How Robyn and Jess saved each other

Robyn Haughey and Jess. Photo: Newsline
Robyn Haughey and Jess. Photo: Newsline
Robyn Haughey decided she wanted to be dog-free for a while after her 14-year-old labrador staffy cross Lou passed away – and she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

But she only lasted three weeks before telling her husband Mark she needed the companionship of a dog to get her through the invasive treatment. So they headed to Christchurch City Council’s animal shelter the very same day.

Said Haughey: “When Jess was brought out into the exercise area, I saw this cute, scruffy, and charming little terrier/jack russell cross that ran around in circles before dropping at my feet then putting her front paws around my leg to hug me as if claiming me as her prize.”

Said Haughey: “That was the moment I knew I wanted to take her home as she had chosen me.”

Jess is Haughey’s fifth dog adopted from the animal shelter in the last 30 years and offers her so much more than companionship.

“Going through chemotherapy over the last year, with all its horrid side effects, as well as a double mastectomy has tested me and my family to the limits, but simply looking at Jess has filled my heart with warmth, love, satisfaction and a strong feeling of contentment in that I know we have saved each other,” she said.

“For all the countless days where I lay on the couch feeling rock bottom, Jess would climb up and snuggle into me as if trying to share and ease my pain and discomfort.

"It worked and gave me hope and belief that we could beat this horrid disease together.”

Jess is a charming little terrier/jack russell cross. Photo: Newsline
Jess is a charming little terrier/jack russell cross. Photo: Newsline
Haughey has recently been discharged from the oncology department as her doctors are satisfied that she is cancer-free.

“Jess has played an integral part in my life to get me to this point and I love her unconditionally.”

To anyone thinking about getting a new dog, Haughey said think seriously about saving a dog from the animal shelter.

“Dogs end up at the shelter through no fault of their own and they all deserve to find a forever home to receive the love, responsible care, and affection from their owners.

"That love, care and affection is repaid in abundance by the dogs and can greatly enrich people’s lives.”

She said it is a hassle-free process to visit the shelter and assess the dogs that best suit your needs and lifestyle.

“The staff are all heavily invested in the process and collectively they all want the outcomes to be positive for both the animal and the adopters.

"When you take a dog from the shelter, you know they are in good health, vaccinated and the costs are minimal,” she said.