When the only choice is to run!

I have two tricky rescue dogs. Tricky meaning…I have to keep a close eye on them. Paudie was found dodging Galway City traffic which tests even those of us in cars. Imagine being a tiny JR on a busy Halloween night in the middle of the city’s busiest junctions. Yes, he stood out. My sister managed to follow him into an industrial estate. When a lone dog crosses your path, there is always that hopeful voice within that maybe he has an owner missing him. Then you look again for all the tell-tale signs of lack of human input or cruel input. Yes, little Paudie who was about 8 when rescued – well, he had a lamb ring around his tail. His owner decided he would prefer his older dog to have a docked tail; His owner nearly killed him. Paudie ended up spending days at the vets. His tail was badly infected. He was a lucky boy to have been found in time and not so lucky to have an owner who takes surgical procedures into his own selfish, cruel hands.

So,back to tricky, Paudie and Sasha have to be walked in areas with no people or other dogs. So that means we take risks with our own safety to find remote areas where they can have a run off lead. Yes, the things we do for those we love. They would never bite another dog, but they tend to get fearful and defensive. Bark worse than bite scenario. They bark non-stop to let others know ‘no one is going to hurt me again!’ So our morning walks are taken in a swamp-like area under a bridge that is part of a new road network. So, the other morning our remote area was the usual wildlife silent. Just me, the dogs but one other person.

The morning before I was driving another set of ‘not tricky’ rescues to their forest walk where they meet lots of other dogs. On the way there, an older lady caught my eye: she was old-school beautiful. No make-up, just sparkle: the inside out type. It’s innate. She smiled as she crossed the road. I decided she had just stepped out of some glamorous ‘camera lights action’ scenario.

So, how did this lady end up 24 hours later in ‘our swamp’. We were the Shreks and she was the fairy-like Godmother that magically appeared.

It’s funny how sometimes when we are met with difficult or strange scenarios we keep walking as our mind tries to do quick processing. Deciding is this a flight or fight option? Or maybe just blocking out something we can’t process. So she waved and I waved back, and I went ahead with our walk. When the walk was finished we passed again, and I quickly took a closer look as she sat under the bridge at 8am in the morning. I took in her bags and I heard an apology. She was sorry for being there. My trickies didn’t even bark.

So, I got into my car, drove towards the end of the road that brings me onto a roundabout and home. Except I never made it to the roundabout. I turned around and drove back. She was walking in the direction out also. I stopped, got out and automatically told the dogs not to bark as I usually do when I stop to talk to anyone. They still didn’t.

And so the conversation started with, ‘are you OK?’ followed by ‘did you sleep there last night?’ She answered yes to both questions. But added ‘it was so cold last night!’ When concrete is your bed, you are robbed of any warming comforts.

I took in her beautiful coat that was showing the signs of a life on concrete. But her hair was perfect and she had that big, wide Hollywood smile. Did she want help? ‘No’ was her definite decision. I asked for a minute to check the car for anything I had. I had 6 euros for her to get a coffee. She didn’t want to take it. The dogs still didn’t bark. She didn’t have a phone but I made her take my phone number. We parted ways. I live close-by so I said goodbye but was secretly hoping to get to my house and back to her with a little bit more to help pay for accommodation. And so I did, I met her again walking back towards town. I indicated and pulled in and let down the window, and as I held up traffic, I handed her some money. One of my tricky dogs was nearly out the passenger window as he put his paws up on the open window and took in this lovely lady again. There was still no barking.

They had a moment. She looked at him and he at her and she said, he’s so kind looking. I imagine he felt the exact same given his reaction. It was hard for her to accept the help. There was a promise she would ring me later from a borrowed phone.

Where is this blog going? I’m not quite sure. I do hope she’s OK and one day she doesn’t have to keep running. I did ring services incase she did ring. I wanted to have all the information she might need. Some people want to desperately run so far away from their own worlds: emotional memories and people, that they will deny any connection that might just put them back there.

A week ago I made a promise, that I would never regret again not getting something right when it comes to an animal or person in need. This promise was made because of a young collie locked into a horse box for two years. Living in his own waste and being provided with a pint of milk a day. I heard about this dog a year ago. When I did I reported him to a rescue as I knew they had better contacts than me. I then packed my car with food, a big bed and bowls. Yes, maybe naive, but until there was an official intervention, I wanted to make life a bit better for him. The owner met me and quickly turned his back on me, and told me to take my stuff back. In the background was a horsebox in the middle of a field with faint sounds of a dog. Yes, it’s very difficult when you’re there, so close to a dog in need, yet trying to plasmas the owner into accepting help. So, I went back to the rescue and told them he refused help and suggested we could put up a dog run – an option if he couldn’t be seized. You see, like many, I’ve heard the hard to comprehend excuse ‘they have food and shelter’ many times when it came to reporting dogs locked away from the world or in chains. Food and shelter deemed enough to sustain a sentient being. I was thinking this would also be the excuse that would keep him in a box forever. So I always think of alphabetic alternative plans. They often go past B.

To cut a long story short, that was a year ago. I don’t know what happened me but this collie went out of my mind. I was told he would be seized if conditions didn’t improve, but I even forgot that until I reread messages recently. You see I heard he was still there a year later last week. I took straight away to contacting the Guards and the department. But to really cut a long story short, it was another rescuer who used the medium of social media as armour to fight for this dog. It worked. He was seized and the last time I saw him was on a couch with a waggy tail.

So, after Barney the collie, I decided to keep following up on concerns until I know the problem is resolved whether for an animal or a human. And that is why last Tuesday, I turned my car around to talk to that lady. I didn’t want to have any regrets.

Yes, there was something special about her. My one eyed Paudie’s little paw on her trusting hand on an open window told me so.

But, like some dogs, some people also have been hurt too much to ever trust humans again. So, they just keep running… not to standstill for anyone.

*In photos is Paddy licking tricky Paudie after his eye was removed and my other tricky pound dog, Barney. I can’t find a photo of Sasha. 🙈

** excuse the writing as I’ve been syringe feeding a sick kitten through the night!

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