Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The one and only Zaffi . pt 1

Some years ago, six years to be correct, when we lived in the bigger place and had my last GSD lady called Maddy (her quick name, her real registered name too long to keep saying/ writing/thinking), I decided it was time to give another dog a home for life. Maddy was getting very old, very stiff, very near the end and I wanted to have another canine to look after when the horrible time came to say farewell to my beloved lady. I needed to have a saviour, another soul to stop me from drowning in a bi-po depression caused by my loss. Not a replacement Maddy! Heck no, nothing could ever do that!
    I couldn't cope with another GSD, not now my spine had gone and collapsed on me. No, I'd give my love and care to a smaller dog, but which one? From where? Weeks passed by while I searched adverts, looked on the dog homes websites, kept my eyes open as I went about the local area, but nothing caught my interest. If I'm honest my heart wasn't in it. It was acknowledging that Maddy wasn't going to be around much longer and I really didn't want to face it.
    For some weeks, in the post office window, there'd been a scrawled note on a postcard "free to good home, Patterdale x Border terrier dog. 8 months old. Black & tan. House trained. Call ........" I stopped and read it every time I walked past but the thought that niggled me was "what's the catch?" Such breed of dog don't come cheap, even the crosses, especially that kind of cross. So although I wrote the number down I never got anyone to phone for me.
   Weeks went by, Maddy grew older, and i found the mornings increasingly difficult. My heart would momentarily stop, a nervous heat /chill would crawl over my flesh, and I'd literally force myself through the door into the kitchen, prepared for the sight of a lifeless Maddy lying there. On seeing her body rise and fall as she breathed,I too would expel the air held in my lungs until then. On a few occasions she'd be so deep in sleep that she'd not stir, not bat an eyelid when I spoke her name, patted her body, gave her a firm nudge as panic rose in my throat. Then with a heaving motion she'd lift her head off the floor, her deep brown eyes looking at me with indignation, "what's up? I was enjoying my dream!" This followed by the equivalent of a dog smile, as I'd put my arms round her huge, extra hairy, stinky* body, muttering how much I loved her with a voice slightly chokey .
    There couldn't be any more hanging around. If I was to get through losing my big lump of hairy lady, then I needed to find another ball of hair to love. Sooner rather than later. Sadly.
     On my next walk past the post office I found myself rather pleased that the scrawled advert was still there, even with a mobile number rather than a landline phone. Something I'd not noticed before. Within ten minutes I was waiting on tenterhooks for a reply to my text "hiya, is the dog still available please? I'm deaf and unable to phone, deb". I waited, waited some more. Walked back home, looking every few moments at my phone. Holding it up this way, that way, turning round with it, just in case I was missing a better signal. (That's how my brain works,lol). Still nothing. Looked at the inbox just in case a reply has gone unnoticed by phone notifications. No text.
    I was peeling potatoes for tea when my phone did a jiggy dance of vibration across the worktop and I leapt on it, cat with mouse fashion, pulled up the incoming text " Hi, yes he is. Are you coming to see him? " I dashed a reply back "I'd love to, I'll get someone with ears to phone you and arrange it. Thanks ever so much. Deb"
    And so the story of the crippled dog, Zaffi, begins.

* Maddy was a long haired GSD. Her story and how she came to me is another one proving that dogs respond to kindness but firmness, loving but fairness. Maybe one day I'll be able to open the memory box in my brain and tell her story. Not yet. I'm not ready. At the end of her life it became impossible to bathe her, try as I might there was no way I could safely and comfortably , both for her and me, wash her. Therefore, despite having a regular top and tail wash she became a stinky lady. Especially at the very end when she became incontinent. Worth mentioning here is that just a few days before the end, we'd discussed helping her to go over to the Summerlands by getting the vet to come. None of us wanted to cause her suffering and we acknowledged her shame and sadness when she became incontinent. A very clean lady through out her life, she really hated not being able to stop herself from soiling inside the house. You didn't have to be a dog whisperer to see that.
However, she took the decision to lie down and go to sleep permanently, in the garden, in her most favoured spot. Bless her, loving and loyal to the last. 

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