dog that brought joy into my life and heart.
I enquired about a beautiful Labrador that was up for adoption, and asked if she was being fostered. My friend said that she was already staying with a family, but they had a very beautiful soul named Amber, who was very distressed at the refuge. She sent me a few pics and the back story.
I wasn’t working at the time, and worried about costs and things, but the Foster Coordinator at the time, Anne, advised that all aspects of the foster were provided by the Refuge. All I had to do was feed, bath, walk, and most importantly, give belly rubs and loves.
It was a bit of a gamble, I’ll admit that I was 50/50 between nerves and excitement.
The next day, the Foster Coordinator did me a very special favour and came to my home to introduce me. I wasn’t on the road at the time, so this was a massive help.
Anne knocked are the door and went back to the car to fetch Amber. She asked me to sit quietly on the couch and let Amber come in and suss things out.
This beautiful black American Staffy came in, nervous and excited, just like me. She had a quick sniff around, then came over to me and said hello. It was a moment I’ll never forget. Her eyes were almost imploring me with the words, ‘Are you my new Dad?’ And ‘Can this be my new home?’
Even writing this on the train is making me feel a bit teary, as it was such a beautiful moment.
She was a bit bigger than I’d anticipated, but she had the loveliest nature I’d ever seen in a human or canine!
Anne made a quiet exit, leaving Amber and I to play and get to know each other.
Within fifteen minutes, I was laid out on a blanket next to her bed, and the lovely pooch was licking the top of my bald head as I giggled my head off.
Talk about love at first sight! Or is that sniff?
I grabbed an old harness I had and adjusted it to fit her. I couldn’t wait to take her round the neighbourhood and let her learn about her new home.
Amber was fostered to me, sadly, as a terminal foster. She has mast cell tumours and the vets couldn’t say how little, or long she had left. Either way, I wanted to make sure that every moment from here onwards, was a warm and happy one.
After 9 months, she was still going strong, so I asked about getting some chemotherapy for her. Understandably, this is a pretty pricey treatment, and sadly out of range for what the Rescue could provide. So I adopted her, even starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds for her treatment.
She’s been officially mine for 7 months now, but I’ve been her Dad for 16 months now. She’s still going strong, and we’ve had our moments (her separation anxiety was a bit of a hurdle for a while), but I couldn’t imagine life without her.
When you live by yourself, it can be a bit disheartening when you come home from work, to an empty house. I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Every time I come home I get almost bowled over by the most beautiful pooch in the world. She doesn’t quite understand that she doesn’t have the freshest breath, but loves to give me kisses and cuddles when I get home.
Some people say that I saved Amber. I suppose you could say that, but it is just as, if not more, true to say that she saved me. There have been some times when I’ve been quite down, and Amber always seems to know, so she’ll come up and lean against me hard, give me kisses and nuzzles, as if to say ‘I’m here Dad. It’s ok.’
And you know what? It is ok. It always gets better when I’m with my poochella.