Three legged dogs suffer more discrimination than most dogs, I guess. Finding a home for one of them is a task that requires patience – a lot of patience. I don’t really know what actually prevents people from considering adopting one, but I’m pretty sure embarrassment is an issue. Having to answer the question: “Oh, what happened to it?” a dozen times per day for years every time you walk your best friend must be annoying. Having to explain to friends and family that you new pet will have three legs must be a drawback. Why should you be the one who adopts the dog that nobody wants? Why should you pick up after other people’s trash? Why not walk around proudly with a fluffy, healthy, gorgeous dog? Why have to deal with pity and embarrassment for years to come?
I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do know that adopting a three legged dog is one amazing thing to do. Pity is for losers, and no three legged dog (or cat) is a loser. On the contrary, it’s a winner. Apart from that, a three legged dog is definitely not a special needs one. Three legged dogs can cope just fine with being one leg short. They can do anything they want with their remaining three legs, have absolutely no health issues due to their handicap, they can run, play, have fun and socialize just fine. And they do not see themselves as lacking anything -anything at all.
Scarlet arrived at the shelter with her front right leg smashed. Nobody knows what had happened exactly – was it a car accident, a trap or was it done deliberately? She must have been in terrible pain, but by the time she came to us, she was already beyond pain. She just needed to hide from the world. She used her smashed leg to hide her face and the tears that had started to dry in her beautiful eyes. She just waited. Waited patiently for what was coming. She didn’t seem to care what that was, she didn’t seem to care about anything at all.
She was amputated and remained confined for a few days after the operation. The first times she was walked around the shelter she was so scared and in awe. She looked like she felt naked, unprotected and vulnerable. That blue cloth we dressed her with gave her a bit of confidence. She must have felt like she had a warm hug around her at all times, to protect and guide her to her new life: a life of love and security.
Scarlet did not wait long. She was one of the lucky ones. Among the many people who followed her story, one did something more than just express gratitude and move on to the next post. Gina saw in Scarlet much more than a tiny, pitiful three legged dog. She saw a companion. She adopted Scarlet and we cried our eyes out. Because among all the frustration and the disappointment, when an adoption like this one takes place, the strength we regain to move on and keep fighting is so overwhelming that we basically cry it out.
There’s little left to be said about Scarlet’s new home. The photos say it all. The only thing left to add is that every time Gina posts a new photo, the memory of Scarlet trembling with fear and pain is drifting farther and farther away. Within a few weeks she has managed to make her look like a spoilt, funny dog she always deserved to be. Scarlet sleeps with her huge floppy ears dripping on her face, she stretches leaning against the wall of her mum’s chest and every day she looks like she poses for us -like she’s trying to wash off our tears with laughter.
This was Scarlet’s story, for us. For her, her story begins now. She’s very young, very strong and has her whole life ahead. And we remain here, fighting every day for all the dogs like her. Fighting for Moris, Yasmin and all the rest. Fighting for them to have a chance and be seen for what they are: funny, loving, happy, loyal and beloved companions.