But this return is beyond sad.
You may know that I volunteer for Brambleberry Greyhounds RGT, a local adoption kennel finding homes for ex-racing greyhounds.Â They have policy of never putting a dog down unless on the advice of a vet, and they have a pretty good success rate, with a few dogs ‘sticking’ at the kennel for various reasons. If they stay long enough, eventually it’s their turn to go live in the house with enough other dogs to populate a small principality, and they have a great life, running out into the acres of kennel property several times a day and sleeping in a heap – or in the armchairs or the sofa or the occasional dog bed, and cadging yorkshire puddings from the kitchen.
Still and all, you’d think that the adopted dogs were the lucky ones, wouldn’t you?Â And most are.Â Most are adopted by wonderful people who adore their doggy companions and want only the best for them. They diligently train them with patience and love, and walk them regularly and buy them fancy collars and coats, and while they curse their bad behaviour at times, and are very occasionally misguided enough to smack them over the snout with a rolled up newspaper (which for the record doesn’t usually work that well), they would never willingly hurt them.
However.Â Occasionally, an adoption goes very badly wrong, and that’s what happened a short while ago.
Instead of being smacked over the snout with a rolled up newspaper, one poor dog got smacked over the head with something hard and heavy enough to fracture his skull and cause multiple brain bleeds.Â Never mind the stories you may or may not have heard about racing, this happened in a pet home.
I can only speak from my own experience, but in fact, all of the abuse and the cruelty I have personally witnessed (including during my years working in a mixed farm/small animal veterinary practice) has happened in pet homes. Racing has nothing on what people will do to an animal they ‘love’, but in fact all the trainers I know do genuinely love their dogs and will impoverish themselves to do right by them.
So.Â I am beyond sad, and heading for the far boundaries of anger.
After Mr TÂ was injured, he was hospitalised at the Dick White Referral Centre, which is a wonderful referral centre for veterinary medicine and he has been very well cared for.Â He’s had a 3-D MRI scan, and he’s had brain surgery, spent a while in the ICU, and now he’s been discharged, and he’s safe in Brambleberry’s care with a teddy bear given him by the Dick White staff which he likes to carry around.Â Last I heard he was eating custard doughnuts and rolling over for belly rubs.
But Brambleberry has been stuck with a headache: a ÂŁ3,000 medical bill and 6 months to pay it.Â Now, the RGT works with a limited budget concerning medical costs*, so it’s down to us and fundraising.Â We’re planning a pub quiz, an online auction, an online dog show and some selling on eBay and I’ve also set up a BT My Donate page, and well, originally I wrote ‘hopefully – with enough publicity – we’ll get a few contributions that way’, but I’m stunned and incredibly pleased that the donations are, in fact, rolling in nicely!
Mr T, however, has been stuck with an even bigger, and very real, headache, and a scar from his eyebrows to the back of his skull. When he first came home, he shook like a leaf if you looked at him funny, and I suspect he’ll carry the mental scars far, far longer than the physical signs of his injury.
Sorry to bring you such a heart-wrenching story and then stick you with a link to a donation page, but there you go.Â I need to publicise this as widely as I can, and if just one of you donates a couple of quid, it will be worth it.Â At least I didn’t post graphic pictures, huh? There are some on the My Donate page, but they’re really not that gruesome – in fact most are quite cute.
But, honestly, I just don’t understand people.Â I really don’t.Â How could this happen? And how can we prevent it happening again?
I suspect the answer is ‘we can’t’, because people are strange and you can’t always judge correctly. Which brings me back to the beginning.
It is all so very sad.
* Their mandate being to prepare ex-racing greyhounds for their new lives and placing them in homes as pets, which involves a lot of expenditure on things like neutering, vaccination and worming etc. They also have huge fees to pay for kennelling all the retired dogs still waiting for homes.