Steve and Rosemary’s story
‘Dasher’ had lost her long time and inseparable companion ‘Rudi’ to cardiomyopathy – resulting from being chased by a dog.
For weeks Dasher ran expectantly back and forth to all the favourite places she had shared with her friend – the Casuarina embankment, ‘Rudi’s tree’ with its long shady branches, amongst the rose bushes and in amongst the violets calling out urgently . She pulled herself up high enough to look through every window of the house with the same sense of expectation she might find her friend.
As the weeks passed, the urgency of her searching changed to one of despondency. She refused to move from the back door mat hoping her friend would return. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, and on more than one occasion I am sure a tear could be seen to roll from misty eyes as the permanency of the loss began to be realised.
Dasher kept up a lonely vigil that echoed a deep sadness that seemed never to lessen. There were some poignant moments when she would hug tightly with her carer; pulling her head in closely for the comfort of a mother all orphans yearn for.
For wildlife carers these are special moments when time stands still. These are the times that make the effort of being a wildlife carer fulfilling. They are emotions that are often not revealed in the wild animal. They are moments of tenderness towards humans that are genuine and come from a soul that is ordinarily well hidden – a rare insight into the world of a wild animal.
I hear on the radio researchers have proven that animals express emotion. Wildlife carers know, if they spend an honest nearness with their charges, that such expression of emotion can be far more intense than any laboratory test could ever reveal.
Eventually, Dasher found another friend and happiness appeared to return for a while. She would be gone for days, and she could even be seen – if you looked closely – to have a new found spring in her hop as she kicked her legs from side to side. Perhaps even a joey might be possible for soon. However, Fate was to once again intervene in Dasher’s life. Like Rudi before him, Dasher’s new friend Bob also succumbed to cardiomyopathy likely resulting from a dog chase. At least for Bob the end came quickly, dying from a cardiac arrest in the vet’s surgery. The neighbour now prevents her dogs from harrassing the local wildlife but too late for poor Dasher .
So what became of dear Dasher. Did she ever recover from a twice-broken heart?