The story of Dingy starts in June 2016 on a dark night in an outer suburb of Perth, Western Australia. It was the day that my partner, Craig, and I moved in with each other for the first time and we were running terribly late for a party at my sister’s house. We were finally on our way, but a few minutes into our journey we saw a dog dart across the road ahead of us from a block of cleared land and down towards a narrow street. Concerned, we quickly pulled into the street to meet it. The dog allowed us to approach it with a degree of scepticism and then rolled onto the ground to present her belly to us! She was a tan colour with a white face that exuded wisdom, and deep brown eyes that revealed both love and fear. She was very thin and had long overgrown nails, a thick tail, and a split in her left ear. It was clear that this dog was homeless, or horribly neglected. We would later find out that she was a Kelpie X of around 12 years age, and we would name her Dingy!
While Craig and I had a chat about what to do with Dingy, she took the initiative to leap into the driver’s seat of the car! With that decision made for us, we decided the best thing to do next was to take her to the nearest 24-hour vet emergency where she could be checked for a microchip and have a health assessment.
Dingy began to shake with fear as we entered the vet clinic. I whispered in her ear, “I promise nothing bad is going to happen to you,” and wiped away a tear as we left her to go to our party.
At the party we couldn’t stop talking about the dog we had just found, and showed everyone the pictures we had taken of her on our phones. We made jokes about adopting her and people told us we would be crazy to do that after only just moving in together.
The next morning Craig asked, “Can we get the dog?” and without hesitation I said “Yes!!”
The rental property’s lease would only allow my cat (no dogs). Luckily the lease was ending in three weeks. We called the vet emergency to check if Dingy had a microchip – and to our excitement, she didn’t! We asked if we could adopt her, but were told of we needed to wait for 7 days to allow an owner to come forward. This frustrated us because we were so afraid that her past owner would continue to subject her to the same neglect.
It was the longest 7 days of our lives! We called every day to check if she was still available for adoption. We desperately needed a new rental nearby that was dog-friendly.
At last, the 7 days were up and Dingy hadn’t been claimed – she was ready to be adopted… but we hadn’t found a new dog-friendly place to live yet! We wanted to have our new baby desperately, so we secretly kept her in the rental and snuck her out on walks to the nearby parks.
We were told by the vet that Dingy had arthritis, a harmless limpoma on her side and a bit of anxiety. They prepared us that she was an old girl, not in great shape, and that our time with her might not be long. This didn’t matter, because she was so happy with us and we knew we’d give her the best life we could provide.
Dingy lived with us for 6 months in Perth where she found great joy playing in the park across the road from our house each day. These first 6 months were tumultuous! She urinated on anything soft, to the point we thought she was incontinent… and even researched how to cut holes into human nappies for dogs! She would pace at night time, bark in the house, and we learnt that she was an independent, stubborn old lady who would jump into any body of water in sight (swamps, lakes, rivers, puddles, etc. – even if there was no towel in the car)!
After 6 months of Perth life, our little family moved to a small town in the northern part of Western Australia. The climate was warmer and much better on Dingy’s sore joints. There was a fortnightly vet visit service in our small town and even the mobile vet clinic got to learn who Dingy was very quickly. In our small town, it was isolating to deal with Dingy’s increasingly difficult behaviour (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction) at night time. She would get into a manic state and pace for days and nights on end! During one of these manic episodes, it was 2am and I literally Googled ‘how to stop old dog pacing at night’ and came across Hindy’s Caring for a Senior Dog webpage. This led me to the Facebook webpage and gave me hope to help Dingy (and my own sanity).
Hindy welcomed me to the Senior Dog Care Club and asked how she could help. I explained Dingy’s behaviour and medical history. Even though Dingy was on dementia medication, Hindy recommended another kind, which helped her dog Red, and also stopped Dingy’s manic episodes.
It is difficult to write the end of Dingy’s story because everything happened so quickly and we only said goodbye one week ago.
In short, Dingy had a small growth on her gums that grew very big, very quickly. At first, we just thought it was a harmless epulis like she had had surgically removed once before – But it wasn’t. She had a procedure to ‘de-bulk’ the growth on her gums and we were heartbreakingly told by the vets it was malignant bone cancer and had most likely spread all throughout her body. We were told we didn’t have long. Three weeks after her debulking surgery, Dingy severely struggled to drink and eat, but she was still a happy girl and enjoyed her outings. This made our decision painful and difficult, but we knew by the fact she wasn’t drinking or eating, we would have to make the tough decision for her.
To anyone reading this story, I’d like you to know that old dogs matter and we would do this all again. We have had the BEST 2-and-a-half-years with Dingy in our lives! Please don’t discount senior dogs as possible future pets, because they will teach you so much about life. Dingy’s appreciation and general spirit was inspiring and humbling. She never wanted us to pity her. She wanted us to focus on what she COULD do and encourage her to be her best old self. Yes, her CCD was incredibly challenging at times, and her vestibular (wobbly-dog-syndrome) was scary, but it is all part of the relationship building between you and your pet. Our photos of Dingy make us smile, our stories make us laugh, and our memories of our happy little dog, Dingy are forever.
Instead of a puppy, or designer breed dog, just take a moment to consider the joy of changing the world of a local old doggy just around the corner at your local pound. They will change your world too!
Thank you for listening to Dingy’s story.
Angela & Craig.
Michelle & The Paw Pack
Dingy sounds just lovely. I’m sorry you lost her, but it sounds like you gave her an amazing 2+ years where she knew she was loved. There’s something about life with a senior dog that I feel like you have to experience to really understand. They are such special little souls.
You can definitely feel the love through their words. There is definitely something special about living with a senior dog, I always say it’s good for the soul.
My heart strings. She had a great life with you and I was sorry to read the ending. RIP Dingy.
I found it such a heartwarming and beautiful story.
What a beautiful story, and one that shows adopting a senior is fulfilling and rewarding. I could feel the love for Dingy. What luck Angela and her partner spotted her that night. It was meant to be.
I believe it was meant to be as well.
This Dingy story si sad but happy at the same time. All dogs deserve a family and a nice place to live and be safe and well fed. Thanks for rescuing Dingy!
I know what you mean, sad because who knows how long he was alone, but happy he found the perfect home.
Ruby and Kristin
What a lovely story and I agree senior dogs matter! Angela and Craig were definitely in the right place at the right time and were meant to find Dingy. I’m sure many others would have kept driving. I’m glad they had such a wonderful 2.5 years together and hope the memories will help them heal. We had a similar thing happen with our cat Otis years ago – a mass in his mouth that turned out to be cancerous. He went very quickly as well …
Sending lots of love and light to Angela and Craig!
I agree with you, they were definitely where they were meant to be. I can’t even imagine how many cars drove by, over what period of time without even a first glance.
Thank you for saving her and giving her such a good life, you were all very blessed to have each other. In my house, even as a child, it was only rescued mutts as we called them and will only go that route. Layla my spoiled brat rescued Mutt is sleeping next to me and is 12 years old and would not change anything.
Hindy your info on senior dogs has opened my eyes to so much with Layla thanks with love from both of us.
I know, don’t you just love these two!! I never had the pleasure of growing up with animals, as a matter of fact I didn’t have one until I was 25, a 3 week old kitten I found in a garbage bag in Israel on my way home from work. I’m so glad Ruth, thanks for saying that, love back to you both!
Sonja of Montecristo Travels
something we will very much do in the future. For now we travel all the time and the pups come with. So … we wanted pups we could train from the start for long flights etc. But yes … absolutely.
Definitely understandable if you’re touring places with dogs. My dogs and cats flew a lot between Florida and England, but were never trained, they just got put into crates and off we went. Sounds bad when I say it but they always did well.
Nice story, I’m sorry their time together ended too soon. Cancer is such a scourge.
Who knows how long that poor dog lived alone. However long they had together he was truly blessed.
What an absolutely beautiful story! I am glad Dingy got to spend her golden years with you 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
-Alex and Navy
I thought it was an incredibly beautiful story, and such kind and compassionate souls.
Thank you so much for sharing Dingy’s story. I’m glad she found the perfect family and enjoyed at least two and a half years knowing that was loved and treasured.
I can’t imagine how many cars drove by before Dingy finally found these incredibly compassionate souls.
The Dash Kitten Crew
Oh what a lovely story * wipes away a tear *. saving the oldsters is the best kind of happy and the proudest kind of sad. We only hd Nemo a few weeks before he passed but he will never ever be forgotten just like Dingy.
I cried too!! There’s nothing better for the soul than saving the life of an old animal. Whether you have years together or days, knowing that, because of you, they knew love when they needed it the most…that’s all that matters.
Truly lovely – and so very heartwarming! Dingy – so special. I totally understand, having adopted 3 seniors dogs you learn so much from them about love, adapting, humbleness, selfless caring, and the list goes on. Every single time we’ve adopted a senior they just fill me up with such overpowering love. Thank you for sharing Dingy with us – blessings.
You’re amazing for rescuing senior dogs Rebecca!! I agree, there’s no greater love. I’m looking for another old dog because my soul is feeling quite empty at the moment.
At least Dingy knew what love was those precious few months. Thank you for sharing her story.
Who knows what kind of life Dingy lived, but the final part of it was lived well.