The first couple of days with Saul or any new animal is a puzzle period. All animals are stressed on arrival. This is a huge change for them. Some lived in homes as the only animal, some shared space with a few others; same or different species. Some have never been inside a house, or it has been so very long since they were invited in, it seems to them that they are trespassers. Some have never had a kind word or a gentle touch, and a very few were so well loved that nothing ever again can be as good. Some are sick, or dehydrated, constipated or in pain. For all of them, it is frightening in some way or another, because never in all of their lives, have they ever been here before. So, we wait and we watch. We follow every move, and analyse every breath and we take care of the obvious physical issues and wait some more. Because eventually, two things will happen, first, we will see the real animal emerge. Not necessarily the animal who arrived on our doorstep, or the animal who lived happily in their home the day before, or the animal removed unhappy and suffering from a place they did not belong. We see the real animal who is here now, at SAINTS. The second thing that happens, is they begin to see us. Not just the humans, but the other animals too. And that is the place that understanding on all of our parts begins.
So, today and tonight, I am watching Saul, our new old crippled guy who just arrived. Everything he does, everywhere he goes, what he does along the way, when and how he gets there, I watch. And I have never seen anything quite like it before. He will not leave Francis alone. He follows him everywhere. he is so tired from following him, that he has exhausted himself again and cannot stand, so he is now dragging himself by his front legs. Francis wants him to leave him alone so Francis keeps moving far away but Saul just keeps on following. Francis has punished Saul many times, growling, and snapping at his face, but not actually connecting and Saul just turns the other cheek, takes it, waits til Francis is done and as he moves away, Saul follows him again. For some reason Saul is driven to be near Francis, he is not dominating him, he is not trying to push him around, he is not trying to upset him, he just wants to be near him and Francis will not allow that. I finally moved Francis into another room to give both of them a rest. But it fascinates me, what is Saul's purpose? I know Saul senses that Francis is very sick, he maybe even knows that Francis is dying. Saul is not focused on any of the other dogs, and there are lot's of friendlier ones to hang out with. Could I possibly be witnessing a compassionate determination of a guarding breed to protect the vulnerable? Was that who Saul was before his arrival here, and is it the one thing that he must be above all else no matter what the cost? Time will eventually tell some of the secrets inside of Saul. But what I do already know from watching him so well today, is this; Saul is a saint. He is gentle and patient in the extreme, he is kind thru and thru. He is forgiving and he has a heart and a purpose that despite an ancient and betraying body, will compell him to do his duty until his very last breath. I am humbled by the spirit of this old and homeless dog.