Most of my posts have been about disability, mental health and parenthood. All very important things to me but I’d like to do something different today.
Let’s talk about dogs!
I’ve always been a dog person, dogs are happy to see you all day long. Cats? Well…
Not that they aren’t great too!
2019 started with heartache, when we lost our boy Reno at the end of January. He was a rescue dog who came into our lives when we bought our first home.
Reno was a Jack Russell/Beagle cross (Jackabee apparently), who was found wandering in a rough part of Glasgow. His tail looked like it had been docked in a hurry, a little stump with a tuft of hair at the end and he had clearly been mistreated.
He had a traumatic start, which I believe led to some cognitive issues.He was half-wild, wired with small dog syndrome but he was family.
After a quick bout of sickness mid-January, we rushed him to the vet to be sent home with heart medication. They warned this would make him prone to wetting himself and he would need some extra care but he was our boy, we were more than happy to give him all the care he needed.
Sadly, he failed to show improvement and was admitted for an x-ray. On the car ride there, I had the thought in my mind that this might be our last day together. I held his paw with my free hand as I drove.
I said goodbye to him and left him at the vet as he needed to be sedated. A few hours later, the vet called to tell me that they had viewed the x-rays and his lungs were riddled with tumors. We had no idea he was that sick, he hid it so well.
They asked what I wished to do, and gently suggested going to sleep was the kindest thing for him.
My wife had started a new job, so I arranged for my mother-in-law to take the wee one, deciding I’d rather collect her from work than tell her in the middle of the day. She happened to call about an hour later, I tried to hold off on telling her but I broke down. She knew.
Her boss let her out of work, so I picked her up and we cried for the entire journey. We arrived at the vet and tried to compose ourselves, it was pointless. Some emotions are just too strong.
We were asked again if we’d made a decision. We agreed that it was best for him to go to sleep. He was having trouble breathing, he could barely walk and keeping him in that state for the few more days he would last would have been selfish. He was tired, he was in pain and he needed to rest.
We were asked if we wanted to wait outside but we couldn’t do that to him. He was family, we would be there in his final moments.
I petted my boy, telling him he was a good boy whilst my wife sobbed and spoke softly to him. Telling him it was okay, that he could go to sleep. His tail wagged as we spoke. He was happy that we were there.
As the vet administered the injection I saw him look up at us as his little body began to shutdown. Unlike in the movies, his eyes didn’t close.
We watched as the light left him, and said our final goodbyes. Our hearts were broken.
The only thing harder was telling our daughter. The loving soul that she is, she made him a get well card that he never got to see.
We decided we would cremate our boy, so we could bring him home once more. Our souls were shattered and we made a promise we’d never have another dog. There was no way we could go through that pain again.
Later in the year, we saw a post on the Facebook Page for Small Dog Rescue Scotland a charity run by a workmate of my wife’s. There was a small dog of unknown breed, with only three legs, looking for a home. This video was the first we saw of her.
The charity rescue dogs from kill shelters in Romania. Horrid places where dogs are unloved, separated by gender, caged in large numbers and held until being euthanised. The conditions are horrendous, with dogs being thrown over the wall like discarded garbage when the shelter is shut. It’s heartbreaking.
This was our girl in her former life.
Fortunately, a very kind lady named Monica is a volunteer at the shelter and does her best to rescue as many of these poor dogs as possible. Monica takes these wonderful creatures to a local lady who is happy to offer her yard as a place to keep the dogs prior to adoption. This saves them from being euthanised and gives these dogs a fighting chance at find a loving home.
As you can see in the video above, our girl had a serious deformity in her front left leg. Unfortunately, this could’t be saved and was amputated before her journey to the UK.
When I saw her for the first time, I loved her, but I was adamant that we weren’t getting another dog. The heartache was too much to go through.
One day in a fit of madness after a few back and forth discussions with my wife, I’d said to message them to find out more.
My wife drafted a message, which sat on her phone for some time. Whilst waiting for my daughter to leave drama class one day, she showed me the message and I hit send without a pause. Mim was already on her way to the UK by this point.
The dogs are brought in to the country vaccinated, with complete medical histories and pet passports. The van is custom fitted to ensure their passage is safe and comfortable as the journey takes 3 to 4 days.
I said we’d go to see her, nothing more, but who was I kidding? We were taking her home. My daughter instantly fell for her. Seeing them together, and knowing that our three-legged-girl had a lesser chance of adoption, we had to.
I tried to keep my composure on the car ride home but I desperately wanted to have her join our family. I felt guilty, like I was betraying Reno but I knew he’d want us to give a loving home to another poor dog. So we did.
In July of 2019 we adopted her but that name had to change. When I hear the name Mim, I hear it being called by an old English lady who’s lost control of a yappy little critter in the park. She had a new life, so she needed a new name.
That name was Luna.
Stay tuned for part 2, where I talk about Luna’s first year and the “teething problems” that come with a puppy!
If you live outside the UK, I’m sure there will be many organisations out there who do similar work. As the saying goes, adopt don’t shop!