Hollie arrived at Twilight on 2 February 2013. A stray in Bulgaria, she had been run over and left for dead at the side of the road. She had two broken hips and spinal damage. Hollie, who was then known as Topka, was rescued by the UK charity Twitchy Noses. Initially, she was fostered in the UK but this sadly did not work out and she faced an uncertain future, until Twitchy Noses discovered Twilight.
As Twilight’s first disabled dog, Hollie received a great deal of attention. She had a set of wheels which she used to fly around the garden, playing with the other dogs, but she really preferred her own method of travel – kangarooing. Using her two strong front legs to pull herself forward, Hollie could propel herself around the floor and outside in the garden at quite remarkable speed. However, because Hollie was our first experience of a disabled dog she might have been allowed to get away with things that the other dogs would not have been allowed. So, we had some help from Julie, a dog behaviourist, who provided insight into the importance of the humans working as a team and being consistent in their approach.
Hollie was only with Twilight for a little over a year, but in that time she made a profound impression. She had her own Facebook page and was the favourite dog of Twilight’s own human angel, Maddie. Although the years have passed, and many more dogs have entered and left the doors of Twilight, Hollie still holds a special place in Leeanne’s heart. Here is the moving epitaph to Hollie written in March 2014:
To my dear Hollie
Darling girl, did you really only arrive here 15 months ago. I remember the moment our eyes met, as the Twitchy Nose courier lifted you out of the lorry, then as you came indoors … and we shared our first of many wee wees. Your incontinence was never a problem poppet, not to me, but I know you hated it … but I hope, too, you knew it was just as we knew you, beautiful you.
You taught me that no part of you was different, I didn’t see you as disabled or unable in any way. We just grew as one, as any disability should be seen – quite normal. You were so strong of mind. Yana, your first mum had loved you and allowed you a strength of character to be you and to believe in you – despite the car accident. You were exceptional, my lovely girl. You were bright, loving and quite unique. You touched everyone who met you. Maybe, at first, because of what they saw physically, but then your character took you into their hearts. The love we shared went beyond unconditional; my Hollie, you have touched and changed me, you have cemented my beliefs of what is important in this life. You taught me so much, so wise for one so young.
Like Maddie, your health had its challenges, and like dear Maddie, your young lives were seemingly cruelly taken from us too soon. But, as a spiritualist, I have to believe that you were both old souls and, as wise ones, you have greater things to be doing. Hollie, my precious, precious girl, our time together was a privilege that will stay with me to my rainbow day.
I promise you that I will never see the boundaries we humans have made for countries, if a canine needs our help and we can give it miles will be no object. I promise, too, that disability, a name we give to apparently non-perfect forms, will be no issue to us, and as long as no pain or suffering is evident, we will give the very best of us to help. I weep more than I should sweet girl, because I miss your smell, your touch, that look. But I try to hold an image of you with all your legs, running free. It must feel like nothing you could have dreamed of and what’s more I bet you run faster than Taffy ever could!
We miss you sweetheart. Your old body and all its beautiful imperfections lies next to Teg in the back garden, and we have Maddie’s cherry tree above you, so you might blossom together here on earth, like I feel sure you will both be doing now on another plane. The picture that I took just minutes after we buried you shows Queenie and William saying their goodbyes, too. Interestingly, most of the dogs have been up to sit with you – perhaps saying sorry that they hadn’t all understood you. I am sorry that there was no solution to your weakening body. But I am so proud of you, my most special Pudding. You were not always well, but you never gave up.
Thank you Hollie, thank you for every single second. Be free of any pain now my darling, and know that we all love you, but just now, very especially, your Mum and Dad xxx loving you always, the bravest little dog in the world.
Since Hollie we have had many handicapable dogs pass through the doors of Twilight. They still have their own Facebook page, at the moment featuring Rock, Roo and Nala. If you’d like to help care for our special handicapable puds, please consider making a donation or regular monthly sponsorship.