Talia, My Incidental Adoption

It was mid-January when my daughter and I came across a Facebook post on Talia, a blind 13-year-old American Cocker Spaniel. She had been caged up and badly neglected for the longest time and was looking for a loving home. We had seen a lot of such posts before but for some reason, this particular post was calling out to us.

My daughter Hilda then asked if we could adopt Talia. As we already have a dog at home, it never crossed my mind to take another dog in. But after some thought, I wrote in to HOPE Dog Rescue. and that first meeting was arranged.

It took place at her fosterer's place. The information of her medical condition on the poster already had me mentally prepared. Talia's fosterer, who had been looking after her for the past six months, gave me a very detailed rundown on how it's like to look after Talia: her daily treatments like applying of eye drops, cleaning of her cyst which bleeds daily, and walking Talia twice a day because she prefers to do her 'business' outside.
Sweet Talia

Throughout the entire visit, Talia remained in her cozy corner and was not bothered about our presence at all. I was told if I am looking for an active dog, Talia is not the right one. However, that was not an issue as I already have a hyperactive Yorkie at home and didn't need another active dog.
After much careful consideration and a second visit with all my three kids, we were ready to welcome Talia to our family. I did not want Talia caged up at all. She is free to roam every inch of my place. I also singled out my balcony as the most suitable corner for her to have her own 'space'.
It was a big project. I cleared my balcony of a lot of things. Cables had to be kept out of sight, electric fans and my iRobot had to be tucked away as Talia might trip over them. My kids' guitars and amplifiers were also relocated.
The day of the house visit arrived and Talia finally stepped into our home for the first time. The minute she arrived, I knew that she belonged here. I must thank Talia's fosterer who made a trip down to my place to ensure that I can pass my second house visit. This time, Talia was more at ease and my dog was friendly towards her. There were no signs of jealousy or territorial confrontation by my dog which was marvelous! After the final house check by HOPE, I finally got the green light!
Hilda snuggling up with Spike and Talia
Talia has been with us for some months and she is just amazing. My Yorkie, Spike, has a companion now. He watches over Talia - when we go for walks, he will always make sure that Talia is keeping close.
Hilda giving Talia a bath

I must say it was not all a bed of roses. Initially, I was worried about her bumping into my furniture or running into the walls. But after a week or two, she seemed to have mapped the entire layout of my house in her mind. It is indeed true that a dog without sight is not necessarily handicapped as they have a keen sense of smell to guide them. Talia has proven to me that at even at 13-years-old, she is able to adapt well to a new environment. All my earlier worries were unfounded. Talia loves her treats and food. When she smells food around,  she goes nuts! She's really adorable and I love teasing her once in a while with treats. She has her ways of asking for more and I always end up giving in.

Best of friends

Amidst getting to know Talia’s unique love for food, cleaning up after her, and the medication routine, I realized Hilda had been quietly observing every step of the way. By the end of the second week, she was able to apply Talia's medication and clean up after her. Not just that, she was able to brush Talia's teeth. She knows she needs to be responsible because she was the one who initiated the adoption. My little girl really behaves like a responsible pet owner and has won Talia's trust in caring for her. Talia will even lick her at times and Hilda is only 11 years old but more responsible than may people we know.

Hilda cleaning Talia's teeth

It took us awhile to understand Talia's body language. And now, I no longer wake up to nasty surprises. Talia is able to hold her bowels till I wake up and bring her outside for a quick relief. She is such a darling to learn so quickly.

If anyone were to ask me do I regret adopting Talia, my answer would be a resounding NO. She may be a mature dog, but she has a calming effect on the people around her. Taking care of her has helped my kids understand and cultivate compassion towards animals. She has opened up our hearts and minds towards this group of neglected, abandoned, once-loved pets. They deserve a second take in life. If you’d just open up your arms, they will open up their hearts to you without hesitation. Sometimes when I look at Talia, I wish she could still see so that she can see the world outside of that tiny cage she knew. I know it's not possible but she is definitely able to feel it with her heart and sniff it out with her nose.
My belief is that every life is precious; no one has the right to take that away, even if she’s only an old, sick and neglected dog. Had she been euthanized, it would have been the biggest mistake ever as we would not have the happiness we do right now.

So here’s a big THANK YOU to all Talia's rescuers and her fosterer who hung on to her and had the faith that she was not ready to give up on life just yet.

Darren with Talia, while Hilda holds Spike

My promise to Talia is that I will be there for her till her very last breath. However, I believe with all the tender loving care that she’s been receiving, she's still has plenty more quality time with us.

Written by Mommy Annie, Hilda and Darren.
 Note from HOPE Dog Rescue : We are truly grateful to Annie and family for adopting Talia and loving her the way they do. Talia is so happy that it feels as if she has an entire life ahead of her!

Talia will be featured in our HOPE 2014 calendar! To order, please click here to download a form and email the completed form to hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.