Sunday, 6 November 2016

What really happened.

Hello. I have been waiting for the right time to tell this story, it's not going to be easy, but I'll try. I met a little dog about six years ago, his owners moved into a house up the street and I was walking past one day. There was no fencing around the back garden and there is a public path which runs between the houses there. The woman and her daughter and the little dog were out on the back garden. he came running towards me with his tail wagging, such a cute little face. I tried to engage them in conversation while fussing the dog, trying to make them feel welcome, and explaining that I walk dogs for people and would be happy to help out with walking their dog. They said I could, but the conversation was stilted, I felt they didn't really want to engage with me, I put it down to them being shy in a new neighbourhood. Maybe when they had made a few more contacts they would discover that this was a friendly place to live.

When I had a spare hour or two, or when I had another dog to take out, I went and knocked the door to ask if I could take Rocky out. Seemed sensible to take two dogs at the same time. The first few times the front door opened and I was given permission, but then when I went the next time, the front window opened by a couple of inches and I was told, yes I could take him out. After that they stopped answering the door or opening the window. I felt they weren't bothered one way or another, so I kept taking him out. He was always in a shed in the garden.

Not long after that they got some workmen to put a high wooden fence up, completely enclosing the back garden, access being through a door at the side of the house. Now the little dog was trapped, he couldn't see out, and no one could see him, apart from through one inch gaps between the boards. By this time I had noticed that he was always in the garden, day and night, with only a tumbledown shed to sleep in. It was also obvious that they hardly ever took him for a walk. I felt so sorry for him, it was like he was in a prison.

After they stopped answering the door to me I carried on taking him for walks, the gate wasn't locked so I assumed it was ok, they saw me coming and going. It was very strange to be taking someone's dog out when they didn't want to speak to me, but after a time I noticed that they weren't speaking to anyone else either, so maybe it wasn't just me they didn't like. They went back and forth in the car on the school run, the daughter was a teenager, but it was very rare to see them walk in the village. I did see them on the hills one day, a place where all dog walkers go. I had Rocky and another dog and was chatting to someone else with their dogs. I tried chatting to them and introduced them to my friend, but they weren't interested and walked on.

This set up carried on for a long time and I was becoming increasingly worried about Rocky being left on his own almost 24/7. I did what I could with giving him walks, and even taking him back home to give him a bowl of food. He ate it like he was very hungry. I had access to his garden through the side gate. They didn't put a lock on it, but I was always worried that they would get fed up with me and lock it to keep me out. They knew I was coming and going, but it was never locked. I always acknowledged them on the rare occasions when I did see them, either with a wave or a 'hello', wanting to not upset them so I could carry on walking Rocky.

The garden was like a jungle by the way, they never did any gardening, so the place must have been covered in his poo. He had access to his shed through a cat flap, basically a hole cut into the wood at ground level, next to the door, and covered with a piece of lino which he pushed to get in and out. The shed was full of rubbish, he didn't have a bed to sleep on, just piles of newspaper. The rain was getting in, everything was damp, and eventually the wind blew the window in. It's a wonder it didn't land on him. The mother was in the back garden one day when I went for him. I offered to repair the shed, said I had a piece of glass that would fit the window. I said I have a small cupboard which would make a dry place for his bed. All she said was, 'you don't have to do that', and, 'he needs fresh air'.

By now I was going more often, because of the appalling conditions he was living in, I noticed what food he had and how often it was replenished. There was a large plastic biscuit box with dried food in it, and a water bowl. Often when I went the water bowl was empty, and sometimes he hadn't touched the biscuits. The rain got in and the biscuits got wet and went mouldy, so proof that no one was going in to check. I found the shed crawling with slugs when it was wet and warm. They were in his food and water. I left one in his water bowl to see if they had moved it and refilled with fresh water. After four days it was still there, so I took a bottle of water and changed it.

I noticed that Rocky was occasionally limping on his front paw, and he had a red sore on his hind leg that was irritating him. I took him to my vet, and she diagnosed arthritis, and gave me some cream for the sore spot. After about a week it cleared up. I doubt it would have got treated if I hadn't seen it.

I took photo's because by this time I was thinking of making a report to the RSPCA. I also kept a diary of the times I visited, what I found, and the weather conditions. They hardly ever had him in the house, he was outside throughout the cold winter. The check cushion in the picture was one I made ages ago. Up till then he was sleeping on a plastic sled and newspaper. There was a lawnmower which was never used. One day it smelled very strongly of petrol, she had been tackling the garden with a strimmer. I feared for his safety.

The rain was getting in the roof on one side and running down the wall, and the wood was rotting at the bottom. The whole shed was leaning. It is still there now, but keeled over that far it is almost on it's side.

I was so angry that this little dog had to endure living in a dump with not much human interaction apart from the times I cared for him, it all came to a head in September 2012. They went out for several days, not the first time. I can see the house, I knew when the car was gone, so I brought him to my house. All they had done was to fill his food box to the brim with dried food and left him to it. They probably knew I would look after him, but why they couldn't ask me, I don't know. The car came back and I wondered how long it would be before they came to my door to ask for him back.

I rang the RSPCA to ask for help. I wanted them to go and see the people and check on Rocky, and tell them that his living conditions weren't acceptable. I went into great detail on the phone but they didn't want to know. I said I had him here with me, they said I should take him back. They only act on animals that are obviously malnourished or neglected or have been cruelly treated. Rocky wasn't malnourished because I had been feeding him. He was certainly neglected which I consider is a form of cruelty.

I waited and waited, and eventually the mother came in December and took him back. Hardly any words passed between us, all she said was, 'he's not your dog'. I was devastated. I wrote about it here and was criticized for my actions by one or two readers, which annoyed me because no one knew the whole story except me. There were parts I couldn't write about because I was never sure that they, mother and daughter, were not reading my blog. I was on tenderhooks all the time. Throughout the whole time I have known Rocky, before he came to live here and after, I have been worried that they would fall out with me big time and take him back.

I was in their bad books so I kept a low profile for a while, only going at night when I knew they would not be coming out of the house. I took treats for him, called his name through the fence and he would poke his nose out of the cat flap. I pushed dog treats and sausages through the gaps and he scoffed them. I didn't dare go into the garden for fear of being caught. It was heartbreaking and bloody annoying to think that they were tucked up in their warm house and this little dog was outside in the freezing cold winter.

In the January I plucked up courage to knock on their door. They could tell me to bog off, it was a chance I had to take, for Rocky's sake. Mother opened it a few inches. I asked if she was still mad with me, or could I take Rocky out again. She appeared to be ok with that, maybe I took her by surprise. She said I could take him out.

So the whole thing started again. Me taking him out for walks and putting him back. I didn't write here about what was going on,  because I didn't want a barrage of questions, and I didn't want to inflame the situation between me and them, in case they had found my blog.

So, now I had permission to walk Rocky, and we were regularly seen around the village. I skirted around the questions, one or two knew what had happened but there was no need for everyone to know. There was one incident which I will recall here. I got a phone call one day from my friend, he was in the club, and someone had brought Rocky in saying they had found him wandering on the hills by himself. They were asking if anyone knew who owned him. Of course my friend said yes, and I went to collect him. It was a mystery how he was that far from home, more than half a mile away. There was no sign of mother and daughter looking for him. I kept him for five days and took him back. A month or two later daughter happened to be outside their back door when I went for him. I said, that was a bit strange when he was found up on the hills, I wonder how he got there. She answered, 'he used to live on a farm and often went walkabout', she seemed to brush it off as not important. I have my theory. By this time it was obvious to me that they didn't want to care for him. He couldn't have found his way up there by himself.

It got round to winter again, and I thought of a new routine. Not only would I take him for a walk during the daytime, but I would also go later on at night, when they were in bed, and bring him back to my house for the night, taking him back in the morning while they were on the school run. I knew they weren't checking on him very often so what was the point of him staying in that shed overnight.

That's how it went on for ages, it got to the point where he didn't want to go back there. It was heartbreaking for both of us but that's how it had to be for a while. I had him for as long as I dare, and made a point of taking him back and checking on his bed and food, so if they looked out of the window they would see me.

Then it came to the following winter, and I thought's what's the point of taking him back, by now I was sure they hadn't the slightest bit of interest in him. They knew what I was doing, yet still didn't want to speak to me. Again it was January, and freezing cold. I took him out and didn't take him back. This time I put a note through their door asking if it was ok for him to stay with me while the weather was cold, he needs to be indoors because his arthritis was bothering him. They didn't answer. I got some medication for him from the vet for his arthritis.

I kept on putting notes through their door every two or three weeks, up until Easter, giving them updates, telling them how he was, and asking them to tell me when they wanted me to bring him back. They never did reply, so I stopped posting them. The weeks turned into months, and turned into years. I had no communication from them at all. I was constantly worried that they might come and ask for him back at any time. This is going to be hard to believe but they actually saw us in the street a few times, we passed within feet of each other, and they looked the other way, totally ignoring us.

This is when I started writing about him again, when I was almost sure that they wouldn't want him back. People asked me if they had allowed him to live with me, a question I could not truthfully answer until now. As they haven't spoken to me or contacted me for almost four years, so I assumed they did not care about him.

My friends here in the village tell me that Rocky wouldn't have lived as long as he has in those conditions if I hadn't taken him out, and I tend to agree with them. I don't care what anyone thinks of me, I could not ignore that little dog, I couldn't leave him. He was on my mind every minute of the day, I had to do something for him, he deserved better. The only regrets I have is that I didn't remove him sooner. People who don't look after their pets make me so angry.

I miss Rocky every day, I don't think the pain will ever go away. I am now feeling emotionally drained, I hope you don't mind if I have a day off tomorrow.

Good memories.


Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip

156 comments:

  1. The story broke my heart.But your actions,love and caring mended it Thank you for being such a good person and neighbour.

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  2. Oh I am crying. You did rightx

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  3. I've thought you were a remarkable woman for a long time Ilona, but this is proof positive (if anyone needed it) that you are a very special person indeed! If only more people in the world were like you, and less like Rocky's "owners" , it would be a more beautiful place.

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  4. You saved Rocky's life and gave him a good home and while I wonder why his original owners ignore you, we'll never know and that isn't as important as the fact that you came to his aid and took him in. Thank you for sharing his story.

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  5. Oh, Ilona. My heart breaks to read this story. The selfless care and dedication you showed your lovely Rocky is truly admirable. Thank goodness you were there for him. The world is a far better place with you in it. Bless you Ilona. XXX

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  6. Oh, your posting is both sad and happy, sad that some people could be so heartless and happy, Oh, soooooo happy that you came to Rocky's rescue. Absolutely no one will fault you, you are a wonderful woman with a heart of gold.

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  7. Poor Rocky. They sound like complete weirdos. Why have an animal if you don't want to look after it and there is a warm home and a companion willing to take them in? People puzzle me. I was watching a video on youtube by Erkhart Tolle who talked about the ego and how it has a defense mechanism of 'mine, mine, mine', some troubled people are terrified that someone will take something of theirs even if they don't want it or don't value it. Like a child and unwanted toys that they are reluctant to part with even though they never play with them. Cruelty to animals is nearly always a sign of disordered thinking and mental dysfunction; lack of empathy and conscience. And shame on RSPCA too.

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    1. Hi.I could not understand why they just ignored him. I asked if they would consider rehoming him to me, mother said no.

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  8. Oh Ilona, I had a suspicion that Rocky's story was a bit like that, of neglect and cruelty, but not to the extent that you have described. Cruelty isn't always beatings and whippings, it's also shunning and totally ignoring another living creature that needs company, fresh food and water. Whatever anyone else says I think you did the right thing. It beggars belief that anyone could do that to a poor defenceless dog. If they didn't want him any more why didn't they get in touch with you or take him to the RSPCA themselves. They are obviously spiteful vindictive people to take him out to the hills when there was an alternative solution. I'm so glad you were there for him and that he had a lovely warm welcoming home with you and your moggies for the last years of his life. You have a heart of gold.

    Joan (Wales)

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    1. Hi. I dread to think what would have happened to him if he hadn't been found by those dog walking people. Lucky they had the sense to hook him up to a spare lead and bring him back to the village.

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  9. That's a heart breaking story. I'm so glad you were brave enough to do what you did and I'm so sad that Rocky wasn't yours for his whole life. I think you're a wonderful person Ilona. Karen

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  10. Hi Ilona,
    Good on you to have been so determined to give Rocky the best possible life.
    Makes you really wonder why this kind of people bother keeping pets at all if they consider them as an annoyance.

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  11. Ilona you were little Rocky's guardian angel, you are such a lovely kind and generous woman, Rocky obviously enjoyed the part of his life he spent with you, I know how you feel, pets when they leave us break our hearts, but we just have to think they had a happy and content life with us. xx

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  12. God bless you Ilona, for doing the right thing! Anna

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  13. Ilona, I almost never post comments but your post was so heartbreaking it moved me to tears. Thank you for saving Rocky, you gave him a chance from such a hopeless situation. I find it incomprehensible that people can treat such loyal pets like that. Where is their conscience. My best wishes and thanks to you I'm sure Rocky was eternally grateful

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  14. hope writing this has helped you. its so sad how Rocky was treated before you had him but at least you made his final years happy. you're a good soul

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  15. Hi Ilona, I read your blog regularly, and have followed little Rockys story. I was in tears reading this blog post, like you I am a dog lover, and cannot understand why people have animals when they don't look after them.
    You did everything humanly possible for that little doggy boy, thank goodness you did. No wonder he loved you so much. I know its nothing to do with me, but, thank you for everything you did for him. The world is a better place with people like you in it.
    Sending you a very big hug. Jane x

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  16. Dear Ilona, we all understand your sadness about Rocky. You truly was his guardian angel and thanks to you his life was turned around for the better. I find it upsetting that the RSPCA would not intervene in his plight, I think they have lost their credibility over the last few years and have had a poor record in some aspects of animal care. Virtual hugs, a heartbreaking and heartwarming story of your love for Rocky. x

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  17. There are no words for how upset and angry I feel at poor Rocky's previous owners. Ilona, you couldn't have done any more than you did. It's only because of you that Rocky spent his final years being well cared for and loved. I do know though, from experience, that it always seems to hurt more when I lose one of my babies if they have previously been ill-treated. I take comfort from the fact that I believe in life after death and know I will see my babies again. Sending you a hug, Ilona x

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  18. I am proud to know his story, and what you did for him. He returned the good deed in love and companionship. Dogs and cats should be part of families, not abandoned to their own. No one should take on the pet without understanding the responsibility. Had they ever pushed back to tak ehim, i doubt they'd ever have a court case to win.

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    1. Hi. I did fear that it might go to a court case, and held my breath every time I stepped outside my front door hoping they would not be around.

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  19. Bless you and animal lovers everywhere. X

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  20. I am boiling with rage about how Rocky was treated before he met you Ilona. I am shaking with anger. There is no excuse for anyone to treat animals in this fashion - if you are unable to care for them/can't afford to etc etc it takes one phone call (RSPCA or animal sanctuary) to sort out the problem. This episode was woeful neglect - thank the Lord or whoever, Rocky met you and you rescued him, giving him a happy, loving home. He got over the trauma as he was cared and loved. My own rescue dog was found wandering Leicester city centre, no collar and not chipped, I've had her for 14 years and she is the most attentive, loyal little dog - BUT she has never forgotten being abandoned, every day she still hides a dry biscuit under my pillow (she sleeps with me) or under a cushion on her chair as she must still remember thinking 'need to keep some food aside, don't know when the next meal is coming'. You did the right thing with Rocky Ilona, not aggravating the horrific owners, but keeping an eye on him until the time was right for him to come to live with you permanently. A truly courageous and wonderful act by you - Rocky finally found peace and love. You both gave each other joy and that's why he was such a lovely, happy boy - a horrendous story with a happy ending. I hope that family don't put any other animals or 'pets' through such an ordeal - shame on them. Amanda

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    1. Hi. I did not see any other animals there. The daughter no longer lives there, been gone over a year now.

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  21. What a story, so sorry you and Rocky had to go through that. A shame the SPCA would do nothing. Fortunately for Rocky he made friends with the best friend a dog could have and he lived out the remainder of his life loved. Hugs

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  22. well done you - for rescuing & loving that lovely little dog! I absolutely agree with you about people who do not look after their animals. I cannot understand why some people are allowed to keep pets.

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  23. You are one very special lady. Thank you. I am sitting here crying while looking at my 3 dogs aged 18 12 and 3. I cant imagine life without them, We are so lucky and privileged to be a small part of their lives. They give so much and ask so little. Take care lovely lady. love and hugsxxx Wandax

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  24. Aww...You have a tender heart, Ilona. You loved and cared for Rocky and he loved you. That's all that matters. BrendaR x

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  25. Oh! that is so sad. I came in to your blog at a point where you said that you used to walk Rocky and now you were keeping him full time, can't remember how long ago that was and I assumed that from walking him you had been given him full time because his owners were perhaps elderly and unable to care for him any longer. That is so heartbreaking. Not only because of the awful conditions Rocky had been kept in but also because it must have been hanging over you that he could be taken from you. It was so obvious how much you loved him and it's such a shame that you weren't able to have him sooner and without having to worry about the future. The thing to hang on to is that you saved him and he ended his days in your loving care, secure in a loving home with the best of care that he could ever have.

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    1. Hi. Now you know why I had to keep quiet about the details. They didn't care about him.

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  26. I feel sick to my stomach reading this about Rocky and the owners who DIDN'T take care of him. Rocky was lucky to have you in his life. I applaud your efforts and I know Rocky's life was better because of them. I am sorry he is gone, but feel sure the memory of his sweet face will be with you always. :-)

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  27. Ilona:

    I cried buckets reading your story. You are the kindest, sweetest person. I am disappointed at the lack of support you received from the animal protection when Rocky was clearly living in terrible conditions. I also think they dumped him out on the hills, how sad.

    You were brave and living proof that one person can make a difference. You made his life bearable when he was living in the most dreadful hellish conditions and he experienced Heaven when he came to live with you permanently. No doubt little Rocky worshiped and adored you.

    I love the photo of you and Rocky on your sidebar. Please consider leaving it up permanently.

    Take care.

    Sandy

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    1. Hi. I might do that. My friend took the photo when we were at her house, sitting in the garden.

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  28. I am so sorry for your loss and what you had to endure. How can anyone criticize your sympathy and love for a little helpless animal that was suffering when you found him. He was blessed to have you and be shown true love and companionship. I lost my sweet chocolate lab two weeks ago to liver cancer. He was 9 years old and my sweet boy. I know the pain you're feeling and I'm sorry. You are a lovely person with a huge heart. Stay strong and curious and creative and loving. Don't let any of the trolls break your spirit. The world needs more people like you!
    Love, Linda

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  29. That's a really sad story. You were right to keep looking after him - he could have been in a really terrible state if you'd left it to get bad enough for the RSPCA.
    I hate neglect of animals - well done you x

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    1. Hi. He was getting in a bit of a state, wet and smelly. I bathed him several times.

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  30. You must be so proud that you were able to bring some joy and comfort to Rocky's life, your kindness shines through. Take care of yourself x x

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  31. You have my deepest respect, Ilona.

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  32. You did your very best for Rocky. I'm sure his life improved beyond recognition when he came to live with you permanently. You must miss him very much, it's so hard losing a beloved pet x

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  33. Every poor neglected dog needs a guardian angel like you. Despite being dejected by the family you kept returning to face them. Lovely Rocky gave you so much pleasure and love, he was a lucky to have you. RIP Rocky.

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    1. Hi, I was afraid that the woman might turn nasty, but I had to go back, I couldn't leave him.

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  34. Oh my dear girl, what a sad story, but rest assured, you did your best for Rocky, above and beyond what many people would've done. You are to be commended and they should've been prosecuted for their dreadful treatment of a dog (well, of any animal come to that.) No wonder you feel drained, Ilona, but thank you for telling us about Rocky and how he came to be in your care. Yes, you are sad without him, beyond sad I would say, but just think how awful it would be if we weren't touched by our animal friends' passing. Send you loads of hugs.
    Margaret P

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  35. You did the right thing, Ilona - god bless you for your strength.x

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  36. Good for you Ilona, exactly what i would have done. You gave that little dog a longer and happier life and god knows what would have happened to him if you hadn't stepped in. Have a nice rest.
    Ruth

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  37. I have never commented before Ilona but feel compelled to do so in reaction to this post. The tears are rolling down my face as I type as I too have just lost my dog on 2nd September this year, not long after Rocky. Our home is empty without Molly and the only comfort I have is that she had 11 and a half wonderful years as a pivitol member of our family. I am so happy that people like you are well placed to help little scraps like Rocky. He was so lucky that you found him x

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    1. Hi. Sorry to hear about your loss. There is something missing in my home too, I know how you feel. xxx

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  38. What a kind and courageous heart. Rocky was lucky to have had you.

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  39. Oh bless. I remember you telling me this story in my van. He was a lovely gentle dog. xx

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  40. What a sad story for you and the dog.I understand that you miss him so much. Good that you got it of your chest, you really rescued him. From someone from the Netherlands.

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  41. Dear Ilona, Rocky had a true friend in you. How lucky he was to have you to look out for him and care for him.
    Thank you for sharing about Rocky. Our pets leave a big hole in our lives when we have to say goodbye to them, it's not easy is it, but you gave him the love and care his owners wouldn't give him.

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  42. HUGS

    Rocky is lucky to have been loved by you.

    Myself, we lost a cherished pet (our son's dog), and we all still talk about him and love him still.

    I do know how they impact a life, and how much they are missed.

    He was very lucky you were is Guardian Angel.

    HUGS

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  43. Oh Ilona, your post made me weep. Dear dear Rocky - and thank goodness for you

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  44. I have read your blog for a few years now. I have always wondered about Rocky's past. How sad. I, too, am an animal lover & would have done exactly what you did. Thank you for saving him & giving him the best life that every animal wants! You are an amazing person & wish their could be more people like you.
    I love reading your blog, especially when you write about your fur-family.
    Patty from Illinois

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  45. Dear Ilona, you die the right thing. I would have done the same. Soms people don't deserve pets.

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  46. Oops, I meant you did the right thing.

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  47. You saved his life and gave him a life. The saying goes that if you want to find out the true nature of people are look at how they treat animals.
    Arilx

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  48. I read your blog every night and this is my first post. You are obviously a very compassionate person and a very determined one. I think what you did for Rocky was wonderful and you put yourself out to protect and help him again and again. My own dog died on Christmas day 4 years ago. It is the most awful experience. I follow your walking trips and love to read what you are up to. My only advice to you would be that you have a lot to give and you should really try and visit some dog shelters to find another dog. A dog that doesn't have anyone to love it and would love to be with you in your travels. Rocky can never be replaced but you honestly have a great deal to offer another dog - and it will have a great deal to offer you. I hope I haven't offended you, but you are a very sensible and caring person and I think it is the kind of advice you would offer others in the same circumstances. It would be no harm to give animal shelters a look in your travels. A fantastic blog by the way.

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    1. Hi. I only took Rocky in because of the conditions he was living in. I'm not sure if I am ready to have another dog, my cats are nice company.

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  49. Hi: my family and I (including the big fur baby) think you're an angel for taking Rocky and giving him a loving home.

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  50. I can't find the right words to express how I feel after reading this except to say I am so glad you were there for that sweet little dog. There is so much pain and suffering in this world I will never understand why people seek to make more by mistreating and neglecting animals.
    Thank you for being there and walking the walk not just talking the talk.

    Julie x

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  51. Thank you for the whole story Ilona - I did wonder how it had all come about.
    I'm not an animal person myself and have no interest in having a pet - but neither would I mistreat an animal if one did come into my life. I simply do not understand how people can be so cruel and neglectful - just a disgrace. Thank goodness you were willing to do so much for poor Rocky and that you were able to remain so calm and so tactful. I know you still miss him terribly but please take some comfort in knowing how much better you made his life and much sooner he would have died if not for your kindness and perseverance!

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    1. Hi. I needed to tell the story because there are so many readers who only knew half the story. It saves me having to answer any questions later.

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  52. Can't understand how people can be so cold. At least Rocky knew real love and care in his later life, he was lucky to have met you.
    marion, norfolk

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  53. Heartbreaking. It still confuses me why people who have no interest in their pets get them in the first place. You gave Rocky a warm and loving home and that is what counts. I know our local RSPCA ask for volunteers to walk the dogs and cuddle cats and I was wondering if you had ever thought of doing this. Personally I know I couldn't as I would want to bring them all home and I'm not sure I could fit any more in!

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    1. Hi. I don't know of a local RSPCA rescue round here.

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  54. Needs must when needs must. You are a true friend to the animals Ilona. I am proud to call you my friend too. Don't be upset any more. You did the right thing. xx

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  55. Such a sad story of animal abuse and neglect. I'm so glad you rescued Rocky and gave him a home where he was able to live out his twilight years in comfort. I guess he was already quite an old dog when you adopted him. I think you did the right thing and you shouldn't blame yourself for not taking him sooner. It was a difficult situation and a shame the RSPCA were not more helpful and supportive.
    Having lost my much loved dog, travelling companion and adventurer almost four years ago I feel your pain and sense of loss. I found getting another dog helped although it was hard at first to build up a relationship with our new dog as she was very different. Take care of yourself. Kristel

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  56. You did absolutely the right thing, no dog should be subjected to conditions you describe. I have found the RSPCA less than helpful so Rocky was very fortunate you rescued him.

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    1. Hi. The RSPCA were useless. I had long conversations with them twice. If they had intervened and things had improved for Rocky I would have kept away. Removing him was a last resort.

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  57. You are a wonderful, caring human being and did all you could for Rocky. They break our hearts, eventually, but it's always worth it, especially for a dog that was so badly cared for.

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  58. I've only posted once before, when Rocky died. Ilona, you're one in a million! Thank god for people like you. You did the right thing. Ruth

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  59. You did the right thing, Rocky was so lucky you came along and cared. Pam in Norway

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  60. I read your blog daily but rarely comment. Thank you for sharing the story of Rocky. As another commentor said, I knew you were a special woman but this story confirms that in a whole new way. It must have been so very difficult to love and care for Rocky not knowing when or whether he might be yanked back by his owners. He was a darling dog and while I know you miss him every single day, I hope you take comfort and satisfaction in knowing you gave him love and care right to the end. Becky in NM, USA

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    1. Hi. I was constantly worrying that they might come and take him back, like they did the first time. That's why I kept in touch by putting notes through their door. They didn't respond to any of them, totally ignored us, but it was always at the back of my mind that they might come for him.

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  61. After reading your story, I feel compelled to say what a kind generous lady you are. You absolutely did the right thing. It sounds like the original family had some complex issues, and Rocky was paying the price. How someone treats animals says a huge amount about you. Keep your head up, you have integrity. Keva from Australia

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  62. You are a truly wonderful person. I was heartbroken to read Rocky's story but thank goodness you saved him. SueM



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  63. You are a special woman. Rocky new that and now we do, too! Thank you for sharing his story with us.

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  64. i just want to tell you of a similar experience i had with the RSPCA. I found a severely malnourished, emaciated dog in the road. I phoned the RSPCA as it I knew it was a rescue dog from them. They said I had to return it to the owners. I was so angry and frustrated by their attitude. You are a wonderful, courageous lady.

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    1. Hi. I have heard many stories like yours. It's very sad that an animal charity will not do what they are supposed to do.

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  65. I had to go and have a little cry after reading this! Big (((hugs))) to a very special lady x

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  66. Ilona you have such a kind heart, and I am so glad that Rocky found a kind person like you to take care of him.

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  67. Ilona, such a sad story to begin with and all the worry you went through but you stuck with the whole situation because of your love of animals and in particular your lovely little dog Rocky. I know the RSPCA can be funny about saying you have to take the animal back to the owner, which seems completely insane when the animal is being badly treated with terrible living conditions etc. That is abuse in my book and you did the right thing 100%. The video of Rocky and the other dogs is wonderful and he looks so perky and spry at that time. I think you did absolutely the right thing in taking Rocky in, you are a star. I know you must miss him so badly but you must take comfort that his last years were full of love and comfort with you. I love the photos you are putting at the top of your blog in memory of Rocky. Sue xx

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  68. There is a special ring in hell reserved for people like Rocky's previous "family". You did right, girl. God love ya!
    Joyce

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  69. Thank you for telling us the story Ilona, I guessed there had been some kind of abuse but did not know what. Those people must be mentally unbalanced. How well you did to manage to turn things around and give Rocky a lovely life later on. I respect you enormously.
    JanF

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  70. poor Rocky. Glad he had you looking out for him.

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  71. This breaks my heart but also makes me so happy that he had you! He had such a sweet, trusting face and I'm on sorry for your loss.

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  72. Hi, not sure about "Lindas" comment, but I am pleased you explained Rockys last few years of his life as I never was quiet sure when and where Rocky arrived. I suppose I could have looked back over your blog and maybe filled in the missing bits. I really liked that you kept looking after him on the sly and kept thinking of Rockys' welfare until you gained control of him.
    Lovely story and keep up all the good work you do in your own way.I love the way you live and rarely think you are extreme.
    Melinda(from Australia)

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    1. Hi, Have deleted Linda's comment. No point in digging up the past.

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  73. Oh my Ilona! I never knew the story of Rocky. Thank God you were there and keeping an eye and doing what you did. Well done for his sake. I never understand why people who are so cruel take a pet on to begin with or even have children for that matter. I'm so glad Rocky had you in his life. I hope you will take time off. You do need to rest and recover. Hugs. xx

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    1. Hi. It was a classic case of child wants puppy, child grows up, child no longer interested. Happens all the time.

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  74. You are truly my hero.
    Lisa in Miami

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  75. You are a wonderful,wonderful person Ilona.
    Wendy (Wales)

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  76. Ilona, I just read the whole story. I could not read it earlier this evening because it is so sad.

    You are a saint and I'm sorry that you had to feel so much stress all those years. Just remember that Rocky's last few years were very happy with all the outings and your love and warmth.

    People who treat animals the way they treated Rocky are subhuman in my book. If they treat a dog that way, I believe they would treat a parent or grandparent the same, with no caring or kindness. They are selfish. I'll bet that inside their house looks like a pigpen. How do people get that way? I don't know.

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  77. God bless you for what you did for that little doggie. I am sure he adored you.

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  78. To quote Emily Dickenson:
    If I can stop one heart from breaking,
    I shall not live in vain.
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting Robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain. R/Tim

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  79. Dear Ilona, I can only say bless you tenfold. Rocky was so dear, that face of his, the sweetest ever. I grieve with you, but I do believe you will see him again someday. And you know he is always with you in spirit. He was SO lucky to have you, as were you to have him. Be kind to yourself, and thank you on behalf of all the Rocky's out there. You were very brave to save him, and save him you did. Debbie in USA

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  80. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You've taught us all a lesson about being kind-hearted and how very important it is. You are a lovely person and so inspiring - I'm certain your story will encourage others to be more caring. I'm so sorry for your pain. Kelly from Australia

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  81. Ilona, you have a heart as big as that stick Rocky was dragging about xx So proud of you for your courage and love of animals xx

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  82. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have touched me deeply. Blessings

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  83. So sad Ilona, thank goodness he had you to look after him. I can't believe the RSPCA's attitude as well, that's appalling.If I was thinking of making a donation to them this has certainly put me off.

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    1. Hi. I would prefer to make a donation to a local charity, but it's up to you where you give your money to.

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  84. This is such a sad touching story and made me cry. Most people talk about the cruelties and injustices in the world of which there are many without taking any action however small to make a difference. You are a brave courageous woman to take matters into your own hands as you did to make a little dogs life happy. Most people who are cruel to animals are also cruel to children I wonder what sort of life the child had/has.

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  85. your a wonderful woman and im so proud that you did what you did i feel emotional reading that and wish you all the very best

    thankyou for taking the time to tell us i have wondered what went on

    all the best tessa

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  86. Oh my heart breaks for poor little Rocky. What a good woman you are for taking care of that little soul and giving him a wonderful, warm and loving home.

    My old cat Puss snuck in through my window about 10 years ago and just moved in. I did feel guilty for some time and put a couple of posters up, but she decided to stay with me and gave me a lot of joy.

    Julie Q

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    1. Hi. Thank you for looking after your puss. People turf cats out, and leave them behind when they move. I'm glad you gave puss a home.

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    2. Landlords are partly to blame by not allowing tenants any pets when renting. tina

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  87. Dear Ilona
    Thank goodness you were there to rescue Rocky and give him a happy home with you - definitely the right thing to do. It never ceases to amaze me why some people have pets and neglect them - if you're not going to look after them, don't have them...
    Our cat found us six years ago - he had obviously belonged to someone once as he had been neutered, but he wasn't that old and had an itchy skin condition so had licked a lot of his fur off and was in a pretty rough way. Routine steroid injections have kept his skin under control. He's a lovely boy and we wouldn't be without him.
    I am a firm believer that sometimes things are meant to happen and I think you were meant to find Rocky.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Hi. Cats will wander and go wherever they fancy. I always say it doesn't matter who looks after an animal as long as it is being looked after. I have had two cats turn up at my back door, they both stayed till they died.

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  88. Oh Ilona x I can imagine that as you wrote your lovely (but also sad at times) story about little Rocky you must have had tears running down your cheeks because I certainly did...bless you. I'm not surprised by the RSPCA's attitude as it's a well known fact that their officer numbers are limited due to the poor salaries paid, so they are spread very thin across the country. When did you last see one? Certainly not many seen here in Norfolk. Some people would call you a nosey neighbour and you shouldn't have interferred. Me? I would call you Rocky's guardian angel sitting on his shoulder waiting for the time to spirit him away to a better life. God Bless Ilona x and god bless nosey neighbours we all need one now and again. Rae x

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  89. I miss Rocky too. So glad he had you.

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  90. You are a good person!! Sheridan

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  91. I just have to agree with everything said so far from all your blog followers. Mourning a pet is the same as mourning a person - a process that has to be worked through with the pain and anger and regrets until hopefully you get a sense of peace and can think of Rocky with only love and the pain will fade and evolve to acceptance, and thanks for the time you had with him.

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  92. You have to follow your conscience and do the right thing. You did the right thing. I am not surprised about the RSPCA and I no longer give money to them. I used to work for an animal shelter which has closed down now, and partly their fault. RSPCA officers would arrive at all hours of the day and night, usually out of hours, bank holidays etc without notice with dying animals they dumped on the shelter, only for us to deal with death and have to pay a vets fee for cremation. It broke us financially and spiritually. On a brighter note, I have a rescue dog now 16 years old, had him since he was 1 year. He is lame and always been an outdoor dog, so I had a professional kennel built for him, with a run and an insulated cabin inside. It has room for him to walk about and a toilet area with drain off, it cost about £700 many years ago. Not bad for frugal me! He spends most of his days in the house with me and lots of short walks as his legs are not good and he has cataracts now so my vet advised me to keep to places he is familiar with as he cannot see well. I can't insure him so there is money put aside for anything he needs. If you find you can't look after a pet give it to someone who can, circumstances can change and there's no shame in that but do the right thing.

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    1. Hi. Thank you for caring for your rescue dog. He was lucky to find you. xxx

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  93. Bless you Ilona. I often read about Rocky and then when he disappeared from your page, I was worried. I read your posts and felt there was more to it than you were giving away. When you started to write about him again, I was so thrilled for you both. I loved to read about the adventures you shared and I cried when he sadly had to leave you. Reading your post today, I now understand what happened.
    You are an amazing woman. Your kindness to all your furry friends but especially to Rocky are an inspiration. He was such a lucky boy to have been found by you and to have had the love you were able to give him. xxx

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  94. Of course you did the right thing, you have a big and kind heart. We all need to look out and protect animals, people are rightly shocked about the way Rocky and other dogs are treated, but what about pigs, cows, calves sheep. They all have feelings just like little Rocky, but some people are only too happy to eat parts of their corpses after they have lived a miserable life, and died in terror. I know you are veggie Ilona, as I was before moving on to veganism, I just wish others who are shocked at the treatment of dogs and cats would see all animals are sentient and have a right to a decent happy life.

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  95. Dear Ilona and dear, dear Rocky...thank you for sharing this story ........words fail me......... I am reminded of a quote by Harry Chapin " Now sometimes words can serve me well. Sometimes words can go to hell." When I am touched this deeply - I am struck mute. Jackie

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  96. I was very touched by your post about Rocky. As a dog owner I simply can't comprehend such heartlessness towards an animal. YOU were kind and brave in your persistence. Disappointing about the RSPCA. I tried to get them to go to an abandoned pony with hooves so long and curled up, unable to do more than crawl on its knees. Finally they went to its rescue after several days of pain endured by the pony.

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  97. I'm so glad that you and Rocky had the time that you did together and that you were able to save him. Those people should be ashamed of themselves. You did the right thing and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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  98. Ilona what a wonderful person you are. I would have acted exactly the same way. Why do people have dogs if they don't care about them? At least you know that his last years were happy ones because of you.

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  99. Twice I have come here to post a reply but each time ended up weeping and not knowing what to say. Third attempt...God Bless you Ilona for doing the right thing and not turning away. Rocky was lucky to have you and you gave each other so much love. If only there were more people brave enough to do what they know to be right. Thanks too for being so brave and sharing the story. Hugs, Angie xx

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  100. On behalf of Rocky I thank you for looking out for him and giving him what he needed. Hugs xxx

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  101. Ilona you are an amazing woman with a heart of gold and a warrior's spirit to fight for Rocky to spend his days happily with you. Louise.x

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  102. Thank -you for sharing this story Ilona. The world certainly needs many more people like you. Of course you did the right thing..... positively no doubt about that. (I would like to think that we would all take action given the circumstances.) It was very fortunate that you were the person who realised Rocky's plight AND did something about it. You are a strong and courageous woman. My personal mantra is "by doing nothing we are saying that some thing is alright....I ask myself that question and then act (or not). Thank-you my friend.

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  103. You have a heart of gold. Thank you for sharing Rocky's story with us.

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  104. You did absolutely the right thing - no doubt about it - you saved Rocky from a life of absolute misery. As a fellow animal lover, all I can say is thankyou so much for your kindness. We really have to be brave and stand up for these animals - this is the hardest part because sometimes it's so much easier to turn a blind eye and pretend it's none of our business. You are such a brave and kind person!The world would be a much better place with more people like you. Greetings from Barcelona! Diana XXX

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  105. What a heart breaking existence this little dog endured before you could intervene. I`m so glad you could help and give him a wonderful life for a while. I`m not surprised about the RSPCA not getting involved, though. I lost my dear cat last month due to the RSPCA taking too long to diagnose and treat his thyroid condition. He was growing weaker by the day and finally did not have enough strength to jump for a window sill one day, fell and hurt himself badly. The diagnosis for his injury was a torn away ligament in one of his hind legs. It could not be repaired and I was forced to let them put him to sleep. To this day I`m convinced that the lack of care of the RSPCA and the delay in testing Salem for thyroid problems had in the end caused his accident and death. I`m still angry about it now and I miss my cat dreadfully.

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    1. Hi. Sorry to hear about your cat. xxx

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  106. Ilona I've only been reading your blog for a few months so didn't really have an inkling of Rocky's background. What a story it is. You navigated very tricky waters to rescue him. How lucky for both of you that you did, I'm not sure that most of us would have persevered so much and for so long. Your friends are very right - he would have died much sooner without your love and attention, and had a miserable life, instead of the happy life he had with you, even going on holidays. I have two rescue dogs, they're such great company.

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  107. You're a good, kind, generous woman, Ilona. Good on ya!

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  108. Thank you for sharing this story. It must have been very hard for you to remember this terrible time. But thanks to your courage and perseverence, Rocky had some very happy years to make up for the horrible treatment by his former "owners".

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  109. You are truly a kind and generous person Ilona I don't know how anyone can have a dog (animal) or I'll treat it. Thank you.

    Hazel c uk

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  110. Hello. Thank you all for your kind comments. I needed to tell the story, because I was not able to write about Rocky while he was still alive. He is at rest now and no one can touch him. I know I did the right thing in giving him a loving home. He gave me lots of love in return. I wish he was still here, but everything dies. Now I'm crying again. Catch you later.

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  111. Bless you I wish more people were like you.

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  112. Big gentle (((hugs))) Ilona xxx

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  113. Made me cry, Ilona. Thank god you did what you did. How on earth could anyone be so cruel to keep an innocent animal in such conditions? Had a sad week- was driving down quite a busy town road when saw something in the middle of the road and realised it was a cat, in a bad way with his arms and legs moving in the air. Pulled over and saw another car approaching. Waved like a mad thing and they avoided the cat but didn't bother stopping. Made my blood boil as I'm sure if they had been run over they would want people to stop. Got to the cat as it died :( :( : ( Door knocked houses but no one knew who he belonged to. Took him to the vet who were going to see if he was microchipped. Cried and cried. My little rescue cat was tucked up in bed today with her head on the pillow and covers pulled up having an extra love. I know when I met you what Rocky meant to you. You are so kind and thank god you got him. Probably too early days and painful but maybe one day you might think about a little rescue dog. Unconditional love and as much as we give they will give 100 per cent more. Louise (from your old town)

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  114. This is the first time I have left a comment on any blog. I enjoy reading your blog every day and as a pet owner really appreciate seeing the care and love you show your pets. Wonderful. Can I say that in your photos you post remembering Rocky I probably like the one of him smiling sitting on your lap the best . Penny

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  115. you're an angel. i truly believe that the animals and the people who we meet are placed in our path for a reason; you could have walked away without doing anything, but you didn't. you gave that dog hope and help that he perhaps would not have got otherwise if noone else had done what you did. bless you for your care!

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  116. Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for persevering in helping Rocky. He was obviously a lovely and loving dog.

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  117. Animals don't have a voice so we have to be that voice. Bless you for caring.

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  118. Thank goodness you noticed what was going on with that gorgeous little dog,and looked after him when his owners were so neglectful and unfeeling.
    Makes me so angry to think that they could leave him in such conditions,I hate to think how bleak his life would have been like without you,Ilona.
    Thank you for saving him,he was the loveliest little dog and the happy part is ...he had love,warmth and care when he needed it most.
    Jan from Newcastle. XX

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  119. You are truly wonderful for what you did for Rocky.
    I absolutely hate cruelty of any kind towards animals.

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  120. Dear Ilona

    Your post moved me to tears...you are an angel xx

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  121. Ilona,
    Thanks for telling yours and Rocky's story. It's a moving one. The dynamic duo!
    Jane in Ontario

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  122. Beach-Combing Magpie9 November 2016 at 09:51

    Rocky certainly looks very sprightly in the video and was obviously very happy with you. xx

    This comment has been moderated

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  123. I'm so glad you told Rocky's full heart-breaking story on here, you were his guardian angel for so many years until you could make his dreams come true and take him to live with you and your furry family forever. The RSPCA should be ashamed of themselves, yes they do some good, sometimes, but giving you some legal advice or sending an officer to speak to the owners might have shaken them up and meant Rocky could have had a longer life with you.

    To see Rocky running around in the woods with the other dogs on your little clip is wonderful, to think of him running around lost and abandoned on the hillside is horrifying. How can people be so cruel.

    When I look into Mavis' big dark eyes I see memories that she has, that I just can't erase but she gets cuddles and love ..... as every dog should.

    Sending you love and hugs ... this must have been such a difficult post to write. Rocky is finally at peace, wrapped in the warmth and love that he had with you and your cats in the final days of his life. xx

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  124. Thank you for sharing Rocky's story, Ilona. How lovely that his last years were spent being loved by you.

    My youngest son took a dog in which he found wandering in the street. They took her to the pound the following morning after feeding her all sorts of dog unfriendly food. After two weeks they were allowed to see her. She had been shaved, and was treated under a heat lamp for her dreadful sores. After adopting her, my dil was walking her one day, when a lady rushed out of her house (just round the corner from their home), and said "that's my dog". Dil told her that they had gone through the proper chanels, and she was theirs now. Apparently it was not the first time in the pound, and others told them that they had found her wandering. Like Rocky, Bella was living in an outhouse. She was so very thin, but with their care, she blossomed. After about four years she developed epilepsy, and they just devoted themselves to her. We all miss her, even after several years.

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  125. I was so moved by your story of Rocky- you made his life happy again, he must have loved you to bits. I admire you for your tenacity in caring for him in the face of such terrible conditions. Honestly I didn't know if I could read to the end - it is heartbreaking how people can be so cruel to an animal. Good for you -thank you for sharing your story of Rocky.

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  126. I love happy tail wagging endings, and glad you didn't give up on Rocky!!

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  127. They may have been his owners Ilona but you were his Mum and he knew it xx

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  128. This is Tana. I have been having computer problems, so I will post as anonymous. This was a heart breaking story with such a wonderful ending. Just like a fairytale. You were Rocky's savior. In these times when good stories are few, this touched my heart like no other. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you, thank you.

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  129. Dear Ilona, I 100% understand where you are coming from, we got our beloved cat in very similar circumstances. Much love, VH XX

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