I've lived without a Significant Other in my life for more than thirty years now and can honestly say I don't feel lonely. That's because I always have at least one dog in tow to keep me company.
My last three dogs, all border collies, have come from various refuges and, in addition to making wonderful companions for me, rehoming them eases the burden on the rescues and gives a new start for one on the hundreds of unwanted dogs everywhere.
Without warning, I lost one of my beloved dogs
In September 2014, I went suddenly and unexpectedly from a two-dog to a single dog household. It took me a while to feel ready to take in another dog, but fate had a hand in the decision. A friend, quite by chance, posted a photo on my Facebook timeline of a border collie called Rosalie. Those eyes – utterly irresistible.
Rosalie - who could resist her with these eyes?
As is often the case with rescue dogs, two-year-old Rosalie had had a bad start in life. She'd spent all her time chained up and knew nothing of normal living – the television, the vacuum cleaner, even the telephone were all scary new things which had to be discovered.
She was from outside my area and I don't usually approve of shipping dogs around the place when there are already too many unwanted ones in this area alone. But the rescue association wanted someone with prior border collie knowledge plus lots of time and patience for Rosalie. She would be my sixth collie, although she turns out to be only part collie and part something else, something extremely goofy, so I felt reasonably qualified to at least enquire about her.
I live in the right environment for an animal to homed
As a writer, I spend a lot of my time at my desk in front of my computer. I don't go out to work. My garden is fully fenced and when the weather is nice enough, I work with the door wide open to the garden so my dogs can come and go as they please.
I made enquiries about Rosalie, waited anxiously while I was inspected, filled in endless forms and provided proof of identity. Then, on what would be Boxing Day in the UK but is just another working day here in France, I met up with the last of the kind volunteers who had transported Rosalie in relay from her former home to mine.
My beloved faithful Fleur
It's been a few weeks now since 'Rosie', as she is now called, came into our lives. Fleur is thrilled to have a playmate. Rosie is delighted to find a home where she is allowed to cuddle up on the sofa and sleep on my bed.
She has issues, of course, principally separation anxiety. Luckily, I can now go for a shower without her barking the house down until I reappear. I can even venture out in the van without her, but so far only for twenty minutes or so at a time. But every day we make progress and she is so pleased with herself when she gets something right it is a delight to see.
She is adorable, so willing to please, so grateful for being given a chance in life. Our little family is once again complete.
What joy my two canine friends bring me
I cannot stress enough how big a difference an animal can make to loneliness. The shelters are full to capacity with them. Can you find room in your heart and your home for an unwanted dog or a cat? Their constant company can make such a big difference to your life.
Footnote: After five years or so of having a Facebook account, they have decided in their wisdom that I can no longer call myself Tottie Limejuice on there as it is not my 'authentic' name. So you'll see me popping up in various places now as Lesley Krier Tither. I still much prefer to be called Tottie or Tots though!
EDITOR: Lesley has written many books including the excellent D I Ted Darling Series. See her page on Amazon.