My dog came into my life when I didn't expect her. When I couldn't afford it. When I didn't want more animals. But as with all unexpected things in life, it has turned out to be a success.
Two years ago I went on vacation with a friend to a coastal town in the south, where my family has a house. We, who are from the north, understand the privilege that this entails. The idea was to rest, sunbathe, have a drink while watching the sea and walk along the beach. In other words, we were running away from routine.
As soon as we arrived, right at the entrance to the town, a dog crossed us on the road. And I, who tend to rant when I see abandoned animals, thought she would be the typical dog in a town house, the kind that opens the door and the animal comes and goes whenever it wants. I made a mistake.
A day later, in a bar near my house, I saw her again. The bar is located in front of a fairly large park, surrounded by bars that prevent people from passing through but that animals access quite easily. And there she was. Cast on the wall that supports the bars. I tried to get closer to see if she had a necklace, a badge with a phone on it or something that could tell me that she wasn't abandoned, but as soon as I tried, she ran away as if I were a danger to her. I gave him the ham that we had ordered to accompany a beer and he devoured it as if he hadn't eaten in days. I thought again that she was not abandoned and that she would surely return home at night. After all, who says no to ham. I was wrong again.
The night came and there was the hum of someone who knows that he has not done everything in his power. It was around 2 in the morning when I left the house to go to the park and see if it was still there. As expected, she was lying in exactly the same place on the wall where he had last seen her. At that moment I only thought one thing: you are going to be mine.
I went home and when I woke up, I went to get dog food to give it to him so he could do it to me. I thought that as soon as I gained a little confidence I could approach her and take her. I was playing against the fact that I had been down for a few days and I didn't have much room for him to beat me. As time went by, his relationship with me did not improve. Every time she saw me she ran away scared to death.
I walked around the park and from time to time I saw her sitting on the curb. I imagine that he was waiting to be picked up again because he could spend a long time there until they kicked him out or he would leave in fear if someone approached.
I understood that I was not going to be able to catch her alone, so I wrote to all the associations, shelters and veterinarians in the area to help me. She explained that she didn't want them to pick her up to take her to the pound, but that I was going to be the one to keep her but that she needed help. But at that point in the year, they were already saturated and overwhelmed by dropouts and couldn't help me... except for one person. I met an animal lover who dedicated herself to collecting abandoned animals and placing them in shelters in the area. Over time I have learned that he has made that his profession.
She tried to convince me that if I wanted a dog, she could give me one of any size, breed or age I wanted. It will be because of abandoned dogs... But I didn't want a dog, there were already enough animals in my house, I wanted that dog that had crossed my path and that I couldn't get out of my head.
What came next was not easy. Between the two of us we tried but it was impossible. She was too afraid and knew the park better than us, not to mention that the park's bars worked in her favor.
In the end, the time came for my return and the one who was already my dog still wouldn't let herself be caught. The girl who was helping me told me that she was going to keep trying and I left knowing that sooner or later, she would come home with me. Days passed, even months, until he called me to tell me that he had managed to catch her by putting pills in her food to put her to sleep. As soon as I found out, I took the car with my mother and went down south.
What I found was a dog full of fears at the vet. Of course, as promised, we covered the expenses. I say we ran without saying that my mother ran because, as I said, I couldn't afford it. We took her home and the first thing she did was get on the couch. It was obvious that he had done it before. However, he still didn't trust us although little by little he gained confidence.
I took her to Vitoria with me, Ava, that's her name, and I began to notice that the road was not going to be easy. She had panic attacks, she tried to jump out of the window when she heard a noise or she tried to defend herself from me when I approached her without her expecting it. Everything scared him: the wind, the storms, the noises of the doors, myself... Everything made him tremble and gasp and, although it pains me to say it, it was costing me dearly too. I stopped sleeping, I couldn't leave her alone, I tried to give her all the love I could but it made it more and more difficult for me.
I ended up taking her to the ethologist to help me know how to deal with animals with trauma, because no matter how much we love them, sometimes it's not enough. Thanks to that, I managed to improve little by little until today.
He still needs help from time to time, especially with storms and firecrackers, but the change he has made is radical. She is a happy and calm dog with the occasional touch, but at the end of the day, who doesn't have something.
Adopting a dog is not easy, some of them (not all, of course) have traumas that require time, love and patience. But the result is worth it. Believe me it's worth it.
Therefore, now that the summer holidays are coming, please take care of your animals. I imagine that whoever reads this will also put their hands on their heads when they see the dropout data we have in Spain. But, in case there is only one person who makes him reconsider, please, do not abandon him, take care of him, because the reward is wonderful.
And if you are thinking of buying... I encourage you to take a look at the number of dogs that are waiting for a house, a home and a companion.
And as I write this, I look at Ava, who is next to me sleeping on the couch, and I think that precisely when I didn't expect her, when I couldn't afford it and when I didn't want any more animals, it was the best time for me to form part of my life.