Love Always Wags Its Tail

Demanding clients and long working hours had left me weary and grumpy with a headache so I decided to take young Ruby for a quick stroll as even though it was overcast, it was still very humid. Having left her for an hour and half that morning to do the shopping run, I was dismayed when I returned and she’d managed to open the cleaning cupboard and destroy a packet of wet wipes and tumble drier sheets not to mention a Yankee Candle diffuser. So I thought a short walk when the dark destroyer and I could cool off would be the order of the day

As we strolled on one of my favourite walks along the country lane that runs past the cemetery, I came across an elderly gentleman who I frequently met on his way to the graveyard with a bunch of fresh flowers in his shopping bag when we always stopped to say hello. He had confided in me the day before that he’d just adopted his little Bichon Frise from the local animal sanctuary. The pint-sized dog, now called Max, had been seized by the RSPCA from a puppy farm.  You could tell he adored this little dog sporting a brand new harness and sparkling collar. He proudly told me how when he went shopping the little dog was always waiting for him on his little blanket on the sofa right where he had left him and after Ruby’s adventure that morning I couldn’t help but feel a little envious.

He sadly confessed he’d lost his wife earlier in the year so had taken his new friend up to the cemetery to introduce them both to each other and also to let her know that he wasn’t on his own anymore so she didn’t have to worry about him.  He was also thrilled that he’d seen and met so many people since walking the little fella and I suspected like many elderly folk, he had felt isolated and lonely since his wife passed.

Did angels have a hand in bringing these two souls together, I’d sure like to think so. As I waved to the companions walking home alongside each other my day suddenly didn’t seem quite so grey as I was reminded that there are good people in the world and sometimes just sometimes there are happy endings too.

ruby 003

 

 

 

Heartbeat At My Feet

I think it’s fair to say that since the old fella passed I’ve lost my way a little stumbling around like a lost soul but I think he’d approve of me becoming self-employed which is my first step in moving on. Bereavement without a doubt, leaves a gaping hole in your life and I vowed that because of the poor experience which we had with Dad’s care that I would make something positive come out of a bad situation; so meet Miss Wigglebum.

I thought long and hard about becoming a fosterer before completing the application form for a small rescue and when they announced they were coming for a house inspection it somehow made it all real. Truthfully I was expecting to foster an older dog whose owner had passed away so when I had a call unexpectedly one Saturday morning concerning an emergency rescue I didn’t have time to think too much about it. I had no idea that my new houseguest was a ten week old springer pup who when handed to me was yellow from being sat in her own urine. Having not had a baby in the house for some time I don’t think I was quite prepared for the puppy devastation whirlwind. We’ve baby-gated for England (in fact if I ever write my memoirs they’ll be called “Babygate”) and because we are Miss Wigglebum’s third home house-training is a bit of a marathon. I often wondered why with three cats and little experience in the puppy raising field the rescue chose me to be her fosterer but maybe they had few options as they tell me it’s getting harder to recruit fosterers.

As a rescue she is not without her problems; underweight with severe guarding aggression are just a couple of them but our puppy trainer reckons it’s because she left mum too early and then lived in a shed on her own so she’s told me to take one day at a time. On the days when this cute puppy transforms into the “Bride of Chuckie” I’m left wondering what the hell I’ve done but I’m determined not to give up on her and I know that I have enrolled the best help I can. I met Jenny her trainer as one of the judges at the fun dog show at a local rescue and she took pity on me and awarded Cujo a rosette for “waggiest tail”. She must have noticed my look of sleep deprivation and despair so we got chatting and I discovered that she was running a local puppy class. Jenny as a breeder of springer spaniels calmly reassured me that there is no perfect dog and added there is nothing she hasn’t seen before so fate had once again stepped in and provided us both with a saviour.

We have met some amazing people as part of her journey and accidentally meeting up with a group of dog walkers at 7am every morning has given her the socialization she was lacking. Dogs of all ages and breeds are teaching her manners and their patient owners understand this; in fact, she has a better social life than me!

Now Ruby, as we have renamed her is fourteen weeks old and it feels like she has been here forever; the training is one step forward and frequently two steps back but I am determined not to give up on her as I will be the one who failed her if I don’t do all I can to ensure that she is a happy, healthy and well-behaved family pet.

As the old fella often remarked when I would whine about some insignificant minor inconvenience, “life doesn’t always give you what you want, it gives you what you need” and somehow I think he would approve.

Miss Wigglebum

A Piece Of Our Hearts Is At Rainbow Bridge

For the past thirteen years my Dad’s constant companion and shadow has been an old border collie called Sonny who was rescued by the old fella when he came across him being thrashed by an impatient farmer for failing to nip the heels of the sheep but clearly no amount of beatings was going to change this poor dog’s submissive behaviour. My Dad being a canny old fella knew there and then that the fate of this young pup lay in his hands as most failed sheepdogs are usually despatched with a bullet from the farmer’s gun so waving his walking stick in the air he approached the farmer saying “Now then fella m’lad, that’ll be enough of that” and promptly took the young dog off the farmer’s hands right there and then without any further argument from the farmer.

My mother was less than impressed when this fairly bedraggled and smelly dog was brought into her pristine kitchen but had become accustomed over the years to my father bringing home various waifs & strays so begrudgingly set about finding something to feed the poor animal. After an overly-enthusiastic bath and groom the bewildered animal settled at my father’s feet, which is more or less where he has been for the past thirteen years. We often joked that Dad probably loved the newly named Sonny more than the old dear. It took some time for Sonny to gain confidence even the cats knew he was a complete pushover and whilst the farmer had not appreciated his kind temperament everyone who met him was charmed. I am always amazed by the good nature of animals in spite of the poor treatment they receive from those that should know better. Sudden movements and loud noises still frightened him and the fact that he never barked were signs of his former abusive life but the old fella loved him dearly.

In fact they were seldom apart, every time I cycled up to the allotment Sonny would be contentedly laying on a blanket in the sunshine watching his master with adoring eyes, who would be toiling amongst his beloved dahlias.

The saddest thing is that as both old boys have fought their health own battles they have been separated when they when both needed each other’s comfort the most. It’s been hard watching them both deteriorate and I’ve come to terms with the fact that the old fella will never be coming home as the brain damage is just too severe for him to cope with the smallest of tasks. I’d also been in denial over Sonny so with a reluctant heavy heart made the decision to help him take the journey to Rainbow Bridge where he passed away in my arms as the person he loved the most on this earth could no longer remember his name.

I truly believe it’s possible to die of a broken heart but I am comforted that Sonny will be waiting just on the other side of the bridge to walk the old fella home when his time comes.

Sleep well bonny lad

Sadly the only pictures I have of Sonny and the old fella have been lost or damaged so I thought they’d both approve if instead I posted a picture of Handsome Benny who Blind Dog Rescue UK are trying to find a UK home for as regrettably his other one fell through. I sure would appreciate it if you could share beautiful Benny’s story so he can find his forever home just like the old fella’s boy.

 

Benny

Keep Your Coins They Need Change

As most of you know I’m an early commuter to work each morning and I am always intrigued by my fellow travellers that I meet en route. One of those is a homeless girl, about the same age as one of my nieces, who I often bump into on my way to pick up a newspaper. There’s very obviously a pretty girl under all those tatty layers and in another time & place she would be planning nights out with her friends or buying make up. We always exchange pleasantries and I always stop to pet Billy, her beautiful Staffordshire bull terrier who like many homeless companions is probably better cared for than many pets. Occasionally, I’ll pick her up a cup of tea when I collect my first coffee of the day.

Last week she told me that someone had given her the money to purchase a coat for Billy as he didn’t like the cold and I nodded as like many cynical souls thought the money would probably be spent on booze or cigarettes. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I next bumped into them to see that Billy was proudly sporting a very nice fleecy lined jacket and looking a lot happier for it

The other morning, however, she was quite distressed and said that another homeless person had stolen their tent and contents including the dog food. “Can you believe stealing from the homeless? It’s not like I’ve f***ing got that much in the first place” and I could have wept as she shyly showed me a sweater she’d discovered carelessly discarded next to one of the litter bins.

I was deeply touched by her plight and like I know many of you would have done, I bought her a few items from the shop just to keep her going. As we shared a McDonalds breakfast, I tried to reassure her by telling her that life wouldn’t always be this bleak for her but from someone who’d never been hungry or homeless a day in their life, I’m sure my words sounded hollow. The daily grind of finding somewhere to take safe shelter out of the bad weather for the night and just getting through the next day to start the drudgery all over again. It’s no wonder that many turn to drugs and alcohol to blot out the harsh reality and at the end of the day who I am I to judge them. What do I know about sleeping fitfully just in case you’re attacked, asked to move on or have your entire world stolen from you. Like so many of us I know nothing about being so cold and hungry that I don’t know whether I will make it through the day let alone week.

The fact is whatever city or country we live in there are always going to be insufficient safe accommodation for the amount of homeless people who live on our streets whilst our governments spend billions in foreign aid. I see many homeless on my way in to work many being moved along by retailers as they open up for the day; have we really become that desensitized to those in need on our doorstep?

A conversation with our grocery delivery driver, who also confided in me that he had also been made homeless after the break-up of his marriage, made me realise that we are all only one step away from finding ourselves in the same situation. The loss of a job followed by eviction is an all too common tale. Don’t believe me? In a heartbeat you can find yourself on the same downward spiral as many others before you and it may take several years to turn your life around; some just aren’t that lucky and will end their days on the streets. Try securing a job without an address and then tell me how easy it is.

So in the true spirit of paying it forward this year the very next time you pass a homeless person at the very least spare them a smile because that really could be you.

For those finding themselves with housing difficulties or just want to become involved try contacting Passage or Shelter

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Rescue; It’s Not Just a Verb It’s A Promise!

Milo & I wanted to wish you all a very happy & safe weekend from everyone here at Dyson Abbey and also to remind you how rewarding fostering can be. Writing posts about wildlife and our precious four-legged friends is always such a labour of love for me but the photography not so much hence I’ll be saving the shameless photobombing selfies of our feline family for another day. I have a renewed respect for the patience of all of our photography blogging friends and it’s completely true what they say about working with children & animals (well bored felines anyway).

With most shelters overflowing with unwanted and neglected animals what can be more worthwhile than saving a life like Milo? If you’re on Twitter why not help by an RT which might just find an animal on the euthanasia list a home. And to remind you just how fulfilling either adopting or fostering a rescue animal can be, I’ve posted this touching verse which never fails to reduce me to tears. Hankies at the ready!

There I sat alone and afraid,

You got a call and came to my aid

You bundled me up in blankets and love

and when I needed it most you gave me a hug

 

I learned that world was not all that scary and cold.

That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold

You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend.

You loved me and healed me and became my first friend

 

And just when I thought you’d done all you do,

There came along not just one lesson but two

First you said “sweetheart you’re ready to go,

I’ve done all I can and you’ve learned all I know”

 

Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss,

Along came a new family they even have kids!

They took me to their home forever to stay.

At first I thought you’d sent me away,

Then that second lesson became perfectly clear,

No matter how far you will always be near

 

And so Foster Mom, you know I’ve moved on,

I have a new home with toys and a lawn

But I’ll never forget what I learned that first day,

Is that you really never give fosters away.

 

You gave me these thoughts to remember you by,

We may never meet again but now I know why.

You’ll remember I lived with you for a time,

I may not be yours but you’ll always be mine

 

Barb Lieberman

 

Public Service Announcement From Milo

Public Service Announcement From Milo

Animals Never Dump People

My heart broke a little this week when an acquaintance of ours from a family of supposed dog lovers informed me that his sister had decided to rehome her nine-year old beagle which she’d had from when he was a tiny puppy, whilst she was in hospital awaiting the birth of her first child.

I have long since realised that everyone’s interpretation of being an animal lover is different and this particular family have all shopped from dubious breeders, which frankly have been little more than puppy farms found through random adverts and then wondered why their dogs have developed behavioural issues and serious health problems.

I do appreciate that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances when no matter how distressing an alternative safe home is sometimes necessary for the welfare of the animal. However, when you have treated your dog like a substitute child with little or no socializing, discipline or exercise and discard without a backward glance because you now have the real thing demonstrates a total lack of conscience.

Furthermore to advertise your loyal friend on a website “free to a good home” and then abandon them to a complete stranger you know little or nothing about because further details would just “upset you” is just downright irresponsible and immoral.

So it’s no surprise that I enjoy Animalcouriers’s travels which detail the extreme lengths that some owners will take to avoid being separated from their four-legged companions and on really bad days when shocking animal cruelty floods both the media and social networking sites it warms my heart and reminds me that there remains kindness in this world. I love reading about their adventures transporting lots of different animals around the world although my favourite posts are about all the work they do with a Greek rescue called The Filozoikos Shelter and the special collars made with love in each stitch by one of the volunteers which are given to them when they depart for their new homes and new lives. Rest assured if I ever need to transport our brood Animalcouriers would be the only option for us because of the personal care they give to their passengers which is beyond priceless and who wouldn’t want their four-legged or even feathered family to travel with the very best. In fact, as they seem to travel to the nicest places and meet the kindest people I would probably want to ride shotgun as well.

Adopters, fosterers and donations are always needed by the shelter so if you are thinking of getting an addition for your family please adopt don’t shop and consider giving a home to one of the many treasured dogs from the Filozoikos Shelter enabling them to provide a home for another street and abused animal.

Enjoy your weekend my friends and here’s some delightful pictures of Animal Courier’s charming passengers (the Filozoikos Shelter dogs) with those adorable collars; bet they make you smile too!

Waifs & Strays

Tis true that I have made some random choices and decisions but one of my most impetuous moments was a few years’ ago when walking to the car park after a late night Xmas shopping event I was hailed by a homeless man slightly intoxicated and waving a bottle of cider in my general direction. Like many he would sit on the pavement of the underpass near the railway station with his dog at his side on an old blanket calling out to the commuters as they made their way home.

I’ve never ignored anyone including those annoying canvassers that stop you constantly whilst you are shopping for market research purposes, believing it to be rude as we all have to earn a living and I think a simple “no thank you” is more civil than passing them by as if they’re invisible.

So I bid him a good evening and was about to carry on walking by when he asked me for money which I politely declined to give him so it was then that he started asking me if I wanted his dog which was a huge bedraggled mastiff type. “Good dog” he slurred “worth a tenner at least”. Realising that this poor animal’s fate lay in my hands I duly agreed and returned to my car where I knew that I had one of my niece’s skipping ropes laying on the back seat. I went back and handed the homeless man the money. “likes his food, he does” he mumbled snatching the money out of my hand. Judging by the poor and near skeletal condition of the dog he clearly hadn’t been getting much of anything recently. So attaching the skipping rope to the collar of the forlorn Mastiff, we started to walk towards my car leaving the homeless man running off in the direction of the off-licence without a backward glance in the direction of his faithful friend.

I hadn’t realised just how large the dog actually was until he was walking alongside me and then of course, it was apparent that he was actually the size of a small Shetland pony albeit a malnourished one. I decided to call him Arnie after the actor and realised this poor trusting animal must have been incredibly confused losing the only person familiar to him.

Back at my car, which at that time was a small mini metro I tried to entice Arnie inside. Judging by his reluctance to jump in, I assumed that he’d never travelled in a vehicle before. Eventually, I managed to squeeze him into the passenger seat where he seemed to fill the entire car and then it was all too apparent that Arnie was in dire need of a bath. As soon as, I switched on the ignition he began to wail like a werewolf and on the way home I almost sustained a perforated ear drum and pneumonia from having to drive with the window wide open in what had been the coldest of winters. Serial Shagger and I had bought a do’er upper in a nice neighbourhood but he was currently away serving Queen and country so it was just going to be me and Arnie until such time that I could find him a suitable home.

Once home we made a beeline for the bathroom where Arnie received his first shower and by default, so did I. After a tin of Marks & Spencer steak for tea followed by a quick drink from the toilet, clearly his table manners were going to need some work, Arnie crashed out on the sofa.

We spent a challenging few weeks together as the howling had increased my popularity with the neighbours tenfold to the point that I’m sure a couple of them considered moving. Walking an exuberant mastiff with no basic training had improved my own agility no end; particularly as Arnie wasn’t receptive in the recall department as it was so much more fun to run around the park having me charging after him until we were both fit to drop with exhaustion. My upper body strength was also on a par with Arnie’s namesake as he dragged me along the pavement every morning on our way to the park. Whilst incredibly friendly Arnie had the strength of ten thousand men and I had no doubt that we were a constant source of amusement in the village as this exuberant Hound of the Baskervilles bounded along with me in hot pursuit.

The vet whom I had taken him to for a check up confirmed that he was a dogue de bordeaux and an exceptionally large specimen. Apart from poor nutrition he was given a clean bill of health and I set about finding him a new home.

As luck would have it, one of my neighbour’s a kindly elderly gentleman used to pass me each morning on his was to collect his newspaper and as we sprinted past he always remarked to my rapidly retreating back what a lovely dog Arnie was. On one morning when Arnie wasn’t in such a rush to get to the park, we stopped and chatted for a while when he told me that he had so been looking forward to travelling the world together with his beloved wife but sadly cancer had taken her only a few months into their retirement so now he was all alone. It was inevitable that he eventually gave Arnie the home he deserved.

I see them fairly often when I pass the old gentleman’s garden where he always tips his Panama hat to me before handing me one of his homegrown roses and telling me that they’re a present from my two admirers. As I watch dog and master walking alongside each in other in companionable silence, I am reminded that dogs really do have a way of finding those that need them the most.

And if you’re thinking of getting a new friend to join your family please consider adopting because you may just save a life!