Memphis came to the Dogs’ Refuge a very frightened and cowed dog. I remember when I first saw him, I couldn’t even go near him without him barking and growling at me. I don’t know much about his back story, apart from the fact his owners split up and the guy he was with tried to commit suicide. That must have been really traumatic for both human and dog. No wonder poor Memphis was in such a sorry state when he came to the Refuge.
It took a few weeks and a lot of TLC for Memphis to emerge from his shell. For a while, he was tucked away in a part of the Refuge where I had no access. But then, when Django, my favourite dog at the Refuge, got adopted at the end of September, his enclosure was given over to none other than Memphis.
I took to having my lunch outside Memphis’s enclosure. I’d just sit there and watch him. At first he would stand back and bark at me. But slowly he came round to the idea and then would rub his body against the fence, inviting me to give him a back scratch and to pat his head.
Then one day, after patting Memphis through the fence, I decided to bite the bullet and go into his enclosure. Memphis was so welcoming, especially when I showed him a new squeaky toy and ball that I’d brought just for him.
Oh, he loved playing Fetch. He loved it even more if the ball or toy had a squeaker. It usually took Memphis only a couple of minutes to destroy the squeaker. I call it “Killing the Squeak”. Memphis was a pro. He quickly became my favourite dog at the Refuge. I’d see him first thing whenever I got there, and he’d also be the last dog I sat with before I set off for home. We had such good times playing Fetch.
Each time Memphis saw me, he’d be so happy to see me. Just as happy as I was to see him. I made sure I always had a squeaky toy for him to play Fetch with. He never tired of it. It was brilliant watching this young dog emerge from his frightened shell and blossom into the marvellous, handsome dog that he was. How I wish I could have adopted him myself!
And then, just a couple of months later, I heard that someone had asked for Memphis to be put on hold. That meant he was quite possibly going to be adopted, if the people coming to see him on Sunday 8th November 2015 took to him.
I was at the Dogs’ Refuge on Saturday 7th November 2015, for Dog Walking training. From now onwards, instead of just sitting in the enclosures with the dogs, playing with them and training them to sit etc, I could actually take some of the dogs out for walks as well. After the training that morning, and realising that it might quite possibly be the last time I would be seeing Memphis, I went to sit with him.
He must have sensed things were about to change. After his usual exuberant greeting, jumping up at me and licking my face, he didn’t seem to want to play Fetch with his toys as usual. Instead, when I sat down on his dog cushion, Memphis did something I’d never seen him do before.
He came and snuggled down next to me, and lay his head on my lap. He just wanted cuddles and love. And cuddles and love was exactly what Memphis got that last day we had together.
It was a touching farewell, and so poignant. I told Memphis to be happy with his new furever family, and to remember the great times we had, and to please never forget about me. I hope he does well. And if he ever does get returned to the dogs’ shelter, for whatever reason, I’m resolved to adopt him myself.
I love you, Memphis. ❤❤❤