My name was Tiresias (AKA Ty). I was born on the Greek Island of Lemnos and spent the first seven or eight years of my life on a farm. I was chained all day every day and my job was to protect a flock of sheep.
My life was hard and I was often hungry, in fact I was always hungry. I thought life couldn’t get much worse, but then I went blind. As soon as it was noticed that I was blind I was no longer wanted as I couldn’t protect the flock. For the first time in my life I was unchained and led outside the farm, I was tied to a tree and left.
I can’t remember how long I was there but I was found and brought to a dog shelter on the side of a mountain outside Myrina. I had a kennel, water and food. It was a huge improvement to life on the farm and the best part was that once a week, some young caring, loving, volunteers gave up their time to come and see me and the other dogs. They took me for a short walk and showed me affection, imagine I had my first cuddle when I was nine or ten years old.
We were a wild bunch and some of the other dogs bullied me. It didn’t take them long to work out that I was the weak link in the pack and some took advantage as often as they could. Despite the few minutes a week of love I became more and more depressed, I wanted to give up and spent many hours walking around in circles in my kennel.
Approximately two or three years after I arrived a few more ladies joined the volunteers one summer evening and I was taken out of my kennel for a welcome walk and dare I hope, a cuddle. I got both that day and dreamt about the possibility of more. A week later I had the same treat, this time with a man and the woman.
Summer turned to Autumn, and despite my blindness I had worked out that some dogs left the shelter and were very quickly replaced by more with their own stories of a hard life and abandonment. We even had puppies, but they left the shelter quite quickly. I was miserable, my teeth hurt, my joints ached and slowly but surely my health was deteriorating.
I was taken to the local vet one day, not particularly a pleasant experience, I had my temperature taken and some injections, but a trip off the mountain.
A few weeks later I was taken out of the shelter. I was put in a crate and travelled on two aeroplanes. I wasn’t too scared because I was with the two lovely, kind volunteers. They escorted me on the journey until to my surprise I met two of the people who had taken me for walk at the shelter.
For the next two and half years I lived the life of a king. I had a memory foam bed that I loved. I was old and my legs ached and I could spend twelve hours a day sleeping on that bed. I eat like a king, I felt like a king. I loved those two and more importantly they loved me. Despite my old legs, my sad disposition, my bad breath (I had to have a cracked tooth extracted) and my blindness they loved me and I loved them.
I shared their home with a young, giddy but gentle dog called Molly. She accepted me and we became firm friends. On our daily walks she would race off into the woods but return a few minutes later to check on me. I was so slow and I was on a lead and was guided gently around each obstacle. I relished every smell and blade of grass. I trusted them so much that if they called my name I ‘ran’ because I knew it would be safe. If there was one negative it would have to be the weather. I have never been keen on water and in this place they called Ireland, it rained a lot.
I could wax lyrical about my new life for hours but the important message is please consider adopting an old dog (you can teach us new tricks). I learnt that the leg of the kitchen chair is not a tree apparently! We still have so much unconditional love to give.
I died peacefully in Tipperary on 9th February 2022.