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VOICES

This is Hannah, and this week she took one last trip to the vet

We took her home from a rescue shelter after a life of abuse. Other dogs aren’t so lucky.

WE ADOPTED HANNAH from a rescue centre four years ago.

She was taken in after being found in a distressed state, tied up to a fence and abandoned.

She could barely walk due to a combination of arthritis and abuse. Her two front legs had been dislocated at some point in the past leaving her with a permanently bockety walk.

Hannah would jump in fear if anyone lifted their leg close to her, fearing a kick. She struggled to stand up, and was a little bit deaf and a little bit daft. She was obsessed with bin bags, which suggests she had to scavenge food before.

Nice people, whoever put her through that.

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We took Hannah home from Madra rescue centre in Galway, and from the very beginning it became painfully obvious that she should never have been put through whatever she experienced earlier in life.

Despite it all, she was the most loving and gentle dog we’ve ever owned. She never once displayed any signs of aggression (the only time you’d hear her unexpectedly booming Rottweiler bark was if her dinner was late), with her main aim in life being to toddle over, rest her head on your lap, and slowly lean her entire body against you while trying to drift off to sleep.

She adored everyone, and everyone adored her.

Her health deteriorated in recent weeks, coming after months of brief mentions of how we may have to make a difficult decision.

That came last week when we decided it would be best to put her to sleep. Her quality of life hadn’t been diminished completely, but the last thing we wanted was for her to go through any further distress. Early on Wednesday morning we took her to a local vet, and we sat with her while two vets carried out the the procedure compassionately and professionally.

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Her life could have been so different.

If Hannah hadn’t been found by Madra, she would probably have been put down a long time ago. A dog warden would have found her, no one would have claimed her, and she would be dead. Abused, abandoned, and then euthanised. Not much of a life.

Last year more than 14,500 dogs came through the pound system in Ireland. Excluding those who were reclaimed by their owners or died of natural causes, almost a quarter were put down.

Thankfully, the remainder were either taken in by shelters or re-homed.

Hundreds of animals also end up in situations like this after cases of abuse. Examples from this year range from a husky whose eyes were removed after he was shot with a pellet gun, to a dog with 11 puppies being kept without food or water.

There was also the unprecedented seizure of 350 dogs from a puppy farm in Co Carlow. Thankfully most have been rehomed by the ISPCA, including Coco (who we took home, pictured below) and who will miss Hannah as much as we will.

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Hannah was lucky. She came home to us and spent her final years happy and comfortable, becoming a spoilt old Rottie who we adored and will miss everyday.

If you’re ever thinking about getting a dog, don’t rush to buy one. Check out a rescue centre or visit your local pound first as you’re likely to find an amazing, loving dog like Hannah.

You can follow Madra (Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption) on Facebook here. Also, a massive thank you to David and Richard from Boro Valley Vet Clinic in Wexford.

Nicky Ryan is a reporter with TheJournal.ie who, as you might have noticed, likes dogs.

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