Tuesday 19 November 2019

A time to heal...

I haven't blogged for a few months. To be honest I've been  too raw. 

The last time I posted on here, things were looking great. One of my latest films had garnered BFI Network support, and we were just about to go on holiday to Crete for a family wedding. The future seemed rosy...

But like all things in life, there were events lurking around the corner - things I wasn't yet aware of. One of them was that my beloved Rottweiler had terminal cancer. 

She'd had a limp for a few weeks before I had it investigated. Earlier in the year she'd tripped over her own paws when chasing a squirrel, and had limped for a week or so. Second time around, I assumed the previous injury had flared up, even though I hadn't witnessed her doing anything to cause it. 

But the x-ray told a different story. There was a huge tumour on her left shoulder and shadows in her lungs, indicating that the cancer had already metastasised. My shock and horror on hearing this was profound. I couldn't believe that my sweet dog was so bravely and uncomplainingly suffering through this horrific disease. 

The vet was right when she said the particular type of cancer she had was aggressive - within the week we were making another visit to the vet's to give Roxie a dignified end to her life. I held her and comforted her,  and knew that she had loved me just as enormously as I had loved her.  

We entered a period of grieving. I couldn't look at her beds, her toys and bowls... but I couldn't get rid of them either. To have lost my dad and both dogs within just less than 18 months, seemed too cruel. 

I came through the front door and there was no lolling tongue, no wagging tail to greet me. Just silence and too-clean floors. 

I came to hate the way the floors stayed clean when I vacuumed; to be repelled by the echoing silence in the kitchen when I entered first thing in the morning; to be heartbroken that I no longer got to kiss her goodnight before I headed up to bed. My heart was broken. 

And then something happened. 

I decided to foster. Not to adopt, but to take on and try to heal a dog that was as broken as me, one whose spirit had been crushed by the sheer force of its former bad luck. 

So I contacted a rescue centre. After the home check, I explained that I would take the dog that cowered in the corner of its kennel, the dog that would greet no-one, the one that no-one wanted because it was just too broken...

They gave me Beauty. A street dog from Bosnia that's terrified of people and who refused to come anywhere near me or anyone else. 

With only one eye and a large scar on her side that looks like a burn mark, it's easy to imagine that she lost her eye through some deliberate act of cruelty. But she can't say and I'll never know. 

What I do know is that she has a lot of love to give, now that she's becoming so used to us. And I think that as much as I'm helping her, she's helping me too. 

Who knows, maybe we'll both emerge stronger from this experience. Whether we do or not, I know one thing. There's a happy face and a wagging tail in the house again, and my heart is filled with hope. 

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