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The Place She Calls Home

by Harrys Stratigakis 4 months ago in review · updated 4 months ago
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The day I understood where my dog felt she belonged

Roxy, at her current life stage. The photo was taken by me

I was born in an urban region in Athens, Greece, and as a kid living his life at an apartment of a large and densely populated city, I always wanted to have my own pet; and more specifically a dog.

At 12 years of age, we ended up moving out of Athens and relocating to the less vibrant city of Chania, Crete. My parents to alleviate the pain of losing my friends at the time, told me I would be able to get a dog since it would be more befitting to have one there than in the city.

Hence, when we finalized our relocation, my mum picked up a stray dog that was given away near a supermarket because the dog-mum had given birth to quite a sizable amount of little cuties.

I remember vividly the day she brought her in; my face lit up with immense joy and pleasure. I rushed to hug my dog immediately with absolute affection even though I had just met her.

From then on, I spent the rest of my days clung to her, showering her with love and petting.

The Rebellious Roxanne

Let me get some things clear from the get-go. One, Roxy was a hybrid; half a Beagle and half a sheepdog, which meant that she liked to be outside running constantly. Two, my parents didn't bother much with the dog since I had taken her whole nurturing as part of my duties.

But, I was very young for such a task. And that led to her not getting the appropriate amount of training that a dog should have. However, at the very least she learned to be a social animal and not fearful of others to the point of biting.

Roxy at her early stages of life was a very energetic dog (as all are) that wanted to run 24/7, reminding me of the little girl on the "Little House on the Prairie".

Her dog breed greatly elevated that urge, due to her being half a sheepdog. So, combining the aforementioned information, she was quite the rebel; regularly jumping fences to go out, running up and down the neighborhood, plus not listening much to us when we called her.

Given the fact that our neighborhood was full of roads, even though we lived in a small village on the outskirts of the city of Chania, we wanted our dog to be safe from a potential accident or poisonous food.

So, we made a space for her on the outside perimeter of the house we resided back then with a leash attached to a pole and her collar so that she wouldn't escape and run like crazy on the unsafe roads alone.

Of course, not saying this in a very proud manner (let's just say a little), she was not only quite the athlete, but she was clever too. She always bit her leash little by little to cut it off and jump really high over the fences.

And that was happening in a very consistent and persistent manner for many years to come.

An Incident That Brough Us Closer

An old proverb says "Be careful what you wish for". In our case, we didn't wish for anything bad to occur but we were overly worried about her always being on the loose.

Moreover, we weren't happy with the overall situation of her being "locked up" when it was pretty obvious what she truly wanted to do. Especially my mother was bringing up the point of giving her away to someone who can help her leverage that spirit of freedom of hers.

The fact that she went out all the time on her own and didn't hear us as well wasn't exactly pleasant for me specifically, since I thought that I somewhat imprisoned her from her very nature and desires.

So, I was starting to overly worry about her well-being, both emotionally and physically, and thinking about whether she was truly happy with me.

One fated day, she bite her leash off and jumped over a very tall wall on the back of our yard where she was currently located and ran away, yet again.

The difference this time though, was that I and my father looked out for her and couldn't find her. Hours passed and the sun was starting to set; and the more the dusk was arriving, the more my worries piled up.

The moon had shown its grandiose figure and my parents had given up the search and told me to be patient as she would come back when she wanted or wanted to eat. I kept looking for a bit longer though.

I knew they were correct; even though she wouldn't usually miss that long, she always showed her face at least around our house after a certain amount of time. But for me, something didn't feel exactly right.

It was around 22:00 when I was returning from another search for her back in my home. I saw from afar then a dog walking slowly towards my direction from a downside road next to my house.

I immediately understood it was Roxy. I rushed towards her while noticing that she was hovering one of her feet in the air as she was walking. As the image progressively became more clear, I also noticed that it was completely covered in red.

She had been hit by a car.

I hugged her, looked at the foot in question, and tried to understand where the cut was placed exactly. She didn't even nudge nor bark or growl at me, even though she was clearly in a lot of pain. She just trusted me.

I carried her over in my arms and brought her home while her blood was dripping in my hands and shirt. The blood of my beloved daughter and simultaneously friend. My anger began to grow at a never-seen-before level.

My parents heard me shouting at them while I placed her out in our yard and came out to see what was happening. My mum started to shed tears on the image before her and my dad tried to inspect her wound. Roxy stood still again; no shouting, no growling.

We telephoned a vet that was surprisingly open at that time, and they told us to not worry much if she was that quiet and bring her in to see for themselves how much her leg was damaged in the crash.

To her and our relief, they told us that she only needed a harmless surgery on the foot that was hit and was lucky enough to survive minor injuries to the left side of her body and face. They kept her in and we left.

I couldn't sleep well that night, but to be honest, a certain line of thinking helped me pass it; she had not only escaped any grave danger, but the moment she got hit, whenever that was, she tried to return home.

Our home. Her home.

Fast Forward to Today

After she got out of the surgery, she returned home with the classic cone in her head and was taking pills for one week or so to help her treatment. Of course, the leg healed completely and she was back at her usual self (yeah, the fence-jumping and leash-tearing one) in less than two weeks.

When I look back at that time now, I remember it as a pleasant memory. One that brought me and my dog closer together, one that made me proud of her, and one that made me understand how much she loved us, and I loved her.

Of course, there were some fun memories included as well, since it was the first time she wore a cone and was stumbling upon walls or her food bowl while trying to eat her portion out of it.

Now she is at nearly 16 years of human age (let's not count the dog ones), safe and sound. Overall health is at a mediocre level, of course, since the years have passed by and various old-dog problems have surfaced.

But she won't kick the bucket yet; she is strong as a bull and stubborn as a donkey. Well, she can't run like a horse though anymore due to the limited power in her feet.

Her impending death is going to hit like a truck and there were some things I wished I could have done differently with her, but I am extremely happy and proud that she could at least live her life to its fullest extent.

review

About the author

Harrys Stratigakis

I write self-help articles for themes such as psychology, mindfulness, and happiness!

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