What I caught my boyfriend doing when I came home from work early today…

On Thursdays, I only have classes in the morning and then in the evening. Usually I stay behind in school and get some corrections done during my free afternoon, but today I decided to come home for lunch to surprise Jack.

As I walked in the door of our home, I couldn’t help but feel something was amiss. The atmosphere in the house was strange, tense even. I called his name but he didn’t respond. Then I heard him talking to someone. He sounded frustrated.

“No, it’s easy! You do this…How have you not got the hand of this yet?” I followed his terse tone to the kitchen….

…where I found him with our cat, Billie. He had attached the dog’s leash to her collar and she looked none too pleased; her eyes seemed to say “mam, help me.”

“Jack, what are you doing?” I asked him, keeping a safe distance.

“I’m teaching the cat how to walk on a leash.”

There was a silence.

“Um, shouldn’t you be working on your PhD?”

As I was talking to him, he was still negotiating with the cat. “Come on Billie, you can do it. There’s a sachet of whiskas in this for you.”

He looked at me. “Sometimes, I just need to take a break from my thesis, or I go kind of mad.”

Erm, ya don’t say Jack.

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My very photogenic cat

Fionn’s story…with a happy ending

I am writing about the following because it is something that has deeply affected me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals as much as I love my fellow human beings and I firmly believe they deserve the same respect and tolerance that we are expected to show one another.

A while back, a group that I follow on Facebook by the name of Cork Dog Action Welfare Group posted a picture of the most pitiful looking dog I have seen in a long time. This misfortunate creature was left to die in a pile of rubbish in Co. Cork, Ireland. A walker in the woods found him.

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His broken and rejected body was soaked and covered in scars. A hunting dog, he had clearly served his purpose for his owner and was of no more use. He had sustained a serious head injury and the charity group told us followers that they were not expecting happy news for the dog, which they aptly named Fionn. Fionn mac Chumhaill was a legendary ancient Irish hero and warrior, known for his strength and honour.

Cork DAWG continued to post pictures of Fionn’s progress. I found his eyes haunting; they seemed to question why all this suffering and pain had been inflicted on him, a dog that was no doubt as loyal and loving as any.

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The story attracted widespread disgust and shock, as well-wishes and donations flooded in for Fionn, as well as praise for the great work of all the volunteers at Cork DAWG.

Today, Fionn appears to be doing well. I cannot describe my happiness as I looked at the pictures of Fionn’s health steadily improving. He is walking around and eating by himself which you can see here

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I don’t want this to sound disingenuous or insincere, but this is genuinely the best Christmas present I could have asked for: to see a dog, who no doubt had never experienced love or affection of any kind be treated with such care and warmth. He now can hopefully live a life of dignity, like he deserves.

Although we could allow ourselves to become angry at the person who put Fionn in this position, I think there is something more profound and important to take from this: Fionn is alive because of the kindness and compassion of humans. The outpouring of donations and enquiries into Fionn’s welfare have proven to me that even though there was someone evil enough to abandon Fionn like this, more people cared enough to save his life. Humanity is essentially compassionate and caring and this comforts me greatly.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope that you can take from this story what I did: that while there is great cruelty in the world, there is also compassion, kindness, love and charity. That, to me, is what Christmas is about. Please spare a thought for Fionn. You can visit the Cork DAWG Facebook page and read more about Fionn here

You can also read about the story here

All pictures taken from Cork Dog Action Welfare Facebook page