Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oops! I did it again – fell for another Greek dog

Diamandi, pregnant, wary, and on the streets, lurking near our house
(Please see previous article about Diamandi.)

A timid dog watched me approach our front gate. I had just returned to our house on the island of Kefalonia after successfully sending another street dog, Princess Kali Amanda, off to her wonderful new home in Denmark, thanks to Danish rescue group Graeske Hunde.

This dog couldn’t have been more different from Kali, who is an exuberant and glamorous yellow Lab mix. Much smaller, mostly black with white and tan markings, this one darted away as I wheeled my luggage toward the gate, then sat down at a safe few meters’ distance to watch as I unlocked it.

Peeking at her out of the corner of my eye, I realized that she was rounder than when I’d last seen her a couple of weeks before, and that her teats were enlarged. Obviously, the male dogs I had seen following her around had accomplished their missions.

My blood boiled. Those males had owners who couldn’t be bothered to neuter them or even keep them confined. Now Diamandi was paying the price.

No rest for weary dog lovers

The next day she was still outside my gate. And the day after that.

On day three I put out food. That’s what everyone else does. Just feed them. It’s half the battle for street dogs, to get enough to eat, right? So look, I counseled myself, just be like everyone else for a change, OK? Do the minimum, not the max.

On day four, when I went for one of my favorite hikes through the olive orchards behind the village church down to the sea, Diamandi followed me.

Following me at a discreet distance while I hiked
When we got back I realized she probably never got fresh clean water to drink, so I brought out a little pail for her. She didn’t back away. She drank. A lot. Then wagged her tail.

For criminy’s sake, I told myself. Give yourself a breather. You’re still exhausted from the Kali escapade. At least keep your Lenten vow to rescue no more dogs till Easter. 

On day five, two days before Easter, she let me pet her. And looked up at me. She finally felt brave enough for a fleeting moment of eye contact.

The Lean and The Look

In the afternoon, after she let me pet her again, she gave me The Lean.

For me, that always just about does it. A dog in need gives me The Lean, pressing herself against my knee, and I can hear my heart’s remarkably reliable shredding machine go to work on any tatters of resistance I might have left.

That night, she topped herself. There was The Lean and The Look. While I pet her, telling her what a lovely girl she was, Diamandi nestled against my leg, then lifted her chin to gaze up at me.

All my resistance got shredded into light, silly little flakes. Then the feel of her soft breath on my hand blew them all away.

Here was a living, breathing, sweet-natured but scared and desperate creature.  Yes, it was too soon for another rescue. Yes, I was too tired. Yes, I was too busy. Yes, I was too broke. But in that moment while she leaned on me, I had to chuckle. It was hopeless, wasn’t it? You are powerless to resist.

The when and the how

In this world there are:

a) a lot of messed-up dogs who need help

b) a lot of people who, no matter how busy, tired, and broke we may be, can’t stop helping them.

The question was no longer one of “if.”  The Lean and The Look had settled that. Now, it was just a matter of figuring out the when and the how to lure this justifiably sad and suspicious girl first into our house, and then into a brighter future.

Dear Reader, 
The Dozen Dog Diaries (DDD) would be delighted if you'd spread the links to these articles. Please just keep in mind that reprint or re-post of more than a paragraph or two of the text or of any of the photos is allowable only by explicit permission from DDD, who may be contacted at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom. Thanks for visiting!

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