On the twenty sixth of May, whilst driving home from one of my rural excursions, I came across a dog. He was abandoned, thin, malnourished, old and desperate. Desperate for attention, (for food) and for a good home. I took him without thinking, without hesitation. This dog had asked me to help him, had been send my way with a purpose, and I could not disobey.
I could not close my eyes and let him pass.
What followed was one of the most turbulent weeks of my life (one of the reasons why I have not been posting for those of you who follow my blog regularly). Though I had known that I would encounter some resistance in my act of mercy when I brought the dog home, I had not prepared myself for the full blown act of war that would be declared on me by my housemates. The one lad bluntly told me that we couldn’t keep it as he believed that dogs were raised by people and that you could not bring a stranger into your house (I only realized much later that their dogs had always been terrible animals who used to bite people. So what kind of a person did I have in my house?!). My brother, the hardest blow, shouted at me from the moment I came into the yard till the moment I closed my room door in his face. He apologized the following day, saying that he overreacted but he stood firm in what he had said the night before.
The dog had to go.
At first, I stalled. There was something in this dog, whom I decided to name Harry (based on Harry Potter, who nobody wanted either). When we were driving home after I found him, he had sat with his head in my lap all the way – in a manner that was unmistakably grateful. I have been playing with the idea of getting another dog and here one literally fell into my lap. And the Great Hand of fate and life was even kind enough to send one my way that was among the few that didn’t stir up my somewhat severe asthma.
I took Harry to the vet who gave him a cleanish bill of health. He had some problems with his eyes, but that was just because he had not been groomed properly in months and he was severely malnourished. I also found out later (after some observation) that he was stone deaf.
He needed good care and a lot of patience, something he wasn’t getting from my housemates. Under normal circumstances, I would just have ignored them but unfortunately due to my work and routine, I am not at home between two and three nights of the week. They had to be willing to feed him and take care of him and they refused to do it. They even refused to let him in the house, but dared to complain when he whined at the door to be let in.
The final straw came on Sunday, after I came home after having to tend to an emergency at our farm with the horses, when my brother send me a scathing text message, telling me that the dog had been barking all day. When I returned home, he wasn’t barking but calmly lying in his basket in my room. The other dog was in the house and already fed. The door was closed and Harry was alone, outside.
Something in me snapped. Not only was I faced with my own inability to provide this dog with a good home, but I was forced to acknowledge that my brother wasn’t the person I had always hoped him to be. That he was the kind of person who could do this to a dog, something that could be remedied simply but putting out two bowls of food and opening a door.
I realized that something had to be done, and it had to be done quickly as I had another business trip coming up at the end of the week. I send out what could only be labeled as a desperate plea, a call to somebody, anybody who would take in this dog and give it a better home than I could. I was scared and disheartened because I didn’t think that anybody would care.
But, I was proven wrong as the response was overwhelming.
Before my call for help was twelve hours old, people from all over the country had called me – all willing to either give this dog a good home or help me find one. One response in particular touched me so much, I almost cried:
WE CAN FLY THIS BEAUTY ANYWHERE IN SA, SO THE FACT THAT HE’S IN PTA CURRENTLY, MUST NOT BE AN ISSUE WHEN DECIDING TO MAKE HIM PART OF YOUR FAMILY
After evaluating all the offers, I chose a woman who had called me, saying that not only was she familiar with the breed – but she had had an old poodle of her own and wouldn’t mind taking care of another. She worked from home, lived in a quiet part of town with a big yard and was willing to drive an hour and a half to come and pick up Harry. She will keep me updated on his progress and luckily, I work in the vicinity once a month so I can regularly check up on him.
I let him go and although I feel a little emptier now that he is gone, and my room more cold and lonely, I feel better than I did all week when faced with my housemate’s outright cruelty (as there is no kinder way to describe it).
My faith in humanity, though damaged by the actions of my blood relation, has been repaired and it has shown me that perhaps, just perhaps, there is something in mankind worth saving.
Certainly, in all the people who have helped me find a home for Harry when I failed.