Harvey the Jack Russell terrier lives in Dublin with his owner Padraic Walsh
Getting a dog wasn’t at the forefront of my mind in the winter of 2019. I was grieving the death of my brother, who had passed the previous June. He had hung in for longer than anyone expected with a wretched type of cancer — the type that smashes your life into pieces, then slowly takes those pieces away. The grief, mixed with the trauma of witnessing this, meant it had been a long few months.
My wife encouraged a trip to the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) to see what type of dogs they had. Initially reluctant, I agreed just to visit. However, within 20 minutes of arriving, we were filling out a form to adopt a little Jack Russell. He was found wandering around a Harvey Norman car park a few weeks prior, which is where he got his name, Harvey. Despite being in the excellent care of the DSPCA, Harvey was still underweight and extremely nervous around people.
A week later, we brought him home. It took time for him to truly relax and for us to earn his trust. Once he did, he became very much attached to us. I would tell people we met that Harvey was a rescue dog but, in truth, he was rescuing me from a heavy burden of grief. My wife often jokes that he’s my therapy dog.
Every morning that winter — and ever since — I’d sit down to put on my shoes to bring Harvey out for a walk. He’d jump up on my knees to be rubbed and encourage us both to get moving. In the evenings, he would stretch out on our laps on the couch and he quickly became a very spoilt dog! We often talked about making boundaries and rules but these were invariably short-lived.
Today, Harvey’s still dragging us around our neighbourhood and we’re still meeting people we would never had met if it wasn’t for him. Harvey taught us to put one foot in front of the other, whether times are good or bad. For that alone, he’ll always be our best friend.