Tuesday 1st March
After 3 weeks of being away from everyone and everything familiar, today's the day. Not much sleep for me and in the end leaving early meant killing a little time in a coffee shop! 12.30 until 3pm was the designated pick up time and I arrived at Pethaven soon after 12.30 eager to see what sort of reception I would get.
After getting a full report from Robyn, together with Poppy's release papers and passport Robyn took me to the kennels to collect her. It was lovely to hear that Jane and Robyn thought her friendly, confident and well behaved. I have also had the similar feedback from Ryslip, that she was delightful and enjoyed her cuddles! Of course I am pleased that she has been well behaved but, more than that, I am relieved and reassured that she has been extremely well looked after by Ryslip and Pethaven.
The kennels at Pethaven were very calm and quiet as we walked down the steps and I peered through the door of number 16 to see Poppy lying still. I didn't get much of a reaction when I called her and Robyn opened the door. She came out and looked at me, then at Robyn, with whom she had clearly formed a bond as she got the first tale wag. Once I called her name and bent down to her though it was as if someone had turned on a light and she started to wag her tail and bounce and run to the door. She clearly knew the way out and was ready to go. She also knew that I kept treats in my pocket! I put on her harness and she ran backwards and forwards to the door, knowing this was when she got 'sprung'!
We went back to the office and Poppy said her goodbyes to Jane. Again, quite clear that they were friends. She took no notice of the sleeping office cat whatsoever.
After thanking Pethaven for all their help we went outside for Poppy's first walk on grass in New Zealand. She was clearly a happy girl.
I sat with her in the back of the car and she just lay very still on my lap, relaxed and unusually quiet. It was a long way home and the Auckland traffic was heavy but 2 hours later we arrived in Orewa. The next step was to introduce Poppy to Buffy, her new rescue companion. We parked the car and I walked Poppy up the road. Martyn went to fetch Buffy and we met a couple of streets away. After an initial grouch the two of them settled and we walked away and met up again at the next corner. Both dogs were fine so we walked home together. A little more subdued than usual but otherwise happy to be with me. The cat, unfortunately, made a quick exit - a challenge for another day. It seems that I am also not permitted to leave Poppy's sight at present. For the moment, however, we are both feeling extremely lucky to be safely reunited and are looking forward to lots of adventures in Middle Earth!
With grateful thanks to Ian Stobart at Clarendon Vets, Liz Cartlege, Helen Heaton & team at Ryslip Group and Robyn and Jane at Pethaven Quarantine Kennels. You have all made life much happier for me and Poppy, Orewa's first Lancashire Heeler!
You can view a short clip of a video taken of Poppy's first realisation she was going home, and her first walk on grass for a few weeks as we leave Pethaven, on our Facebook page.