My tongue still misbehaves

Thought you might like a bit of Snow Patrol today

I think we all keep hoping that hearts open, don’t we? I’m sorry to say that I find it hard to see so many closed minds and closed hearts at the moment. Closed boundaries too. Incredibly sad.

The week didn’t start off with people’s hearts open… it’s always tough when you get a distress phonecall about a dog, but when it ends with an ultimatum for the dog if you don’t take the animal yourself, it’s heart-breaking. I can’t understand how anyone could ever say, “if you won’t take my animals, then I’ll…. ”

I understand desperate situations, oh how I do, but cries for help are different from emotional blackmail. Would you believe I got two such phone calls and messages last Sunday? I was trying my best to come to terms with Amigo’s health issues and navigating other people’s dramas. It makes me sick that both the people who threatened me in this way had Facebook pages filled with posts about how important animals are, and how they would never abandon them in their old age.

Tobby in those last months got insecure and bitey. His separation anxiety was such that he was never left alone for one single minute past the first two weeks. When he didn’t want to eat, I coaxed him and tried all kinds of different things. He looked handsome and shiny right up to the day he died because I spent time with him and groomed him, massaged him. I spent every spare penny on supplements and things that might make his pain a little less.

And last Friday, I spent the night with Amigo right next to me, neither of us sleeping much. I couldn’t bear to go to sleep not knowing if he would have an attack whilst I was asleep.

But I understand how hard it is when you are unprepared or over your head. I know how it is to be unable to cope any more. I like to think that a lot of people forget that I am just here, on my own, working as much as I can, trying to squash in all the things people ask me to do, trying to do as much as I can. Sometimes it is beyond me to smile sweetly when people moan about one thing or another in their lives. I wish for one minute they would step back from their self-pity and see how blessed they are. I feel very lucky I’ve got a couple of people who always listen to my moans and make me feel like I can do a bit more again. I love those friends who rally you and make you realise you can keep going when you feel sad. Stepping through the doors of reception on Saturday, the refuge was full as it usually is with people coming and going. So much shit and illness and misery, but there’s not a time when I don’t feel revived by five minutes of chaotic chatter, a piece of brioche, a beaker of coffee and the laughter of people who have had much crappier weeks than I have, who are much more ill than I am, who have also had the “if you don’t take this dog, then I’ll….” phonecalls too. In five minutes, I get fifty stories that uplift me and demoralise me. Adoptions, fosters, dogs who’ve overcome illness, dogs found after a long time on the run, dogs who’ve returned, people reunited with their animals… and the crappiness of the week falls behind me. Those five o’clock coffee breaks are a real revival of the spirits.

Benji, the little scruffy dog who came here on foster two weeks ago, is hopefully going to his forever home this week. I’m sure they’ll be in love with him. He’s such a sweet soul and a chatterbox. Gaven, who went to my dad’s on a short foster, has also got a potential home. For the thirteen oldies who faced a cold two weeks at the shelter, several have gone on foster or gone to their forever homes.

Some weeks, it’s harder to remember that the sun is still up there, doing his stuff, when there are so many big black rainclouds in the way. It makes it all a bit harder to find the sunshine, but it is there. I know it’s there somewhere.

This week, I’m mostly hoping I stop feeling so flipping yuck. I seem to have picked up everyone’s bugs and germs. It’d be nice to be able to talk without a five-minute coughing fit. I’ve been keeping the local beekeepers in cash and draining their reserves trying to self-medicate. France isn’t a good country for self-medication unless you are very rich. Gone are the days of a bottle of Night Nurse and some Benadryl over the counter!

Have a good week wherever you are, and try to open your hearts as much as you can… there’s a lot to be gained by it, and little to lose.


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