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Paula Wynne

Pinned 2 years 7 months ago onto Living in Spain

I Shared My Honeymoon With Another Lady. Okay, don’t gasp just yet, hear me out. There are some personal little things that effect us home business owner's lives. Those things that really dive deep and touch the heart.

On the third day of our honeymoon at the gorgeously private and secluded Olive Grove Farm in Italy a 'freckly lady' walked into our lives.

Normally, I wouldn’t have agreed to share my special time alone with my new husband. Even though we’ve been living together for yonks, a wedding and then a honeymoon is a special time that you can only really be alone. Right?

Well … maybe not. Not in this case at least. For you see this lady was very different, so different - to the point of being heartbreaking.

The lady who shared my honeymoon with me and my hubby was an abandoned and terribly neglected pooch, a stray dog. stray dog in italy

I was standing on the upstairs patio looking out over the view of the nearby village of Serramonacesca in Abruzzo when I noticed this really mangy looking … thing hobbling through the bottom of the garden. When I say mangy I totally mean it.

I couldn't think of her as anything other than thing at the time 'cause she looked almost alien.

She looked like death warmed up!

I called Ken, and we saw her going behind the pool shed for what we thought was shade.

But when we went to investigate she didn’t even have the energy to lie in the shade. Ken immediately gave her water, and we left her to lie there for a while.

Later we found her in the garage – in the shade at last because the sun was ferocious. Now we had the chance to have a good look at her and this is the heart-breaking part – she was so skinny you could see her ribs and hip bones sticking out and a growth under her tail. She was a terrible sight and even worse fright.

When you’re in a strange country where you don’t know the culture or speak the language it is a very difficult situation. Had we been here in the UK – although I doubt you’d ever see such a fright-sight here – you’d jump on the phone to the RSPA or any number of dog sanctuaries. There it was tough. A natural instinct would be to let nature take its course, but we didn’t have the heart to do that.

We fed her and let her rest in the shade. Over the next few days we tried to get hold of some kind of animal rescue with no luck as we don’t speak Italian and the local people don’t speak much English.

Our stray, quickly named ‘Freckle’ because of her large penny-shaped-freckles, was the sweetest little dog and if we could’ve taken her home we would have. But the issues of getting her home were too many to comprehend: medication, pet passport, flights or come back with our own car ... they just stacked up against that option.

She was very friendly and calm and even had a cute little personality. She didn’t bother us at all by hounding us for food or keep pestering us. None of that from this freckly lady, who was now sharing my honeymoon holiday.

Sadly, you could see she had probably been beaten because when we came near her to give her food or a scratch, she cowered in submission. That was so heart-wrenching to see, so we slowly showed her we were good people who would not hurt her and instead look after her. She took it upon herself to sleep in the open garage at the back in the shade, so we left her there, but checked on her every day.

Being dog lovers we chatted away to her every day and even tstray dog in italyook her for a little walk, but clearly she didn’t have the strength to go far in her emaciated state. She never barked or scowled or snarled even when we fussed around giving her food.

But time was running out ...

We couldn't leave her there to fend on her own. She wouldn't last a day or so in that state when we went home.

In desperation, I Goggled animal rescue in Italy and found Fiona Tankard, who runs Pets In Italy, where she blogs about abandoned pets with the aim of finding them new homes.

Fiona kindly sent out messages and thankfully the following week we were contacted by Jiola, who is a young volunteer for a charitable agency that finds homes for pets called ANTA (National Agency Animal Protection).

During this time we continued to look after Freckle and the day before she left us she gave this odd little sound as if to say she wanted to talk to us. It was the most heart breaking thing you could ever hear as she sniffed around us and put her little nose against our arms and legs in her own attempt to show us she was lovable and friendly. The poor little nose wasn't even wet like most pooches 'cause she was so unwell.

But it was her eyes that broke my heart.

Just look at this little face and try to tell me that even the toughest dude wouldn’t melt looking into this lady’s eyes!

When we picked up Jiola, and she immediately told us that this was the worst case of stray dogs she had seen. I take my hat off to this brave young lady for getting into a car with total strangers to come and rescue a dog. Gee whiz, I think I'm a good person and I would NEVER do that. Good on you, Jiola!!

And then for digging her heels in to get an urgent vet appointment. As a student Jiola didn’t have a car, so we took her and Freckle to the Vet, about an hour away in Montesilvano, who said straight up that “this dog was dead and didn’t know it”!

I gotta admit that at this point Ken and I had watery eyes ...

What a little survivor she was. She had been starved for who knew how long, and she also had an infection that was poisoning her blood. The Vet gave her immediate medication and put her on a drip. He also scanned her for an ID chip in her neck, which Italian Pet Law requires and gives the owners details.

And within five minutes he was on the phone to her owner. stray dog in italy

They said that she had been stolen some time ago and was probably abandoned after that. We left Freckle in the Vet’s care and found out the next day that her owner had driven several hours to pick her up and was very happy to be re-united with her again.

That just left Ken and I to spend the last few days lazing in the sun by the pool and enjoying the total freedom and privacy that Olive Grove Farm offers people wanting a lovely homely holiday in Italy.

Seriously though, I may have wanted to spend my honeymoon ALONE with my husband, but having that little intrusion into our special time together made it so poignant.

What impressed Ken about her relentless spirit was the thumping of the tail whenever she saw us.

Each time we came up to her, her tail wouldn't stop waggging. To the point of going, thump, thump, thump against anything it touched!

Despite being in pain (as we later found out) which made it difficult for her to walk, that little dog was so keen and eager to engage with humans that her tail never stopped wagging.

While you're sunning yourself and relaxing with a good book, it gives you lots of time to think and ponder on why people do terrible ‘bastardly’ things like steal and abandon pets who have no way of caring for themselves. Without getting tearful (as one could certainly do), it only leaves me to say that all ended happily.

And that's the important thing here - not that I shared my honeymoon with another lady, but that for some reason God sent this skinny skeletal, yet sweet, friendly lady into our lives for a reason:

To rescue her?
To touch our hearts?
To share a few special moments with her before we re-united her with her long-lost owners?

To give something new life, a fresh start and a future? Which if you think about it - that's what your marriage and honeymoon is about.

All the above - and so much more! Especially the last point - here the parallel wasn't lost on us.

The tears are threatening now, so I better quit while the going is good ...

UPDATE: Since writing this blog post, Ken and I were inspired to get a Springer Spaniel puppy. See more about Dexter's antics here.

Have you come across this kind of thing happening on holiday in Europe? Share your heartening stories ...

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