Dogs remind us that there is always a child within us. Dogs teach us that happiness is made of small precious things. Dogs show us that love is the easiest thing in the world. The life of a dog is a priceless treasure.
Once you have been kissed by a dog, as I was when Bob first arrived at the Home.... once they have placed their paw in your hands, in trust, you feel an absolute obligation to do everything, absolutely everything you can, to make them whole again, to fill the gaping hole in their life that abandonment has visited on them.
If either of my dogs made a mistake, they have me - their devoted mum - to stand by them. If either of my dogs were so anxious, so worried, so frightened, frustrated, or just having an 'off day' because it was a bit hot, they were feeling 'out of sorts', they didn't like the colour of someone's jacket.... if either of my dogs made a mistake with a stranger, they would have me to protect them, I would stand by them through every court in the land.... but our precious strays don't have that luxury. If our beloved strays make a mistake, the staff at the Home have very few options. Veterinary advice is sought, questions are asked about whether there was a trigger, whether something might have happened that caused a dog to attack, whether anyone could have, or should have, 'seen it coming'.....
Bob made a mistake last week, with a potential rehomer, in the garden. There were two very experienced members of staff present, no other dogs, no children, and for reasons that were impossible to fathom, Bob launched himself at the rehomer, and it was only because of the lightening quick response from the staff that someone was not very badly injured.
Predictable behaviours are manageable. Over the years we have rehomed many dogs who show 'undesirable' traits in certain circumstances, we understand the triggers, rehomers are given help and advice on how to manage, and help dogs overcome their troubled past..... but unpredictable, uncharacteristically aggressive attacks on humans, especially from powerful, large breed dogs puts the staff in an impossible position.
Bob was pts last week.
I simply can't bear that yet another of our dogs has had his life ended belonging to no-one. It breaks my heart, but Bob, don't imagine for one moment that a million tears haven't been shed for you. You were so loved, so loved my darling boy.
I want to share Jess's post with you here, Bob's last, uneventful, gloriously happy time in the garden, because this is how he would want to be remembered. Not as a stray who made a mistake, but as a wonderful, loving, happy boy, who had everything to live for.....
I had 20 minutes before I had to go back to work and noticed all the dogs had been for their first walk. I asked if I could take Bob into the garden for a run around. I hadn't met Bob before and hadn't looked him up, but he came out like a steam train and we headed straight to the garden. He did a lovely sit and wait whilst I took his lead off and then off he went, zooming round the garden! I let him burn off some steam while I looked for a toy for him to play with. He loved chasing and throwing the ball up in the air then shaking it a lot. He really does make you laugh! He is so gentle, and despite running round the garden and full steam, he made sure he didn't knock me over when he zoomed back passes. After about ten minutes of playing he had burnt off a lot of energy and was just plodding round the garden. i called him too me and asked him to sit. He did a lovely sit and paw and was very patient waiting for his treat. When I said all the treats were gone he ran back to play with the ball again. This time it wasn't running round and throwing the ball it was time to roll on his back and play with it upside down. The time soon passed and I had to take him back to the kennel. Again he sat patiently while I put his lead on and walked very well back. I can't believe this gorgeous boy is still looking for his home. He is such a delight!
Rest easy Bob, I'm so, so sorry big boy, I'm absolutely heartbroken I couldn't save you, and I know if you were here you would be licking the tears from my wet cheeks, and whispering 'don't cry, please don't cry'. Because you were that kinda guy....
Thank you for sharing bob's last day with me in the garden. I had no idea what had happened the day before, but allowing him to have one last day of happiness of play time of feeling loved makes this situation a little bit better. I'm sorry what happened Bob. Rest in piece! Xx
After being out the loop for a few weeks due to being on holiday, I had no idea lovely Bob was no longer with us He was such a good boy on all our walks together Bob was loved, immensely, by everybody, he gave amazing kisses and had such a lust for life. I will always remember my walks with you Bob, forever in our hearts
Saving a dog won't change the world. But for that dog, the world changes forever