Abandonment is sadly a common occurrence affecting equines and all other animals in the UK and abroad. No matter what form a life shapes, all life feels pain and depths of emotion. Suffering is a universal feeling we all understand on some level through our own experiences. To be empathic is to imagine being in a sufferer’s situation and to help them through it, with the same love and kindness we would hope to receive if we were them. Here is my story, a true story about abandonment...
A few years ago I went on a journey, not only in body but also of the heart and mind. Such a simple thing to book a holiday and board a plane, yet it was destined to be so much more than that. It was the early part of summer 2010 and the plane touched down in Kos. There was a hire car for the duration and it was time to explore the sights...
A few days in and whilst walking across the beach front of Kos Town I came across an A-board advertising a small animal rescue. Being an animal lover all my life I was naturally drawn to it. It had a money tin padlocked to it asking for donations, with photos and contact details. I donated and continued with the day.
The following morning whilst driving up the steep hill into the quaint little village of Zia I noticed a wooden dog kennel in a derelict area of waste land, for some reason I was drawn to it, but thought nothing more of it as the day went on. As afternoon approached driving further south I found myself in Plaka Forest, not too far from the airport. A tourist attraction full of wildlife such as peacocks and tortoises. Not too far in the distance I could see a dog loose wondering around looking very timid and frightened, as I got closer, it was clear she was very young, with no collar on and no one around her, so I bent down and started talking to her softly, by then other tourists had arrived and one of them said that dogs were abandoned there all the time, usually dogs that were meant to be used for hunting but didn’t quite make the grade. How it is common practice for them to be hung from trees if and when captured, to then endure a slow and painful death. My own dog who is very firmly etched in my heart had not long passed over and all I could feel was how terrifying it would be, it was an unthinkable act in my mind which filled me with disbelief that a human was capable of doing such a thing to an animal filled with nothing but love, I knew without question I was not going to allow this to happen to her. Then as if she knew I was there to help her she came over to me, after not wanting to go near anyone, she let me pick her up and cradle her like a baby; she licked my face and was so clearly in need of love and kindness. From that moment on I knew it was my sole responsibility to save her life.
I put her in the car and drove all the way back to Kos Town, stopping at a pet shop along the way, asking if anyone could help, a man there gave me a phone number of another man called Vangelis, advising me that he helped animals and may be able to help her. I rang the number, there was no answer. I drove down to the beach front to the A-board I had seen the previous day advertising the animal rescue, I called once, twice and then a lady answered, she was British and had decided to help animals since moving there some years ago, so after explaining my scenario she was not surprised. She offered to meet me halfway back on the road to Plaka Forest, I was filled with hope that she would take her in but, she didn’t, instead she told me to take her back to the forest and leave her there, as tourists pick up dogs there all the time and take them back to their homeland. To me this didn’t sit right, it was going against every beat of my heart. I had no choice at that point though, knowing my hotel wouldn’t take a dog in. On the way back to the forest I bought food and water for her, spent the rest of the afternoon with her, and then drove back to the hotel feeling sick with worry for her safety.
That night I couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning wondering how to help her, then as the hours rolled by all of a sudden the kennel in Zia popped into my mind. By early morning I had grabbed towels from the hotel and was back in Zia packing the kennel into the hire car, there was even a brush next to it, something I could use to clean it up, like everything was magically already in place so that I could help her. I stopped off for more dog food, bottles of water, a dog bowl and water bowl then headed back to Plaka Forest. When I got there I couldn’t see her anywhere, I walked around for a while calling out to her and then she appeared from behind a tree and came running up to me, I was so relieved. She really did have my heart from the moment I saw her. I positioned the kennel between two trees, laying the towels down inside, a temporary measure in my mind, somewhere comfortable and safe for her to sleep; I even decorated it with flowers.
From then on for the duration of my holiday it was countless trips back and forth to visit her in the forest. I even called her Mimi. By then the lady from the rescue had brought down leaflets to the area to try and gain interest from tourists and see if they would take her. Nothing came of any of them. I wanted to take her with me but knew that it was impossible right there and then.
The last day of my holiday arrived and as Plaka Forest was near to the airport it was the last place I went before I boarded the plane back to the UK. It still brings me to tears even typing this now, knowing that I may not ever see her again, knowing I was abandoning her in her eyes, like she had been the first time round, leaving her feeling scared, vulnerable and let down yet again. I hugged her and held her so tight, I kissed her forehead and begrudgingly tried to drive away, she would run after the car every time I drove off and I would cry so much as it was so hard to leave, my heart was breaking and it took three attempts before I finally left. By then I had settled her in the makeshift kennel area I had made for her and I whispered to her and promised her that I would help and that she would be happy.
I cried in the car, I cried in the airport, I cried on the plane, I cried when I got home but there was a fire burning in me so strong that I knew, under no circumstances, could I let her down.
For three weeks I was on the phone to Greece. Initially with the British lady, who along with another lady from Switzerland made me feel they would help but only at a cost of thousands of pounds and, on the condition that I paid that amount first, before they would even consider going to see her at Plaka Forest.
In between times and various emails back and forth with them, I was ringing Vangelis, still no answer, then one day he did. He spoke very broken English. He said he was aware of the dog I was speaking of, as the ladies I had spoken with from the other animal rescue had told him they had her already with them but they hadn’t got her at all; they had lied to him to try and gain money from me. Sadly he was deceived and had believed them. By then I cried to him on the phone as it had been three weeks and all I knew was she was still all alone in that forest and I had to get her out of there. I knew in my heart she was still there, still holding onto the words I had whispered in her ear. I still remember his voice, when he said, “I hear your heart and I will do this for you because I understand what your heart is saying.” He promised me he would drive to Plaka Forest to get her that very afternoon and then take her to his rescue centre, Friends of the Animals and Environment Kos (ZOEK). I had never spoken to this man before but somehow he knew everything I felt without fully understanding my words.
Within a couple of hours of us having this conversation, I received an email, it was from Vangelis, attached were photos of Mimi in his car and then back at his rescue centre. His promise had come true. His wife Jaana at the time could speak English more fluently and had sent the email on his behalf. I cannot describe to you the relief and pure elation I felt upon seeing Mimi’s face in the photos. I was beside myself and so thankful that I had followed the obvious spiritual guidance I had received all along. My soul had led the way and enabled an outcome that had changed a life forever.
I gave nothing but praise and appreciation to the kindness received from Vangelis and Jaana, their work in Kos to help animals has changed so many lives and without question I donated £100 for Mimi to be spayed and to help with any further vet care.
I started a group on Facebook on their behalf, which years later they continued with. This enabled me to stay in touch with them and see Mimi’s progress. She was shy around people to begin with and they thought she might be deaf, she was overlooked many times but four years later and, after being renamed Keeley after me, she found a home in Germany and moved there, where her new owners describe her as “one of the nicest dogs in the world, nice, friendly and calm.” When I saw the photos I was deeply content and knew that my calling concerning her was complete.
I hope this true story inspires others to act on their gut, their intuition and to never give up on that feeling even if it seems illogical. That guidance is love, and when you follow it beautiful things happen. Although at times it may seem difficult, the outcome is so fulfilling and beyond any feeling money could ever buy.
“To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” A well known quote by Dr Seuss that also applies to animals...
Keeley Dixon, Keeley’s Pet Service
Equine Psychic Communicator / Equine Reiki Master / Human Reiki Master
Vegan and lifelong voice for animals