My Pet: Brave Bronagh's no longer in distress
The cushion arrived with the first dog who came within days of our offering to foster. Bronagh was her sadly appropriate name. You could count the ribs through her skin, her coat was falling out in clumps and she was terrified.
We half walked, half carried her into our living room and laid her on the cushion. We could see she'd been feeding pups recently, a beautiful long-haired English pointer who had been thrown away when her pups were sold.
Bronagh crept out to me when I showed her where her food was. She panicked and gulped down the pellets, searching for any that may have fallen out of the bowl. I refilled the bowl and the same thing happened again and again. I decided to keep the bowl full - the worst that could happen would be she'd vomit.
When out walking she crept alongside me, terrified when one of my dog-walking friends approached her.
In the next weeks she ate, slept, put on weight and slowly began to greet other people and venture away from me in the park, always ensuring I was in her sight.
A few weeks later we met one of the people who had seen her when she'd just arrived and she greeted them gently, stood impatiently while they stroked her and rushed off on her newly strong legs to play with any willing dog or just to run, for the fun of it. Bronagh, no longer sorrowful, was adopted shortly afterwards.
The next dog to use that cushion was an overweight golden Labrador. Lily was only six years old and moved like a very old lady. We put her on near starvation rations and walked her at least five times a day. Within two weeks, she was trotting alongside me and within five she had been adopted as a sister to a 12-year-old Labrador in Wexford.
And then there were the Jack Russells, two in a row, one cheekier than the other. Each stayed about five weeks, were taught to walk on the lead, take and not grab treats, not to bark at EVERY leaf or bird in the garden and to play nicely with other dogs. They were adopted as single dogs to rule their new households in the way that small dogs can.
These dogs came to us from Dogs in Distress, they needed temporary care and we are very proud that they all found loving homes after their time on the cushion in our living room.
Cox Family, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Name: The Dogs' Cushion
Finest hour: Providing a safe place for lost and sad dogs
Likes: When a foster finds a forever home
Dislikes: Unhappy dogs
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