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The Rescue Of An Abandoned Labrador Dog
Coco Our Black Labrador Dog
Expect The Unexpected
This writer’s story starts 6 weeks ago. Whilst I was in my apartment in Dublin, my partner Mike was going about his daily business fixing cars and motorbikes at his cottage 50 miles away in the tranquil lush green hills of County Laois (Leash). Mike was taking his much needed coffee break when he spied a lone black shadow coming from his wild and overgrown field. Watching it draw closer he realised it was a black Labrador type dog.
Thinking it belonged to one of his farming neighbours, Mike did not pay too much heed, expecting it to mooch around for a while and then go home. This was not the case, so he gave her a drink of water and was chatting to her for the rest of the day, no doubt thinking how cool it was to be talking to a female who did not answer back!
One Foot In The Door
Expecting the dog to be gone the following day, he was surprised when he awoke to find her lying on his front doorstep soaking up the early morning rays. He brought her in for a drink, gave her some food and was a bit perplexed at his new best friend. With no collar on her, he still did not think anything odd as many of his neighbours have working dogs for their cattle and sheep. Having said that, he felt she definitely looked more of a “family dog” rather than a working farm dog
This carried on for approximately 5 days during which time he asked his neighbours if they were missing a dog or did they recognise her and none did. The local church and schools also drew blanks. Later Mike took her into the house at night as the temperature dropped considerably. It was at this stage he told me the story and sent me some photos of her. I was immediately struck by how fit, healthy, alert and totally lovable she was. I had always been the one to ooh and ah at puppies and would give Mike my best puppy dog eyes which said “Pleassssse can we get a doggie?” We spoke at length about her and wondered about where she may have come from.
Would you ever rescue an abandoned animal by giving it a home?
Lost Or Abandoned?
Coincidently, the same day she appeared at Mike’s, his next door neighbours acquired a new cat so it seemed possible both may have been abandoned together. This is a fairly remote place, 3 miles from a main road and about 1000ft above sea level. It is a small rural community, where generations of families live within earshot of one another.
Looking at this Labrador, we noted the hair around her neck was sticking up in a manner that suggested a collar had been worn in the past and then removed.
All Girls Together
Doing The Right Thing
Mike made a lead out of some rope and decided to take her to the County Dog Pound some 30 odd miles away for advice and information. It was at the pound our lives changed. He was horrified to hear that they would take her in but only keep her for 5 days before sending her to doggy heaven. Also if he wished to keep her he would have to wait for 30 days before he could get a licence and legally call her ours.
This seems a bit bizarre as you would think they would also have to keep her for 30 days. That's bureaucracy for you, I suppose! Other than this there was no help or assistance so in all good conscience Mike took her home. He did leave his name and number as he had done with his local vet, local school and the parish priest. Whilst the dog pounds are doing a good job, there is only so much they are physically equipped to deal with. Sadly this is the norm and not the exception here in the current climate in Ireland.
Decision . . . .What Decision?
A beautiful, healthy and fit dog with so much love and life in her deserved much more. I have always believed the saying “things happen for a reason” and it is a phrase I have never used more than over the past few weeks.
We had both spoken about how we would love to own a dog but would wait until we were in our new home in Italy. On the other hand how could we not give this vibrant, adorable dog a home? As it so happens, Mike had also grown up with dogs but even more interestingly, we both had Labrador dogs and both always favoured the big breeds of dogs.
Financially it has been a rocky road for us both, having both faced unemployment over the past few years. The last thing we needed was additional expense, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
Ah Mike . . .Thanks, Your The Best!
The Choosing Of Her Name
Mike asked me to come up with a name for her knowing how I favoured the unusual kind! I had named our family Labradors, Rocha and Charo. Rocha, our Golden Lab, after a place in Portugal (Praia Da Rocha) which we had visited as a family. Charo, our Black Lab, was an anagram of Rocha. I gave Mike a list, knowing full well some would not be his cup of tea!
We decided on Coco, after spending some time with her, a name I felt suited her colouring and breed. It was also the name of the intriguing fashion designer Ms Coco Chanel whose fashion and fragrances I am a long time admirer of. Similar personality traits to Ms Chanel have already started to emerge! An Independent streak, flirty with the male species and an instinctive 6th sense.
What's The Hold Up? Let's Go!
Starting From Scratch
For the past month we have been on tender hooks, not knowing if we were going to be able to keep her or not. Would someone claim our Coco? Praying the phone would not ring, we discussed buying her a collar, a lead, doggie bowls and even a bed? Which injections should she have if any? Was she spayed?
Educated guesses aside, the list of questions and dilemmas were long. We were becoming more and more attached, bonds were being made and routines being implemented. The rope lead while functional at the time was now just too embarrassing and so a proper collar and lead was purchased from Maxi Zoo, the largest pet accessory chain of stores in Europe.
Mike had gotten into the routine of bringing her for an early morning walk along the country roads and she goes into a frenzy like state when he utters in his best high pitched voice Walkies!
I have seen how this beautiful black dog has given love unconditionally and how it has brought a spark into Mike’s troubled eyes. It is something truly magical to see how Coco can get him out of the bed early in the morning when all of my attempts along with numerous alarm clocks, fail! Maybe I should start licking his face? Or maybe not!
Me And My Buggy Buddy . . Mini Petrol Head
Some Funky Ideas For Your Dog
Getting Your Dog Checked Out - The Medical
A vet we saw at the Blue Cross, an Irish volunteer animal charity, surviving on public donations and goodwill, as apposed to any government subsidy, put her at about 3-5 years old and in excellent good health overall. She had been weighed and estimated to be approximately 8-10 kg overweight, so definitely not under fed.
We had found what looked like a stitch left in her which the vet removed saying it appeared most likely to be from her being spayed, given her age. Not knowing her history we have to assume she may not have been spayed, received her required vaccinations or had her dose of worming tablets as the vet cannot be 100% sure on all counts.
Coco - Our Pride And Joy
She is the most well behaved dog I have ever seen, a dream to take for a walk on or off the lead, never barking at other dogs or even cats and sits when told to do so quickly followed by giving you her paw! A real character who loves nothing more than going in the car for a wee drive! Everywhere we go people stop and pass comment on her, in car parks, in the pet store or out walking. Our Coco is firmly one of the family now and whatever the circumstances that guided her here, her future at least is one that will be guaranteed to be full of respect and unconditional love with plenty of fun!
What A Day - I'm Knackered! Time For A Kip
Credible References and Resources -
- Maxi Zoo - Everything for your pet
Maxi Zoo, Europe's largest pet store chain offers a large range of animal accessories and food at favourable prices. Maxi Zoo is always on hand to give you expert support and help on how to look after and get the most out of your pets.
- ASPCA | The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide. Learn more about what we do, and join our fight today!
- The Irish Blue Cross 15A Goldenbridge Ind Est Tyrconnell Road Inchicore Dublin 8
The Irish Blue Cross is a registered charity for needy pet owners and last year treated and vaccinated 9,642 animals at its mobile clinics. The figure included pets which went on for low cost neutering and life saving operations.
- Animal Charity - Rescue Dogs, Cats, Pets, Horses - Prevent Animal Cruelty - ISPCA.ie
The ISPCA is the leading animal welfare charity in Ireland. We specialise in rescue, animal welfare and preventing animal cruelty