(This may seem an irrelevant blog post.... but.... you’ve already started reading it.... so, it worked didn’t it? ;) )
It always amuses me when couples tell me they decided I would be their celebrant, as soon as they read “loves dogs.”
As much as “doggos” and funny cat videos are universally loved - when you know someone is a true animal person, you can make a few assumptions about them....
^ I mean, even if you picture this, you know that, deep beneath the layers of cat fur and antisocial-ness, is a person with empathy, compassion and a big ol’ heart.
In my intro video (which is now over two years old and probably needs updating), I explain how much I love dogs and even own two encyclopaedia’s on dogs (I fail to mention multiple other books, accessories... home decor).
For most of my life I’ve lived with a dog, but in September 2020, I adopted my VERY own.
So, I thought I would take the time to introduce my animals...
This is Eddie...
Eddie is one now. He is (even if you don’t believe it) a Miniature Poodle x Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or a “Cavoodle”. He is built like a mini poodle, with Cavalier hair (which is the opposite of what people want generally want in a Cavoodle).
Many around me found this to be a surprising choice for me, given my love of big, bull-faced dogs (Boxers being my very favourite breed).
But let’s be honest... who could resist that FACE with those EYEBROWS 😭😭😭
(Fun fact: Eddie was once headhunted to be in a photoshoot for GreenCross Vets, he was such a good boy and you will see a few snaps of him on their Instagram).
Eddie was an older puppy when I brought him into my life. You would usually pick a puppy up at 8 weeks old. Eddie was 3-4 months old, unable to be sold from a “breeder"
In this time, he had only seen/smelt/known two people. This lack of exposure resulted in him being extremely timid and fearful.
When I first met him, he ran away from me.
Normal person: oh dear, not the dog for me...
Me: HE NEEDS ME. I UNDERSTAND HIM.
All my family’s dogs have been rehomes/rescues, one of whom was very timid, so I felt pretty well equipped to take Eddie on.
I was living alone and needed the companionship. He needed time, patience and understanding.
For the past year we’ve been working on building his confidence, and he has come along in leaps and bounds.
He loves getting out and about, going to the dog park, the beach (anything with water), even sitting at Cafe’s and in pubs.
He doesn’t like being touched by people he doesn’t know, he doesn’t like strangers coming into the house, he prefers women to men - and he DOES NOT like being separated from me.
We’re working on this.
If you do want to have a meeting at my place - you may need to prepare yourself for one terrified dog to bark until he realises everything is ok.
But once Eddie gets to know you, you’ll be friends with the sweetest, funniest, cleverest, most emotional little man.
He does have a little bit of an exclusive list of about 10 people who he loves INTENSELY.
He invests the love another dog may have for people in general, into a very small selection.
(He still often wee’s himself when he sees my sister after a long period of time).
Now.... this is where things escalate....
Sarah posted an Instagram story outlining that Dog Rescue Newcastle (DRN) needed an emergency foster carer for a former street cat.
Did I have previous experience with cats? No. Had I ever even lived with a cat? No.
Did I think I would be well-equipped to handle and socialise a street cat?
Why the hell not hey ;)
Truely, I felt Eddie could do with some company and I wasn’t in the position to adopt another dog.
This very first cat... turned into a mother nursing three kittens.... turned into multiple teenage strays... tuned into me socialising very spicy feral kittens into house pets....
(As Eddie had come from a house with a lot of other animals, he already had a great fondness of them)
A few weeks after I started dating my boyfriend... I announced that there were now (temporarily) five cats in my house. He took it like a champ and that sealed the deal for me!
Since February 2020 (it’s now early August), around 30 cats and kittens have been rehabilitated and adopted about of my house.
I was someone who was very guilty of frowning upon “cat people”. But now, I’m admittedly a bit of a convert.
Alongside my fostering, I also started taking photos for local rescues.
One fateful Saturday, I went to the house of a Hunter Valley Cat Haven foster carer to photograph 3 kittens...
That was where I met Audrey (who was named Tia at the time).
Audrey and her three bothers were dumped at a construction site, orphaned, at 4 weeks old.
Audrey in particular was absolutely tiny for the age that she was.... but she was incredibly spunky. Like a little puppy - but with the sass of a female cat. Her personality made a large impression on me.
When Audrey’s photos went up on the HVCH Facebook page for expressions of interest to adopt.... I couldn’t really cope with the thought of her... not coming to live with me.
I had resisted SO MANY cats and kittens prior to that point. (Even one that I sobbed over when he was adopted to his new home... he is pictured above).
But I had no luxury of fostering her before I made a decision... so I put in an application for her.
And on 31 May 2020, 12 week old, tiny little Audrey came into our lives.
I think there are lots of misconceptions about cats out there. People think they’re totally self-sufficient, and don’t often invest the time to socialise them.
You also can’t judge a cat on the way they look. Their personalities differ so greatly according to their life experience - adopting from a rescue where you can speak to a foster carer and have some “meet and greets” is usually the best way to go.
Eddie and Audrey didn’t just become best friends by virtue of their personalities. I invested two good weeks of management and controlled interactions. Now they play together, cuddle together and Audrey has helped to ease (but not cure) Eddie’s separation anxiety.
Audrey is so confident, people-orientated and full of personality. She recently went to visit an elderly lady in a palliative care unit, to fulfil her wish of cuddling some kittens. Instead of being a therapy dog for people... (Eddie probably needs some therapy himself)... Eddie's gentle nature makes him the perfect companion for nervous foster animals.
I’m so obsessed with my animals.... I dread to think how I’ll be over my own children 😂
For now I continue to foster cats, I will hopefully move onto dogs one day soon.
Isn’t it hard to let the foster animals go?
Finding new homes, meeting the adopters, and knowing the animals are going to a home where they will be loved and cherished is so fulfilling - it usually overrides any sadness you may feel.
Having met so many cats has also allowed me to gain a wide understanding of them, their motivations and behaviours.
I used to say I didn’t have the same emotional connection with cats as I do with dogs, but my resilience in that respect has changed since adopting Audrey.
Most importantly, if I kept every cat I had an affection for, Eddie and Audrey wouldn’t get the love and attention they deserve (and quite frankly, demand)....
And...... my house would end up like this....
P.S. Eddie and Audrey have an instagram account (of course they do) - you can follow them (and the various foster animals who come through my doors @the.ed.files