“Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.”
Every once in a while someone comes into our lives and steals our hearts. We find unconditional love. The love I write about here is the kind between a human and a dog.
For centuries dogs have been labeled as man’s best friend. The statement that Dog is man’s best friend was first recorded as being made by Frederick, King of Prussia when he referred to one of his Italian Greyhounds as his best friend.
These little furry creatures with their adorable faces and happy-go-lucky attitudes fill our lives with such joy. They become an important part of the family and every plan that is made involves them. For a long time, I was never keen on having a pet dog. Till on my daughter’s 18th birthday, she received this tiny little bundle in a basket – a 3-month-old Dachshund. We named her Paris and she is 12 and a half years old now. But Paris’s story is for later.
My blog is a 3 part story of a beautiful girl named Tara.
Tara was this little puppy adopted by my sister and brother-in-law Sophia and Ian Langley. Her story is told by Ian straight from the heart.
TARA – THE LOVE OF A LIFETIME – By Ian Langley
Well, I have two loves of a lifetime. One is my wonderful wife Sophia who I love to the ends of the earth, the other is my pride and joy named Tara. Let me explain.
The date was 22nd December 2009. It was a normal winters evening in the Standen household. Sophia and I were watching music videos on the television, Daddy had gone to bed. Sophia’s brother Lorenzo came running into the hall with a little ball of fluff in his arms very alarmed. He told us how he had stopped his vehicle on the way home to rescue the puppy, who had been beaten by some young boys with sticks. She was bleeding from her right eye and mouth and was in a very bad state.
Seeing the distress of the puppy and Lorenzo, I immediately went to him to see if I could help. He laid the puppy on a blanket while he went to get some saline and a drip. She was whining with pain, the sound she was making was heartbreaking for both of us. We administered the saline and put the puppy into a large cage with blankets to keep her warm. Lorenzo and I took turns to keep an eye on her during the night. The pup could not get to her feet nor lift her head, she was paralyzed.
The next morning I awoke hoping she was still with us, alive at least. She was, but she was no better. Feeding her consisted of us holding her head while she lapped up a bowl of chicken soup. We tried to encourage her to stand on her feet but it soon became obvious she could not do it. I said to Lorenzo that maybe it was best for her to be put to sleep as I thought the damage was permanent. He said, “No, we will give it a few days and see how she is then”. After two days we took her to the vet who informed us that she was brain damaged and probably blind in her right eye. I was still convinced that it was best to put her to sleep but said nothing. It was the best nothing that I didn’t say.
The fight to survive
Over the next three days, I made a promise to the pup, that I would do everything I could to get her up and walking again. With daily massages to her back and legs and a guiding hand under her tummy, I encouraged her to take small steps. She was wobbly and weak, but she wanted to and was determined to walk again. The first few steps tired her out, but I kept on holding her and making her take more steps. She would then rest for a while then the process would start all over again. With a firm hold and loving, encouraging whispers and with tears running down my face she got stronger. The feeling in her legs was coming back to her, her neck was getting strong enough that she could hold her head up by herself. This was the moment that I truly fell in love with her, that I knew that she would be in my life for the rest of her days. The courage and determination she showed, made my heart melt like never before.
It soon came to the point where I would go to the cage and she would be sitting up, leaning against the side of the cage. She now knew that we were there to help her. I realized this by seeing her little tail wagging when I spoke to her. Sitting soon became standing, standing became walking on her own with the aid of leaning against the cage walls. If she moved away from the walls of the cage she would fall over, looking at me with sad eyes. I felt sorry for her but did not let her stay down, I would pick her up and hold her while she walked around the cage. Next, I would take her out of the cage and help her walk on the ground, praising her, hugging her, and giving her kisses for doing so well. I remember thinking that this is one very brave, determined puppy and that if it was me going through what she was going through, I would have probably given up. But not her, she was never going to give up.
The soup was now being given to her with small chunks of chicken in it. Oh my, how she loved the chicken and it was doing her good. It was giving her more strength the more she ate. I would walk out of the door calling out “baby” to her. She would be leaning against the cage walls, tail wagging like it had a motor in it.
Tara – A true star
Three weeks had passed from the day that Lorenzo had come running into the hall with her in his arms battered and bruised. Then one day I did the usual “Baby” call to her as I walked out of the door. I looked at the cage and saw she was standing in the middle of the cage, upright on her own four feet wagging her tail. My heart skipped a beat, a lump appeared in my throat as big as a football, tears came to my eyes. She had done it, she had managed to become a normal tiny, beautiful puppy like I had promised her she would. I called out to Lorenzo “come see quick”. He came, he saw and picked her up and hugged her. I was choked with emotion and said to Lorenzo “Do not give this puppy away to anyone, she is mine from now on”. He asked me what I was going to, name her so I had a quick think.
I had a German Shepherd while I was living in England, she was everything I had ever wanted in a dog. Without going into detail, she was hit by a car to her rib cage when she had run off after another dog. I found her later that night in the park I used to take her for a walk. She was weak and hurt. I took her to the vet who said she had bruising to the body. When I got her home she would not lay down, she was falling asleep standing up and falling over. I called the vet again at 11 pm who told me to bring her the surgery. When I arrived it was a different vet who greeted me. He took one look at her and said she needed an x-ray. He found that both of her lungs had collapsed and were filled with fluid. He told me that had she laid down for some time, that she may well have died due to the fluid on her lungs and was astonished that she knew this. He took her to surgery and drained both her lungs, taking out over two liters of fluid and when she came out she was a different dog, wagging her tail and wanting to go home to sleep. I kept telling her that she was a brave intelligent dog that had the will to live. Her name?……..Tara. Now I had a little puppy who had also fought so bravely and was so determined to live and walk again that there was only one name for her…..Tara.
Tara is a word originating from Sanskrit, meaning star, and it symbolizes the light of the soul.
The day had come for me to return to England. Sophia had accepted that she now had a dog in her life and that she was to look after her until the day I returned to India. She wasn’t overly excited about the idea as she is not an animal person, but promised me that she would look after her. Lorenzo had also promised that he would make sure that Tara would be fine and told me not to worry. Tara was still being kept in the cage the day I left for the airport. I gave her cuddles and kisses right up to the time I was ready to leave, promising her that I would return very soon and was looking forward to taking her out for her first walk on a leash. Yes, I cried when I had to leave her and my wife behind and go back home, and was I worried…… of course I was.
To be continued.….
This is just part 1 of Tara’s story. As Ian says, it will be continued.
Over the years I have personally learned that your dog loves you like no one ever could. You can talk to them and they listen. Something tells me they understand every word. And their gentle woof or whine is just letting us know they are listening.
While we wait to read the rest of Tara’s story I invite my readers to send in their own personal stories that we can share here.
Every dog has its day – let today be for your dog.