Our Son and the Rescue Pup.

This afternoon, I was tapping away on my laptop, when I glanced over and spotted a priceless moment. Our son was snuggled up on the couch with our Border Collie pup, Zac (ie Isaac Newton)  watching The Good Doctor. It’s Sunday afternoon, which quite frankly should be declared a “snooze zone” before having to return to the realities of “The Week” on Monday. Hence, I’d slept in, and was still in my PJs. That explains how I managed to capture the moment. I didn’t need to leave the house, or even my chair. My camera was sitting faithfully by my side, just waiting.

Zac is almost 4 months old, and we’ve had him since he was a little 6 week old pup, along with his sister Rosie. Rosie was meant to be a foster pup, and simply passing through. That was before she got caught in our heart strings. Zac and Rosie have also become inseperable. After all, they’re more than brother and sister. Now that the rest of their litter has dispersed, they’re “twins”.

Rosie & Zac BW

Rosie (left) Zac (right). Not quite identical twins.

Of course, with such young pups, you don’t know anything about their personalities, psychology or outlooks on life. You can only base your selection criterion on things like markings and which pup comes to you first. I was the one who chose Zac, because he had distinctive black and white markings, which I thought looked more like Bilbo. Our daughter chose Rosie as she has a broad, white stripe on her face, which she thought looked like Bilbo. Rosie also has black spots on her legs, which I wasn’t too sure about, but others loved. Both dogs were looking short-haired and Bilbo and every other dog I’ve ever had, has been long haired. However, I reasoned that short hair is better suited to our beach lifestyle. It was a tough choice.

Zac was instantly “my dog”, and he was also the pup most determined to turn a  recalitrant, growling Lady, into “Mum”. Rosie palled up with the rest of the family and was a little more cautious about turning to Lady for love. It soon became clear that Zac and Rosie were inseparable, and that having both dogs could be much less work than the one. They could occupy each other.

Back at the end of June before the pups came along, our beloved Border Collie Bilbo passed away. He was 11 years old and we’d had him since a pup. Back then, our son was 2 years old and our daughter was crawling. So, not only had Bilbo seen the kids go through the childhood years, he’d also been with us through each and every up and down with my severe health struggles. I don’t know whether all of that made him a sensitive soul, but he certainly was a very special dog.

And, Bilbo was also a survivor himself. Indeed, he was only a young pup when I was admitted to hospital for about eight weeks and he went from having the kids and I at home almost every day, to me being in hospital, the kids staying at my parents’ place and Geoff getting home super late from work after touring Sydney seeing the rest of us every day. On top of that, the pup also lived through the trauma. A stress beyond stress.


Above: RIP Bilbo.

At least, that’s how we explain Bilbo’s act of determined destruction, which could have killed the wee pup. Bilbo went exploring under the house chewing the the wifi and computer network cables. When an exhausted and irate Geoff retraced his paw prints under the house, he found that Bilbo had even started chewing on an electrical cable and must’ve received a slight zap, which made him stop.

Obviously, that wasn’t the best of times for us.

So, when Bilbo passed away, he took a lot more than memories along with him. There was also the deepest and most compassionate empathy, and an understanding of us which came with walking through the valleys and mountain tops with us and in our hearts.

Lady kids coffee


While we have another dog, Lady, she doesn’t have that same sense of empathy or emotional depth…and isn’t quite so melancholy either. She’ll greet you with an uber-enthusiastic wag of the tail, which could almost take your leg off. She has different talents, but she also doesn’t fetch which was a rather difficult gap for us to ignore. We are a ball throwing family and that requires a dog to fetch, even if he was an annoying, obsessed maniac  more often than not.

Zac & Rosie

Zac & Rosie when they first arrived, aged 6 weeks.

Wanting to let our emotions heal before we adopted another dog, we were going to wait until next year and get another pure-bred Border Collie. However, I got word through the pet rescue group that some Border Collie x puppies were coming in. I could also see that our son could use another dog  now. At the time, this was more of a vague hunch than a neon sign.  although until Zac settled in, I had no idea that he had such a special capacity to heal. A capacity not unique to him, but not universal among dogs either. That he has a gift.

Reversing up a bit, not long after Bilbo died, I caught the flu and a nasty respiratory infection. With my underlying health issues, such infections become life threatening and I developed a powerful, incessant cough which was absolutely terrifying. After losing the dog, the kids were particularly concerned this year and didn’t have Bilbo for support.  After all, it was hard times like this, that Bilbo had always been there for every single one of us. Shaken by such fear on top of grief, our son in particular needed the love only a special dog can give.


That’s why I was so stoked to see our son so snuggled up and entwined with the dog today. As a parent, we so often feel like we’re flying blind.Even when we know we’re doing our best, it’s all to easy to feel like we’re floundering. That despite our best efforts and utilizing every single resource we’ve got, that we’re still getting sucked into the vortex and drowning…along with our beloved child. Seeing our son so relaxed, content fused with the dog and knowing we’ve all made it through the storm, was such a relief. An answer to prayer in a way that made so much sense and yet seems hard to put into words on the weekly praise list…RESCUED DOG SAVES TRAMATISED CHILD.

And, so I’m happy.

In addition to sharing my joy, this photo marks Day 4 of the Seven Day Black Photo Challenge, which a friend roped me into on FB. The idea is that you post a B & W photo every day for seven days and you nominate someone new to take up the challenge every day. Today, I’d like to nominate Trent from Trent’s World.

Have you have a special dog or pet who has whispered magic into your life? Please share.

xx Rowena

15 thoughts on “Our Son and the Rescue Pup.

  1. pensitivity101

    Maggie is a black and white sprollie, Mum being a welsh border collie and dad a liver and white springer spaniel. Dogs (or any pet for that matter) have a way a sneaking into your heart and finding their own special place. That’s why ours are so big, always making room. Maggie picked me, by curling up on my lap under my coat and falling asleep……… twice…… as I got trashed by her nine siblings in the farmyard. I ache when I think we will lose her one day. We broke our hearts when we lost Barney, a pure border collie. We weren’t ready, especially as he had been given a clean bill of health a few weeks before.
    I’ve grown up with dogs, and have stories for all of them. Hope I don’t run out of biscuits when I reach Rainbow Bridge.

  2. Rowena Post author

    That’s definitely true, Monika. As you know better than I, dogs are so healing and give us so much, that our meagre offerings of food and lodgings are insignificant. Well, the food would be if there weren’t 5 dogs under our roof. We’re going through about a bag of puppy food a week and I think Yoda with his little round tummy is consuming more than his share and Lady can’t blame the fur coat for her broadening girth either. The pups broke into their food bag yesterday…the hoodlams!

  3. Rowena Post author

    Maggie sounds like a fabulous dog and I shared your pain reading about Barney. Border Collies are such great dogs, but also quite highly strung. Bilbo barked at everything and used to go ballistic at the postman and the school bus in particular. Given his enthusiasm, I hadn’t noticed that our doorbell doesn’t work until after he died and people started calling me on their phones from out the front of the house. Lady doesn’t bark at visitors, only other dogs. I’m hoping our new pups will defend the house as well as taking care of matters of the heart. Just as well they’re so eager to please, or there’d be complaints to management about being overworked.
    Anyway, time to put the lot of them to bed and get some sleep.
    xx Rowena

  4. New Journey

    Nothing like a boy and his dog….glad he has a special friend to cuddle with and whisper his deepest fears to, only to receive a much needed lick of love…..xxkat

  5. NorCal Zen

    Thank you so much for sharing this link on my bog. It’s SO sweet. I really did enjoy it. I read the post twice. Looking forward to read more of your posts 🙂 I love dogs, have fostered more dogs than I can remember. Right now I only have one, my German Shepherd Gretchen.

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much for your lovely message, Gretchen. Dog lovers are great people.
    There’s a German shepherd who gets walked past our house every day about 6.30pm and Lady, our older dog, goes troppo barking at it yet never barks when someone is at the door. Go figure?
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    Best wishes,

  7. Fauna Park Tales

    Thanks so much for this lovely article which I happened upon by chance, reading about another rescue doggy, Bixby, belonging to Pamela Canepa. Pets are so much a part of our lives and when they’re no longer there, their absence leaves a very huge gap! Best wishes.

  8. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. It’s interesting because to some people a dog is just a dog, but they also have their unique personalities and even though we have three dogs, none of them is like Bilbo. They each have their own personalities and while I don’t think of him on a conscious level, I do miss you. He was an extraordinary dog.

  9. Fauna Park Tales

    Thanks for your kind comments, Rowena. One of my most loved dogs was a Border CollieX – black and white – called Fonty who brightened our lives for 17 years. I wrote about him, if you have a moment to pop in at my blog. The post is called, “A Pet Lover’s Musings” and appears in Fauna Park Tales. Thank you once again. Kind regards Maretha Botha 🐶

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.