As Milan Kundera said, “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace.”
Last Saturday I went to the dog shelter with Husband. Since I lost Gaia I have spent so much time crying and thinking of all the precious memories of our time together. Sorrow can be the worst enemy, a dangerous emotion, a sort of secret that you hold near you, that sometimes comes and knocks at your door, which you would never want to open.
Gaia left such a big hole in my life, and at some point I thought how risky it could be to let the wave of pain flow into me without trying to defeat it. I can’t consider welcoming another dog in my heart, yet. I just don’t think there would be as much room for him as Gaia had for herself. But I have found very helpful to visit other dogs at a shelter near home. Their company comforts me, it helps me think that I can see Gaia in their eyes and that somehow she is still alive in them. And maybe I can bring them little drops of happiness, too.
So I met Tata. She is the sweetest dog of all. Almost 14 years old, a little chubby, and quite lazy as the volunteers told me, she wouldn’t have enough of cuddles. She was literally attached to the fence, which unfortunately I could not enter—only volunteers can. She has lived the last six years at the dog shelter. I wonder who could get rid of her this way. A dog like this is a friend, not a burden.
And then there was Pelo (the one on the left). Pelo was brought to the shelter by a woman who found him near her house weak and hungry. He can’t walk well, and he limped a little as came towards me. One family decided to adopt him a few months ago, but as they took him home he was not eating and looked very uncomfortable, he was basically untouchable. Pelo is still traumatized by his past and he doesn’t seem to want to forgive humans for what they did to him.
Ciuffo, probably a crossbreed with a border collie, was brought to the shelter ten days ago. He is only 1 year old, and you can see how much he needs to run and play. Certainly, a shelter is no place for him. His story is weird—the two women who brought him there were mother and daughter, and they simply said they couldn’t take care of him anymore. No further explanation, just like that. As I approached Ciuffo, he came to me with wide open eyes and hopeful. But when he saw my husband, he literally ran away. No matter what we tried to do to placate him, he wouldn’t trust him at all. We thought he must have suffered for some severe trauma . . . maybe Husband reminds him of some bad person who used to hit him?
What’s your story, little friend? What is your journey? What happened to you that made you so distrustful?
In the end, I’m happy all these dogs, and many more, found a refuge in this shelter. Some of them would prefer to live with the company of a new careful family, spending their days on a couch. But some of them would rather stay at the shelter, close to other dogs and far from humans. Anyhow, I’m thankful to all the volunteers who offer their service. They take the dogs to the closest field for a walk, they feed them, they clean them. But over all, they have given these dogs friendship, and hope for a better future.