For animal rescue in Portugal, the story of Robin is not an extra special story, it is just an everyday story, but to Robin it is the most important story in the world.
Robin is an adorable little dog. At one point in his life Robin has been very much loved. He has been taught to sit, he walks on the lead, he is wearing an expensive collar, he even has on a scalibur, but it is very old and stopped working many months before. Since then Robin has become covered in flees, he has wounds over his neck, his head and ears from vicious ticks. No one has loved Robin for a very long time.
He is hungry. For many months he has been hungry. We think Robin had a family before, and perhaps they left him behind, perhaps the neighbours were supposed to care for him, and perhaps at first they did. But then the months began to pass and Robin was forgotten about, he was kept in a garden he could not escape, often he was not fed.
Robin is only a year and a half. He should weigh 15 kilos, he only weighs 10 kilos. But because he has long fur, no one can see that his ribs are all showing, his hips are sticking out, he is only bones.
One day perhaps the gate was left open, and then Robin escaped. He did not know where to go, so he just started running down the road, looking for food.
Robin reached a town. He would cross the streets trying to avoid the cars, but he always kept going. He did not know where he was going, only that he was hungry and needed to find food. He saw other dogs in gardens, he tried to go up the driveways, the dogs barked and growled at him, and Robin kept going.
When I saw Robin it was one of those days when you do not have the time, you do not have the space, but you know deep in your heart that you need to try for this little dog who looks so lost because if you do not then what is going to happen to him. How sad he must be, how scared.
The first time I stopped my car he looked at me, and kept going. A few streets later I found him again. Smarter this time I managed to get in front of his path, double parked in front of the Junta and emergency exit lane… there was no time to go anywhere else. I jumped out the car and Robin kept coming towards me, he was ready to avoid me…until…. he smelled the food on offer. Tuna! (I had just been to the grocery store).
And Robin was so cautious, a little tuna on the ground that he eagerly liked up, even the juice. A little more, a little closer to me. Then eventually from my hand. And it was all taken so gently, as starving as he was, he just gently picked it off my palm.
Ready for the next step I slowly moved my hand to his neck but then Robin, very scared, snapped. I tried again, he snapped again. His neck was sore, it is covered in tick wounds, I was not to be trusted. More tuna. Then a lead (and it was my belt). Robin eyed all this warily. He got ready to run. Then more tuna was offered, more hand feeding, a little pet and stroke. Then very easily I was allowed to put the lead around his neck.
Prepared and ready for the fight when Robin felt the lead around his neck I was shocked. He did not mind. He happily came when I spoke to him and walked by my side. From that moment on Robin was not the same dog who had snapped at me.
He sat behind me in the car eating lamb chop this time (remember I had just been to the store….) and by the time we arrived at the vet his head was peering over my seat rest next to my shoulder and enjoying a very gentle rub of his ear . And Robin just looked at me. There was no wagging tail, he was still definitely worried, but he had decided that I was to be trusted. That wherever I would take him he was going to be ok. He needed me, and yes I needed him, I needed to help him. Help this one dog out of so many, because he is special, and although they all are, this is the one who crossed my path and this is the one whom I had the chance to help.
This is why we do this. The purpose, the reason why, is because when you look at the one dog or cat who you can help, when you finally win their trust, when they finally overcome whatever it is that has happened to them to look at you with love, with thanks, with wonder and happiness, you know that for them their whole world has just changed.
And so Robin hopped out the car with me and he walked through the door, and his future is now full of hope. We will find him a special home and family who will love him, who will care for him, who will make sure he is never hungry, that he is never forgotten about, and who will always protect him. He will never be that scared, hungry, tired dog who must just keep going. Now all we need is to find that special ever after home and family for Robin.
Robin, after just being rescued.
For more photos and information about Robin please open Robin.
Help us help. To support Robin and many other dogs and cats, puppies and kittens facing the same fate as Robin please visit How to Donate.
By Laura McGeoch, 28.02.2013