Sorry to start off so strongly but I’ve suddenly got very angry and upset!
Only the strong survive, is quite a well-known phrase and sung about by Jerry Butler and Bryan Adams, yet is there any truth in that statement?
I always gave the appearance that I was strong, (just like a vast majority of the people who get thyroid disease) that I coped, that no matter what went on behind my back, I would survive!
I didn’t, I crumbled and fell into an illness that has had some people suffering for years. Yet it took me an amazingly short time of 3 years from knowing that something was seriously wrong with me, to getting back to a life that could be considered ‘normal’. I wasn’t strong in getting well, it was something else!
Today I was at the dog pound and saw my beautiful, strong, Belgian Shepard girl again.
As I came around to her pen after walking 2 other dogs, she sat quietly and waited for me to enter and put on her lead.
All seemed normal.
She won’t use the pen for her toilet, unless absolutely essential and so it was no surprise that no sooner than we were out her enclosure that a ‘wee’ stop was needed. After she had finished I went to pat her.
Her ears went down, she flinched and looked at me through heavily lidded eyes as though frightened. As though my touch was possibly a strike onto her. I know they look after her well and would never hurt her. Was she beginning to see other dogs who are not so well-behaved and how they had to be controlled?
I took her through the gates and it was another immediate ‘toilet stop’. Then I tried to move her on and she stopped. Sat down, head down, ears down, solid to the floor. She did not want to move. I sat with her, coaxed her, cuddled her. She agreed to walk forwards about 20 paces and the whole stop, ears and solid to the floor happened again! I tried to cuddle and coax. She didn’t want to know.
This beautiful dog has become so used to her small pen and no love and cuddles that she no longer wants to walk out, away from the other dogs and what she now knows as normality, into fresh open air.
My beautiful, strong, dog, has become weak and frightened as she is in a hostile environment for her and perhaps to withdraw is the only defence she knows.
(this hurt me so much).
I had to take her back to her pen, as other dogs needed a walk. She resisted going back in, but submitted with flat ears and a shuffle into her small, covered and dark kennel.
She had been strong in my eyes, but was no more!
I took other dogs and then it was the cat pen time.
It’s crazy in there, you have about 20 faces stuck to your hand as you try to open a tin, then the plates are pushed off the worktop as you try to dish out! Mayhem, but fun. Then to the pens to feed those who have to be caged.
A while back I showed you a cat with her kittens.
She is a loving cat and I guess probably kicked out of a good home after falling pregnant. She loves a cuddle and now calls out to me, for a cuddle when she sees me.
Slim, elegant and young, she had a hard time being a Mum, but gave her all. The kitten here in this picture was the last to leave the birth bed, smaller than the rest and yet she was the first to find a home and be moved out from Mum.
This grey one, was the first out the bed, the first to real food, the first to the water bowl, the first over for a cuddle. The big, strong, brave kitten in the pack. He was cute, and loved playing with the toys I gave them. I didn’t mention it last time I was there, but he was ill. Very ill. This time, it was sad to hear the news that the strongest, bravest of the bunch, had not made it!
Only the strong survive hey!
It’s been a sad day and I knew I wasn’t strong enough for this and maybe today would be my last day here.
Then Maria, the bossy lady who gets us organised, she tells us what to do to be efficient and safe around the animals. All the instructions we need. Decided to have a chat with me……
Today was the start of the adoption process for this lovely dog. Off to the vets for blood tests, injections and whatever else needs to be done for the passport.
Then the news that 7 dogs are flying off to new homes at the weekend.
More great news.
Then her phone rang.
It was an offer of a job in a school for 2 hours a day. It would be to spend the lunch time with children who stayed over for lunch and during this time all talking and playing has to be done in English. Well Maria, who has an English boyfriend, speaks fluent English with a Preston twist and often makes me laugh with her use of ‘Bloody Hell’ in pure Preston accent! The job was a certainty for her and an extra 200 euro a month, which would be guaranteed money and a big help to them.
She explained to me that the money was not the thing! It would have meant her giving up her voluntary work, walking the dogs and running the charity stall at El Cisne. The job was nothing, the dogs were what added value to her life, that she persevered with the dog shelter no matter what the problems were. She loved dogs and was determined to give the best she could, so that no matter what the outcome, she would know she had given the best to the dogs and cats.
She made me stop and think about recovering me!
I’d not been strong, I became very weak. So strength is something you can lose! I persevered in my thoughts that I would get better, no matter how bad I was feeling and no matter what problems I faced. I learned to love myself for the person I am and not the person people think I am. I wanted to give my self the best opportunity to get better. It was more about determination, positive thinking, doing my best and working everyday to learn more about my illness and then to use that information that got me better – not strength.
She taught me to get back to that dog pond next week and give it my best. The cats and the dogs need us, and our emotions over them, whilst real and heart-breaking at times, should push us on to do better .
Determination, positive thinking and doing my best