Today is our Furry First Born’s birthday (and yes, of course that is worthy of capitals).
Her name is Holly.
Holly is a bit of a bitzer, actually that is probably the only way to describe her. She joined our family when my husband and I returned from our 6 week honeymoon in Europe. I had been back at work for approximately 3 days, with the post holiday blues lingering and the mundane agony of falling back into everyday life becoming too much of a reality, we took a random trip to the local RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
We had no intention of getting a pet on the day.
However, when we walked past her pen, and that furry little head lifted, with those sad puppy dog eyes that locked with mine, I was hopelessly, madly in love.
Holly was the runt of a litter of puppies that had been birthed North of Brisbane in Rockhampton. Most of the puppies were homed up there, however the last two of the litter jumped a ride to Brisbane, hoping to find their forever homes in the lower part of the state. When we met Holly, she was four months old.
By luck, the top swinging barn door to her pen was left open, so when we started to walk past her space, she got up, trotted over to us, leaned against the lower part of the barn door, cocked her head on an angle, sat, and waited patiently for an ear scratch.
The RSPCA does wonderful work, rehoming abandoned animals all across Australia. The facility in Western Brisbane at Wacol, is a tribute to how dedicated and compassionate the organisation is. Holly’s pen was clean and comfortable, with a comfort blanket on the stretcher bed in the corner, and at the glass window that looked into her space, was a large screen scrolling with her history. It explained her circumstances of being part of an abandoned litter, she was small for her age (as the runt generally is), however what she lacked in size, she made up for in her gentle nature.
Husband and I leaned in, gave her a gentle ruffle behind her right ear and then turned to move on and look through the rest of the facility… And that my friends, is the exact moment she started to cry.
I’d not heard a dog whimper like that before, (and I hope I never to do so again), regardless the result was we turned heel, scooped her up out of there and she has lived with us since, going through a 12 month house rental, one house renovation, and the arrival of two younger human siblings.
Holly had a couple of names before we settled on ‘Holly’. Her given name at the RSPCA was ‘Gypsy’, but we felt her new life wouldn’t reflect a wanderer’s name. For a short period she was called ‘Patches O’Hoolihan’, but that too passed quickly as it didn’t seem to fit.
You may note from the shots of Holly in this article, that part of her left ear is missing. It was healed when we received her at the RSPCA and when we asked about it, the staff said that often the runt of a litter would be picked on by it’s brother and sisters. Puppy ‘play’ can escalate quickly and at times turn a little too rough for the smallest of the family and it is likely Holly’s ear was torn from her in her very first weeks of life. We thus named her after Evander Hollyfield, who famously had his ear ripped off in a fight with Mike Tyson.
She’s a very special part of our little family unit, and has adapted so incredibly well to going from the only child, to the furry little sister. We love her to bits and i’m looking forward to many more years of our two boys enjoying her gorgeous, gentle nature.