The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Sometimes things work out, sometimes not, but this week I’ve had the best and the worst week ever, all rolled into one. I have cried everyday, and until yesterday I hadn’t laughed for what seemed like forever. Why? Well I lost my dog.

He’s a rather special dog, I guess every dog owner will tell you that, but this one is 14 and has travelled with us from Ireland. When we brought him out he was 9, and the Irish climate had taken its toll, he was arthritic and slow, I wasn’t sure he would survive the flight. But he did and the fabulous Egyptian weather gave him a new lease of life.

Anyway, somehow last Friday he managed to get out of the garden and I went into meltdown mode. I spent the weekend trudging the streets covering more ground than you would in a marathon but no joy. I couldn’t sleep, I spent one night on the sofa outside with the gate open just in case he came back and couldn’t get in.

I posted on Facebook and twitter and hundreds of people shared his picture, (thank you) lots sent me pictures of dogs that had been found but none were him. As the days rolled by I tried to convince myself that he had just gone to find himself a quiet corner, as they do, somewhere away from the family where he could lay down for his last sleep.

Lots of very kind Egyptians, people i had never met, contacted me telling of some horrible horrible markets that sell animals on a Friday. They sent me some very scary photos of the dogs and other animals who are bred or stolen for profit, these people are sick. The condition of the animals was horrendous. I had psyched myself up to go with my driver today, he didn’t want me to go with him, I guess he knew I would be upset.

So, in a last ditch attempt to find him I had some posters printed with his photo and my phone number. The kindest guy in the printers Ahmed translated it into Arabic for me and didn’t even charge me one piaster to print them, again thank you. But that’s when the trouble started.

As soon as I and a very special lady Chris put them up (another thank you) the phone calls started. The dregs of society who were ringing to laugh at me, or, once they heard an expat lady voice just pestered me with nuisance calls. The odd one or two seemed genuine but it was really difficult to tell and my Arabic is just not good enough to route them out. I never ventured far from the security guy outside or the staff at the club who could translate.

On Wednesday I got a genuine one but he wanted to meet within the hour, the hubby was at work and I was warned not to go on my own. Another friend organised within minutes a BIG South African body guard (more thanks) and off we went, unfortunately it wasn’t him.

By Yesterday he had been gone 6 days and I was losing hope so when I got another phone call telling me to go to the same road as Wednesday I thought it would be the same dog I had seen. This caller was a girl with some English and I hurried home to get the security guy to translate. It turned out she was calling on behalf of a policeman with no English and that they had a dog but he couldn’t walk, he was very sick and they thought he was dying. I felt then that this might be him.

The security guy talked a policeman at the end of the road to go with me, it turned out they were only a few hundred metres from my house. I couldn’t search this area as its a military zone and basically waste ground. As I rounded the corner I saw my dog lying on the ground, I cannot describe how relieved I was, I thought I would collapse, I was shaking more than the dog. As soon as I got close he jumped up, I think they thought it was a miracle as they had him for two days and thought he couldn’t walk, he was perfectly fine just depressed I think. The barbed wire lead they had attached probably didn’t help.

We were home in minutes with him jumping up and down and running like crazy in the garden, but that wasn’t the end of it. I had given the policeman they pointed out who found him some money, rather a lot of money, but I had no idea what he had done. An hour or so later a Major General something or other in the police knocked on my door with the roll of money. In perfect English he told me that the boy had simply done his job and they could not accept the money, that it would be seen as a bribe and the police didn’t take bribes….well who knew, that’s a first.

He then told me what had happened. A few days ago they found the dog but he was down a very deep hole. They couldn’t get to him so for a couple of days they threw down food scraps but he wouldn’t eat. They had no way of getting any water to him so after a couple of days they sent this young skinny guy down the hole. By this stage the dog had been in the hole for four days. The young guy somehow managed to get him out. I have no idea how, I have seen the hole and it’s pretty scary, and they kept him for a couple of days until they saw my posters.

I negotiated with the major general something that it wasn’t the boys job to feed the dog and he needed to be recompensed for this. He agreed to that and returned 90% of my money. My dog is perfectly fine, he has been down the club and is enjoying lots of treats, alls well that ends well. My final thank you goes out to Little Lucy, who rounded up her teenage mates and walked miles, you are a star. X

Masalama, Slainte, Bye.

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