Saving Kim

Once a year I hear from an elderly lady (Irish born) living in London. Her hearing is very bad so she keeps talking and I listen. Yes, I wish she could hear me laugh when she makes really funny jokes about life, and I wish she could hear my similar feelings when she talks about how much she loves animals. She even recalled this Christmas when she called, about going to ‘a dance’ in Kilorglin and how she wanted to go home when she saw the goat in a cage suspended high above the crowds but her friend was having none of her tearful protests. ‘She wanted a dance!’
Her regrets always remain the same: she wishes she could have come home but there is no one here now who can mind her and help her, and she wished she had spent more time with animals rather than people. Late in life two cats came into her world and changed it for the better. I don’t know where I heard this line – maybe it was The War Horse: some of my best friends never spoke a word to me. I hope she sees me as a good friend who doesn’t get to speak a word just like her adored cats. She always says ‘I’ll keep talking and will hang up Catriona when I’ve talked enough!’ Our last conversation ended when she told me, ‘my favourite is MacDara the goat! I wonder would he lie at the end of my bed!’ She laughed out loud and hung up. 

Donal Rogers’s best friend was Kim, a loyal little dog. Some might argue why did he put himself through the ordeal of court dates and appeals ‘at his age’ to intervene in a court order to have his dog pts. But when we leave out the word ‘dog’ from that argument: Kim, his best friend, was going to be killed for an isolated incident. Ironically Kim probably was doing what any best friend would do if we thought our best friend or family member was under threat. No one knows but maybe Kim was trying to protect her best friend from her perceived danger. One friend protecting the other which resulted in the protector needing protection from a pts order. 

We will go through life and gather names for our ‘hero file’. How many times do we get asked ‘who is your hero?’ And I believe many of us going forward now will say the name of a man we never met: Donal Rogers. He fought for his best friend’s life. Losing her was not an option and this was his driving force. He persisted. An 85 year old retired Garda knew his loyal friend shouldn’t die because of one mistake: she didn’t. She didn’t because he stepped up and decided, Kim can’t die because one person wants her life to be ended. He probably lay awake many a night between court dates, with Kim at his feet, fearing a world that would not be easy without her in it. His best friend who never said a word. Her owner: an ordinary man who made himself extraordinary to the rest of us as we watched on with baited breath for the outcome. 

Donal died on Christmas Day and as the news filtered through different people’s newsfeeds, and then reached bigger news platforms, you stop and think how one man and his dog does matter to the majority of us; a deeply human story that travelled from Roscommon to the wider world. 

Yes, Once upon a time there was a lovely elderly man who lived down a leafy lane with his little dog called Kim. All they needed was each other… life was perfect….

And what about the happy ever after? How can there be one now? Donal has passed? Yes, but he left this world with his best friend in it. I’m not sure how his world would have been without her. And Kim? It will take lots of love and time to help her settle into a new world without Donal. 

Whenever anyone questions how much dogs really love us, there is always the real life story of Hachiko we can refer to: a dog who waited 9 years for his owner to walk off his usual train from work. He stopped waiting when he died. It is not an easy watch because the love dogs have for us is truly overwhelming if we stopped to think about it. Donal didn’t need to think about it: he knew Kim would do anything to protect him because she adored him. What Donal did for Kim is this: he was exactly the man she believed he was: her hero.

Rest in Peace now, Donal. You saved Kim…

6 thoughts on “Saving Kim

  1. RIP Donal Rodgers!
    This case was a mixture of animal rights violations and elder abuse.
    It proves the animal welfare laws in Ireland are not fit for purpose and only serve greedy and selfish humans. What animals need is a Rights-based Animal Rights law and a see change in society to reimagine the paradigm for the relationship between all animals and humans in Irish society.
    The link between animal abuse and domestic violence is well established as is the link to other human on human violence, gang crime and other serious crime in society.
    We can never expect to have a peaceful society where the vulnerable are protected while we predicate our food system with the violent slaughter of 329,670 farmed animals every day in Ireland.
    Henceforth all farmed animals will be known as Kim.
    The holocaust of Sentient Beings at 120 Million a year in Ireland is unacceptable in a civilised society.
    In addition 2,000,000 male, day old baby chicks are either gassed or crushed to death in the Irish egg industry.
    Help stop the slaughter, violence, rape, mutilation and routine torture of animals in Ireland.
    Join Sentient Rights Ireland at sentientrightsireland@gmail.com
    Join The Evolution | Imagine We Can!
    It was elder abuse as well as an animal rights violation.
    No human organisation stepped in to help Donal or indeed the accuser, the situation went straight to litigation and there was no social mechanism to help the three parties enveloped in the unnecessary confrontation.
    This is where Rights-based Animal Rights connected to human rights would come in to play if we had an Animal Rights law in Ireland.
    We surely must learn by our mistakes as a society.

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  2. Wonderful heartfelt words and so true the word hero is used so daily these days but in Donal Rogers a real hero was born a champion of dogs and if u ever doubt the love of a dog and what it brings to your life and heart then u think of a man called Donal and his wee dog Kim

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  3. I heard Donal’s story initially on Facebook. I live in a small town in Arkansas, US. It infuriated me that the lady would want to take his beloved Kim and put her down because she nipped her as she was walking by their home. I cried at the thought because I’m a huge animal lover and have had dogs all of my life. I found Kim’s Army on Facebook and joined to see if there was any way I could help. I donated to the fund to help build the fence for Kim and signed petitions to hopefullysave her life. I will not forget how much his story touched me. I cried tears of joy when we learned of the judge’s decision to let Kim live and so sad when I learned of his passing. They deserved more time together.

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    1. Hi Shauna…yes, so upsetting his last few months were consumed with court dates. But because of people like you – Donal felt so much love & support but it’s so sad that he never got more years with Kim 💕

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