Pawsitive Tales

Sharing heartwarming tales of animals and their humans.

Helen and Fur — November 19, 2021

Helen and Fur

~ Helen and Fur ~

14 years ago, Helen adopted Fur. Since then, they, as well as Helen’s husband, Alessandro, have become a family and have all bettered each other’s lives. 

In 2007, Helen was looking for her own furbaby. She had heard of a litter of moggy kittens and was on her way to adopt one. Once she arrived, a small grey tabby kitten poked his fluffy head out from the door. From that moment, it was definitely love at first sight for Helen. There was no doubt the kitten, Fur, had found his forever home. 

During the 14 years Helen and Fur have had each other, they have had gone through a lot together – both good times and bad times. They have become the best of friends and helped one another through many challenges. Fur loves to follow Helen around the house and happily comes running whenever she calls him! 

Four years ago, Helen, Alessandro and Fur travelled to Qatar. However, this didn’t go as smoothly as Helen had hoped! To help Fur keep calm during the flight, Helen gave him some loose catnip. Unfortunately, they were stopped before boarding as the drug scanner read it as cannabis! After a while, they were able to confirm it was catnip and Helen, Alessandro and Fur were able to just make it to their plane!

Both Helen and Fur love to play chase every day! He could happily play it all day. Each evening, however, they love to relax and snuggle together, and Fur loves a nice tummy rub. They just love being in each other’s company.

Not only has Fur had an impact on Helen and Alessandro, but also their community. In their neighbourhood in the UK, Fur is very popular. He happily follows Helen whenever she goes to check the mailbox, but often tries to make a few stops along the way – especially if he can smell food. One time, he even managed to sneak a roast chicken! 

The impact that Fur has had on Helen has been huge. He has brought endless happiness, laughter and love into her life, as well as Alessandro’s. The bond they all share is truly special. 

An Author’s Familiar — December 21, 2020

An Author’s Familiar

~ Helen and Bindi ~

In 2018, Helen (Helen Vivienne Fletcher – Writer) met her lovely assistance dog, Bindi. Bindi, a golden labrador, was matched with Helen to aid her in her day-to-day life. Since then, the two have formed a strong bond.

Before being paired with Bindi, Helen was experiencing some health challenges. She was chronically sleep-walking, which led to her being constantly exhausted and often sustaining injuries. She would often fall over. As a result of all this, Helen’s overall health was suffering.

Soon enough, Helen was introduced to Bindi. The two were paired together through Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust. Assistance Dogs is an organisation in NZ who train dogs to help people with many different forms of disabilities, from sleep-walking to epilepsy and more.

Recalling the first time Helen meet Bindi, she came into her apartment carrying her own bed and sniffing everything. Helen fell instantly in love. Bindi was a bit shy but also very excited about her new home and human companion. While Bindi was winding down for a nap, she took Helen’s hand so she could still be aware of her to make sure she was okay.

Having Bindi meant that Helen was no longer injuring herself as much from sleepwalking. While she slept, Bindi would lay across Helen’s legs so she couldn’t get out of bed. If she did manage to get up, Bindi would follow her and ensure her safety and that she didn’t leave the house. Not only this but Helen’s blood pressure occasionally drops. When this happens, Bindi can sense this and will alert her to this.

Since having Bindi in her life, Helen has unfortunately developed a condition where she may temporarily go blind. Although this is frightening when it occurs, having Bindi by her side makes Helen feel a bit safer. During these moments, Bindi is right there to ensure Helen’s safety. She guides Helen to somewhere she can sit and wait for her vision to return. One specific time, Helen recalls her vision starting to go while they were at the park. Bindi was able to guide her all the way across two roads and back home.

Bindi has given Helen her independence back. She is now able to be part of the community and her friends and family all know she is safe with Bindi by her side. She feels reassured that if anything were to happen with her health, Bindi will be there to help her.

Helen has been able to be more involved within her community thanks to Bindi. Bindi has participated in two weddings as a brides-dog. Not only this, but she joins Helen at her weekly storytimes at bookstores, Helen’s writing workshops and other commitments. Through this, Bindi enjoys hearing Helen’s stories as well as interacting with those who listen. Because of this, Bindi has become a very well-known part of the theatre and writing community in New Zealand and especially Wellington.

In November of this year, Helen released her book ‘Familiars and Foes’ with Witchy Fiction. The book focuses on the main character, Adeline, and her assistance dog, Coco. Coco is very much inspired by Bindi. The book itself shows the amazing bonds between humans and their animals and how much they both impact on one another.

It is obvious how much both Helen and Bindi mean to each other. Bindi has helped Helen live the life she wants to. She is able to be more active in her community and to have more independence. The love between the two is evident and they have helped one another grow so much in their time together.

Furry Support System — October 12, 2020

Furry Support System

~ Helen, Bebe, and Lenny ~

Found with her litter inside a neighbour’s wardrobe in 2007, Bebe found her forever home with her rescuer, Helen. When she was adopted, Bebe was so small, she fit into the palm of Helen’s hand. It was soon discovered that Bebe was a very mischievous little kitten though. Often, Helen would go home during her work breaks to just check on Bebe and make sure she was okay.

Years later in 2018, Helen was diagnosed with stage-two Her2 positive breast cancer. As a result, Helen underwent a lot of treatments. Throughout this harrowing period, Bebe was there to support Helen. When she was undergoing treatments, Bebe sat on her chest and purred. Helen believed Bebe was trying to heal her with her soothing purrs.

The risk of the cancer returning, even after treatment, was somewhat higher than that of other forms of breast cancer. It was because of this, Helen had to have a mastectomy. For Helen, this made the cancer real. It had taken something from her. It was with this new adjustment, she was very thankful to have her fluffy carer.

Throughout the ordeal, Bebe never left Helen’s side. When Helen was at home, Bebe would snuggle up with her and follow her when she was up and about. As a result of all the treatments Helen underwent, she was told that having children would be an issue. She feels having Bebe in her life is like having a child. She felt a sense of inner peace when she cuddled Bebe, especially during this period.

Undergoing cancer treatments had a major physical effect on Helen, but it also had an impact on her mental health. At the end of 2019, Helen introduced a second fur baby to their family. Lenny, a young dog, rescued from the SPCA, helped Helen post-cancer. As with Bebe, having Lenny in her life is like having a second child. Although Helen has not had to be treated since 2018

Lenny, a very active and young dog, encourages Helen to go out. When she is finding it difficult to go outside and socialise, she ensures Lenny gets some exercise.

During times when her mood may be low, watching Lenny play brings Helen happiness. As Lenny is young, he requires a lot of care. This gives Helen something to focus on. Having to both ensure he gets enough exercise in his day and attention, it distracts Helen when she may be struggling with her mental wellbeing. Lenny never fails to make her smile and brighten her day with his energy and character.

Cancer has had a massive impact on Helen, but she feels that the after-effects should have more awareness. This has prompted Helen, and another breast cancer survivor, Belinda Tran-Lawrence, to begin The C Word: Kiwis talk about cancer. This is a podcast in which they both discuss cancer, after-effects, and sometimes welcome guests to speak about their own experiences. Occasionally, Lenny makes himself heard in the background of certain episodes!

Helen is grateful to have Bebe and Lenny in her life. They have both provided her with support and love when she has needed it. She views both of them as her children. Both Bebe and Lenny brighten every day for Helen. She knows that whatever happens, they will be there for her and bring joy to each day.