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Category Archives: devotion

well, I didn’t like that plant anyway…

Brin loves the outdoors and will spend hours sitting on his table (yes table) surveying the garden.

He also likes to dive into any shrub, bush or flower bed containing anything that should be ‘naturally’ upright squashing them flat. I have also never known a dog to ‘disappear’ so quickly, as if by magic.

He also walks on tip toes..literally. I have never seen this before but observed this talent when he discovered a rat living under our shed. Brin would rush out in the evening, stop, listen then tip toe across the patio.

It is the funniest thing to watch.

The problem is that once he gets ‘one on’ there is no stopping him.

this once was tidy…

In my greenhouse there was a mouse…a small country mouse that I had been quite happy to share my space with. Brin knew it was there and I would have to trick him into moving away by throwing a toy if I ever wanted to open the door.

His obsession with this mouse grew quite intense and he would snort loudly through the crevices, where the greenhouse was nailed against the wall, as if he thought could blow the critter out… rather like the battle between the wolf and the three little pigs.

For weeks I managed to keep him away but Brin, being Brin, was not going to give up easily.

The door had been left slighty ajar one evening and with one swift swipe of his paw he managed to prise it open and fly inside.

As I have mentioned before these dogs are strong..very strong..very stubborn and impossible to move.

The chaos that ensued was frightening. Shelves came down, pots went flying and to cap it all, in his effort to grab the mouse who was in full flight (bar a superman cape) he backed up and went straight through three panes of glass. Luckily, two broke away from him and I just managed to catch the top one before it came down  on his back.

Out came the mouse, followed by Brin, and the once adorned flowerbed adjacent to the now wrecked greenhouse became a hunting ground. Leaves, flowers and mud flew everywhere and as I stood there clutching the heavy loose pane I could do nothing but watch in despair.

The mouse had hidden itself in a clay ornament, shaped like a huge mushroom, and Brin was now snorting loudly though the base of it. Over it went and with one stomp of his paw the top broke off and he saw, to his delight, his long-awaited prize.

The mouse is now buried under a forlorn looking rose that once had many blooms.

 

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motorways and lamposts…

The day that Kilo and Brin would meet loomed and Sue and I were slightly anxious that they would not like each other despite all the ‘lurve’ shared on their pages. Afghan dogs are not known for their accepting attitude towards other dogs and Brin had always disliked the bigger ones. Kilo didn’t like smaller dogs and so this was certainly going to be an interesting moment.

Sixty people were due to attend along with Pen Farthing the founder of Nowzad who was going to give a talk about the charity.

The journey for me would take just over 3 1/2 hours and I had never travelled such a distance with Brin so was a little nervous about how he would cope.

I bought a car restraint for him but this was duly chomped through before I got to the end of my road so I resigned myself to driving slowly or brake suddenly and wear him as a scarf.

The journey was not too bad and we only stopped just a couple of times to stretch our legs and soon we arrived at the hotel where all the staff were very excited to meet him, having found many articles on the internet and printing them out for everyone to read. They had even saved him his favourite food…bacon.

Signing the admission form I noticed that it stated that dogs were not on allowed on the bed and I assured them that this would not happen and that I brought his bed to sleep on.

Brin, it seemed. had other ideas..

The next day preparations took place for the gathering, which was to take place at a nearby hall surrounded by a lovely field where we agreed to allow the dogs to meet.

Brin dressed up for the occasion and looked very smart indeed and for once the chomp action was firmly out of reach of it’s target!

Brin and I waited outside while Sue and Kilo walked out of the hall towards us and we both prayed!

Keeping a safe distance the two dogs sniffed the air but made no move towards each other which was a relief on all sides.

The whole evening was a fabulous success with people coming from all over England and flying in from Europe to meet the dogs and hear more about Nowzad. With the raffle (including the Pant’s quest picture) we raised over £2,000 for the charity.

Both Brin and Kilo were totally spoilt but, above all, friendly and gentle towards everyone who came close.

Sue and I were so proud of these dogs and, knowing just how hard we had both worked to build their confidence, this really showed that it was all paying off.

Sue and I meet for the first time

Exhausted, both Brin and I fell into bed around 11.30 that night, but not before I had taken a wrong turn on the way back to the hotel and driven 10 miles down the motorway before being able to turn round.

Brin had been a star, along with Kilo, and this would prove to be one of many trips he would make to meet many people who so longed to stroke a canine hero from Afghanistan.

 

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Knock knock…

June 2011 brought a wonderful surprise.

Once a year the PDSA announce awards for animals who have achieved outstanding bravery/devotion and loyalty.

Brin’s story was, indeed, well known but I had no idea it had made it to their boardroom for consideration among so many others.

Brin was selected for the PDSA Loyalty Award for never leaving the soldiers while on patrol in Afghanistan and a huge achievement for a small brown stray from Afghanistan. Everyone who had cared for him were so very proud and no one more so than Cpt Mark.

The framed certificate arrived along with a wonderful letter of congratulations and, after making a copy for myself, I sent the original on to Mark to keep forever.

A few weeks later a PDSA van arrived at our local pet store and I took Brin, and his award, along to show it to them as they had never seen one before.

Brin was also offered a free health check and weigh-in but declined…

Many of the other strays that the troops have befriended over there have shown similar loyalty and I hoped that this award would help to raise the profile of these incredible animals who often go unsung in recognition of the unconditional devotion they give despite all they go through.

 

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on being found…

In March, 2010, the Coldstream Guards were clearing a road in LasKar Gah, Helmand  province when they spotted a small brown stray dog barking at the side of the road. On closer inspection they found that he was barking at a hidden bomb device (I.E D) that would have certainly killed at least two soldiers at the front of the line.

This little brown dog had saved their lives.

Taking him back to their base, due his friendliness, he quickly became a source of comfort and companionship, earning the name ‘Alan The Vallon’ as he would accompany  the troops on many patrols through heavily mined areas without incident. He knew the smell of such dangers and had probably witnessed the effect through living rough in that area for many months before.

During a fierce firefight with the Taliban, ‘Alan’ was left behind as the troops were airlifted out to safety as ‘strays’ were not allowed on military vehicles. It was not what the lads wanted but they had no choice. They also knew that ‘Alan’ had often trailed off now and then and had always found his way back to the base..so they hoped this would be the case after this event.

‘Alan’ did not return.

Time came for the soldiers to leave but before they did they left word for the new input, The Gurkha Rifles, to keep an eye out for him and why but months passed and still nothing was seen or heard of him and it was assumed he was dead.

Then, during May 2010, word came back from an Elder at a local village that a dog was being held to ransom at a Taliban outpost. This dog was deemed valuable as they had been watching him guide the troops through dangerous areas without the usual animal army protective clothing and also running free. They wanted money for him or they would kill him.

The Gurkha Rifles sent the Afghan National Army in to clear the Taliban base, not expecting ‘Alan’ to come out alive but after the bombardment he was found, alive, starving, suffering broken ribs but still wagging his tail.

‘Alan’ was brought back to the base where he first was taken and handed over to Captain Mark Townend who recognised this dog from the story left behind. Cpt. Mark renamed him ‘Brin’ after the colouring of his coat but also to protect him from further harm due to being very well known in the area.

There then came a bond between these two that changed both their lives, and many others, forever.

 

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