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Tale of an elderly rescue dog

by Paula
(Okehampton Devon)

Socks the tale of an elderly rescue dog

Socks the tale of an elderly rescue dog

Socks the tale of an elderly rescue dog Socks and Harry in Portugal

My name is Socks, because I have four distinct and individually marked white socks. I am tall, with a black thick curly coat and tail. I am naturally slim and a strange mix of different breeds, but there is definitely some Irish Wolf Hound in me. I am very gentle and placid and just want to enjoy my retirement in peace with lots of affection from my owners.


My hobbies are eating, pottering about sniffing interesting smells and chatting up nice lady dogs. I also love watering car tyres and digging holes in gardens, habits which can get me into trouble!

Now, just a little about my background. I used to live with lovely parents, who took me to Portugal with them. We were renovating a house in the countryside. Unfortunately, due to money problems, they suddenly returned to Scotland without me and I went into an animal sanctuary in Portugal, run by English people.

I was there for two years and it wasn’t bad at all. Volunteers or the owner came and walked me every day and I had enough to eat. I was in a
kennel with 4 other dogs, but had my own bed at night. Being elderly (10 years old when I first arrived) I was glad to go to bed early in my own sleeping quarters and get a bit of peace.

I had just accepted that this was how I was to live the rest of my life, when a middle aged English couple came and took me home with them. They didn't look too bad, but they already had a Jack Russell, Harry. Now, Harry isn’t bad for his breed, but is a bit yappy, at times. He is bossy and can be crabby, but he is a loyal character and very affectionate. Harry is seven years old so not too puppyish and I have to admit I have become quite fond of him.

My new Mum and Dad were very kind from the start. Mum is gentle and fond of walking. Oh! My legs ached that first week, but Dad and I took a week or two to get used to each other. However, we adore each other now. Mum is also a good cook and loves cooking. I love food. I find dog food boring, but pepped up with home made beef casserole, chicken curry, spaghetti bolognese, mousaka or chile con carne, I can enjoy it much more. I also like cake, sponge pudding or fruit pie with custard for my dessert. I need to eat all this or I lose weight, something I cannot afford to do! Harry is jealous, as he is always on a diet since he was neutered and can only have small portions of food. I can eat anything and everything and still stay slim.

I was a bit confused at the start. It was April and my new parents and Harry took me back to their rented house in a Portuguese village for the evenings and for the night. This had a lovely balcony, where I used to spend hours watching the world go by. There were nice country lanes for me to walk in with interesting smells.

However, during the day, they took me to their other houses in the mountains and forests. Actually, they are two ruins. They are really not fit for a dog to live in, but there is plenty of potential for them to build a palatial residence for Harry and I. The houses have lovely big gardens which are not fenced in yet so I was able to potter about in the forests, sleeping in the shade under the olive trees in my garden and going for nice walks on my own. I explored the hamlet and greeted people I met on the way. Some were terrified of me as I am so big, but many recognised how gentle I am.

This was life for a month and I was just getting used to it, when Harry yapped “They are packing up. We are going back to England.” He was right. We spent 3 days travelling back through Spain and France before finally boarding our ferry for England. The journey was long, but not too bad. We stopped regularly. Mum walked us whilst Dad put the kettle on the gas stove. Then Mum always put on a great spread. Fresh crusty bread, salad, cheese, ham, pate, fruit and cake. Harry and I forced down some scraps just to be polite! Then another quick walk, before we got back in the van.

Harry and I had to stay in the van for 6 hours whilst the ferry crossed to Plymouth, and it was a horrible feeling. I felt quite queasy, whilst Harry yapped all the time. Soon Mum and Dad returned and we left for dry land and quickly we stopped at Dartmoor for a nice walk to stretch my stiff old legs before we headed off to a small house in Devon.

This was to be my permanent English home. The garden was interesting and I met two more Jack Russells who live next door and a large ginger cat who warned me he was the boss! Even Harry was scared of him. After a few days I settled in well and love it here. Mum does a lot of cooking, which I help with and Dad does a lot of DIY which I sometimes supervise. We go for walks in the country lanes, over Dartmoor, the local park and on the beach in North Cornwall.

I had to have a cut and blow dry at a top dog salon as I was so hairy and got very hot easily. I had a lovely warm bath and was trimmed, then clipped down to one layer of fur. Mum and Dad burst out laughing when they saw me, but I was more comfortable. They said I looked like 4 legs and a head.

Just as I was settling in again, Dad starting packing the van and Harry yapped “We are off to Portugal again”. Yes, he was right. We spent the summer there and had a great time. It was very hot, but I dug lots of holes under the olive trees and pottered about. We camped this time and slept in the van. Every morning I woke for a walk with Mum around the forests. She was still in her pj's and looked a bit rough, but there was no-one to see her. We then had breakfast and settled down whilst Mum and Dad had cups of tea, washed, dressed and started to work on the house. Harry and I were free to do what we liked all day and were quite ready for bed at night.

This is to be my life. Spring and summer in Portugal. Autumn and Winter in England. Lots of love, lots of travelling and lots of food. Dad has stopped me watering tyres as the neighbours aren't keen. Mum has had to move her herbs to the front garden as I keep eating the tops of them. They make marvellous medicine for me.

People say that I am so lucky to have found a good home at the age of 12. I agree. I am very happy and content and must be the most travelled elderly mongrel in the country, unless you know different?!!

Most importantly, Mum and Dad love me so much and say they would adopt another elderly dog again, they are so pleased with me.

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