They say the best moments happen when they’re unplanned.
On this day two years ago when the hoomans were watching anxiously which way Scotland was going to vote in their referendum, Mummy was on her own important mission. She sat nervously in a car next to Kim driving to South Mimms.
Their mission was not about hoomans wanting to be with each other, Kim and Mummy were – to meet and pick up a little dog called Bobo after his long road trip from Hungary. Mummy’s job for the next eleven days – to foster him, while he was waiting to find a forever home.
Mummy was asked to bring along a dog collar with a tag and lead. She didn’t know how big or small Bobo was going to be – and it actually did not occur to her that it mattered. Kim loaned her a crate to keep that “unknown entity” in it in case he should be aggressive towards – moi! Kim also brought along a towel just in case Bobo was a bit filthy. Let’s say Kim knew more what to do than Mummy did!
They arrived at the meeting point early and went to get some lunch before the “happening” when a text message said the Transporter van had arrived early. Stuffing the last bit of a McDonald’s or was it a Burger King burger (a rare treat!) into their mouths, both Kim and Mummy started to look for the Transporter van in this vast car park. Kim shouted, “I see it! It’s over there!” They ran towards the van. They could see the cages with the dogs inside. “Which one is Bobo?” they shouted in excitement.The man who drove the van walked around to the side and pointed to the top left hand crate. Just as Mummy approached it, something happened. This little black dog with the big eyes put his paw on up the cage. “Hello!” he seemed to have said, “Are you here for me?”
At that moment Mummy’s heart surged in expansion and the only thing she could utter was, “Oh!!!!!” There was no turning away from this little face.
It was not quite “Gotcha Day” because Mummy was only fostering Bobo. But on the drive back home, Mummy kept saying to Kim, “If I were to keep Bobo, I would change his name.““What would you call him?” Kim asked.
“Richard, as in Richard Gere because he has salt and pepper hair like him.”
“George” Kim suggested, “as in George Clooney.”
“Oh yes, that’s a possibility.” “What are some Hungarian names? No, let’s not do that because that was his past and he had left that behind. Or maybe Hamish – because he arrived on the day of the Scottish referendum. But no, why should he be given a Scottish name in their honour if they wanted to leave us! George is perfect because one day Prince George will be their King!”
But he was not hers to rename but she couldn’t call him Bobo. She had found out that in many languages it meant “stupid, silly or a clown” except in Korean. So until she had legally adopted him, Mummy called him “He-Who-Has-No-Name” (HWHNN) or “Dinky” because he was small and skinny.
A whole week went by and after a lot of deliberation, my goodness, she talked the ears off her friends – again! The first time around was about me! And then she thought it must be an omen that the Saturday that the adoption became official was the day George Clooney got married. So while Mr. Clooney took home a wife, Mummy brought home George!
May’s comment: It seemed like a long time ago but it has only been two years that George entered our lives. He’s been a challenge, a joy and now very much a part of our little family.
This was how he was found in a Killing Station in Hungary – August 2014Hilda from Hungary Hearts Dog Rescue posted this photo on their Facebook page and asked us to help raise the fund to get him out. We did and he was saved, neutered, dewormed, given all the shots, chipped and got cleaned up. He was given an EU Passport. He was taken into a foster home in Hungary, waiting for adoption or someone to foster him in the UK.
But no one had done so by the time the Transporter van was getting ready to leave on its September run. I had been curious about another dog that was with Bobo at the time they were found. He was called Poppy. I inquired about him and because he was really cute, he was long gone.This is Poppy.
“BUT,” said Hilda, “it would be helpful if you can help to foster Bobo.”
“Er, how big is he?”
“What breed is he? Does he moult?”
“When is he coming? In ten days?!?!?!?! Have you got someone for him?”
“But I am going away in eleven days – will you have him adopted by them? And what happens when you don’t?”
I was obviously ill-prepared to foster. To the point that Hilda had asked someone else and reassured me there will be a next time – as in when I am prepared. I felt sick. Sick that I couldn’t help to give a little dog a chance at a new life. That was a test, I thought, from the Univers to see if I could really put words and good intentions into deeds. I failed miserably.
That morning I had scheduled a walk with two friends in the park – first,Victoria and then Samantha – and I talked about my freakin’ inadequacies and how selfish I was. I regretted my hesitation. But talking about it helped and I walked home feeling really more reassured and ready for the next opportunity.
When I got home, I found an urgent message from Hilda – “the fosterer can’t take Bobo, can you please take him or he will miss his ride over to the UK.”
“YES!!!!!!” I said. “I will take him.” And I will figure out what and how to do so later. I asked lots of questions on Facebook about how to deal with rescues. I was nervous, scared out of my wits about this “unknown entity.” But I am going to help this little guy find a new life and the sooner he gets taken, the better. Kim heard about what I was about to do and she stepped right in and asked if she can help. She could drive me to pick him up and she could loan me a crate.And that was how Bobo/George came into our lives. I remember when they took him out of the crate and I had put Darcy’s collar around his skinny neck – it was way too big and he could have slipped right out of it. So I carried him in my arms.
On the drive home, he sat, no actually, he stood on my lap – all tensed, not knowing what was going on. Who were these humans? Where are we going now? I had just been on a very long ride. His eyes seemed so distant.His lips were lacking in pigmentation. He wasn’t skinny, he was thin and his hair quite scraggly.
We arrived homeBecause the collar I had brought with me was too loose on him, I thought to get him a harness. He didn’t know how to walk with a lead. So after a quick wash, I put him in a bag and took him to a pet shop –
And had a harness fitted. He didn’t know how to walk on a lead but he could with a harness.But he was so mismatched – blue harness, pink and brown collar and red leash!!!! Bugged the hell out of me!And then the big moment of introducing Darcy to Bobo.Thankful for Agnes, our dog walker who brought Darcy home after a very long walk to tire her out, and came to help with the introductions.Darcy ran into the flat and sensed someone else was in there. She ran to the crate and sniffed at Bobo. Bobo was eager to see another furry kind. I instinctively felt they were going to be fine. Within five minutes, Bobo was let out of the crate. And we gave them their first meal togetherBut I don’t think Darcy was very happy. She had not been consulted. When Bobo came to give me a lick, Darcy growled at him! LOL!But today they are more than friends, though Darcy is still reluctant about him.Whenever they are out in the park together, they only play with each other. They love to run alongside each other and will egg each other on.
It did take me a whole week of deliberation and listed every possible obstacle. One by one they were resolved easily and quickly – which gave me no more reasons not to keep Bobo. The only obstacle was my indecision, it was just my heart that had to win the battle over the head. I already had a home check done before I could foster George, so it was all down to me to say “yes” to him. I consulted with EVERYONE who wanted to listen to me.
Of course there was a bit of urgency because Hilda had found a family who wanted to meet George. I had put a halt to them proceeding any further and wanted to have the first option.
“Are you sure?” Hilda was shocked.
“No, but can you give me the weekend to think about it?” I had picked up George on a Thursday and on Friday, I told Hilda I might keep him. She said to take my time because it was a big decision.
In hindsight, it wasn’t fair on the other family. After I had decided to keep George, the family wrote me a lovely note to say they hope to find their own George. And I am sure they already did – another Hungary Hearts rescue. Unbelievably, there were so many people I met on the streets who asked if they could have him if I decided not to keep him. Not on your life – was what I thought. It was a cumulation of things that brought me to the final decision. I signed the adoption papers which also stated that if for any reason I could not keep George, I had to return him to Hungary Hearts Dog Rescue. I could not take him out of the country as they wanted to check on us for at least a year. Well, we’ve reached Year 2 and he’s still here. 🙂
When George thinks and behaves like he’s the Alpha dog, when he went through a period of being aggressive towards Darcy in his resource guarding, or when he’s barking and chasing away other dogs during our cockapoo meets, or when the feral side re-emerges when in a new environment, I know life would be so much easier if it was just Darcy and me. It has not been without it’s trials and tribulations but I lucked out with George.
He has since transformed into such a gorgeous little thing – partly nutrition , we went straight to raw feeding from Day 1 (thank you Honey’s Real Dog Food!), partly of his handsome haircut (thank you Pet Spa for taking such special care of him from the second day he was with us – he was always greeted with warm hugs) but he has also learnt his place in our world – that he belongs to someone and he has a home.
At the beginning, when he was off lead, his body language changed and he only ran in one direction – away from us! The many times we, as in Praewa and Arsh, ran chasing after him throughout Hyde Park, shouting like loonies. It’s easy to laugh now but then it was frightening how unpredictable he was. Today he still runs like a lunatic, especially when he is with Darcy as they egg each other on. The difference is now he runs in an arc, but a big one and he comes running back. I still do not take this for granted.
Two years on …What a transformation – physically and emotionally. No longer the “gray old man” as I described him, with eyes that made no connection. Today this little black dog stops people on the streets. They always ask about him. He is too handsome to be a rescue, they would say. Rescues when given a chance is as beautiful, at times even more so because they never seem to forget that they once almost lost their chance to live. They seem to appreciate love, touch, connection so much more.
And so we remember this day, the 18th September, as the day George arrived to a UNITED Kingdom (Scottish referendum – boo!) and the day he stole his way into my heart. But we celebrate our GOTCHA Day on the 27th September, the day George Clooney took home a wife – was the day George came home.
THANK YOU to Hilda and Hungary Hearts Dog Rescue for bringing these lovely creatures into our lives, for giving them a second chance. Since 2012, the UK registered charity started by Hilda have managed to rehome over 400 dogs in the UK. I have met some of them and if I had the ability, I would have a few more! They continue to support their efforts to save them on a daily basis. Dogs have no international boundaries and all dogs no matter where they’re from deserves a home. And I am proud that I live in a country that is beyond generous in our attitude towards dogs. That they can come from so many places and call this home.
I am a failed fosterer and I am proud of it.
Think about giving a dog a home. There are so many out there.
George was unexpected, unplanned and unbelievable! He is special – all dogs are – but George was meant for me. Darcy is still debating – but we know he’s been good for her. He doesn’t let her take herself too seriously. LOL!
We never ever know when the Universe will bring us the next surprise. 🙂