One year and two months ago, in late August 2016, Save a Greek Stray was informed about a very sick dog living in the outskirts of Athens, Greece.
A volunteer arrived there to find Monty hiding in a sewer drain. It took a lot of time and patience to get him out of there. Monty was a dog that had never had contact with people in his life. He was wild, untamed, feral.
I won’t be getting into details about the state of his health, it’s obvious. He had lost all his hair, mange had exhausted him, an old fracture in his hind leg made it difficult for him to move around and there was a huge tick nest in his private parts.
Monty’s recovery took months. He started growing his first hair a few weeks after the rescue, and was becoming more and more gorgeous every day. But that was all the progress he was making. Emotionally, he remained a loner. A dog that looked like he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even try to socialize.
The more gorgeous he would become day after day, the more frustrated we all were. He spent almost an entire year in his kennel, refusing to even approach when you were there sitting on the other side of the bars.
For dogs like him, the wound of the soul are the hardest ones to heal. It takes a lot of patience, persistence and most of all knowledge. Love doesn’t save dogs like him, as much as we insist on humanizing them. Training saves them, proper and consistent raining.
Monty was lucky enough to be trained by one of the best. No dog can ever reach it’s full potential when in a shelter – only a home can do that. But they can evolve, at least to a point where life for them does not mean being stuck in a cage 24/7.
Alexandros is a professional trainer, who volunteers at the shelter, helping our rescue dogs. He started working with Monty a few months ago, and he finally managed to get him to leave his cage, to wag his tail and to accept a roommate, who is helping him understand what life is like for a social, happy, healthy dog.
I saw the two of them work together today, from a distance. I saw Alexandros gently lead Monty out of his kennel, and for the first time after one year, I took a good look at this dog who I had only seen behind bars, growling at me and hiding. He is gorgeous. If only he knew how gorgeous he is. He still has a long way to go, but from now on, he can at least have a steady, healthy every day life. He deserves that much.