I have been waiting and waiting and wanting to tell Caesar’s story since forever. His ordeal has finally come to an end, and his new life has just began, so I can finally write about him and use every single verb in narrative present tense, not actual present.
The whole story could make an amazing soap opera scenario, and it took months for us to put it all together. So here it is, in chronological order. And I swear it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
A family somewhere in a northern Athenian suburb wnats to get a dog “for their kid” (their words, not mine). They go off and bought a purebred Cane Corso, that costs a small fortune (their words, not mine).
They are lucky enough to end up having an amazing dog. The dog becomes a member of the family, he sleeps in the boy’s bed and becomes his best friend. Everyone in the neighborhood loves him. The family tries at some point to make him more “tough”, but with little success. Paco, as they call him is simply “too kind”.
The father breaks a leg, or hurts his back, or who cares. The nice family dog becomes a burden, so he changes hands. He ends up with someone that the family doesn’t really know, doesn’t even bother to keep his number, or his name. He is just someone’s acquaintance, but he and his girlfriend promise to love and care for the dog.
Paco ends up on the street. He is hit by a car and suffers a massive fracture in his hind, right leg. Someone takes him to a vet clinic, where he spends the night. The clinic posts photos of him, and his microchip number, asking for the owner to appear.
Supposedly the owner does pick him up (at least that’s what the clinic’s update on the post said).
One year later, Thalia, a friend of mine and a SCARS volunteer finds Caesar on the street, starving and limping. She rescues him, and we first google the microchip number. We find the clinic’s post about him, and realize that he was never operated for the fracture in his leg. The first owner’s name turns up on the databases. He was registered!
(Chapter 4 is kind of long, so if you wanna take a break, now is the time to do it)
An odyssey of phone calls, insults and threats between the volunteers and the family starts. It ends weeks later with a “kiss and make up”, and a signed solemn declaration of the owner giving up his dog owner rights. In the meantime, there is no foster home available for the dog – that we now call Caesar – so he stays with Brandy, another rescue dog, in a fenced field with some handmade dog house, that we sometimes use as a rescue facility (and remember, he used to live in a home for 4 years, sleeping in a kid’s bed. Anyway. With the solemn declaration in our hands, we are now free to do what we want with him… that sounds weird, I meant we are now free to put him up for adoption and check with the vet about his leg.
Caesar is taken to an orthopedic vet, and then another and another. The fracture in his leg is already one and a half year old. Some vets argue that he needs to be operated, and some that the leg can be functional as it is. We are in a huge dilemma. In the meanwhile, a family is interested in adopting him. The come visit him, and fall in love. So does he. The stairs in their house make us rethink the operation. What if going up and down the stairs does more damage the already damaged leg? A professor at the veterinary school of the university takes a look at the x ray, and suggests an operation. So Caesar goes though a painful and costly operation, without ever stopping wagging his tail.
After the operation he is fostered by a SCARS volunteer for a month until he recovers. He spends his day in a crate, and takes two walks per day. And he waits. Well, not really. Dogs don’t realize that they are waiting. They just think that their current situation, is what their life will be from now on. In the meanwhile, the family has not forgotten about him. In fact, they are waiting for him to recover, so that he can finally come home.
Caesar recovers. And one Sunday, he leaves his foster home, he takes a good bath, puts on a brand new leash and goes to his forever home. He enters the house and behaves as if he always lived there. I have taken many dogs home, but I have never seen anything like that. Caesar knows where his bed is, which are the toys he is allowed to play with, and who are the people he will be living with from now on. When we leave an hour later, he doesn’t even blink. It’s not that he didn’t love us, it’s just that he knows he is home.
You would expect a dog who has been through so much to have developed some kind of mistrust towards humans, life. You would expect him to be confused, or wary, or agitated from all the back and forth. But Caesar – now named Cooper – is a big baby, with a heart of gold that loves everything and everyone.
A huge thanks to Thalia for caring for him since day one, to Alexis who fostered him when he needed it the most, and to his new family, his forever family for everything. You can follow the charity’s Facebook page here. Donations are more than welcome.