This post contains a lot more writing than usual, and I know I posted last night – I was going to put these photos in that post – but felt the story deserved a post of its own.
For a long time Madalyn had been scared of dogs. It didn’t matter what size they were, where we saw them, or how well the owner told us they were trained – she turned into a shaking, crying mess whenever a dog was near. We tried for so long to figure out what had caused it, had she had a bad experience? The only thing we could think of was when she was little, a dog ran up and jumped up on her. Being only one or two years old at the time, the dog was by far taller than her and she would have found it a little intimidating; but basically what it came down to was that she just wasn’t exposed to them enough.
Towards the end of 2012 we took a trip to Melbourne and stayed with my Aunt who owns a Border Collie called Bonnie; she is the most gentle dog we had met in a while. Bonnie, being an intelligent breed, had been trained to the point that the only time she looked to jump on people was when she heard the word ‘cuddle’; and took food every so gently from between your fingers. Madalyn absolutely loved her.
We had been thinking of getting a dog for a while, I love having pets and we thought it would help with the irrational fear, but couldn’t decide what kind. After we returned home we did a bit of research on a few different breeds. We wanted a dog who was smart and would learn quickly; would be loyal but understand its place in the family; and we wanted a dog who wouldn’t just be a pet, but a member of the family.
We had our hearts set on a pure bred Border Collie pup, and were balking at the price that people charge for pure bred pups – even without all the necessary papers – when my brother suggested we adopt a puppy from a pet rescue organisation. Later that night, not long after I mentioned the rescue option to my husband, my brother sent through four links to puppies at a rescue. They were all Border Collie x Kelpie pups. All black with patches of white. The first link I clicked was Presley. He was the runt. He had wonky eyes. And I fell in love immediately. I still look back at that photo on the rescue site and fall in love with him all over again. The foster family had called him Presley, which struck a chord with me because Madalyn used to fall asleep to Elvis when she was younger – so we didn’t change it. We showed the kids his photo and arranged to go out and meet him. We probably went to see him more than is normal before we brought him home, but we had to let the kids get used to him. Mostly Madalyn, she sets the tone for the younger two in situations like that.
It has been two and a half months since we brought Presley home with us. Now you would not know that Madalyn used to fall into a bundle of tears whenever we came across a dog, she loves them all. Big, small, fat, thin, jumpy, quiet; it doesn’t matter, she is happy to see them. Presley has been a great addition to our family, we couldn’t imagine life without him.