Actually, “rest” is not what I really wish for Willie – I’d wish for him a life like the one he had; that is a rainbow bridge life for a dog, right here on earth.
The fabulous Willie has sadly passed away in the arms of the people who loved him, Carolyn and Jim, at HUHA Kaitoke. Willie was lucky; he was at the pound the day HUHA went collecting death row dogs to take to the shelter and rehome. There was Willie, having recently been picked up; he was a senior dog, he was skin and bone and yes, just the one eye. But his luck had just changed – HUHA had noticed him. “Why would you want a poked old dog like that?” was the question posed by the staff? You know the answer to that, committed reader with your HUHA heart; the answer is that a loved and beautiful life is not just for the young or the strong or the beautiful or the fit or the “useful” – it’s for every living being. And its value is not counted by time – every second that contains love is worth the fight.
Carolyn has shared some background on Willie:
Willie’s frail frame showed his age. The fact that he was still alive in his senior years with only one eye spoke volumes … he must have been one mighty working dog in his day, the mere fact that he wasn’t disposed of when his eye was injured or his work was done was a testament to the respect he must have earned from his master over the years.
So why was he in the pound? We suspect his owner assumed he had just gone off to die and not thought to look for him. So after the mandatory 7 days of advertising came up fruitless, we hopped in our wagon and made the 5 hr round trip to bring him home to HUHA Kaitoke. At first he didn’t want to come inside; when encouraged he’d spread his legs out like a new born giraffe and leaned backwards refusing to move. With every rib showing it did not take much to lift him up and carry him inside … with a soft bed and fire blazing, he soon stopped protesting and accepted his new fate. Life indoors was not so bad. With 13 acres to wander in, he would wobble with a militant-style march around the property twice daily. Volunteers would laugh when they saw Willie steadfastly zoom by like a senior citizen on a power walking mission. At the end of the lap he would always head back inside to the new found comfort of his squishy bed. We only expected Willie to be with us for maybe just a month or so, but here a year later we are in awe at how much life and love this old man had left to give.
And as a special turn of events he even got to say goodbye to his original owner. Willie had wobbled past the TVNZ camera’s while Sunday were filming a segment on HUHA; when the show aired his original dad Dion just about fell off his chair. He recognized his old friend at once and made contact with us. It was wonderful to fill in the gaps and learn more about our special old boy. He had been a top heading dog and his name was “Please” … tee hee “Come here Please!!”. Please had lost his eye at just 1.5 yrs after a kick from a horse whilst mustering. At 8 yrs, Please was retired to a fencer on a smaller farm up north. Though that’s where the trail ends. Now at the grand old age of 16 years we don’t know how Willie ended up at the pound or exactly why no one came for him. But what we do know is that no dog, no loyal companion, no best friend and no soulmate deserves to die forgotten on the cold hard concrete floor of the pound. It’s not the pounds fault, it’s our’s; we are a community that treats objects, items and even lives as disposable and we seriously need to stop.
One Eyed Willie worked hard his whole life and he deserved to die with dignity and surrounded in love but he, like so many dogs we collect from the continually bursting full pounds, very nearly lost that right. We will mourn for Willie, we will scatter his ashes over the hills he used to run as a youngster and we will never forget him … our very, very special old friend xx
Go hard, One Eyed Willie; you were loved and the embodiment of HUHA’s mission and goal in this world. Thank you, Carolyn and Jim, for your leadership and example; our hearts grieve with you.