Nell, a six year old Border Collie x Kelpie, almost did not make it past 9 months old when her previous owner gave her up. According to the shelter’s policy, dogs without microchip will be automatically euthanised after a week in the shelter.
Nell was not microchipped. So you can imagine her story could have ended way too early. Somehow DOG (spelled backward) had a different plan for her. Not having microchip turned out to be a blessing for her. This led to a completely different outcome to Nell’s story, a story with an important message I had to share.
Nicky, a civil celebrant and English teacher, and Glen, a lecturer in theatre performance studies, are Nell’s loving parents. Happily married with two grown up human children, Nell is their only child who’s still living in their beautiful warehouse converted apartment in Surry Hills. The following is Nell’s story that Nicky and Glen shared with me.
How did you both meet Nell?
We met Nell out of a tragedy. We had another dog, a Belgian Shepherd, who was hit by a car on a Saturday morning just after ANZAC day in 2010. We were devastated. Nicky was particularly desperate to have another dog. She couldn’t live in the house without a dog. Nicky said, ‘we have to have a dog and we have to have one now!’.
‘We visited Nell and her sister in their foster home and took Nell home with us. We made the decision purely based on our emotion and it turned out that Nell was perfect in every way.’
We really believe in rescue dogs and all our dogs have always been adopted. We got on the pet rescue website and went through pages after pages. There was this dog that looked almost identical to our dog who had just been killed. We felt that was the one we had to adopt. It was Nell. We visited Nell and her sister in their foster home and took Nell home with us. We made the decision purely based on our emotion and it turned out that Nell was perfect in every way. She has the perfect temperament and we are very lucky to have her.
Do you have any idea what her past life was like?
We had no idea. She wasn’t even microchipped, that’s why she wasn’t kept in the pound (shelter). The pound would only holds dogs without microchip for a week and then automatically puts them down. Therefore they try to get dogs that are not microchipped out of the pounds into foster homes.
Why would the pound have such a random policy to kill dogs without microchip? It seems unfair to me.
They had no choice, there are so many abandoned dogs. They are in no win situation. So they have to randomly put in place a policy.
No one even knows about this. People need to know!
I think people also need to know how fantastic rescue dogs can be. People think rescue dogs are damaged dogs, they’re actually not. Most rescue dogs just have inept or damaged owner who can’t look after them.
‘I think people also need to know how fantastic rescue dogs can be. People think rescue dogs are damaged dogs, they’re actually not. Most rescue dogs just have inept or damaged owner who can’t look after them.’
Nell was nine months old (we think) when we got her. She had passed puppy chewing stage, was perfectly toilet trained, and she wasn’t a barker. She just fitted into our life perfectly. There was one thing: she had to learn to hang out in the cafes though. But she’s got used to the Surry Hills lifestyle pretty quickly.
How would you describe Nell’s personality?
She’s really relaxed and laid back. She’s very warm and she likes cuddles. She would let anyone pat her, from the local drunk people in the park to random children.
What does Nell like to do in her spare time?
She likes chasing things, particularly birds. That’s her one bad habit. She sometimes has a bit of herding instinct. When we walk her on a lead and she sees other dogs, she sometimes leaps at them and barks. She’s not an aggressive dog at all. We know we can trust her and she would not do anything to hurt anyone.
Anything she doesn’t like or upsets her?
She’s a little bit of a police officer at the park. If a big new dog comes in, she has to go racing up to them, bark in their face saying ‘What are you doing here? Should we allow you in?’ and then she says ‘Yes, it’s ok you can come.’ She likes to think of herself as the gatekeeper of her park.
She also likes chasing the skateboarders. She’s getting better with horses these days, but if we see the police horses come by we stop her just to be safe.
What are the happiest moments in the life of Nell?
She is particularly happy when we go to Culburra in the South Coast. When she hits that beach, she runs and runs and runs. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing to chase or play with, she just runs freely. She then throws herself into the water and sits in it, and she runs again. Summer or winter, she does the same thing. She absolutely adores the beach.
Nicky and Glen has a beach house called Life’s a Beach, a name that perfectly sums up Nell’s happy beach life.
What does Nell mean to you?
Nell is our family. A dog really makes a house a home. She brings the life into this house.
Nicky said, ’It feels empty when she’s not here. Sometimes when Glen has taken her out and I arrive home, the house feels dead. I don’t like this feeling’.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love Nell?
If Nell can speak, what would she say to you?
I think she would say she’s very lucky. In the dog world she’s living a luxury life. A very safe and loved life.
A very safe and loved life, indeed.
Nell gets a second chance to live a safe and loved life. Nicky and Glen get unconditional love and companionship from Nell. Everyone wins. Sounds like a dream shared by millions of rescue dogs waiting in the shelter around the world: to go home with a loving family.
Thanks to Nicky and Glen, I learnt quite a bit about rescue dogs. Please share Nell’s story and let the world knows how fantastic adopting a rescue dog can be. If you have adopted or provided foster care for dogs, please share your story below with our loving Runway Pooch community.
‘Nell is our family. A dog really makes a house a home. She brings the life into this house.’