Winnie is a dog, probably half beagle, half something else. She lives with us now, but her life wasn’t always wall-to-wall belly rubs, salmon for breakfast and as much love as she can stand. We adopted her from the animal shelter where we work as volunteers on September 4, and for 3-4 months before that, she’d been cowering at the back of her cage, frightened even to show her little nose to the people outside.
We think Winnie was raised as a hunting dog, locked up in a kennel with other dogs and no humans to bond with, since she has a bad case of kennel syndrome: she’s scared of more or less everything except other dogs, and now, us. Loud or just sudden noises, cars, bikes, trams, other people, big boxes (no idea why), and so on. All send her into a panic. We think that she probably wasn’t aggressive and confident enough to satisfy the assholes who had her before, so they abandoned her.
To add injury to insult, when she was abandoned, her previous “family” decided that, in order to avoid any chance of being identified as the owners of a stray dog, they would remove Winnie’s ID tattoo. The tattoo was on her ear. So they cut it off. She was found wandering in the village of one of the other volunteers, covered in ticks, with an oozing fresh wound where her ear used to be. It’s all healed up now, and she just looks kind of funny, like she’s continually cocking her head to one side as if to say “Who? Me?”.
Anyway, Winnie is a little cutie, and adopting her has made our lives much richer, if rather dirtier and less well rested. She loves nothing better than running through the dewy meadow in the local park in the mornings, and it’s even better if there’s another crazy dog to chase. She sleeps on our bed, howls at the old lady who feeds the pigeons next to the dog park, loves kisses and crazy play, and is just starting to realise that not everything in the world of humans leads to pain and unpleasantness. She’s even learning that it can be fun to do what the funny two-leggers she lives with ask her to do.
If you ever feel the need for a dog in your life, head to your local shelter. You won’t regret it.