Juno was found on the streets of one of the poorest towns in Hungary. She was about three months old and someone had tried to kill her with an axe. I cannot understand how anyone could be so evil, but for every wicked person there are far more good people. One of the good ones undertook a five-hour return journey from Budapest to collect this little injured pup. They called her Yoko, tended her wounds, and gave her love and security.
We met Yoko a couple of months later. Our special cat, Fergus, had died some months previously and we were ready to welcome another four-legged friend into our home.
At the time, my husband was British ambassador to Hungary and some weeks we would have hundreds of visitors in our home. It seemed safer to go with a known quantity. There are many wonderful Hungarian breeds and we started thinking about a Vizsla, or Pumi, or maybe a Mudi. But the guilt kept me awake. With so many dogs in shelters, how could we justify going to a breeder?
The decision was taken out of our hands when we met Yoko and fell in love.
The first thing to change was her name (If you are a Beatles fan, like me, you will understand). Yoko wasn’t going to work but Juno was perfect. She was sweet and desperately wanted to be loved but she was also very scared and traumatised by her start in life. We had to work hard to build her confidence and trust and it was so worth it. Juno is simply a joy.
Bahrain is very like Hungary. There are wonderful people who dedicate their lives to taking care of the homeless dogs and cats of this island. Many others open their homes to welcome strays. I have friends with not just one but many rescued dogs and cats. It isn’t always easy but the best in things in life rarely are. Sadly, there are also cruel people.
I was sickened to read about the murder of dogs at Askar. The poor creatures had been moved there to get them away from residential areas and now many of them have been shot, apparently used as target practice, and their bodies buried under rubble and dirt.
I don’t know the solution to Bahrain’s stray animal problem but the wholescale slaughter of innocent animals is not it. They need protection and security. How we treat animals says a lot about us as people. There are many scholarly articles showing that there is more than a casual link between cruelty to animals and other anti-social behaviour, including violence towards humans.
I hope that suitable punishment awaits the perpetrators of these terrible acts.
If you are looking for a furry addition to your family, do consider adopting. Right now, your own Juno might be in a shelter or in a patch of wasteland, vulnerable, scared and hungry, waiting to give you unconditional love and to change your life.