Adopting Dogs – The Adventures of Me and Marley and the Wonky-Donkey Hips

Marley and the Wonky-Donkey Hips

Adopting Dogs – The Adventures of Me and Marley and the Wonky-Donkey Hips

It’s common knowledge that I’m a mad-keen animal lover. My family consisted of three humans, two pet sheep, three horses, one big cat and four dogs, when I received a call from Retired Working Dogs NZ.

They wanted me to help them photograph some retired working dogs for the organisations’ annual calendar. Days of photographing beautiful dogs! Well, I felt like I’d won the lottery!

And while I knew I would spend a wonderful few days surrounded by dogs, I didn’t expect to fall in love.

But fall in love I did.

Meeting Marley

It was the final few days of July; a gorgeous sunny day, like spring had arrived early, when I met Marley.

Marley was in foster care with an incredible lady who lived just 40 minutes from my home. Marley’s foster mum had a gorgeous home with a fabulous yard – everything was dog friendly. This lovely lady dedicates her life to looking after dogs.

I arrived armed with my camera gear, ready to spend the day photographing, and was greeted by a family of dogs. All adopted, retired, and fostered – all smiling, tails wagging and ready for the camera.

Love At First Sight

And there, in amongst the big waggy welcome, was a little white and black heading dog named Marley. Her beautiful brown eyes twinkled out of a face so white, her pink skin glowed through. She had the most gorgeous whiskers, the kind that curl downwards. Her whiskers were snow white and they popped-out from her little pink muzzle. I was fascinated with them. I fell in love with those whiskers.

And Marley’s tail waggled and wiggled so energetically it made her whole-body waggle too. In all my life, I had never seen so much happiness in one little bundle.

I knew then. Love at first sight really did happen.

Marley and the Wonky-Donkey Hips


Adopting Marley

From the moment our eyes met, I knew this girl lived life knee deep. There was just something about her that was special. She was special in such a special way that I couldn’t even describe it. Then I learned Marley was born with a rare and extreme form of hip dysplasia, and I was utterly heartbroken. Marley’s condition couldn’t be fixed. It couldn’t be operated on. It couldn’t be helped at all. She was only 6 months old and no one knew how long she would live.

Marley wasn’t up for adoption, but I didn’t care. I asked anyhow. I wasn’t a stranger to adopting dogs and I didn’t care that she had wonky-donkey hips. I only cared if she got to live her best life. Her best life with me.

To my absolute delight, Retired Working Dogs NZ and Marley’s vet agreed on the adoption. So on the first day of August, just three days after our first meeting, we welcomed Marley into our family. Fun fact: The 1st of August is also the anniversary date of the founding of Avedon Photography!

We Are Family

We are the luckiest family around – not only do we get to do life with Marley, but Marley comes with a network of people who support us and her needs. She has the best of everything; her very own vet, vet nurses, foster parents, friends and the wonderful people from Retired Working Dogs NZ.

Marley settled-in quickly to life with us. She loves riding with me on Suzie the quad bike. I’m teaching her while she’s young in case her hips give out completely. At least Marley will still be able to get around on the back of the bike. She loves to run and play with her best friend Roy, our other retired working dog we adopted in February.

Marley and her family. Jack the teenager and Roy the photo bomber


About Marley – Adopting Dogs

Marley loves mud, loves food, and eats everything! Including the corner of the coffee table. And she’s quite partial to chewing on any type of remote control.

She’s lucky she’s pretty!

Marley is super-snuggly but is only able to sit still for a nanosecond.

As Marley is still just a baby new things can be scary. For example, she’s scared of our pet sheep, but strangely she likes our three horses! However, once Marley gains some confidence, she is very brave. Marley has a big heart and she loves the absolute shit out of life.


Marley’s Future – Adopting Dogs

Marley’s prognosis isn’t great, and I hate that her life will most likely be short. But did it stop me from adopting her? SHIT NO!  I never hesitated. At all. Even with all her medical issues, I still feel the same way about her now as when I first met her.  She is a bloody cool dog. Marley is my heart dog <3

Follow Marley’s Story – Adopting Dogs

We don’t know what the future holds for Marley and me, but we do know it will be an adventure.

So, come along and join us for the ride as we navigate ‘The Adventures of Me and Marley and the Wonky Donkey Hips’.

About Cate – Avedon Photography

Cate Thomas is the photographer behind Avedon Photography. Cate is an avid animal lover, photographer and is famous for capturing stunning family, equine, and pet photography in and around Manawatu, New Zealand. You can get in touch with Cate here.

About Retired Working Dogs NZ.

Retired Working Dogs NZ help to rehome working dogs and encourage adopting dogs. If you have a dog that needs rehoming, adopting, or you would like to offer a forever home to one of their dogs, please get in touch here.

Marley living her best life