Date of Birth: 01/06/2007

Gender: Male

Gotcha Day: 08/07/2019

Breed: Labrador

After Maya (Aura’s mother) died during a peritonitis surgery, and since she had only been with us for 6 months, Ariane wanted to rescue a dog in her name. It had to be a dog that had an even worse life than Maya did before joining the sanctuary. Needless to say it wasn’t very hard to find a dog with a terrible life.

Ariane looked on the website of the RSPCA of Bergerac and found an old dog named Gabon that had been mistreated for a long time. Most people prefer young dogs so old ones are hardly ever adopted and mostly the first to be euthanised. On top of being old, this dog was 90% deaf and blind. Not a very “desirable” dog… which was exactly what Ariane was looking for. The one dog who was almost guaranteed to never be adopted by anyone else.

She was told that he had spent 12 years in a dark garage -which might explain his blindness- and when his owner died, the next person who was tasked of caring for him didn’t even bother feeding him. It’s the mayor of the village who upon hearing this story asked the RSPCA to come get the dog. It is virtually unheard of in these neighbourhoods for a mayor to care about animal welfare but Gabon was in a very bad state. He had burn marks on his back and was extremely thin.

He spent 15 days at the RSPCA and was so weak that they didn’t even administer the flea and worm treatment because it would have weakened him further. He was only treated much later at the sanctuary when he had gained a little weight. Being 90% blind and deaf means that he sees shadows of things when there’s a lot of sun/light and he can hear some high pitched sounds.

Play hard, sleep hard

We were told that because of his past and the fact he was disabled he wouldn’t be moving much. Nothing could be further from the truth. It turns out Atos (as we chose to rename him) is a very energetic dog who seems to want to make up for lost time. He’s always busy. Everyone who visits us thinks he’s a young dog and even though he can’t see or hear from the way he walks you would never guess it. He knows the whole property inside and out. He doesn’t bump into things unless you place something where it shouldn’t be. He has peed every meter or so and therefore manoeuvres based on his scent.

In the beginning he would escape to the streets through small holes in the fences. You would think that 50 acres was enough land to roam on but no, it’s a lot more fun to escape. We therefore had to walk him on a leash multiple times a day until all the holes and escape routes had been closed. Since the day we fixed the fences, he hasn’t even looked for another way out. We therefore no longer have to walk him, he’s perfectly content walking himself. Though he is noticeably becoming more attached to Ariane. He was a real loner when he first arrived and nowadays he likes to be where the humans are.

Atos is a big thief and loves to go pillage the cat food bowls. Remember, he cannot see and cannot hear but somehow he knows when a door has been left open or isn’t fully closed in order to go steal all the cat food. His scent must be so strong that he can smell doors being open or not! This behaviour reminds us of our beloved Daïco.