It’s in his eyes. You can see his entire life crashing before him in a blinking sadness.
To really understand what the word ‘alone’ means, you need to look into the eyes of a dog that has just been abandoned by his family. There is an indescribable pain you feel wash over you as you watch a dog get tossed like yesterday’s paper. You hear him whimper and bark, asking questions. What did I do wrong? Why am I here? When will I see them again? It’s in his eyes. And after waiting and waiting, it dawns upon him – they are not coming back for him. He now has to deal with the unbearable dilemma of not knowing why he was left, the pain of knowing that his life will never be the same again and the hurt of betrayal by those he chose to love with all his heart.
I have read many such stories, but seeing it, is a whole other thing. It’s just been my third day at the K9 Shelter in Dubai and already I am finding myself wonder what is wrong with us humans. Seeing these victims of physical and emotional abuse – Dogs tied to poles, dogs left to starve, dogs who were victims of fights, dogs that have been pets for several years being left behind by owners who suddenly have other priorities. For how could a dog know that he was of no use to those he had served loyally, now that they had new plans? How could he grasp that while his love was unconditional, theirs was far from it.
But there is a silver lining. The few last good people left- the K9 team. Watching them devote themselves to these dogs and slaving away to give them the closest thing to a home till they find a permanent one, they truly are an embodiment to selflessness. They know each and every dog’s story – their biggest fears, what makes them happy, what they need. They search and search for loving homes for them – people who would have the heart to adopt a dog with a troubled past and give them another chance at being part of a family. But K9 never gives up. To be able to see the cruelty people are capable of and still come in day after day and give these dogs everything they possibly can aside from just food and shelter, that takes something beyond compassion. There is no word for it.
A dog is destined to be at the mercy of his master. The dogs that reach K9 are those that have been reduced to creatures consumed by fear and insecurity and in some cases suffer the worst kind of damage- losing their ability to love. For how can you mend a wound so deep? But that’s the funny thing about love. It can be a weapon to destroy as well as a healing watering can to pour over a parched heart. Only love can fix love. And that is the ultimate miracle. The wagging tails are proof of this. The proof that while some people destroy, there are still the few who choose to heal. And they are here waving their magic wands slowly and teaching man’s best friend that he can learn to trust again. And once they’re done, that’s when you see…
It’s in eyes. He can love again.