The old ones
Now that this long journey is drawing to a close, we cannot help thinking about one particular aspect of it which should not go unnoticed, for if it is true that the successful outcome of this whole campaign has never been a given, it is even more true that managing to get the older dogs to safety has been nothing short of a miracle. It has been one more dream to come true despite all the difficulties, but this hasn’t just been down to good luck. In order to bring to safety these dogs of 12 or even 13 years old and offer them a second chance from thousands of miles away, very specific decisions had to be made, options weighed and precautions taken.
Of course we would never presume to think that this was all thanks to us: the sheer will to live of these older dogs, who never gave up despite everything they had been through, has been a crucial factor. Nevertheless, we can be proud of not having left anyone behind, and of having always and in any case tried to do the best for all of them, and above all for the weakest among them.
This has been thanks to the whole team but above all – it has to be said – to Albano Martins, a man of uncommon self abnegation, passion, clarity of vision and diplomatic and strategic skills. I think that meeting such a person has been one of the best things ever to happen to me in my life.
Now we must finish the job: the few dogs left at the Canidrome must be moved, and those who have left must all be adopted.
As far as the older ones are concerned, our duty is to do our utmost and more to ensure that every day is an amazing day for them, because every single day is precious. We cannot defeat death, but we can – and we should – try to make every moment of their lives unforgettable.
It’s about love, but even more about respect, because we all know that each of them is precious and very much worth cherishing.
We should also cherish the equally precious memory of those who never made it: perhaps we should set up a memorial day to remember them all, a day dedicated to the Martyrs of the Canidrome, a day in which to strengthen the bonds between them and us.
By Massimo Greco
Translated by Isobel Deeley