Eighteen months ago I walked a dog called Xxxx. He was big and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he was an absolute dream to walk: responsive, happy and obedient. I have a great photo of him giving a paw for a treat, and anyone will tell you that I‘m a sucker for a dog who sits and gives his paw for a treat!
Each time I went to walk the dogs, I’d try to walk him but when I looked for him on the refuge website, couldn’t find him. It turns out he is part of a court case, which means he can’t be advertised.
A few months later, his companion was adopted so he was alone in his box. He doesn’t seem overly bothered by other dogs or cats, but I guess he must be, because he’s still in a box on his own, unadvertised, getting chunkier and not quite so good on the lead, which makes him a more difficult choice for walking; a vicious circle for the bigger, stronger dogs as less volunteers can walk them.
Last Friday I walked him again, eighteen months after that first walk. He hadn’t been out since Monday and it was the first time I wasn’t sure that I was in control when he almost pulled me over on the slippery grass as he tried to race from his box to say hello (?) to the other dogs. Once we were out of the refuge gates, and we’d had a few minutes battling to decide who was in control, he calmed down and we spent a happy 20 minutes sniffing, peeing, pooing and interacting. He has the softest brown eyes, little perky ears, and that look that most dogs give you when they will do anything for a biscuit….and he loves a cuddle.
He’s one of my special favourites, but he’s also one I worry that will spend the rest of his days in a refuge. He’s a great boy but it’s already been too long for him. Apparently, a while ago, he had an assessment for police training, and the only reason he wasn’t selected was because of his age. He’s a good boy, but he’s a big boy, getting bigger and older every day, he’s frustrated and he’s trapped.
There are a few dogs at the refuges in the same position as Xxxx, dogs that can’t be advertised because they are victims of mistreatment or abuse, who have to wait, possibly years, until the court case is heard before they can be advertised, or until they are spotted and chosen.
I don’t need a reason to walk the dogs, but if I did, Xxxx would be why I would. Every time I walk him, that’s a little bit less time he is in his box, time interacting with people and enjoying his freedom/treats/cuddles, the things our own dogs take for granted.
I wish he wasn’t there. I wish that someone would walk up to him in his box, fall in love with him and not be put off by the big, bouncing boy going a bit crazy because he hasn’t been outside that box in four days. I wish that for all of them of course, and while they’re there I will walk them.
I will make a difference!