Puppy love

Published in About Animals

Luck intervened when a puppy was left to its fate on wasteland near Split on a hot day in July.

Found: an abandoned waif Found: an abandoned waif Photo: Vivian Grisogono

July 2017 was hot, and any animal abandoned or lost without water was likely to die of dehydration. On July 24th I was visiting Dr Zdenka Filipovič in her surgery in Split. Dr.Filipović has helped Eco Hvar to home dogs successfully, mainly in Germany, and we were discussing further cooperation, when a young couple appeared at the door, carrying a little bundle of fur.

Brought to Dr. Filipović's surgery. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Theirs was a sad tale. They were exploring some rough land on the eastern edge of Split, when they heard the sound of a puppy crying. They managed to locate it, and then spent two hours searching the area to see if there was any sign of an owner, or perhaps any other abandoned puppies. This one was alone and frightened, so they picked him up. They looked after him in their caravan until the following day. Then inquiries led them to Dr Filipović, who runs the Animalis Centrum no-kill shelter at Kaštel Sućurac, to the west of Split.

The puppy was as cute as could be, very quiet, accepting its fate. Its saviours spoke German, with some English as our common language. While Dr. Filipović prepared the paperwork for accepting the puppy, the young lady began to cry. I asked her why, and she explained that she could not understand anyone abandoning such a beautiful creature so cruelly. Her distress was fully understandable. No animal lover can come to terms with the ways some people treat animals, which range from unfeeling and uncaring to cruel, sometimes even sadistic. I tried to console her, pointing out that they had certainly saved the puppy's life; he was so endearing, there would be no difficulty in finding him a home. She continued to cry. Then I asked why they didn't keep him, as they had obviously become attached to him, and he was equally obviously happy with them. There were many practical reasons why that was not possible. They were putting a brave face on it, and were resigned to leaving him in the shelter.

Putting a brave face on it. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

So the formalities were done, and the puppy stayed, still quiet and accepting. We all went our separate ways. I headed to the ferry port, where I found to my dismay that, although I arrived an hour and a half before the 14:30 departure, the ferry was too full for my car. That meant that I and my four-legged companion Nada were condemned to a further two and half hours of long waiting before the 17:00 ferry would waft us home. It was too hot to walk anywhere, and the car had to stay in the queue, so we had no choice but to stay too. We had plenty of water, and I shaded the car and opened it up to the light breeze which gave us welcome respite from the heat. We were lucky, especially by contrast with many. Sadly, the expression 'blazing heat' was all too literal in Dalmatia during the summer of 2017. Major fires were burning just outside Split, and the Canadairs were busy flying over head in a constant procession, trying to bring them under control. Watching this coordinated effort from the safety of Split harbour was a reminder of how fortunate Croatia is to have excellent, dedicated and well-trained firefighters, many of them volunteers who devote a lot of their time and energy throughout the year in order to be prepared for fire emergencies.

Canadair flying high over Split harbour. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Next day, July 25th, was the feast day of St. James, the patron saint of Pitve, and I was making my way up to the village church for the special celebratory Mass and Procession, when I received an unexpected phone call. Yesterday's rescuers had decided they would take the puppy home with them after all. I immediately contacted Dr. Filipović's animal shelter, and there was joy all round. Diana and Stefan went to collect the puppy, now named Grey. He had definitely fallen on his feet and found true love.

All the necessary arrangements for his inoculations and travel documents were made, and some days later Grey was off to his new life in Germany.

Eco Hvar has been delighted to receive messages at intervals, confirming happiness on all sides. Each message has vibrated with joy, such as the email received on 23rd August 2017, almost a month after the rescue: "you are welcome to publish the pictures and story of Grey on your website. We will continue to inform you about the development of Grey. He is a great dog and for us what is very special. We are so glad to have accepted him in our family !!! Best wishes, Diana & Stefan".

A happy tale, one which makes Eco Hvar glad to be involved in animal rescue work. There is so much that we cannot help, but one successful rescue is enormous compensation. Just as Grey is rewarding his rescuers with the unconditional love that a happy pet bestows, Eco Hvar is rewarded by the reflected love from all concerned. THANK YOU, DIANA AND STEFAN! The Animalis Centrum shelter posted a 'thank-you' message on their Facebook page.

The rescue was excellent in itself. even better is the feedback from Grey's new home. He has an impressive new family, one Jack Russell terrier and two Maine coons, guaranteeing good socialization with cats and dogs alike. The cats especially look capable of keeping their new little bear-like companion in order!

Grey's new family. Photo courtesy of Stefan & Diana

We had warned Diana and Stefan that the puppy was likely to grow to quite a big size, as we felt he had a streak of Tornjak. Within a month, he had certainly grown at a fast pace.

Growing fast! Photo courtesy of Diana and Stefan

Diana and Stefan looked into Grey's possible genetic makeup, and came up with another possibility:

"At first we also thought that Grey was a Tornjak, but after a long research on the Internet we came across the Carpatin. The carpatin puppy looks very similar to Grey. One must say that the Tornjak and the Carpatin are very similar in nature and appearance.
We are aware that Grey will be a very big dog and a good education is very important to us. We have noticed that he needs a very loving but also a very consistent education. But he is also very docile. "Seat!" And "Place!" He has already learned ;-) and the rest will still work.
Grey will soon visit the puppy school to make contact with his fellow-citizens. Unfortunately, he was much too early from his siblings and Mom away and the education he would have been missing him. Our dog (a Jack Russell), she is already 13 years old, also plays with Grey and also puts him in the barriers, but she is also glad when she has her rest and lets Grey go through a lot.
We are really excited about Grey's nature and his style. He is just the right dog for us and we are really happy with him !!!" (email 25.08.2017)

Obviously Grey was destined to meet Diana and Stefan. There has been great good luck on all sides. One cannot know what the future will bring, but the signs are good, and the present is perfect.

Update in December 2017: Grey meets his first snow! And he's grown into a beauty...

While Grey obviously loves being outdoors, he also enjoys living in the lap of comfortable luxury in his lovely warm home.

Grey in regal mode, 16th December 2017. Photo: courtesy of Diana and Stefan

We are extremely glad for Grey and his loving rescue-family. His was the happiest rescue tale of the year 2017 for Eco Hvar.

Dozing peacefully, 2nd January 2018. Photo courtesy of Diana and Stefan

The New Year saw Grey growing grander, still surrounded by the unlimited love which saved his life when he was very small. Writing to Eco Hvar on 17th January 2018, doting owner Diana reported: "Grey is very well. He is really our sunshine ?". His photographs reveal a fully contented dog, able to rest peacefully at the right time, but always ready for any action he might be called to. Lucky boy, lucky owners!

Ready for action! Photo courtesy of Diana and Stefan

© Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon) 2017 - 2018

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