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A Dog Story

I was diagnosed HIV positive while I was on a working holiday. I was in England at the time and became very ill for a few years. By the time I got back to Australia I was totally exhausted physically, mentally and financially. After five years overseas (some holiday!), I moved back to my parents place.


I was still ill and spent lots of time on the couch, reading, watching TV, feeling ill and bored. My Mum thought it would be good for me to get a puppy. I'd always wanted a dog. She asked around and did some reading and decided that a Maltese/Shi Tsu cross would be good. She found an add in the local paper and one afternoon we went and met Zigi and took him home with us. Zigi settled in well and we became good friends.


Meanwhile my health improved dramatically and I felt well enough to live on my own. I moved into a Ministry of Housing flat, (a whole other story!). Since I felt too well to sit around doing nothing, I joined various committees and feel lucky to be able to do volunteer work. One day, on my way to a meeting, I left Zigi in my friends garden instead of cooped up in the flat. But the garden wasn't escape proof - as I had thought and Zigi got out and was run over. I found him lying on the side of the road, as if he was asleep. He had died instantly. We buried him under a special tree at my parents place.

I was heartbroken. Zigi kept me going. He was always there to greet me and jump all over me and smother me with kisses, (try finding a man to do that!). My Mum knew how sad I felt and found another Maltese/Shi Tsu cross. Enter Gizmo and another round of toilet training.


Gizmo had been with me for a year when I ended up in hospital for a week. I left Gizmo at my parents but I guess he got bored and went walk about. On his travels Gizmo got hit by a car. Some kind, thoughtful person found him and took him to a vet but it was too late for Gizmo. It was a shitty week.


I was starting to feel like a jinx. I figured it probably wouldn't be a good idea to get another puppy.

A couple of weeks after Gizmo died my Mum once again found Maltese/Shi Tsu pups for sale. There were too boys and one girl to look at. One of the boys was all white. At the age of nine weeks he was a scruffy little pup and seemed to have a curiosity and character that made him stand out among his siblings. That's how I got Boomer. His name is short for 'boomerang', because I hope he'll always come back to me.


Boomer is a smart puppy with a repertoire of tricks and a favourite word: he'll do anything for chocolate.

Each of my dogs have given me total, unconditional love. They have all been on my side. You can say anything to your dog; as long as you feed them they will always be there. If you feel like sympathy, you can sit and whinge your heart out to your dog. Those big brown eyes look as if they understand and seem to say "don't worry everything will be all right", (if only my dog could pay the bills!)


Of course dogs are a great way to get chatting to people & my brother and his mates have all offered to take Boomer for walks. One or two have suggested putting a stick up his bum and using him to clean their windshield. But despite all the teasing everyone who meets Boomer falls in love with him and don't worry, I won't let a stick near him!

Each of the pups came to me around 8-9 weeks old. At that age, Maltese/Shi Tsus are so small they can sit in your hand. They resemble powder puffs; all soft and shaggy. I wonder how their organs fit; their liver and kidneys for example, must be minute


When Boomer sits on my knee, I find the beating of his heart comforting and reassuring.

Story by Shelley - 1999.
Positive Women Victoria, Australia.

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