Who remembers “Old Man Carty”? Last August we received a call for help for an old Foxhound boy had been straying for quite a few months around farmland and fields. He was so afraid that no-one could get close to him, so untrusting that anytime anyone tried he would move on further in his search for a safe haven. He eventually began hanging around a farm and the people who worked there started to leave food out. They were so shocked at his emaciated state. This routine went on for a few months and over that time Carty gained some weight but also seemed content with this situation of having food left out, sheds to sleep in and nobody to bother him.

But what Carty didn’t know was that this was all part of the “waiting game” and with each week that passed Carty got nearer to the buildings and horsebox. His food was placed inside and every day he got more relaxed until finally he went into the horsebox to eat and the door was shut. Carty was now caught after all that time. But being caught brought back all Carty’s fears and as we arrived to the enclosed horsebox we were faced with one extremely fear aggressive hound whose adrenaline was pumping and who had no intention of allowing us anywhere near him. He bared his teeth, snarled and lunged. Carty did everything in his power to keep us at bay, after all in his mind humans were not to be trusted. It took some time and lots of sausages to outwit him but we managed to. Poor Carty wasn’t an aggressive boy, he was simply terrified and we knew underneath it all was just an old scared boy who had been so badly let down by humans.

Those first few days at Heathlawn weren’t easy as Carty showed his fear and mistrust with aggression but we continued to let him know that we only wanted to be his friends. The moment we fondly cal the “Lightbulb Moment” came after a week. As Carty softened his tail started to wag and his eyes told us he was letting go of his past and what emerged was the sweetest, most affectionate, kindest old boy ever who loved attention, loved his walks and absolutely loved being in our company. But we felt he needed and deserved more so we contacted our friends and fosterers Jayne and Paul. Of course, they said yes and soon we were getting photos of Carty snuggled up on their sofa with all of their own dogs. Carty learned all about home life, he was astounded by the TV, took a while to work out that the sofa was better than the floor, he learned to play and most of all learned what it felt like to be loved unconditionally.

A few weeks ago we were going through our online applications when one caught our eye. It was for Riggs, our young boy, but further down the application it said “or an older dog if there’s one in need” ? And immediately we thought of our Carty. Phone calls were made and foster mum Jayne was put in touch with Lisa so they could chat and see whether Lisa and her family could be just what Carty needed. Last week Jayne and Paul were granted permission to travel to Mayo to bring Carty to his new home. Lisa and her family were waiting and we knew they had so much love to give Carty. A family who didn’t care that he was older they just wanted to give him the chance he had never had in his life, the chance to be a forever dog.

So many people helped to change Carty’s life. From those who tried to help him as he roamed aimlessly, to those who fed him and caught him, to our team who brought him to safety and cared for him in those first troubled times. Without a doubt his foster family of Jayne, Paul, their dogs and cats gave Carty his first taste of real love in a home and the biggest thanks to The Lydon Family, who saw past all the cuter, younger, fluffier, more appealing dogs and fell in love with a boy who had waited so so long for his chance ❤

Old Man Carty, your journey to forever is now over. May you spend many happy days safe in the knowledge and warmth that you are now loved “forever”.