Let’s start from the beginning. Few months ago my worst day came too soon. While at work (veterinary hospital) my pup Kylie of 9 years suffered a sudden unexplainable seizure. In a matter of minutes she was gone… I was devastated. Surrounded by my fellow techs and doctors I cried totally unbelieving that my sweet girl who I had just held moments before was now gone. I knew Mallard needed to see her, so with the help of my older sister she helped me bring him up to the hospital. I wasn’t sure how he’d react, but knew it was important for him to smell her and know she just didn’t go missing one day. When he finally saw her it broke my heart even more. He smelled her, started to whine then laid down next her and wouldn’t leave her side.
Above: Kyle on a couch
The weeks to come where a nightmare for us both. I had never slept without Kylie for 9 years, I couldn’t sleep… I played an old video I had of her snoring on repeat. Mallard was depressed, none of his favorite things worked. If he wasn’t curled up next to me, he was in the tub with her favorite stuffed chicken. I’d find him in the closet with his head tucked into her old clothes or resting his head staring at her urn on my dresser. After a full health screen he was still healthy, I took him to work with me everyday so he could get lots of attention from fellow techs and doctors. We even flew to Florida to see my parents and their dogs. At first it seemed like maybe he just needs time, I know she meant to much to us both its’s going to take time. Then it had been 2 months and Mallard started losing weight, his mood changed from a fun loving dog to sad and grumpy. I knew I needed to do something for him, I didn’t want his health to decline and hated seeing him so upset. So I decided after talking with my parents and other veterinarians and alot of praying – Mallard needed a new friend.
I knew this wouldn’t be easy, I wasn’t ready for another dog at all. Part of me felt like I would be betraying Kylie’s memory getting a new dog so soon, but I knew this decision wasn’t about me it was what’s best for Mallard. So I started searching, spending hours each day to find the perfect dog for Mallard. I saw so many dogs I felt like I would never find one for him, I stared praying harder, hoping God would send some help so I can make Mallard whole again. Then one day on Petfinder I found the Pug Rescue of Austin, so I looked through their page and there she was. This little scruffy puppy with a bad eye. Something about her face stood out to me, I felt this draw to her and said to myself go for it. Her profile said she was 4 months old which meant she’d be a handful haha. I had never gone through a rescue before and the process was so detailed which helped me to make sure I was making the right choice. After a phone call to answer some questions, I started to get nervous- what if she is perfect for Mallard and I don’t get her?? I was so worried. Soon after I got great news, I was approved on my home check and could come pick Furby up that weekend. I spent the next days leading up to the day making all the arrangements and chatting with her foster learning more about her. She sounded like she was going to be a great addition to the family.
Above: Furby (now Ripley) on left
Sunday came and I loaded up my car to make the 3 hour drive from Fort Worth to Austin. I’d be meeting Furby and he foster family at the !0th Anniversary event of the rescue. Wow was my stomach full of butterflies, I felt like I was going on a blind date. When I finally arrived it took everything in me to keep from crying, meeting Furby felt like the first time I held Kylie all those years ago. We hung out with everyone there for a little while then said our goodbyes. Furby and I spent the day together and stayed the night in Austin before driving back the next morning. We went to my hospital where Mallard stayed to be the neutral space for their first meeting. As I took him up to the patio I said a quick prayer “Lord please let this go well” and wow did he deliver. Mallard perked up and ran right for her, scared her a bit since he is a large dog but they soon started playing and running. When we got home I texted her foster for some advice since it had been a while since having a new dog in the home and wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. She was so wonderful and helped me feel much calmer about it all. Within a day and half Mallard and her were the best of buds. Chasing each other around the apartment, letting her beat him up, and making her feel safe as she learned her new surroundings. So I sent an email and made it official, Furby (now Ripley) has a new forever home.
It’s only been a week since I brought her home and Mallard and I couldn’t be happier. She has brought out so much joy in Mallard, and he’s loving his new big brother role. He’s very protective and gentle with her, and has been so patient when she’s waking him up from his nap or getting tangled around him on her leash. While we still miss Kylie so very much, I know she is watching over us and we will see her again some day.
Thank you so much to everyone at the Pug Rescue of Austin for making this all possible.
Kaitlin, Mallard, and Ripley