No one could bear the perpetual emptiness in our house any longer.
She came last week - or to be more precise, we went and got her. A mere five-and-a-bit hour trip each way, but I had a gut feeling it would be worth it.
She was rescued a few weeks ago by Great Hounds in Need, and put into foster care.
|A new addition to the family|
I have huge, massive, unending admiration for foster mothers.
You open your heart and your home to take in a nervous, often abused, usually hungry and inevitably needy dog, who has no idea what your intentions are and who might be very unwilling to trust you. For days, possibly weeks, perhaps even months, you lavish your all - calling up heretofore unsuspected reserves of patience, putting up with accidents, countering jealousy on the part of your own dogs, and I can only begin to imagine what else - and then, just as you have fallen in love with the newcomer and shown it that not all humans are horrible, a 'forever' owner descends and takes it away.
I couldn't do it. It's probably due to my inherant bossiness, but I'd never be convinced that anyone else would look after the rescue-ee to my satisfaction.
Thank heavens there are 'better men than I am, Gungadin'.
Despite my inability to be of any real use, I am 'Friends' with half the rescue agencies in Ireland, and having seen this girl's photo on facebook, I'd been in touch with the Agency and her foster mother, Eileen. She only lives a few hours south of us, which seemed handy, but over Christmas, through no one's fault, it apparently became necessary to move the dog to another foster home - on the far side of the country.
Last week, as we set off two hours before dawn, it felt more like the far side of the world!
|Impossibly long legs|
What I had seen on facebook was a bedraggled, very skinny hound who looked - as they so often do, God love them - lost and resigned. She had been found straying, obviously hungry and homeless. I'd been told she was nervous and wary around men, but she was lucky, she had no physical injuries - unlike the puppy found this week whose throat has been cut from ear to ear, or the almost hairless dog found in a ditch a few days ago, smothered in cooking oil and covered from head to toe in dog bites. Both creatures alive - just.
What some people do to animals beggars belief.
Isn't it shocking that the complete neglect our dog has suffered seems almost trivial by comparison? But I am thankful nothing worse had happened to her. When we arrived at our destination at lunchtime last Wednesday, it was to find a tall, pretty, but unbelievably thin blonde hound running happily round a stable yard with a bevy of other dogs, including a shaggy wolfhound. She was wary and very shy, but she came to say hello and seemed pleased to meet the Model Dog,
She wasn't quite so pleased to be put in our car an hour later and driven away, but despite her tense, anxious looks she was as good as gold on the long journey home. Jo, her second foster mother had told me that she'd obviously never been socialised and had no language - she didn't recognise any words - but a couple of weeks in foster care had introduced her to the possibility of a whole new world, so even though she didn't understand, we reassured her as much as possible.
|Eeeek - there's a man on the end of my lead|
Since then it has been, as with all new arrivals, a slow but steady process of getting to know each other.
She doesn't cry at night, but she barked at the In-Charge the first time they were alone together - as if to say 'Just keep your distance, buddy!'
She is clean in the house, apart from one little accident the first morning when I couldn't get my boots on fast enough, and she is perpetually hungry.
She has no concept of what a name is, although it's starting to dawn on her that we say one particular word to her an awful lot, and - four days in - she also strongly suspects that 'Sit!' or 'Good Girl', and even 'No!' might have some personal relevance.
|Butter wouldn't melt - and who stole my scarf, young lady?|
I'm not yet convinced of her intentions towards the cats, and, since The Incident in the kitchen the other evening, am steadfastly refusing to buy into her wide-eyed innocence where they are concerned. The cats are more nonchalant than I am, and rub against her and butt her nose with their faces, but at the moment she is still firmly on a lead when we go outside the back door, and is only allowed to run around in the garden when they are securely locked indoors and the hens are in the hen house. I have seen her dreaming up several delicious ways of serving fresh hen!
There are moments when I wish we loved Labradors.
But she's only a youngster and I'm sure she will learn very quickly, and in the meantime she is adorable, affectionate and drop-dead gorgeous She has kohl-lined eyes, impossibly long legs, ultra-fashionable black nail polish, extremely high stilettos, and a beautiful, pale honey coat.
And she is, currently, anorexia-thin.
A SuperModel, in fact.
A SuperModel who is relaxing a bit more each day.
And a SuperModel who already has a big fan club.