A TOUCHING tale of doggy determination has resulted in Clarecastle pooch Mickey Blue reaching the final stages in a nationwide search for Ireland’s best-loved dog and cat.
Proud pet owners from all over the country entered the Pedigree and Whiskas competition and Mickey Blue has been named a finalist. He is up against seven other dogs to win the title and the people of Clare are being urged to show their support by voting online to help Mickey Blue win.
Mickey Blue’s owner, Annette O’Shea, found her beloved dog seven years ago at an animal shelter in Australia where she was living at the time. He had been in the shelter for 11 months and according to Annette he had “completely shut down, physically and emotionally”. However, after much hard work, Mickey Blue has learned to trust again and it is this inspirational story that has led the Lhasa Apso to the finals of the competition.
Annette spent years living in Sydney and this year she, Mickey Blue and her other rescue dog, Dandy, moved back to Clare.
Although now the picture of health, when Annette found Mickey Blue he was half his current weight, missing a tooth and his skin was raw from scratching and biting.
She recalled the day when she first spotted Mickey Blue in the rescue shelter.
“After over 20 years, I was finally in a position and living in a house where I could keep a dog, so I headed off to the pet shelter. It was heartbreaking; I had tears running down my face as they all looked at me as if to say, ‘take me’. While I was standing there, paralysed, unable to take one dog from the many that were in desperate need of loving homes, a horse wandered by and all the dogs ran to the fence barking and jumping. One lone creature was left in the middle. He lifted his head, had a look and went back to sleeping – absolutely no interest in what was going on and I knew that he was the one.”
His hair was dreadlocked, he weighed just four kilos and his paws were bleeding and, Annette said, “his eyes were dead”.
“Both the lady who ran the shelter and my friend who was with me, begged me to sleep on it and come back the following day, but I couldn’t leave without him,” she said.
From then began months of hard work to try and socialise Mickey Blue, along with endless trips to vets, naturopaths and even the University of Sydney to try and get to the root of his biting and scratching.
“All this time, he reacted to absolutely nothing – either positive or negative – he had lost all interest in life and living. One animal behaviourist I brought him to suggested that sometimes euthanasia is a kind thing. I had thought that his ears were damaged, because he didn’t flinch at any noises, good or bad, loud or soft,” she told us.
Eight months later and Annette was on the verge of giving up on Mickey Blue, but then it all changed.
“I accepted that we were going to be together for the rest of our natural lives, but there was not going to be any bond. I was heartbroken. I was sitting in my lounge room on the floor, crying. Whatever had happened to him had caused him to completely shut down. He crawled out from behind the couch, licked the tears from my face and at that moment, I believe he decided to try to trust again. He looked into my eyes and his expression was asking that I didn’t give up on him. That was the moment that the healing started,” she said.
Since then Mickey Blue has transformed with Annette saying us, “it’s like the difference between night and day, and it just took lots of love”.
“We love each other totally and unconditionally. If I leave a room, he comes with me. If I’ve been away and return and I haven’t picked him up from my friend, the house seems empty and lonely. His skin is healthy and his hair is shining. But one of the most important things is that he trusts again. I have in my life the most loyal, loving, happy, trusting friend that anyone could ever wish for,” she said.
If you’ve been touched by Mickey Blue’s story, then you can vote for him to be named Ireland’s best loved dog and cat by logging onto www.rte.ie/worldanimanimalweek.