We met online. Then we fell in love.

Rambo thinks he's chairman of the board


Rambo and I met online. It was love at first sight. And before long I arranged to meet him.

It was my friend Amanda who first introduced me to Monika’s Doggie Rescue, a no-kill rescue shelter based in Ingleside. She found her two gorgeous dogs Mondoe and Alfie there. So, before long, I was browsing the website and came upon a tiny dog called Tappy.

I decided to meet Tappy. He was hesitant and slow when we went for a walk – not at all like the bounding, playful dogs you see in TV commercials. I stopped on a park bench and picked him up to sit next to me. He looked up at me, a total stranger, and crawled onto my lap. He was already 12 years old – it’s tough for mature dogs to find a forever home. And I got the feeling that many people had considered Tappy in the past and decided against him.


The day I met my little Rambo


But I knew that he should become part of our family. I went home that day to think about it, got written permission from our body corporate and then went shopping for a comfy doggie bed. Returning to the shelter the next week, I decided his name would be Rambo. It sounded strong. A name that this tentative, delicate creature could grow into.

When Doggie Rescue got him, he was a mere 1.8kgs. (He was about to be put down at the pound when he was rescued by Monika’s team.) Tiny. Bony. His fur was thin. He had no teeth. I thought he was the most beautiful thing in the world.

For the first six months, Rambo didn’t lift his head once. He used to stand in the kitchen or lounge room, looking forlorn. Too scared to look up, always facing downward, just staring at the floor. He barely walked, not because he wasn’t able, but it was as if every step was going to take him to a scary place.


One year later ...


Then one day he came around. One day, he got a spring in his step and bounded down the street like a playful puppy. He put on weight. He spent his days happily following me around instead of staring downward all the time. He would smile. Yes, really smile. You know when a dog is happy. And that made me smile too.

It’s been four years since Rambo came into my life. Welcoming him into my family – adopting a rescue dog that had been abandoned by someone – was one of the best decisions of my life.


Rambo starring in @gustheboxer 's calendar


Monika’s Doggie Rescue does amazing work with little funding. Its major fundraising activity for the year is the sale of its Christmas Calendar. Despite the fact that Rambo is not a star in the calendar (it’s ok, he’s been in other calendars!), I encourage you to support this wonderful organisation by purchasing one. It’s a great Christmas gift. You can order one here.


The cover of the 2013 Doggie Rescue calendar

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • Tanya_blogreader

    Goosebumps, love Rambo. Thankyou. I am buying 6!

    • valeriekhoo

      Oooohhhh that’s so wonderful. Thank you Tanya :) And Rambo says: “Woof!”

      • Tanya_blogreader

        Valerie, we have spent all this year working on our feasibility study and marketing plan and cash flows and assumptions and etc….we are going full steam in Jan….if you could suggest 3 books that you believe would be beneficial…..well then, we would really appreciate that. “woof” back at you gorgeous boy

        • valeriekhoo

          This is a good idea for another blog post. Stay tuned!

  • P

    Love this story. After a long day at work, this story has made me feel like there are still kind hearted, good people left in the world. Made my day.

    • valeriekhoo

      I feel honoured to be able to share it. Thanks for leaving your lovely words.

  • Chrissie@Yoga in Recovery

    Such a BIG, BRAVE RAMBO! Melting heart …

    • valeriekhoo

      He’s a brave one that’s for sure. Although sometimes not so brave around his brother, Kitty Rocky …

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrea.culligan.9 Andrea Culligan

    I love this story – thank you so much for sharing…

    • valeriekhoo

      Thanks Andrea. So glad you like the story :)

  • Cate Richards

    Such a wonderful story Valerie, especially the part that says “others would pass Tappy by”. A beautiful love story for a wonderful woman and very special canine

    • valeriekhoo

      Thanks for your kind words. Rambo says HI!

  • http://twitter.com/marketingisus Anne Sorensen

    Oh Valerie. This nearly made me cry. So beautiful. You are so lucky to have found each other. Big cuddle and kiss for clever and brave Rambo and thanks for sharing. Our furry babies with their personalities and souls are very precious. Have a great weekend. x

    • valeriekhoo

      I know I’m so lucky! Hope your beautiful fur baby is doing well :)

  • Kylie Saunder

    Valerie my heart sang when I read this – my fur-baby Lucy (who passed away 12 weeks ago) is so much like your beautiful Rambo. Cherish every moment you have with your “little man”.
    The special bond you knew existed when you met Tappy has only got stronger and look, now he’s chairman of the board!
    Warmest doggy hugs, Kylie

    PS – we shared out fur-baby photos at Problogger :)

    • valeriekhoo

      I love it how you “get it” :) Thinking of you and your Lucy.

  • http://twitter.com/onewpc onewpc

    I love, love pet stories! I’d love to feature part of your story on my blog, can I grab some bits and link back to you? (Thank you in advance!)