GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the difference.” (Author Unknown)
I have often wondered about this concept. What is WISDOM?
Over the years I have discovered that Wisdom cannot be obtained without the opinions of others. Although we build on life experiences and gradually acquire personal wisdom, we realise eventually that our own personal conclusions to dilemmas are wiser when the opinions of others are taken into account.
When it comes to my own personal difficult decisions, my own family has always played a big role in my life. I have learned that it is wise to allow them to have their say and then to consider what they have said, in order to make the best decision. This notion was strongly brought to the fore during our recent trip to Mpumalanga, South Africa.
The weekend was meant to be an emotional break from all our individual stresses. In my case, it was to confront my loss of my ”heartdog”: Maxdog. It was a long journey to our destination and throughout the trip my mind milled over the many wonderful memories I have of Maxdog.
I know that I am vulnerable when I am grieving and I know too that impulsive decisions are NOT WISE during this time.
Anyway, when we arrived at our destination, there was a little dog waiting and ready to greet us. The wag of her tail and her body language said it all...she wanted to say ‘hello’. As I stepped out of the car she stood there as if to assess what type of people occupied the vehicle. I couldn’t resist. I smiled, walked up to her and presented the back of my hand. She was delighted and for the next 10 minutes, while my husband was busy signing us in, she danced around me with great exuberance.
She seemed to come out of her shell as I played and patted her.
She displayed the common signs of de-stressing behaviour:
bowing low, stretching, yawning and becoming a hooligan for a while.
I simply sat and interacted with her
On enquiry from the management of the resort, I discovered that her name was “Merlin”. How strange! It was an obviously male name for a female dog, but cute nevertheless. They told me that she was a regular visitor to the resort.
They added that she came from the local squatter camp but spent most of her time around the cottages. They explained that she was often fed by the visitors to the resort. “Did I want another dog perhaps?” they asked me.
Their question hit me hard. My obvious unvocalised answer: “Yes, I do want another dog!”, but the question beckoned: “Is that dog Merlin?” so I simply answered, “No!”
Anyway, “Merlin” decided that we would be her friends for the weekend. We settled into our cottage and she hung around nearby, nibbling on bones that had been left there by people who had enjoyed their barbeques.
My heart was so wrenched by her story BUT she looked healthy enough: Her teeth were good (Yes, she allowed me to examine them!), she seemed well socialised; she was alert and appeared happy enough with her lot in life. The environment is exquisite there and Merlin obviously leads a life which involves romping around wherever she wants to and enjoys the freedom of the world around her. She seems to have no boundaries and no restrictions. Perhaps she does have a loving owner in the Squatter camp nearby. Who knows?!
The next morning I popped into the local supermarket and bought some dog food for her which she happily ate and then disappeared into the unknown for a while. Each day when we returned from our site seeing, Merlin was there to greet us.
Yes, we did feed her during our stay there but
NO WE DID NOT BRING HER HOME!
I must admit, my heart really wanted to ‘rescue’ her, but my family convinced me otherwise. I said good-bye with an unsettled heart.
Now this is where “Wisdom” comes in...
Perhaps you would like to ponder there contributing facts:
• Merlin might well have an owner and if so, my considered ‘rescue’ might be tantamount to theft.
• She has a known ‘name’ by the locals and this suggests responsibility of some sort even though she hung around our cottage.
• We had no space in our car to even think of taking her home on a 5 hour journey.
• Merlin is well socialised and seems to have learnt how to befriend the various visitors at the resort.
• Merlin looks in very good condition and is obviously well fed. Our assumptions about her lot in life might be errant.
• Merlin might well have an owner who may be using ‘visitors’ to complement her food expenses.
• Merlin would NOT fit into our dog pack without serious disruption. She is NOT a city dog and we are not in a position to offer her a home that would be easy to adjust to. Her lifestyle is one that requires open spaces and freedom to run.
• My family were not in favour of intervening in what was obviously a well working arrangement.
• A decision to take responsibility for a stray dog is not wise in the midst of my vulnerability whilst grieving for Maxdog
• There is no reassurance that Merlin is not carrying a serious disease which could substantially affect my own animals.
• There are NO animal welfare organisations in the area.
• It seemed that there weren’t any vets in the area either.
• The little town is littered with animals in various unacceptable states.
• And the worst....Merlin was in season! Oh dear...another litter of unwanted puppies!
So sadly...sometimes the ‘Wisest’ decisions might not ‘feel’ the best.
Sometimes those decisions go against the grain of our emotions and sometimes it takes a while to come to terms with a decision.
I am aware that this story might prompt many different reactions from animal lovers.
Feel free to express your opinion, but please don’t judge me too harshly.