Marianne spoke of her friend Stephen and his journey in finding a new dog.

My friend Stephan had been having a very difficult time. “However”, he said “my little dog Ruby has helped me carry on with my journey. She has made it worth while carrying on”. Then the unthinkable happened. Ruby passed away very quickly and unexpectedly in Stephan’s arms. Everyone became worried about him, his family in particular. I knew it wasn’t the right time to say it but I said it anyway. Get another dog. It wasn’t that I thought he should just then but I knew it could focus him away from his terrible grief. No response. As the weeks and months rolled on I knew he couldn’t face the formality of going to a shelter in the UK. I asked him to look at O Cantinho da Milu’s/Dogs of Portugal site in his own time, over a cup of tea.

Then I got a message saying he saw little Pepe on the site with a terrible story who would benefit from a loving home. I set the ball rolling. The shelter sent masses of photo’s and videos and the decision was made and Pepe made the 2,546 kilometre journey from Lisbon to West Yorkshire.

We could track the whole journey on the computer, even when they pull in for petrol and a break and even when they came to the pet reception at Calais where all our hearts dropped and tummies turned over in hope that all the documentation was in order. Then whoosh. Next thing the computer showed the van and Pepe in Kent.

Life had been inordinately cruel for Pepe and more than unkind to Stephan but now these two gentle souls are as one and as happy can be. Another reminder of what a healthy tonic a dog can be for us. This picture of them reminds me of a poem I recently read:

“The new day shines bright on your face.

It’s the light of the beginning

And the echo of all that was.”