Toby: part Dog, part Lion
I have a new, true love.
He's Jack Russell shaped and has grey-blue eyes.
To see him gamboling through the woods and losing his mind over a stick, you might be forgiven for thinking this is just your common or garden variety pooch.
But you'd be wrong.
For this little chap has hidden depths and reserves of courage that can only be found in the hearts of lions!
I came across Toby almost a month ago, whilst doing a run to the local dump.
He'd clearly been outdoors for a long time (and on closer inspection, I suspect his whole life might have been spent that way) but worse still, he'd obviously been involved in some kind of accident. At the time, it appeared he'd dislocated his rear left leg.
The location of the site is quite rural, with lots of woods and fields around it, and to get up there you have to take a windy lane. It's certainly an area where those of a mind might take a dog lamping for rabbits and the like.......
Anyway, he had no collar or name tag, was absolutely running alive with fleas and the pooh they so kindly leave throughout the fur, and he clearly hadn't had food or water for some time.
Still, I met with those beautiful eyes, and I fell arse-over-tit-in-love!
I took him to a local animal hospital, marvelling at how this terrified, exhausted little chap was allowing me to handle him, all without a snarl or an ounce of aggression.
In fact, he manouvered himself, despite the fact he must have been in terrible pain, so that he could cuddle up under my arm as I drove.
The vet looked him over and said he desperately needed rehydrating, and I told them that if he was not microchipped and nobody would claim him, that I wanted to take responsibility for paying for his care.
He was immediately de-fleaed, whisked away and put on a drip, and x-rays were taken the next day.
As it turned out, he had terrible breaks and fractures in both legs, with the left side pelvis actually broken away from the spine. Imagine, covered in fleas and no back legs to scratch with. It really must have been torturous, and I don't like to dwell for too long on what he must have been through.
The vet said an orthopaedic surgeon would need to look at the x-rays and that an operation to pin bits back together might be necessary. This, to the tune of around £2,500.............either that, or he'd probably have to be put down.
'Gutted' is the word that best describes my next set of emotions.
I just thought it was so bloody unfair that such a fate might be his; a little guy who'd already had it pretty rough (or should that be ruff.....?)
Fortunately my other half has a heart made of gold when it comes to such things, and along with lovely friends, well-meaning folk who were rooting for him, and other family members who all offered help with money, we opted to have the surgeon look at him to see what might be done. (For the record, a woman who was at the dump at the time I came across the dog, donated £10 to the cause. For that small, yet incredibly generous act, I hope she is blessed onehundredfold.)
Unlike the utter bastards who abandoned him. I hope misery befalls them at every turn.
There was a wait of a few days for the surgeon to take a look at the x-rays, and in the meantime the dog was hooked up to morphine for his pain. We considered naming him Pete Doggerty, as he seemed rather partial.
Anyway, the nice man had a look-see and said that he felt the breaks might fuse themselves together provided the dog was confined to cage rest! He saw no point in going in and operating, and as it had earlier transpired that Toby also has a heart murmur, it would have been risky.
I was made as happy as I've ever felt, right in that instant. Woohoo!!
I was allowed to collect him from the vet after 8 days, having hung on to a handful of change out of £600 (I know I will never be a morphine addict.....that shit costs, man!)
To my ever expanding joy and delight, this former no-mark-junkie-stinkpot-rat-dog is coming on a treat.
His pelvis has indeed fused back together, if a tad lopsidedly. He bounces along, positively dazzling with his bright, shiny, soft coat.
If I'd let him, he'd chase balls and sticks and walk for ages. But we all have to be patient for a couple of weeks more. He's moved on from the total cage rest and having to be carried in and out, but we keep the walks calm and short for now.
He's gentle and quiet, and infact has not once so much as barked. He pricks up his ears and wags for England and is just about the cutest, most sociable, dare I say, polite little dog I have ever come across.
I am always blown away by animals who have suffered because of humans , and yet their capacity for love and loyalty and gratitude stays with them.
It really is a very pure thing, and I consider that we are the ones who have been given a gift, in the form of this brave and utterly charming mutt.
I hope we have the pleasure of his company for a very long time.