New, NOT a Replacement – Te Anau. Southland

“On a Mish” #399 New, NOT a Replacement. Te Anau. Southland. Aotearoa New Zealand. 16.3.2024. 2023 was a year of ups with the odd down. I made a lot of progress in my hip and back recovery, and to my surprise I managed to survive a trip to Nepal and back to continue the awesome work that the Active Heart Foundation Whanau does over in my favourite country to visit. Along with the trip to Nepal, I also had an incredible time hanging out and exploring with my dog Ernie. Little did I know that when I set sail to Nepal, I would be seeing my very special little friend for the last time…

I recently re-enhanced my life with the addition of a dog. I have been a dog person my whole life and for me, a dog is the most calming and comforting companion I can have. My hip injury temporarily took me away from the outdoors and this meant the ability to climb mountains was also taken away from me. So instead of the bright sunshine seen when on a mish, life took me to a dark and gloomy place. Thankfully it was my little dog Ernie who dragged me back up into a less dreary world.

A lot of my adventures pre-injury were into pristine locations where the only dogs seen will be on the job doing important work for the Department of Conservation. After getting Ernie I discovered that, not only were missions with a furry buddy much more enjoyable, but I had to rethink where to go. There are a surprising number of places you can go with your four-legged friends, and together we took on many of these locations. After Ernie’s death it took along time to get the motivation to continue the mish like I used to.

Around five months after Ernie’s accident I started to think about getting another dog. There was a strong feeling of guilt as I had to keep telling myself the dog would be a ‘new dog, not a replacement’. I didn’t want to forget about the little Jack-Russell who became a very important chapter in my life’s story.

My goal was to get a puppy that wasn’t from a breeder, as there are so many dogs in New Zealand that need homes. By chance my mother (while in India) came across some puppies being given away on the internet, with the only cost being for the first vaccination and worming tablets. The dogs were Labrador x Border Collie or Lollies, and after contacting the owners I took a screen shot of the pack of eight pups and one shot of one of the dogs by themselves.

The time came to go see what would hopefully become my next right-hand man or lady. After a long drive I arrived where the dogs were. After meeting the owner, we went up to a shed where she had taken the puppies and put them in makeshift enclosure made of hay bales. One of the puppies had escaped and was coming down the track to see us. After grabbing the escapee, we went to see the other mini-dogs and it really seemed like the runaway was the one. I picked the pup with two dots and then had to wait what seemed like forever before I could pick her up.

Eventually the time came to go and get my ‘new’ dog and on the drive there I felt the same guilt I had felt when going to pick which dog I would be getting. I had to keep telling myself this was a new dog and not a replacement for Erine. Ernie could never be replaced, but of course life goes on, and I realised my life needed a dog in it.

After getting the little bundle of joy back home I realised that she was the same dog that I had taken a screen shot of and it really seemed like fate had organised a series of events in order for me to get the right dog at the right time. Georgie Joy Wilson was now part of my team, and I couldn’t be happier. The rest will soon be new history, and I am really looking forward to when Georgie is fully vaccinated and ready to take on the outdoors. My ‘new’ dog is not a replacement for Erine, she is a new chapter, and I can’t wait to write about it…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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