Triumph over Tragedy: Tracey's story
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
We've heard our fair share of remarkable adoption stories here at Barking Mad Dog Rescue, but a recent adopter's words really helped put all our hard work into perspective.
When Tracey suffered a series of tragedies, she decided to take in one of our dogs - a Collie mix named Marley.
Marley came to us with nine puppies - all of whom survived starting life in a public shelter - a very unusual and miraculous feat in itself. Each puppy found their forever home, leaving mum Marley behind.
While initially just hoping to do a good deed, little did Tracey know that Marley would help her heal from extreme adversity.
Here's her story:
"Well Marley, that’s been a whole year you’ve been with me and my other two dogs, Dipper and Kai, and all I can say is that you’ve enhanced every moment of my life. I decided to rescue you last year as the previous year (2018) was a tough one having lost my partner, Steve, to cancer followed by the sudden death of my 21 year old son, Christopher, only 5 weeks later.
"What made Chris’s death particularly hard was that he also had cancer as a child but managed to overcome this and ended up dying from something else. My daughter, Emily, then left home to go to University which in itself was an event which was positive but seemed to compound my feelings of loss. Then after that my lovely brother-in-law was killed in car crash.
"Anyway, I decided I wanted to do something positive for a change, and decided to adopt you from BMDR. It was so nice waiting for your arrival because for the first time in ages, I was able to look forward to something rather than looking backwards all the time.
"You were the typical scared, cautious, wary arrival that I had been expecting that day a year ago but there was something about you that I had detected in your eyes as early as in your photographs on the BMDR adoption website. You seemed to have an inner confidence and that’s what I liked about you. Gosh if I could I would’ve applied to adopt all the scared wee souls that avoid making eye contact but I didn’t - I chose you.
"And I was right about that inner confidence. 7 weeks after your arrival, you bolted in Perth city from my ex-husband who looks after you dogs overnight twice a week to allow me to work as a carer.
I don’t blame you Marley for bolting from him, I did that 13 years ago but joking aside, we were both very worried about you so enlisted the help of the wonderful Facebook group; Missing Pets, Perth and Kinross, that helps locate lost pets with their owners.
"Anyway to cut a long story short, there had been lots of sightings of you and loads of people out there looking for you but you were scared and just kept running. Then the sightings fell silent. I had no option but to return home and anxiously wait for another sighting hoping that nothing untoward had happened to you. I don’t know why but I opened the back gate stupidly thinking that you might make your way home by yourself. Stupid because you’d only been in the UK 7 weeks.
"Stupid because how would you know this was your “home” - you were a street dog after all. Stupid because even Dipper and Kai couldn’t make their way home from the town centre and they’ve been here 10 years!
"Anyway, stupidity aside, I must have had an inner belief in you because 4 hours after you went missing (and around an hour after your last sighting), I looked out the kitchen window to see you sniffing about the back garden quite the thing as if nothing had happened! I can’t even begin to describe how I felt.
"Marley, I have no idea how you did it but you returned to a place where you obviously feel safe and secure. You are a true survivor, a fighter and I feel so very proud and privileged that you managed to make your way back to me and even to this day I’m mystified as to how you did it.
"I knew from that day onwards that you had bonded with us. You are one very clever and inspirational girl. Goodness knows what you went through in Romania. I was concerned one day when I was stroking your throat to find a bald patch. On closer inspection I discovered the bald patch went all the way around your throat.
"It was a scar probably caused by some sort of ligature. Were you someone’s dog in the past, chained outdoors and neglected to the extent your “collar” became embedded? Did someone try to hang you? You cannot tell me and I will never know what trauma you’ve experienced in the past. But despite what’s gone on before, that inner confidence, that survival mode, your resilience has come out trumps.