Northern Dogs Project: Remembering Popeye
I first saw him in April when I was in the community for a school visit. I thought he was just the most striking dog, black and tan like a shepherd with a strong but soft face and proud carriage. I remember thinking he must be top dog in the community and was surprised when I saw him pushed around by the other dogs outside the school. But he didn’t seem to mind. He had his place and he knew what it was and that was good enough for him. He carried on his way. Like many of the dogs, he had things to do and places to go even though I didn’t know where or what they were.
When the Northern Dogs team visited the community a month later, I admit I was really (really!) pleased to see him arrive at the clinic. I rushed up to his family and told them how I had seen him in April and how magnificent I thought he was. They told me his name was Popeye and he had a job. He had a boy. The boy’s grandfather had told them to get their son a dog so that wherever their son went, the dog would go. He would take care of the boy and wherever the dog was, they would know that their son would be with him… and safe. And that is what Popeye did. That was what he was doing when I saw him that April day… going to school to meet his boy. They were such a great family and they stayed with him throughout his neuter surgery and his recovery.
Fast forward a year and we were back in the community with the clinic and ed team. I didn’t see Popeye or his family at the clinic that morning. But when I was at the lodge later, I happened to bump into them and I asked if we would be seeing Popeye at the clinic that afternoon. I expected her to say that we would. Of course we would. No, she said. Popeye had been killed. I felt sick. And sad. What a waste. Such a magnificent dog, well looked after and appreciated by his family. They never found out who ran over their dog. I’m sure they won’t easily forget him. I know I won’t.
For more information on IFAW efforts to help dogs in remote areas around the world visit http://www.ifaw.org