The Kindness Of Strangers: Restoring My Faith In The World And In People

13512027_168613293553200_5118388505872945716_nIt is ironic that a couple of weeks or so ago I wrote this post entitled “The Power Of Forgiveness” about being betrayed by people who I thought were my friends and about how forgiving them had allowed me to move on with my life and achieve things I had never thought possible. Of course, since then it has been more difficult for me to trust anyone and I lost a bit of my faith in the human race. However, during the last couple of weeks that faith in humanity has been restored, and it is all down to a beautiful mastiff cross girl dog called Sheba.

You might be thinking how on earth has one dog restored my faith in people and the human race?  Well, here is a bit of background as to how I know Sheba and her lovely Mummy Mary.

Just after Christmas last year I joined a few dog groups on Facebook. I was looking for places where I could talk about my dog Poppy, post photos of her and meet other like-minded dog owners. I found a few but my favourite is still “The Fur Crew”. I then became Facebook friends with a lovely lady called Mary who was Mum to a gorgeous 9-year cold mastiff cross called Sheba. I was totally captivated by Sheba and her expressions, and looked forward to seeing Mary’s posts about her, and it turned out that they lived just 30-40 minutes away – a small world!

Then in January Mary started a group called “Sheba and Friends”. I had been having similar thoughts about starting a group for Poppy on Facebook, and I didn’t know Mary too well but what little I did know and my gut feeling told me that she would need some help to run a group on Facebook, as due to my previous experiences I know how horrible some people can be, especially when they turn “keyboard warriors” on social media!

So taking a deep breath, I wrote to Mary and asked her if I could join up with her so that the group would be called “Sheba, Poppy & Friends”. I was so nervous, but she wrote back, said yes and made me an admin. Honoured doesn’t even touch how I felt because bless her heart she didn’t know me from Adam, but I was determined to do her proud and not let her down.

Today, the group has over 1100 members from all over the world, and I’ve made some amazing friends through it. We all share our dogs, cats, pets and we are all there for each other – it feels like a proper little family. It hasn’t been without its fair share of problems; Mary added someone as an admin who did a lot of damage to the group, but thanks to some hard work and removing some known troublemakers from it the group has flourished and is happy, positive and friendly. I love spending time posting things in there and talking to people about their dogs and pets, and we now have admins Gail, Raika and Lynne, as well as moderators Jay and Jane.

Then 2 weeks ago Mary texted me saying Sheba was poorly.

13524474_10157200172685106_8364355188897626338_nI asked her what was wrong and she said that Sheba was drinking lots and lots of water, way more than usual, had been sick and was off her food. Alarm bells went off in my head, and I was thinking maybe Sheba had a water infection so I urged Mary to get her to the vets as soon as possible. But Mary couldn’t afford to take her until she got paid at the end of the week, so I said I would ring my vets which is The Stocks Vets in Worcester for advice. I did that, and while they agreed that it did sound like a water infection there was no way of knowing unless Mary and her partner brought Sheba in to be examined by a vet.

I said to Mary that I would cover the cost of the consultation and any treatment Sheba needed and she could pay me back when she could thinking that it would be a straightforward water infection that would need antibiotics to clear it up, and that would be that.

So I made an appointment and Mary and her partner brought Sheba to be examined. Unfortunately, it turned out to be something very serious.

Sheba had never been spayed and had developed a condition called pyometra, which is an infection of the womb. The only thing that would sort it out would be for her to be spayed as soon as possible, but the cost of this was something Mary and her partner couldn’t afford. While I was expecting to pay a bit towards a consultation and antibiotics I hadn’t banked on this situation, and Sheba wasn’t insured.

Mary’s partner, a big bloke with tattoos who if you saw in the street you would cross the road to avoid if you didn’t know him broke down and bawled like a baby. Rachel the vet said she could give Sheba some treatment that would keep her going for a few weeks, but that ultimately the only way she would get better would be to be spayed as soon as possible. Sheba was given the treatment, I paid for it and said I didn’t want it back, that it would be my contribution for Sheba, Mary and her partner.

And then I had a brainwave.

We have over 1100 members in the group we run, so I said to Mary we should set up a GoFundMe page and see if we could raise a little bit towards Sheba’s treatment. I figured even if we could raise some I could put the rest and Mary and her partner could pay me back as and when they were able to afford it.

I set up the page the same day, and nothing prepared me for what happened next. The donations poured in, some even came in from America and Australia, and in no time at all £600.00 had been raised for Sheba’s operation. I couldn’t believe some of the lovely comments that accompanied the donations – one chap donated the bonus he had been given from his work for example because “Sheba needed it more than me”. Two large donations came in, one from Australia – absolutely heart-warming and incredible!

On the same day that Sheba had the treatment to keep her going for a few weeks I rang the vets and asked if she could be booked in to be spayed the next day. They were shocked we had raised the money in such a short space of time, but also very pleased because they knew that Sheba needed to be spayed to get rid of the infection in her womb completely.

13532901_10157201271755106_9071514618708646462_nSo on Thursday 23rd June 2016, Mary and her partner brought Sheba back to my vets. I met them there while Zoe the vet explained the risks of the surgery to Mary and her partner, and filled out the consent forms. It was tears all round when we left Sheba with them, but I knew she was in very capable hands with Jo, Zoe and the team there – I have been a customer of The Stocks Vets since 2003 when they opened, and they had such a good reputation I moved my Toyah and Howie from another vets in Worcester immediately. I have used them ever since and I will not go anywhere else unless it is life or death for my Poppy.

Mary and her partner were beside themselves and I had to go to a meeting in the morning, but I said they could come and wait at my house as The Stocks Vets is just around the corner from me when I got back. I could see they were on absolute tenterhooks for some news about Sheba – I would have been exactly the same! Every hour, minute and second will have felt like an eternity to them, and Mary’s partner had cried his eyes out again when he left Sheba there, so me and Russ talked to them both about anything and everything just to try and help take their minds off things, even a little bit. Finally at 3.00pm we got the call to say the operation was a success and Sheba would be ready to go home at 4.30pm. The relief that Mary and Mark must have felt was insurmountable!

13512033_10157201455200106_1504185482767027958_nI’d been posting updates in the group all day about Sheba to the members and especially to everyone who donated towards her operation. I don’t have the words even now for what I witnessed in the group that day – the outpouring of love and concern for Sheba was incredible, each and every comment touched my heart, each donation touched my heart and I literally cried at all the comments and donations that came in for Sheba. She had not only touched my heart but touched the hearts of our members in the group. My faith in the human race, in the world and in people was restored by each and every person who donated towards Sheba’s operation and treatment.

What I also didn’t expect was the amount of comments that I got for what I did and for being there for Mary, Mark and Sheba. While I appreciated them all I didn’t do it for any of that, I did it because it was the right thing to do and Mary has become a great friend to me, I’ve got her back and I’m always there for her if she needs me. They were in need, Sheba meant the world to them and if I was in the same position I hope that someone out there would help me in the same way.

I’m happy to report that at the time of writing this blog entry Sheba is doing great and will be back to the vets tomorrow to have her stitches out. It looks like the operation was a complete success and I hope she will be chasing squirrels and footballs (her favourites!) again very soon, and that is thanks to each and every person who donated towards her treatment.

Mary and her partner wanted to send thank you cards out to everyone who donated towards Sheba’s treatment, and our admin Gail who makes beautiful cards said that she would make them and post them. But when I wrote to those who donated to ask for their address the general consensus was to buy a treat or toy for Sheba with the money we would have spent on postage and cards. So I have done just that and put a treat and toy hamper together for Sheba, and one of our lovely group members Raika, Mummy to furbabies Morgan and Merlin, sent treats in the post for Sheba too. I can’t wait to give it to Sheba tomorrow when Mary and her partner brings Sheba to The Stocks Vets to have her stitches out. Again, it was a huge outpouring of kindness that I never expected! Gail and I did post an online thank you card in the group and tagged everyone who donated to say thank you to them on it.

20160701_152715 I know not everyone who reads this will understand and they will think “it is just a dog”, but believe me my Poppy is way more than just a dog to me, just as Sheba is way more than just a dog to Mary and her partner. She is their world, just as Poppy is my world. The ONLY thing wrong with dogs is that they don’t live for longer than they do.

I am going to end this by saying a BIG thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you who donated, commented and sent get well and healing wishes to beautiful Sheba. You have ALL restored my faith in the world, in humanity and in people, and thanks to you all the world now seems a much happier and much brighter place to me than it did before.

Lots and lots of love to you all,

Lisa xxx

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2 thoughts on “The Kindness Of Strangers: Restoring My Faith In The World And In People

  1. Pingback: It Was The Year Of Rebuilding…. | Frankie's Legacy: Love, Loss Grief & Recovery

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