"Hazel's story with us began on Saturday 30 April 2011, the day after The Royal Wedding. We turned up to walk the dogs as normal and Lisa brought out Hazel for Jeanette to walk, telling her not to walk her too far and to bring her back if she starts coughing as she had a heart murmur. Little did we know at this point how things were about to change for us.
After we had finished walking the dogs we were sat in the office when Alison came in and said to Jeanette, you walked Hazel didn't you? Then she added, you never did have another dog did you? I was wondering at this point where the conversation was going to next, but I did have my suspicions!
Alison then asked us if we had ever considered fostering dogs, which we hadn't even thought of, and Alison told us if we fostered Hazel, we would basically give her a home for the rest of her life and that Forest Dog would pick up any vets bills to do with her condition. She added, because of her condition it was likely to only be for a few months. We told Alison that we would go home and think about it as we had two elderly cats to consider. After much discussion throughout the rest of the day we came to the decision that we would give Hazel a home visit and take things from there.
The next day Jeanette had a beauty treatment booked, so I turned up at the kennels on my own. I told Alison we had decided to give Hazel a try with the cats and she told me that, I could take her home myself after I had walked the other dogs. I sent a text to Jeanette telling her this to which she replied "Great". Whilst I was walking the other dogs, Tim was busy getting things together for Hazel's home visit. When I went to collect Hazel, not only was she there waiting for me, but a whole lot of other stuff as well, a bed, feeding bowls, Lead and collar and some food. Alison said take all this with you and if it doesn't work out bring her back with the rest of the stuff. So I loaded the boot up and put Hazel in the back seat and off we went.
When I arrived home, Jeanette had beaten me to it, so I got Hazel out of the car and opened the front door. Jeanette was in the hall, so I said to her, here's Hazel, and I've just got to get some stuff out of the boot. Hazel walked straight past one of the cats without so much as a sideways glance. Promising start I thought. I then started to get the rest of Hazel's things out of the car. I take it this is more than a home visit! Jeanette said after I had finished bringing everything in!
Hazel settled in very quickly, within the hour she had already claimed her spot on the settee. She slept next to us in the bedroom and was very good, waking me up to tell me she wanted to go out. We didn't rename Hazel, but she was known as Hazel Hands, Hazel H and Hazel HRH (Due to the Royal Wedding!)
Over the next few weeks we slowly increased her walks and decreased her food as she was a little overweight. This did the trick and she became a very slim line little girl! It was on one of her walks that she met who was to become her best friend, a collie named Timmy. Whenever she saw Timmy she would run up to him tail wagging furiously. She never did this with any other dog. We used to take her with us back to Forest Dog whenever we went to walk the dogs and she used to like jumping out of the car to have a nose around and get fuss from whoever was about.
Hazel had regular check ups at the vets, and amazed them with her progress. We were told to keep her as quiet as we could, but we could not stop her terrier instincts! She used to bark at the takeaway delivery men, who got to know the address and started to knock the door and retreat to the end of the drive despite me telling them she would never hurt anyone! She would also bark at the postman and rag the post in her mouth! She also kept a close eye on the squirrels and would chase them out of the garden.
One thing Hazel didn't like was Father Christmas. We have a singing and dancing Father Christmas and when it went off Hazel barked like mad at it and eventually pulled him over with her mouth! We managed to capture this on video and will treasure this memory forever.
We knew at some point that Hazel's health would deteriorate and we were prepared for this. On December 18 she lost interest in going for her walks and we knew she probably didn't have long to go. On Christmas Day, however, she did want to go for a short walk and this turned out to be her last. Her instincts remained though and even on New Years Eve, she barked and chased after the takeaway delivery man one last time!
Sadly Hazel lost her brave fight on Thursday 3 January, when we decided to put her to rest. Neil at the vets said that she was an incredibly brave girl who lived a year more than she had any right to.
We miss Hazel terribly but we are both very proud that she chose us and that we gave her a lovely home for the last 20 months and 2 days of her life.
Dave and Jeanette."