I moved to Scotland after a relationship ended, and I settled into a very small flat. I knew I wanted a dog, as I have always had rescue dogs. When a girl moved into the flat beneath me, we got to chatting. She mentioned that she’d seen an advert in a nearby shop window looking for a home for a dog. They were also selling the fridge; she had gone to look at it and seen the dog, who was gorgeous but very nervous and thin. Well, me being me, I got all uppity about it and phoned the people to see the dog.
What can I say? I saw Glen and fell in love right then and there. He was about 18 months old and just a little angel on Earth.
He was gentle and loving, but nervous, so I had my suspicions. I sat down and asked the usual questions, but I knew deep inside that I was taking him with me. The people didn’t seem to be able to look after themselves, let alone a dog. They kindly informed me that he ate cat food, that he had never had dog food or dog biscuits — I nearly washed my ears and asked them to repeat.
I told them I would be back in two hours. The woman, who I might add, was under the influence of something, got very angry and grabbed Glen (my dog to be) and started yelling in his face. Well, that was enough for me! I got Glen, put him behind me, and turned full force on the woman. I cannot really repeat what happened next; suffice it to say I left with the dog, and she was recovering when I left. I was much younger and feistier then, I might add, but I cannot stand cruelty of any kind.
Once we got outside, his tail bounced up! It was tucked between his legs inside the flat. But he was so very thin.
I took Glen to the shop, got food and all the essentials, and took him home. I had a cat named Jasmine, who was the same color as Glen. She was also a rescue, and they loved each other on sight! They became the best of pals. After getting Glen home and cleaning and brushing him and comforting him — all the usual loving — I took him for a short walk to see how he was. He was perfect.
The next day he seemed a bit off color, but I put it down to the change. Unfortunately, the day after I took him out and he started to have a seizure! I really cannot say at that time how I managed, but I rushed him to the vet and they took blood samples and checked him over.
It turned out that the people I’d rescued him from were putting drugs into him via needle in the rump. There was methadone in his system, as well as diazepam and cannabis and some kind of painkiller. We had to do a lot of research to get the correct drugs so he did not have seizures again. I treated him like gold dust, which he was to me. I was so angry. It is hard to write this without being censored!
Glen’s previous owners had done this not once but several times. The vet said this was not unusual, sadly. I felt so useless, but the main feeling was of a deep sadness for Glen, as well any animal that has to go through this type of abuse.
It was a little touch and go for a while, but with a fantastic vet and various concoctions, we pulled him through. I cried into his fur every day until he was better. He never complained as long as I was near; I lived one floor up, so I used to carry him down to the toilet, then carry him back up. We had to have a very strict diet, which would continue for the rest of his life, because of the damage done to his stomach lining.
I informed the Scottish SPCA and the police, but the people I had rescued Glen from had left in the middle of the night. Apparently, this is not unusual in cases such as this.
It took a while, but with the vet’s help I got Glen through detox. I slept on the floor with him for days and nights, hand-fed him and cuddled him and kept him warm.
I don’t know if that is what made Glen and I so close, but we never were apart in the ten years I had him. He was the most loving, beautifully natured dog I have ever had the privilege of being with. I have had many animals over the years and loved them all, but Glen was a bit different. I still miss him daily, even after all this time.
I remember once, out walking with him, someone had trapped a baby rabbit. I let it go and was going to let nature take its course, but Glen had other ideas! He gently picked it up in his mouth and took it to the stream we were walking by, and gently nuzzled it into the water to try and get it to drink. It died, but Glen stood by it for ages, gently pushing it and licking it. Every time we took that same walk, he would stop in that area as if he knew, and sniff and sit a minute, then walk on!
Glen never growled or barked in anger in all the time I knew him. He taught me how to love unconditionally and how to see the good even inside the bad. He changed my life forever in ways that can never truly be explained, only experienced. He made me a much more rounded, tolerant, and loving human being.
Eventually we moved to an actual glen in Scotland on a farm, and it was heaven on Earth. Being so far out, a small school bus used to come round and pick up the farmers’ children for school. One particular morning, I could not find Glen anywhere. I started to absolutely panic. Then he came trotting up and sat in front of me and kind of nodded and smiled. He walked in the house and had a drink! This happened for nearly a week before I saw the school bus arrive, the doors open, and out popped Glen. I was flabbergasted!
The driver told me Glen had been doing it every day. All the kids loved him, and he would escort them to school, watch them go in, and the driver would take him home.
I now have three dogs, but I feel Glen gently smiling and nudging me when I feel I am losing my way. I only have to look at his picture and a smile shines in me, and I nod to myself as if to say “Okay, I get the message — love first.”
About the Author: Sally Vickers is a Dogster Community member. See her page for Glen here.
All illustrations by: the awesome Nigel Sussman
We’re looking for intensely personal stories from our readers about life with their dogs. E-mail email@example.com, and you might become a published Dogster Magazine author!