Never under-estimate the power of love
Alice, a widow, led a lonely life. Despite living in a lovely town house and enjoying a comfortable standard of living, she lacked companionship. Her late husband was a vet and she shared his love of animals. But after his death she moved from their family home into the town house which at the time did not allow pets.
When the rules changed to allow small pets, Alice decided the time had come for her to have a little dog. Off she went to the pound with a neighbour who also wanted a dog. Her friend immediately fell in love with a pretty little terrier who jumped up onto her lap and started licking her face.
Alice’s eye fell upon a funny, squat little creature, with an odd shaped body and short legs; black as the ace of spades, with a big head, pointy ears and strange yellow eyes. He was no ‘black beauty’ and when Alice approached him he cringed and backed off.
“This dog needs me”, thought Alice, and with that she decided to take him. “Are you sure you want this one?” asked her friend. “He’s strange looking and not too friendly”. But Alice’s mind was made up. She had also instantly decided that his name would be Ebony.
Breaking down barriers, winning trust
Once home, Alice’s time was cut out trying to gain the dog’s trust. He was frightened, suspicious and not too happy. It was obvious that he had been mistreated in his previous life. He was especially scared of men. Even Sam, Alice’s next door neighbour and a passionate dog lover could not approach Ebony without the dog cringing and scampering back into Alice’s house. A simple motion of reaching out to pat him resulted in a terrified reaction.
But Alice loved this apparently unloved and unlovable dog. She protected him, cuddled him, groomed him, spoke to him, took him walking and had him sleep at her bedside. Through sheer perseverance she won his trust, loyalty and love. Gradually too, he gained confidence and got to know the neighbour, finally allowing Sam to touch him and eventually to play with him.
As Ebony changed, friends and neighbours noticed a change in Alice. She had come out of her shell, seemed to have so much energy, would stop and chat and share a joke, always with Ebony at her side. To Alice, Ebony was the most beautiful dog in the world, regardless of what others thought. He was her little chum who watched TV with her each night, kept her company when she tended the plants…and observed her closely when, each morning, dressed only in her nightgown, she cleaned his poo off the patio.
This is a story about the power of love and compassion. It is a story of a human and an animal, but equally, it could be the story of two people, sad and insecure for different reasons, who saved each other and made a contented life together.
*Not the actual names. They have been changed to protect privacy.