20 February 2009

Kindness


The two new dogs are doing well. Both are now spayed, stitches removed. Mistral has no obvious physical problems and isn't scared of people although she is a much sadder dog than Mia and incredibly needy, frenetically needy, and goes up to everyone for affection. She has been beaten tho and if I tell her off for eating poop (yeah!) she cowers, sure I'm going to hit her so we need another solution. Jicky, a reader of this blog, tells me Tabasco sauce will stop it for good and when I find a place that sells it in France, I'll be out in the garden sprinkling it on you-know-what. As it is, you'll find me half the day rushing about with a pooper scooper trying to beat Mistral to it. And you thought life in the south of France was sitting by the Mediterranean sipping champagne, didn't you?

Mia is terrified of the world, but at the same time, when no 'Big Bad Stranger' is here to scare her, she finds joy in life, she's naughty, she's funny. This morning - drum roll - she was playing with another dog for the first time. (see last photo) She's slowly gaining weight even though she eats three times the amount I give other dogs her size but I've seen this before. It can take a year for a very out of condition dog to come right. Her skin is much better, special baths no longer necessary as she rarely scratches now.

This though is the story of Mister Brian and Mia.

Some of you may have read 'The Day Lou was Stolen,' which tells the story Brian's French bulldog, Lou. Mister Brian has a wonderful food shop in Monaco called - you guessed it - 'Mister Brian.' Brian is Monaco's famous caterer, supplying superb prepared meals to everyone - from the person living alone who doesn't want to cook, to a party on a luxury yacht in the harbour to a full-scale society wedding. His chefs are superb and in all the years he's done this, he's never lost his personal touch. Any Brits reading this might have seen the ITV programme, Piers Morgan on Monaco, where Brian was interviewed several times.


Inviting Brian to Sunday lunch means you get a response such as, 'I'll bring the first course so do you prefer prawns, salmon or crab?' I wish I had more friends like that. Of course when he arrives, there's usually a to-die-for chocolate dessert and a bottle of very good wine as well. He and Lou came to lunch a short while ago. Brian's girlfriend, Ester, is in Costa Rica at the moment. If you'd like to see a photograph of the two of them wearing plastic bags (!) - honestly - click on the link.

Mia, as I said, is terrified of any stranger and in particular, men. When a visitor arrives, she'll bolt out of the door as soon as she can get past them, and then she'll stand outside on the terrace barking non-stop. Not helpful. Later, she'll come to the open door, peer in and run away again. When I go outside and catch her, which is no easy task when a visitor is here, as I go to put a lead on her, she'll cringe, eye tight shut, waiting to be beaten. I'd like to get hold of the person who did this to her...

After Brian and I had lunched - and lunched very well, as you can imagine - I got Mia back indoors. Brian adores dogs - he's rescued dogs in Costa Rica and it goes without saying that Lou and he are inseparable. Whilst I was making coffee, I looked up and saw Brian trying to make friends with Mia. He spent a very long and uncomfortable time sitting on the edge of the coffee table, talking to Mia (sweet Lou putting up with it). Mia was on the sofa (yes, there's something wrong with who sits where in this house). He stroked her, he kissed her, he worked on getting her confidence. He was determined she'd not end that day without knowing a man can be kind to a dog - and how kind is that.

Well the photos say it all really. I'm sorry they are rather blurred. It was the way the light was that day - well, that's my excuse, but I did want to show you.


Brian's time with Mia is an example of how patience and love can sometimes overcome anything--even something as horrific as Mia's previous life. Of course, she's still scared of every new person, and it's almost a pattern that needs breaking, but I feel sure time and good friends will help her. And sometimes she's scared of me - for instance if I put on different clothes to go out, then she'll run away from me. Who is this 'new' person? But Brian's time with her has really helped her on her way.

It's so worthwhile to adopt a dog from a refuge. Mistral and Mia's Hell Hole was an extreme situation but most refuge dogs just want a home of their own again. The rewards of opening your heart to a shelter dog are beyond category. When you see them relaxed, in good condition, asleep or better still, playing and having a good time, it's so worthwhile. So if you are looking for another dog, do go look in the shelters - you'll find old dogs, middle aged dogs and puppies. There is a choice but no one ever wants the old dogs, so do consider one of those. People don't want old dogs because they'll not have them for long and they don't want to go through the sadness when they die but when they die, get another in their memory because that's what they'd want - the love continues - we don't run out of it. Suffice to say we get back far more than we give - that's for sure.

30 comments:

USelaine said...

What an amazing scene of compassion! And for Mia to still, still, after years of only one kind of experience, be able to open her heart, at least this once, this baby step of capacity for trust, and connect. I hope Brian can come back sometime soon, to reaffirm and bless that trust. Dear Mia!

martha said...

That's a wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes. I think what you are doing with these abused dogs is absolutely wonderful. Who needs a couch to sit on when you can have so much love.

spacedlaw said...

Lovely story. Brian could surely help you find some Tabasco. If he doesn't have any himself, he must know of shops that have it.

Snapshutter said...

Thanks for the update on the girls. We too had one that ate the poop of the other dog. We tried everything but never broke her of the habit. In the end it rotted her teeth, and we didn't know about the need to brush dog's teeth back then.

The last paragraph about older dogs is very touching. I hope some will take heart to it.

Kate said...

It's a strange phenomena but not unusual as I understand it. Hope you break her of the habit since it is not very inviting. Brian certainly is a good friend, to humans and animals!

Anonymous said...

re: eating the poo

I am no expert, but I have heard that it relates to hunger, as a dog's digesitive system doesnt break things down too well and it is easy for a dog to smell his food, or what he thinks is his food, even though it is in its waste.

So, again, confirm this with a professional, but actually adding more food to the dog's diet could help this. That way they won't satisfy hunger by eating the waste.

Just a thought.

-Rick
Manhattan Beach

Jilly said...

Thanks everyone for kind comments. I think I can get Tabasco at Carrefour in Monaco, so that's the next step.

Snapshutter, I too had another dog who did this. Flavia arrived here weighing 55 kilos when she should have weighed 30. A labrador. She never stopped eating poop in the 5 years I had her till the died. Vet gave her special vitamins in case it was a deficiency but it wasn't. It was greed and these days poop smells good because of all the stuff they put into dry food.

Rick, Mistral doesn't eat her own poop, but other dogs' poop. I can't give more food as already she needs to diet, she's overweight. As mentioned above, it's a habit that is v hard to break.

Hopefully the Tabasco or perhaps a chilli sauce will work - bet you all can't wait to know!

USelaine said...

I wonder if cayenne powder would do. Anything painfully hot.

lady jicky said...

I am so happy to hear how the girls are going. To know that one man , Brian, can get her to stay near him is wonderful - little steps.
Give the tabasco or the chilli pepper a go Jilly - my dog hated it and stopped after a couple of "dressings" LOL
I cannot tell you which one was my fav photo - I loved them all!
Kenzo sends his love and wants me to tell you he has "puppy school" tonight and he is not impressed! Lesson no.1 tonight! LOL

angela said...

What a heartening sight and what a kind man to spend time connecting with the dogs.
I was thinking that I buy tabasco here but I couldn't remember where..probably Carrefour or Champion. If you can't find any then let me know and I'll pop some in an envelope.

Virginia said...

Let's hear it for Saint Brian!! What a great story and I love the photos. I think our girls are going to be just fine!! Hugs to all.
V

Julie said...

Noice

Teri said...

I agree with seeking older shelter dogs. Many years ago we took the children to the shelter to choose a dog. I wanted a medium sized female, thinking she'd stick close to home and not be too much for my little girls. An old, black lab had the first cage. Saggy belly, gray chin, smelly. None of the females seemed just right, so we took the old guy for a test walk. He headed for our van, waited for the door to open, and jumped inside. We had him for 8 love-filled years, and learned at the vet's that his former owners had named him Geezer. Their loss, our wonderful gain.

Jilly said...

A friend is bringing Tasbasco tomorrow!

Terri, your dog was waiting for you - you are so right - there is nothing like giving an old dog a home. Personally I'd never adopt a young dog again, always older ones - I understand that young couples with children like to have a puppy but otherwise, let's hear it for the oldies! So glad you had such a lot of love from your Geezer.

Again, everyone so very many thanks for the comments.

Katie Lancaster said...

Wonderful, that's a really touching story Jilly of Brian's love and patience in helping Mia begin to overcome her fear of men, to know kindness. The photos illustrate this beautifully.

lady jicky said...

Fantastico Jilly!

Let the tabasco flow! LOL

Nancy L. said...

What a touching story. I know so well the feeling of taking an 'older' rescued dog into your home. I feel that in adopting my
retired racing greyhounds, I get to give them the gift of being a beloved member of a family, and they soak up that love like a sponge! Racing Greyhounds are not raised as pets but , essentially, as livestock. For however short a period of time they are with me (and I think this is especially true of the much older hounds) they are getting the life they deserve to have before they die.
Knowing that I have done that makes their passing a tiny bit easier for me to deal with. So I think EVERYONE should adopt an older dog!

PJ said...

No photo of the chocolate dessert?

Lovely girls deserve lovely rewards. So glad all of you are receiving the kindness you give. Les Girls are looking better and better.

Nathalie said...

What wonderful news, Jilly. Yes I'm sure with enough love from you and friends Mia will find confidence in people again, if every so slowly. I'm so happy for her.

Nancy said...

This story is to touching Jilly. These dogs are certainly blessed to have you in their lives. Bless Brian's heart for having patience and for taking the time with Mia. Give her a scratch for me!

Ann (MobayDP) said...

Good luck with the tabasco. I once had two puppies who, for some strange reason, loved to eat furniture. Rattan furniture to be precise. I tried Scotch Bonnet peppers & every hot pepper sauce imaginable...yes Tabasco as well. As fast as I could rub it/paint it on they were right behind me licking it off. Eventually I just put the container down on the floor and watched as they devoured the pepper sauce!

Anonymous said...

What you say about shelter dogs is true the world over. I live in San Diego, going to Languedoc for a year shortly. I have two shelter dogs from baja california, mexico, and they are wonderful. It took them a year to fully relax in my home and understand that nothing bad was going to happen to them. They are friendly, smart and full of fun, and everyone loves them. I would only have a rescued dog, and have had several over the years.
bonnie in san diego

Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know that I went back to Jilly's last Sunday and Mia is much better - the tail was wagging and she is starting to see that life can be good. What these dogs would do without Jilly I don't know. But when you see what humans can do to each other, nothing surprises me about how the human race can sometimes treat animals.

Jilly said...

Brian, thank you so much for leaving a comment. I was going to do another posting to say you'd come back and how much better Mia was and how much good you'd done her. She gets better by the minute, and no small thanks to you, dear Brian.

Katya's Dogs said...

Hi. I am inviting every dog lover to please drop by my blog in Serbia that has been created for me by two people who give me a hand. I have dogs for adoption (easy to export to US and Europe, for example). Animal welfare has far to go here in Serbia, so please drop by. There are links on my site to view adoptable dogs and also those that have been lucky enough to find homes in Europe. Thank you.

Deepayan said...

Lovely story.thanks for sharing.will have a look at this blog regularly from now on

lady jicky said...

Hi Jilly!
So happy to hear that Brian stopped by again and Ms Mia was OK with that!

Well, Kenzo finished puppy school and graduated - hell Jilly, everyone did! LOL

Snapshutter said...

When will we get an update?

Jilly said...

Apologies for long time in updating. Vet visit tomorrow, the 24th and will then update.

Yoork said...

Very touching story. All the way. My adopted dog suffered from Coprophagia (eating feces) too. Similar to Mistral, he was overweight (from poor diet), and he was also sequestered to a cage for his life, where I believe, he was left to live amongst his (and another dog's) feces for long periods of time, plus he was very co-dependent too. Once I put him on a diet, I noticed he ate other dog's feces. I have no idea why he did this, but now (years later) his weight is normal and he's in shape, it has ceased. In the interim, I have no suggestions, I tried everything. My dog at cayenne pepper! Just had to be diligent about supervising and cleaning up waste before he did.

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