August 12th, the day my heart was shattered into little pieces. I think I have mentioned before, the wonderful ten year old German Shepherd dog Hailla (pronounced Hiya) we took in just over a year ago when her owner was taken into a nursing home. Hailla was a pearl among dogs. The most loving, patient with other dogs, obediant, faithful dog I have ever had. Although we only had her a relatively short time, I felt that she had been with me for all of my life. Any time I went out, she would be there waiting at the gate when I returned, giving me a rapturous welcome and several times during the night she would push my bedroom door open, come in, poke her head over the bed to check I was there and let me stroke her then go out again. No more. After a very short illness three weeks ago, she died. She was off her food for a couple of days so I took her in to the vets and they kept her overnight to do some tests and keep her on a drip. Nothing, but nothing, nothing, nothing prepared me for the devastating news over the ‘phone, the next morning, that she had died in the night as a result of heart and lung problems. My beautiful girl, gone, on her own. The only consolation I have is that I was told she died at about 8 am and at that time I was up on the plateau walking the other dogs and thinking so very hard of Hailla, I hope she felt that. To say that I ‘lost it’ when given the news would be to understate it. In fact I was worried I would never be able to put my foot into Prayssac ever again. However, I have since seen the lovely Xavier who assured me that it was “normale, don’t worry, pas de soucis” That was three weeks ago and I still wake in the mornings with the pain and wonder momentarily why I feel sad, then it all comes back. In 20 years of dog rescue I have had to say goodbye to many dogs and it never gets easier, but usually I am prepared, the dog is either very ill or very old. Of course it is horrible, but putting a dog out of misery and suffering is usually the kindest thing to do. I know many, many of you have been through the same sadness and when you tell me of your losses and I say I am sad for you, it is not just words, I really do feel your hurt. The worst thing I had to do was to go to the care home and give Hailla’s previous owner the bad news. He had been expecting a visit from us and his crying was almost too much to bear. I don’t think I will ever get over Hailla but hopefully one morning I will wake up feeling better and almost miss the pain. At a recent Marché Gourmande at Tournon d’Agenais, the (brilliant) Ab Fabba dedicated a song to Hailla, it was ‘When You Say Nothing At All’. Listen to the words, just totally perfect and I cannot thank the girls enough for introducing me to the song – which I play every morning before I get up and just before I go to sleep. I hope you hear it Hailla and know that I love you so much and you will always be with me.
Ok, let’s move on to happier things. Last Sunday Danielle and I did the vide grenier in Montcuq selling, as usual second hand clothes. Boy was it HOT !!! We had to keep taking it in turns to go and stand in the shade to avoid passing out. I am very happy to say it was well worth it and we raised 600 suros !!! So, a huge thank you to helpers throughout the day – some starting at 6am !!! – also to all those who donated really great clothes. I am slightly worried that there may be a certain person now moved back to England, who may be startling her new neighbours by walking around naked having had a huge turn out before leaving !!! Oh, before I forget, I was chatting to a very nice gentleman at the vide who was offering to volunteer at La Mere aux Betes. He gave me his email address and I promised to be in touch and send him details of the book sale. I am devestated to say that I have lost the piece of paper and cannot even remember his name. So, if by any chance anyone knows who he is, PLEASE, please get in touch with me.
With regard to dogs needing homes, I would love to find a home for Finette a simply adorable dog who has been at the refuge for far too long. A gentle loving soul, she only asks for a garden large enough for her to run around in and/or long walks with a loving owner. Finette can live outside so long as she has a cosy shelter and protection from the elements. She just needs to find that special someone to love her. Her ‘parkmate’ Raven has also been looking for a very long time but just seems to get overlooked. Heaven knows why, great dogs both of them. Puppies can be homed easily and there is just one Dogue d’Argentin croisé left looking – see Danielle’s La Mere aux Betes facebook page, you don’t have to be on FB to access Danielle’s latest news and to meet the lovely dogs she has seeking their forever homes.
Right, I’m off back to sorting out books for the sale THIS SATURDAY 3rd 10am to 4pm at the Salle des Fetes, St. Pantaleon, Lot. Really great books and dvds, special offers and sweeties, what more could you want ?? Sorry ? Cakes and coffee ? Sorry that ship has sailed but you are welcome to bring your own refreshments.
Don’t let me down, see you there !