Monday, March 22, 2010

Lila

For a long time now I've meant to write about what happened with Lila. What happened to Lila, maybe. I'm still not sure about the preposition, because I'm not sure who's to blame. Me, I suppose. I can't fault the kid or the dog.

There she is, in the sort of photo the local paper would caption "In Happier Times".

She attacked the kid next door. He's only a little fella, maybe four or five years old. I don't know him at all. I remember him being born, but I moved away not long after and now all I ever see of him is his head poking out of the treehouse his daddy hung, which overlooks our patio. He spies on us, whispering and hissing with his sister through the trees. But we're never up to much.

He was out for a walk with his mam. She was on a leash, out for a walk with my mam. I think I'm technically Lila's mam, being the one who found her in a car park and brought her home. We had another dog at the time who lacked for company, and though Lila's nippy and nervous with other dogs, she stuck to Alpha like glue. She quietened down after Alpha died. She lost her buddy, and a bit of her sense of bowsie went with her.

The little fella, Cormac, he went to pet her. His mammy gave her a rub and Lila probably wet herself. She was always at that, overjoyed with the attention and trying to ingratiate herself. Cormac went to pet her then, but he missed. He was nervous, because he wasn't used to dogs. That's why his mam had stopped them in the first place, so's he could pet her and not be afraid of her. He missed, and he stuck his finger in her eye. She got a fright and tried to rip his face off. He didn't mean it. She didn't mean it either. Or maybe she did, who knows. She's only a dog. Dogs don't really mean anything, do they?

I had to give her away. I don't live with my parents and they couldn't be responsible for her any more, with small children living in the houses either side of ours. I had to give her away, but nobody would take her. Not the pound, not any of the animal shelters. Once a dog has shown any aggression towards a human, they told me, it cannot be rehomed. It has to be destroyed. I sobbed and sobbed, thinking of how I'd have to bring her to the vet's, to Charlotte, to have her put down. I rehearsed it again and again in my head, bawling like a looper as I handed over my change in the shop, as I swiped my TenJourneyTravelNinety on the bus, as I hung up on my brother, my best friend, when he called to talk to me about what we should do. I shot the messenger, pow! pow! It was weeks before we were back on the level.

I rang anyone I could think of. All of the shelters gave me the same schtick, none of them willing to tell me outright that she'd have to be destroyed, lest that snotty bawl bubbling in my throat would burst and I on the phone to them. Eventually one of the family-run shelters called me back with a mobile number for a Maura Rua, "the last chance saloon for problem dogs". I called her, not expecting much, and arranged to meet her in a car park in Naas. She wanted to assess Lila, to see if she might be a suitable candidate for rehabilitation. She trundled up in a Volvo estate full of animal cages, looking like a cross between Dog the Bounty Hunter and the woman I might yet become. Lila wet herself and licked Maura's hands, and my heart broke for her all over again. Two weeks later, my brother and sister brought her, her bed and her blanket to Maura's and Lila settled in to a foster home with her, where she made a friend named Fat Fred. Maura sent me photos of them together, and let me know a month after that again that Lila had been approved for a place with Dog's Trust in Essex. I'd given her money to cover her ferry passage, as well as a card with too few words to express my gratitude. Shortly after she arrived there she was adopted by a couple in North London.

When I visit my parents' house now I still open the door just a crack, and block it with foot and handbag as I cross the threshold. I close the door from the kitchen to the hall as if all hell might break loose should I leave it open. I cock my ear for a skitter, and when all I hear from the hallway is the muffled hum and tumble of the dryer, my heart sinks.

17 comments:

Anneelicious said...

Ok, call me a wuss but I'm in floods reading that. We had to have our dog put down during the summer (she was nearly 20) and I *still* come home expecting her there.

I'm so glad Lila found a new home and didn't have to be put down, but sorry that you don't get to see her anymore. Sad face :(

C'est La Craic said...

Life's a bitch.

nuttycow said...

I'm sorry to hear about Lila. But, as Anneelicious says, at least she's found a nice new home (hopefully away from poking children).

emordino said...

Tangentially, people need to a) learn the definition of "self-fulfilling prophecy" and b) stop acting so fucking scared of dogs.

Kitty Cat said...

That's so sad, I'm glad she got another go though, she sounds brilliant.

Fiona said...

I am so relieved you found a home for Lila, but sad that she's not waiting in your home for you any more. Well done on perservering until you found someone to take care of her.

Conor said...

The new design! Oh Jesus. I don't know about that at all. You're the boss though...

Karen said...

Oh! Oh! I don't know if I like the new layout! I liked the Victorian kinda lady at the top reading, that you used to have!

I don't like change! I'm too old for change!

(I am using too many exclamation points.)

gimme a minute said...

That's it, I'm getting a mohawk.

Rosie said...

sad face indeed. the whole situation was horrible, and i don't think i've ever been so upset. that post has been festering in draft form since november. the guilt eats at me.

Conor, Karen, cowboy up! you'll get used to it.

as usual, Gimme, i don't get you.

Conan Drumm said...

Them feisty pups with character are the worst, they leave a big void behind them

Tessa said...

So, the story had me sniffling in my wine. But the new format cheered me up, especially the pic of yourself in the bath. Still quite Velasquez-ish, really.

Duchess said...

Oh dear. That's a very sad story.

Jennikybooky said...

No now I can't cope after that. Me heart is broken.

I have to have a little lie down.

Me nerves!

Demure Lemur said...

What a sad story. It's tough with doggies and little ones. My Mammy's Jack Russell is not a fan of small children (we reckon she doesn't like anything cuter than herself), and we have to be very careful whenever mini humans are around.

So glad Lila got a second chance.

Loving the blog makeover.

Rosie said...

i think the makeover will stick for the moment, anyway.

my brother, sister and i like to imagine Lila roaming Essex, terrorising chavs.

Gingerbeard said...

I liked that dog...