Written by Vasiliki A. Ntavlourou, BVM, MRCVS, GPCert(ExAP). Head Veterinarian and owner of the clinic.
My well-beloved Forrest was born in 2004 inside breeding kennels in the town of Sleaford in Lincolnshire UK. I was lucky to meet her when her breeder brought her to the small animal clinic where I was working at the time, in order to have her "eye problem" sorted out.
Forrest (or Roxy as they used to call her up to that day), suffered from "entropion". A hereditary eye condition. Her eyelids were hypertrophic, rolling inwards and as a result her eyes were constantly wet in tears and very painful.
She was already 10 months old.
Her condition was very painful and was causing constant irritation to her eyes. Her right eye had already suffered a corneal ulcer and as a result she would keep it closed, making her vision impaired.
I will never forget that Friday morning when Forrest came to the clinic for the first time. She was so scared, as that was her very first time outside kennels!!!
That morning, I met Forrest in a her big walking kennel. She was standing in there, facing the wall of the kennel and refusing to look at anyone. She was trembling!
I was advised by the nursing staff to use a muzzle if I wanted to approach Forrest, because..... as most Rottweilers, she could be..... unpredictable!!!!
My instict though was telling me that Forrest was..."not like that"!!!!; and that feeling I had was the strangest thing because up to that day, I have to confess, I had a "secret" fear of her breed!
I approαched her though, without taking a muzzle in my hands, I called her by her name and then........she turned her head and looked at me!........
From that moment, I knew ........we were going to be togehter for ever!!!
IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!!!
It took two operations and a few days of hospitalization in order to fix her eye problems and when the day came for Forrest to go back to her kennels, I decided to return her myself to her breeder and discuss with her, Forrest's hereditary eye condition. Her breeder understood my concerns and agreed on removing Forrest from the breeding chain.....and then, my proposal for Forrest's adoption came!!!
Forrest's eye problem though, wasn't the only one she had to overcome. She had to give another battle, a bigger one, only to prove to me and to the rest of the world what a true fighter she was! Forrest suffered from a complicated motility problem which was not due to any kind of disability. She couldn't or more precisely she "didn't know" how to walk!!!!
Having never used her legs for walking outside her kennel, it felt so unnatural to her walking on the ground in the outside world! Her fear of the outdoors environment added to her problem too.
It took 2 months of every day efforts and hard work to help her see that she could walk! To make her trust the "earth" below her feet and her own legs!
During these two months, I would take her to my work every day, and I had to to lift her in and out of the car. I remember her standing in the middle of the back yard of the clinic and she wouldn't move for hours until my shift was over. The most heartbreaking thing was her fear of other people and animals, in fact, she was scared of everything.....apart from me!
It had become our routine and I had just started fearing that.....she would never walk..............until that morning! That morning when she kept the biggest surprise for us all!!!!
Forrest just felt like.......... going for a .....RUN! ....and she ran!!!! and I ran behind her, fearing I was going to loose her!
Since that day.......Forrest would run like the wind!
That was the reason why I called her FORREST. As in ........"FORREST GUMP"! .......RUN FORREST.........RUN!!!
Forrest and I became inseparable. She followed me all the way through the exciting journey of my life so far. She travelled with me all around England, she came back to Greece and together we built our clinic and she was there to support me through the first difficult years. Together we experienced some great adventures!!!!! She became an adorable dog and she gave so much love to me and all those "lucky" ones who met her! Very soon she became popular and quite "famous" to our clients, who would refer to her as a member of our family!
The scared little girl became the most sociable and friendly dog who would love everyone who would give her a cuddle. She loved other dogs and lived for the rest of her life sleeping together with two cats!!!!
She taught me a lot and she helped me overcome the fear I had for Rottweilers.
She was the one who taught me that after all.........It's NOT the DOG one should be aware of................
She was and always will be the inehxaustible sourse of inspiration in my life!
'you fall in love with these eyes once........................you never look back!'
20-9-14 : Deep in my heart, I always knew that the day would come when I would have to add this paragraph to the tribute of one of the most adorable and loved souls I met in the adventurous journey of my life! Maybe I never believed it.........but I knew it . And despite the nature of my job, which has helped me to "come into terms" with the idea of .....the "END", I never thought it was going to be so difficult and painful.
Our Forrest left us, having suffered a very aggressive and incurable type of cancer..."Malignant Melanoma"!
She taught me a lot on the way, but the most important lesson, she kept it for .........."the end"!
.....SEE YOU LATER...........MY DARLING!...............