Life

Meet Miffy.

26 August, 2011

[Warning: There’s an animated gif at the end of this post!]

They say the internet is for cat lovers, but I have always been a dog lover. My family have always had dogs (and birds!) including Sasha the doberman, Phoebe the poodle, and Molly the poodle and King Charles cavalier cross. When Nick and I moved in together I really missed having dogs around but we could never have a pet because our landlord forbid it. (Willis the rat was indeed a sneaky adopted pet, shh!) For the past four years I’ve had a puppy cluckiness that has gotten stronger and stronger but I’ve had to make do with lots of pats and puppy love at Mum’s place and photos of cute dogs on the internet!

I truly believe that animals can be wonderful supports for people with mental illness, and in my experience Mum’s dogs Phoebe and Molly have given me great comfort. Moving down the coast was important for Nick and I on a few levels but one big priority was to look after ourselves and create a caring, nurturing household with his super awesome Mum. Moving also meant we could adopt a dog, and we did a lot of research into hypo alert dogs that can detect when my blood sugar drops and warn me. Unfortunately hypo alert training is in its infancy and completely dependent on the individual dog, and may have meant we’d have to foster or adopt any number of dogs before finding one that could pick up on my hypos.

Fortunately I still have a good sensitivity to my hypo warning signs (I usually get tingling mouth, slurred speech, lack of concentration or super emotional and teary) so the hypo alert dog isn’t a huge priority right now. There’s a lot of expense involved, and the gamble of bonding with a whole bunch of dogs who might not even be able to help me detect hypos. With that criteria struck out for the moment Nick and I focused on another priority: to choose a dog ethically and not from a pet shop, so we started scouring pet rescue websites.

A photo of Miffy from her Pet Rescue listing. She's a little white dog with silver tipped ears.

On Monday morning I was browsing through petrescue.com.au cooing and tearing up as per usual, but I came across one particular dog who struck me with her gorgeousness. I urged Nick to call up her foster Mum out near Toowoomba and we made a time to go out and visit Tuesday morning. On the drive out it was absolutely pouring with rain and we had a bit of a prang on the freeway. After checking the car was ok (we were fine, just a little shaken) we kept going on our puppy mission!

A photo of Miffy wearing her harness, sniffing the grass and saying good bye to her foster Mum's yard.

At the foster Mum’s place we found a little sweet-natured 2-3 year old dog who loved toys and got on really well with her other foster brothers and sisters. She was so lovely, I couldn’t believe that her original owners PLUS the RSPCA didn’t want her! The foster Mum explained that this gorgeous shih tzu and bichon frise cross was afraid of storms and on one occasion had bolted from her previous owner’s yard, so we would have to give her lots of hugs and reassurance if she was ever scared of thunder or loud noises. We got the phone number for the RSPCA’s behaviour therapist if we needed help too. After more chats, puppy hugs and playing we decided that we would LOVE to adopt this dog and that we would call her Miffy!

A photo of Miffy's adorable face tilted to look at the camera.

A photo of Miffy standing. Her front legs are adorably stubby and her fluffy tail curls around and splashes onto her rear.

A photo of Miffy standing in the kitchen with her nose in the air.

After a few days here with us Miffy is settling in so well. She is a beautiful dog and I’m completely smitten with her, I think all of us are! Miffy enjoys pats and scratches, going on early morning walks, sitting on the balcony watching the comings and goings of the street below, and playing with her toys. It’s going to be wonderful to get to know her more!

A blingee graphic of Miffy with animated sparkly bits including a tiara, butterfly and flower border.

You Might Also Like

  • Desleybaird

    I’m in love with Miffy too! 

  • She is gorgeous and I love when people mention ethical pet purchasing outside of my little dog rescue community bubble :)

  • Rebecca – Wearelargepeople

    oh my goodness, she is so cute!  congratulations!  We adopted a rescued dog a few years back (her name is Waffles) and it was the best decision.  We still can’t believe what an amazing dog she is and she enriches our lives so much.

  • why is she the cutest thing in the world?!
    soooooooooo adorable!

  • Oh Natalie, she is gorgeous! She will be so loved and looked after and you were obviously meant to adopt her.

  • Oh Natalie, she is gorgeous! She will be so loved and looked after and you were obviously meant to adopt her.

  • She is gorgeous and I agree with you about dogs and mental health… I think it is the fact that they give unconditionally. I regularly go to my parents for a dog fix… theirs is a rescue greyhound and absolutely wonderful. I recently baby sat their house and Jack while they were away for a month and he became my shadow… think it did us both good.

  • She is gorgeous and I agree with you about dogs and mental health… I think it is the fact that they give unconditionally. I regularly go to my parents for a dog fix… theirs is a rescue greyhound and absolutely wonderful. I recently baby sat their house and Jack while they were away for a month and he became my shadow… think it did us both good.

  • Fluffy Cat

    Congrats on getting a pup.  And a rescue pet.  She looks adorable and I can tell that you all already love her.  Having pets has really helped my depression, and really just my life in general.

  • Stephania

    SHE IS ADORABLE!!!! I want to hug her so bad! Congraulations guys on your new addition. And I can completely second that with how dogs can help you mentally. When we moved out we used to go to mum and dad’s all the time for a Kleo fix, and I still miss her. Although we’d love another dog, we’re just not capable to take care of it and to financially look after it.

  • Caity

    CONGRATULATIONS on becoming puppy parents!  She is adorable.  My own darling, Constance J.Woodle the Toy Poodle (the J stands for “Joy”) is not trained as a therapy dog – but she can detect a bipolar mood swing better than I can.  She has also learned to alert my Mr Beloved if I am having an asthma attack, or if my CPAP mask isn’t fitting properly – we haven’t taught her, she’s taught US.  Because dogs read microexpressions, as well as having extraordinarily sensitive sniffers, I wouldn’t be surprised if you find Miffy alerting you when you need it.  It happens.  Wishing you all the very best -especially with your new pushbike and pup – what an awesome antidepressant combination!

  • Congrats again on getting to adopt her! She has found a lovely family! :)
    As far the thunder problem, I have always read that when a dog was nervous/afraid of something you shouldn’t pet him but try to act as usual. Apparently the hugging/petting reinforce their fear. 

  • I second Valerie, too, and you might also try a close fitting t-shirt on her during storms (Thundershirts are also available, but my big dog responded well to a much less expensive t-shirt).

    And also, she’s sooooo pretty!

  • Whoa I didn’t know that! I don’t want to reinforce her fear!

  • Ahhh awesome tip thank you so much!

  • Cyn

    Awwww she’s adorable. Congratulations! I miss having a puppy, as my Vivian is now at the parents’. My previous flat landlords (a student’s court house) did not allow us to have pets, but I used to secretly let the unofficial housecat in for cuddles and feeding. They never found out, but had they said a thing, I would have told them about my mental health and how, as you say, it is helpful to bond with a creature, specially if you live all by yourself in a small student room. Now the new landlords in the new place say animals (with emphasis on dogs) are not allowed, but I’ve seen people who have sneaky cats and dogs. We’re now planning to get a sneaky cat, or in the meantime, make friends with the sneaky people who have sneaky animals and learn from them how to be sneaky. ;)

  • Cyn

    Wow. That’s wonderful. How exactly can the dog alert when you’re having a mood swing? I’m very curious about it.