14-year-old rescue dog and new owner help each other through grief

When Sue McIntyre, 76 from Salisbury, lost her husband in October 2020, she found herself having to adjust to life living alone after 31 years of marriage.

But after adopting rescue dog Rosie, a deaf 14-year-old Terrier cross from Dogs Trust Salisbury, who came into their care after her owner sadly passed away, Sue says that they found each other after their lives were turned upside down and are helping each other to find happiness again. 

Sue McIntyre, Rosie’s new owner, says:  

“Even when the death of a loved one is anticipated or expected, the emotional impact of loss can still take you by surprise. Adapting to living alone in the home you’ve shared together is difficult, but when you’re in the middle of a global pandemic in the winter when getting out and about was limited, I suddenly realised how lonely I felt and how empty the house was.”  

Sue says she initially intended to become a foster carer for the Newton Tony rehoming centre, but after just a few days caring for Rosie she realised just how much she loved her company and says she couldn’t bear to be without her.  

Sue adds:  

“We’re just two older ladies who have both lost loved ones, so I feel as though we were destined to end up in each other’s lives. When Rosie came to stay, she was very nervous and I could tell she was mourning the loss of her owner. But over a few days, I won her trust and her tail started to wag. The rest, as they say, is history.  

“Even though she can’t speak to me, or hear me, her presence makes the house feel a lot less empty and she has done wonders to help me feel less lonely. She’s sociable with other dogs in the neighbourhood so she has encouraged me to chat to other dog owners out and about on walks. Even though she doesn’t need a lot in terms of exercise, she gives my day purpose, and has helped me keep a routine, which was crucial in helping her settle into her new home after going though such a change. She needs to be walked and fed and it falls to me to provide these things. In return, she has given me companionship and a presence whilst I potter around the house and garden, or watch television together in the evenings.”  

Claire Rowe, Manager at Dogs Trust Salisbury, said:  

“Dogs are truly wonderful animals and hearing how much Rosie has helped Sue is absolutely heart-warming. They are the perfect partnership and a lovely example of how much love and joy a dog can bring to someone’s daily life. The relationship they have is incredible and we’re sure they’ll have a great life together.”  

Dogs Trust Salisbury has a number of older dogs in its care at the moment and are keen to encourage people to consider the advantages of owning an older dog, which include:  

    1. They need less exercise but are still just as fun! 
    2. They are used to living in a home so come house-trained and are not as destructive as a puppy. 
    3. Their personality is already shaped so new owners can really understand and appreciate the dog they are welcoming into their family. 

To find out more about dogs looking for new homes at Dogs Trust Salisbury, please www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming to find out more. If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer for Dogs Trust Salisbury, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/fostering