real life

"Oskar was only in my life for two years, but he taught me a lifetime of lessons."

When I first met Oskar he was the saddest little dog in the world.

His fur was long and matted, his nails were so overgrown they had dug into his paw pads, and his eyes were permanently downcast.

Oskar had been abandoned by his owner – dropped off at a boarding kennel and left to fend for himself.

Luckily for both of us, I was allowed to take Oskar home.

"When I first met Oskar he was the saddest little dog." Image supplied.

It took a little while for Oskie to settle into his new home. After being abused and abandoned, he was understandably hesitant. My other dog Vinnie, a Jack Russell Terrier, wasn't really that keen on having a brother, and I struggled a little bit with the responsibility of trying to make this beautiful, melancholy little doggo happy again.

But we soon settled into our routine. Oskie was really overweight, so we started going on regular afternoon walks, and slowly but surely he started to lose the weight.

More importantly, with the combination of fresh air, regular exercise and the lovely people we met along the way, Oskie started to get his confidence back.

Oskar had the kind of face you just wanted to smoosh and the kind of happy disposition that just drew people towards him. With every little bit of love he received, every little pat, every nose boop, Oskie grew stronger.

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He snored like an old man, was constantly surprised every time he was fed, and soon started his own neighbourhood watch program at the front gate.

He was happy, really happy.

But then about 18 months after Oskie came into my life, he began to breathe more rapidly, and he coughed regularly - like he had a fur ball caught in his throat.

After several trips to the vet and a series of tests, we found out Oskie had Mitral Valve Disease, a serious heart condition that could be treated with medication but would eventually kill him.

The vet said he could have a few years left, but within four months Oskie was rapidly going downhill.

One day I arrived home from work to find that one of his legs was bent, and he was walking on his 'elbow'.

I rushed him to the vet and they did an x-ray. A blood clot had traveled from his heart into his arm. On the x-ray, they also discovered that he had a huge tumour growing in his chest.

Little Oskie wasn't long for this world.

I took him home that day, but by 8pm I had decided it was time to let him go - he couldn't breathe, he couldn't walk, and keeping him around was only prolonging his pain.

My friend picked us up and we went to meet the vet. What followed was heartbreaking, but also a huge relief. Oskie was no longer in pain.

Linda Buller, accidental hero of Bali’s lost dogs. Post continues...

Although Oskar was only in my life for a little over two years, he taught me a lifetime of lessons.

He taught me that you can bounce back after a setback, that you can forgive the world after it's been really cruel to you, and you can learn to love again.

Oskie taught me about resilience and staying positive in the face of adversity.

Most importantly, that lovely little dog taught me to be grateful, and to appreciate and fiercely love the people (and doggos) in my life because I don't know how long they'll be around.

If you're thinking about getting a rescue dog, do it. You won't regret it. All the heartbreak, the vet bills, and the uncertainty are worth it.

Your little puppa will bring so much love into your life, and you'll have the chance to make a truly selfless creature immensely happy - if only for a short time.

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