Outside the CONAD food store in Lago Patria there have been two strays living. They had been living there for many years and some of the local people couldn’t even remember when they had first arrived. Many times when I went there to do some food shopping, I would buy an extra pate of wet food for them. I know I was not the only one. They were kind of chubby.
Two years ago one of them had a wound on his ear, a veterinarian and I stopped and wanted to medicate. Out came the store manager asking what we were trying to do. The veterinarian, who thankfully spoke Italian, explained who we were. The man looked at us and nodded his head, we could medicate. The people were looking out for “their” strays.
Many people were kind towards the animals, feeding them and keeping an eye on them. Some international people just can’t seem to stand seeing what they feel is an abandoned dog, one who is not laying on a dog bed.
The difference was, these dogs were born free, lived free and didn’t understand what a dog bed was!
The male got better, and his partner an older female that I called “Momma dog” stayed around the parking lot. This last year people started getting worried about Momma dog, she was old and winter became so cold for her. But what to do with a dog who didn’t want you to touch her or bring her somewhere, she only wanted to live and die outside her store:
CONAD. That’s why we often don’t like to watch documentaries about animals in the wild, where Mother Nature let them die or become eaten when weak.
Working with the Italian volunteers was wonderful. They were my eyes and updated me about the strays who lived around us. One morning last week, a message from Martina came to my phone. She was very upset and told me that ASL (Governmental veterinarian/dogcatcher) had caught “Mamma dog”
and brought her in. Someone had called and said she had a tumor on her leg (which she had).
I became upset since I knew they would never put her back where she belonged, where her friends were, two legged and four legged. I could only image how afraid she must have been. She was a very shy, laid-back dog, never went up to strangers, stayed a little removed. You actually didn’t see her even if she stood in front of you.
Locked in a cage in a truck, brought to a noisy place with other dogs howling, shots and then woke up in another cage with more noise. They would afterwards drive her to the Governmental Shelter in Giuliano — the well known death shelter — where we had filmed and many volunteers broke down crying.
I texted back asking Martina to call and ask after the dog, “Could we take her?”
Martina knew this dog, she knew the people who fed her. She would try but it would be difficult.
Sometimes, your love can harm and destroy. “Momma Dog” had a small tumor on her leg, and for that, her freedom would be gone. Her last months would be on a wet concrete floor, never go out and where a water hose stuck in through the bars, and cold water rinsing away her poo and pee. A water bowl with green algae bottom, and the noise from 300 dogs never quieting, always horrifying. She would die alone with strangers and not the one who loved her, who she had spent her life with.
Some dogs with long freedom and friends, should end their life’s there, if not suffering. How would you want to die? In a mental instuition tied to a bed among strangers and their constant screams?
Martina texted me back. We could come and pick her up the next day as long as we changed bandages and gave medicine. After Easter we had to show her to the ASL again. The next day Pio drove fast and picked poor “Mamma Dog” up who was clearly terrified. Lovely, but terrified. She didn’t look at you, it was like “if I don’t see you, you won’t see me!”
We brought her up on the second floor at the Hospice, where the big balcony was set up for her, with blankets as beds and plenty of food.
When she met Martina she became very happy and her tail went off wagging rapidly, she saw someone she recognized, a friend. The next day when I came she was happy and sweet, like she understood this was a good place. For several days now I have changed bandages and injected anti-biotics. Tomorrow Pio is taking her back to ASL so they can check that we have done a good job.
Please keep your paws crossed for “Momma Dog,” alias Friend (Amica), that she can return to us again. We have a plan B for her, an Amore plan B.