When taking on that new canine companion, not only do they become a friend for life, but they also become part of the family.

We want to remember Kia, who was adopted from our Bedfordshire branch back in September 2015. Her family very kindly got in touch, and they have written a very special piece telling us about her life and why she was so meaningful to them.

“In September 2015, we finally took Kia home from NAWT Bedfordshire (or Hula Rescue as it was then) after several intro visits walking her around the field, watching her eat sheep poo and chilling with her in the onsite caravan.

Having followed Kia's story online about how she had been waiting for over a year for someone to take her home, we always hoped she would find one soon. We didn't expect it to be us who took her but having lost our boxer Leah earlier that year we thought we would go and see her. We weren't sure whether we would be able to love another dog again and whether she would love us, being an older rescue dog. However, the more we met her the more we liked her character, and we think she took a shine to us.

Jacqui Furr, one of the volunteers, visited us for our final home check and we were so nervous that we wouldn't pass the test. Jackie was so lovely and reassured us that Kia was a beautiful dog who just needed a chance. We spoke to Nicola, who worked at the rescue centre and had taken Kia on weekend breaks, and she spoke so positively of her that we knew Kia was the one for us. So, Kia was bundled into our car boot to begin her new life.

Within a week Kia was very much a part of our family it was like she had always been here. She made herself at home straight away and loved meeting our family and friends. Her behaviour was impeccable straight away and that is testament to all the work her friends at the rescue centre had done with her.

She was such good company that we took her everywhere with us. She would go to work with Kate at her shop in Newport Pagnell and greet the customers who came in (when she wasn't curled up in front of the heater). She came on all our family holidays including our trip to Snowdonia where we got engaged. She loved exploring anywhere new and had a habit of poking her head into any open door whether she was invited or not! Everyone who met her fell in love with her and her cheeky ways. If you sat next to her, it wouldn't be long before she was pawing at your hand for belly scratches!

In March 2020 Kia became a big sister to our daughter Flora. We were unsure how Kia would react to having someone else in 'her' house, but these worries were dispelled as soon as Kia was introduced to Flora. It was love at first sight, and even if they occasionally fell out over whose fluffy toy was whose, Kia gave Flora all her love and loyalty that she had given to us.

In April 2022, after nearly 7 years of love and affection Kia left us heartbroken to cross rainbow bridge. She has left such a hole in our lives, but we are so thankful that we had her with us for so long to share so many beautiful moments. We have so many fantastic memories and photos of her, and we are so grateful to NAWT Bedfordshire for putting us together with Kia. If you are like we were and wondering whether rescuing an animal is right for you, or how long you will have with a senior pet, or whether you will love each other - if you can then go for it.

When we watched Kia sleep soundly (and snore loudly!) on her first night in her own warm bed in her forever home, we knew we had made the right choice. The love a rescue animal will give you is immeasurable and ultimately Kia rescued us.

Mark, Kate, and Flora Halsall xxx”

If you’d like to take part in our mission to save the centre that rescued Kia, and thousands of others like her, please donate what you can to our redevelopment project.