Hope’s story – a story of hope

Last week we wrote about Twilight’s international reach, and this week we follow up with the story of one of our early international rescues: Hope. Hope’s story is sad, but it is a story of ‘hope’. She joined Twilight in February 2014, following a tortuous and expensive journey from the Balkans. She was found in Serbia, chained up at the roadside eating only what was dumped by the dustbin, and saved by the amazing Balkan Underdog team. Her plight first came to Twilight’s attention via social media, and we offered a home immediately, but there was confusion in the admin and it took a further six months before Hope travelled to France. However, that time did give her the opportunity to recover a little. Although she was still malnourished, she had the vet’s approval to travel; rather that than stay another winter in the Balkans.

Hope before she was rescued

In early February Kit Kats Travel were taking Hope to France, plus seven other dogs, one going to Southern Austria and the rest to the UK. Paul and the Kit Kats team set off with last minute arrangements in place for all those collecting the dogs. Deb and Terry also set off to Calais. One dog down in Southern Austria and all was going well, but the snow was mightier than everyone. High up, crossing the Alps, the transporter’s diesel froze. Poor Paul and the dogs had an unexpected night in the raw of the Alps, huddled under duvets together and grateful of shared body warmth.

The next morning the snow ploughs were out, the vehicle was on the move and the Kit Kats team passed through the Alps once more and were on their way west. Finally, Terry and Deb met up with the now well-travelled Hope in Luxembourg where they’d had a brief sojourn to pass the waiting time! At this stage poor Hope was already some 1,500 kilometres into her journey. Terry and Deb then drove home through the night, completing their 2,000 kilometre round trip. Total distance clocked up for Hope’s rescue: 3,500 kilometres.

The story of Hope’s journey to Twilight is amazing and a wonderful example of team effort and inter-refuge co-operation. But there is sadness to the story. Hope was taken straight to the vet. She had a huge abdominal tumour giving her pain and affecting her toileting. It was possible too that she had secondary cancer in her lungs, kidneys and liver. The outlook was not so good. Twilight was not to be beaten. Hope had steroids and painkillers and all the love that we could give her. The decision was made not to operate, there was no point. Leeanne explained at the time, “Our vet knows we will love her, and he will give her the best treatment. How long? Who knows at this stage. A good long sleep is called for, lots of hugs and rebalancing … then we will review the situation.”

Hope at Twilight

Although the prognosis was poor, Hope was a fighter. After another month she had settled well at Twilight. She loved to cuddle all and everyone, she loved her food, her tail wagged for the world, she so desperately wanted to be clean and for a first-time house dweller she was amazing. She slept heavily, and her walks were slow and laboured. She could get too hot and her breathing sounded like her air tank was full of water, but she smiled through it all. Sadly, after three happy months at Twilight it was clear that the tumours were filling her lungs. With wonderful vet care, steroids, painkillers and anti-inflammatories, even Ventolin at the end, she was so much more comfortable until one day she collapsed, unable to breathe. She passed in her Daddy’s arms with the vet’s help, having so much love from so many. We feel so blessed to have shared some of your life lovely girl. You will never be forgotten, just sorry that mankind gave you such a hard time for the greater part of your life.