When COVID-19 hit, it seemed like everyone rushed to adopt a new, furry housemate. “Let’s get a puppy!” they screeched. It’s ethical. It’s kind. And, seriously, it can save the life of a living creature who just wants a loving home. It’s a good thing. Whether you’re on the cusp of adopting or wondering if you can make it work thanks to a future of flexible work, this is for you. Read on to hear from five Australians who have adopted and found themselves with a loving, and beloved, new family member.
Belle and Juniper, the lockdown greyhound
“My boyfriend and I adopted Juniper through Greyhound Rescue in Sydney seven months ago. She’s a six-year-old greyhound who was previously used for breeding and had as many as five litters. Too many.
“She’s placid and chill. She loves little dogs and kids, and remains calm even when my partner’s four-year-old nephew pokes and prods her. In the mornings she’ll make a very loud yawn noise when waking up, a ‘Come on, get up, let’s go for a walk’ nudge. She is also extremely clumsy and awkward, which is super funny to watch.
“We’ve always wanted a dog, but living in an apartment and working full-time made it unfeasible. At the beginning of COVID-19, we (like everyone else) were like, ‘Let’s get a puppy!’ But there were no puppies available anywhere. So, after learning more about greyhounds and realising they are great dogs (apartment-friendly, too), we agreed to adopt. The price tag of $365 versus thousands and thousands for a puppy from a breeder was certainly appealing as well.
“We often ask ourselves, ‘What did we talk about before Juniper?’ As well as bringing so much joy just by being around, a dog is a great way to force yourself to be active. They offer you the responsibility of caring for a living creature while you reap the reward of unconditional love.
“We’ve had such a positive experience. We are so happy to give Juniper an amazing life with all of the love and attention she deserves for her remaining years.”
Charlie and his dog and cat kids, Miffy, Lily and Iggy
“We have a cool little fluffy family that all get along and are so excited to see you every single time you come home. They all run to the door like a welcome wagon.
“We adopted because we were conscious of the negative impacts that breeding can have. There are good breeders, but some mightn’t be in the business with the animal’s best interests at heart. There are so many sweet animals out there waiting for a home.
“We have Miffy, who was listed on the adoption site as a Pug x Jack Russell, but I have a feeling they were just guessing because she’s a unique-looking dog. We saw Lily the cat online as a kitten along with her sisters. She came and sat on my lap straight away and was very focused on us rather than playing. Iggy was a little different, because we weren’t looking for another pet at the time. My wife, Melissa, visited a vet clinic and saw him at the bottom of a pile of kittens. Melissa was picking me up – my car was at the mechanics – and when I got in she surprised me with a “Meet your new son”. There he was, this tiny black kitten.
“Miffy has such a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. Lily is needy and wants to be around us all the time. And Iggy was a monster as a kitten – we regretted naming him after Iggy Pop because he took on the singer’s stage presence. Now he’s very chill and the easiest pet we have to look after. Despite the little challenges, they’re our family now so we wouldn’t change anything”
Sarah and her dog’s best friend, Gigi the cat
“My partner and I rescued our cat, Gigi, mainly to help with our dog’s separation anxiety when we weren’t at home. Now, our little two-kilogram ginger fluffball full-on wrestles with our 28-kilogram dog and rules the roost.
“He’s a small male ginger cat with fluffy britches. He was part of a litter of kittens found in a box next to a river. Only he and his brother survived. We adopted him when our dog, Arnie, was one. Arnie is a velcro dog and needed a sibling to keep him company, and Gigi was the perfect fit for our small family.
“Gigi is a sass queen and the epitome of the youngest child: confident, rebellious and spoilt. He’s certainly making up for the lack of food before he was rescued – he often demands three dinners. We always say he’s a great communicator because he has distinct chirps and meows according to what he wants. This is often at 5am when he has the zoomies, or what we call his ‘witching hour’.
“We planned on introducing Gigi and Arnie slowly. We had them in separate rooms before allowing Arnie to come in for 10 minutes here and there so they could sniff each other. It went so well that within 48 hours they were completely at ease with each other.
“You often see them poking their heads out the window together, watching the world go by. They play hide and seek, they wrestle, and while Arnie is 14 times heavier than Gigi, he’s so delicate around him, even when Gigi is sinking his teeth into his chops. It’s definitely a brotherly relationship.
“There are challenging moments – the coughed-up fur balls on the carpet, them going to the toilet in the plant pots, working your social life around their needs. But there are no regrets. Gigi has only enhanced our life and our doggo’s.”
Lauren and her seven-year-old deaf moggy, Meg
“We couldn’t bring ourselves to buy a cat from a breeder when there are so many in shelters who need a loving home. So, during lockdown, my partner and I adopted a seven-year-old British shorthair x tortoiseshell cat called Meg – who turned out to be deaf. We weren’t specifically looking for an older cat. But when we went and saw Meg, we just knew that all the other cats there would be adopted easily, and we didn’t want her to be left behind – or worse.
“She’s a typical ‘naughty torti’ – doesn’t mind a pat, but will bite you if she’s not in the mood. The people at the shelter didn’t know she was deaf, but we found out pretty quickly. She makes these weird ‘yowly’ meows because she can’t hear herself. Apparently a lot of deaf cats do that. It’s handy having a deaf cat, though, because she doesn’t mind the vacuum cleaner at all. And when we want to call her, we just beckon with our hands. We still talk to her, even though we know she can’t hear.
“COVID-19 accelerated our decision to adopt. We’d been contemplating getting a cat for a while, and while we were both home seemed like the perfect time.
“Meg has certain habits that you can’t explain. We don’t know where she came from or what she’s been through – she’s a mystery. It just felt better adopting than it would buying a kitten from a breeder. We knew she needed us more. She makes our house feel complete.”
Liz and her surprise adopted doggo, Wendy
“Some days I really wonder who rescued who. I love taking Wendy out for walks, playing with her, singing with her (Wendy loves to sing, seriously) and going camping with her.
“I adopted Wendy from the Save a Dog Scheme (SADS) rescue centre. My partner and I had made an appointment only to go in and chat, and to look around the centre. They showed us around and I was taken aback by every single dog I met – I wanted to take them all home. We walked by Wendy’s cage and the staff mentioned that she had been with them for a full year – she was only two at the time, so that’s half of her life.
“I was immediately drawn to her – that girl knows how to work her puppy-dog eyes. We asked to take her out for a walk. After 30 minutes, I couldn’t let her stay one more day in the centre. She’s been a part of my family ever since.
“Wendy makes coming home that much more special, as I get the most energetic greeting when I walk through the door. She’s full of life and seems so grateful for every day. She also absolutely loves coming camping with us.
“The best part is having a dog who just shows so much love and affection every day.”
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