Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Princess Kali Amanda Gets Her Second Chance

 For the first part of this story please see:"Princess Kali Amanda Gets Her Chance"

It’s amazing how fast dogs can run. Even a starving dog. Even a starving dog with a bum leg.

It’s equally amazing how slow we humans are. Especially a human who’s still all dressed up for Christmas. Worse yet, a human all dressed up for Christmas with a bum knee.

However, the aforementioned bum-kneed human, in pursuit of aforementioned bum-legged dog, had one significant advantage: adrenaline.

In those moments, I hardly noticed the pain in the knee. It still worked, and that’s what mattered. And I didn’t care that a dozen people stopped to stare at me hobble by. They were probably the same people who had strolled blithely past the dog I was trying to catch and all the other miserable street dogs, and who couldn’t give a flying fig about any of them.

After chasing every pigeon in downtown Argostoli via her lumbering but exuberant three-legged gallop, and playfully dodging my clumsy attempts to nab her, the yellow dog ducked into a narrow alley and followed a scent. There, while she meticulously searched a plastic garbage bag for edibles, I got a really good hold on her collar.

Though reluctant to abandon the bag, soon she decided she was happy to accompany me to my car.  Except for every time she saw a pigeon. Now, onlookers not only stared—they laughed.

There is humor to it, watching a woman in a silk shirt, sparkly necklace, upswept hairdo, and heels wrangle with a wiggly, pigeon-obsessed dog.

To the Greek eye, this might seem extra funny. There’s little enough consciousness about dog rescue in the U.S., and less here. Why on earth go to such lengths to corral a street dog who’s obviously healthy and fit enough to chase birds?

For a moment, as I struggled to keep hold of her collar and not meet the pavement face-first, I asked myself the same question. Was this rescue absolutely necessary? Was it that critically important to save this one animal, when so many others continue to suffer?

Where had my galldang mantra gone? I tried to summon it back: Not another one. Not now. But I could barely hear it above the little yellow girl’s hard pant, the splash of her paws and my formerly pretty shoes through puddles of rain, the thwack of her long tail on the backs of my knees. And what about that age-old, terribly true corollary mantra, You can’t save them all?

A new mantra crowded out the others despite every effort to banish it—that fiendish quote from Helen Keller. I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

Trouble-maker Helen. Did you ever rescue dogs? Did you have any idea of the chaos it creates? The time it eats? The fortunes it burns? The relationships it muddles? What business did you have issuing such heart-rending, undeniable imperatives? Shut up. But she wouldn’t.

When I opened my car’s rear door, the yellow dog jumped right in, gave the upholstery a few appreciative sniffs and turned to me with a grin. “Nice wheels. Where we goin’? Is breakfast included?”

I collapsed into the driver’s seat and tried to breathe. It was that moment—the one when you desperately hope that maybe you’ve just been dreaming. Maybe you haven’t really done what you’ve actually just done.

From the back seat came the scuffling noises of the yellow dog darting from one window to the other to check on the pigeon status, plus keep an eye on the Museum Gang across the street.

After gulping some deep breaths, and trying to suppress the queasiness warning me that even saintly husbands can tolerate only so much, I turned around and looked at her.

The little yellow girl took another couple of glances out the windows, turned around three times on the seat in the classic doggie nesting dance, and curled up with a sigh, chin on paws, eyes closed.

Then suddenly, she seemed to remember something. She leapt up and stepped forward. Carefully, she placed one paw on my thigh, a shoulder against my chest, and molded her body to mine, snuggling her head softly under my chin.

All went quiet. There was nothing but the swish of her tail, gently rocking us to the rhythm of some slow, ancient song she knew—probably one that all dogs know.

An evangelist once informed me that animals are wonderful, to be sure, but that I should keep in mind that they are “empty vessels,” merely “things with no souls.”

This “empty vessel,” the one with no soul, this limping, starving, “thing,” who had a length of rope—likely testament to months of bondage and neglect—still hanging from her collar, somehow this soulless thing had found a way to speak to me. If that snuggle wasn’t a thank-you, I don’t know what is.

Please see “Princess Kali Amanda Joins a Club.”

If you'd like to help unchain a dog who spends his whole life chained no matter the weather on the island of Kefalonia, please see Painful Talk with Friend Who Keeps Dog Chained.

If you'd like to help a sweet, elderly, disabled street dog on the island of Paros, please see Old, Arthritic Gina, a Canine Work of Art, Endures a Hard Life on the Street

PLEASE NOTE: Kali is available for adoption. Let me rephrase that. Along with thousands of other rescuers caring for animals they can’t keep, I am desperate to find a wonderful forever home for this special needs girl. Maybe she’s just the right one for you, or for someone you know.

If you have any interest or leads please contact me at youradopteddog@yahoo.com.

Thank you for reading and for any networking you can do!

1 comment:

  1. you are a good writer i have to day and the story was heartwarming!