Tail of Catalina McCaw's paw-some foursome warming hearts

Published: 20 Sep 2019 4:00pm

“THEY were the biggest part of the healing process for me, they gave me a reason to wake.”

When Catalina McCaw lost her husband in a tragic motorcycle accident only weeks after their wedding in 2014, man’s best friend became more than a treasured companion.

“They were a small part of my world, but I was their whole world,” Catalina said.

“In one moment, everything was gone for me, but I had to keep going. I had these little lives relying on me to look after them.”

Catalina wasn’t the only one left to grieve after the unthinkable loss.

“We had two dogs, but my husband’s family took one of the dogs after the accident,” she said.

“My dog Sunny went into mourning, so I started looking for another miniature staffy to bring home.”

Catalina began regularly visiting the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter in the hope of finding the paw-fect replacement.

“I’d been going for months when (animal welfare officer) Keli (Stephens) rang and said she thought she had the perfect dog,” she said.

“I went across and met the most beautiful boy. I called him Tiger because he had gorgeous tiger stripes.”

Soon after, the Gundagai resident received even more dreaded news – Tiger had contracted the potentially-deadly parvovirus.

“I was told Tiger probably wouldn’t make it… I was devastated,” she said.

“My friends set up a Go Fund Me so I wouldn’t have to worry about any vet bills.

“In a miracle, Tiger pulled through.”

The day Tiger was finally allowed home, the passionate animal-lover was told he wouldn’t be like “normal dogs”, weakened by the virus.

“He’s defied everything the vets have ever said,” she declared proudly.

Adopting Tiger sparked the beginning of Catalina’s enduring love for the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter.

“Next in line was Frankie,” she said.

“He was an old, old blue staffy who had bald patches and had been left tied up and abandoned at the showground.

“I visited him a couple of times and just couldn’t resist bringing him home.”

She now describes Frankie as an “extremely spoilt boy” who loves to open mail parcels and knows to bark when he wants to be picked up and carried.

Proving there’s no end to her unwavering devotion, Catalina was quick to jump into action when shelter staff called last year.

“Keli said there was a little dog that would love Sunny,” Ms McCaw said.

“She was the smallest little Jack Russell cross Dachshund.

“She had the biggest overbite, so I called her Fi Fi after the famous ‘Phetvan’.”

“She’s the boss, absolutely rules the roost.”

Catalina continues to regularly visit the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter.

“The girls are so wonderful up there, they always ask about each of the dogs by name,” she said.

“My fiancé is always saying no more dogs.”

She takes every opportunity to encourage people to consider adopting from the shelter.

She shares the Council’s posts and tags her friends and family in dogs she believes would suit their homes.

“I have a soft spot for the ‘twilight dogs’ the ones other people would often overlook,” she said.

“They’re already trained and have so much love to give.”

Each year a highlight for the Catalina and her paw-some foursome is paying the shelter a special Christmas visit to drop off treats and toys.

“I get the dogs all dressed up,” she said.

“We love it and so does everyone at the shelter.”