The story in one post.
In 2019 my wife and I traveled to East Sussex in England to visit Anna and Rosanne (my wife’s cousin). It was there, where they live in a beautiful village, that we met Kiera, a dog from Romania, who lives with them. Of course “owner” is the wrong word. You cannot “own” a companion with whom you have a lifelong bond and love. Kiera is such a companion,
The story of how Kiera came into their lives is a remarkable one which brings to mind the words of Hamlet:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
I leave it to Anna to tell you how Kiera came into their lives. Be ready to be amazed.
Anna’s story in her own words
The passing of a dear friend
My beautiful labrador Muffin decided to cross Rainbow Bridge on the evening of my birthday June 23rd 2015. She was a very sensitive creature and after her departure, I was able to find her occasionally on the ‘other side’. Mindful of too much disturbance, I was careful not to do the communication regularly but often felt her serene presence anyway when out walking alone.
The search begins
After some travels to South Africa and settled once again at home, I began to feel the need for another canine companion. Another labrador? Perhaps a different colour this time? I began my search……I looked at breeders and costs but couldn’t seem to make up my mind.
Contact with Muffin
Finally, still not sure and now being in my 70s, it seemed perhaps a bit more prudent to offer a home to a more needy creature, ie a rescue. Still convinced I was looking for another labrador, I began my search in earnest. I visited all my local shelters and spent hours looking at dogs online but somehow could never quite see ‘ that special one’ who was to be my companion.
‘Time to call in Muffin’, I thought, and so the meditation began. After several attempts Muffin came through and showed me a pic of a beautiful dog, golden in colour, some sort of German Shepherd perhaps or Husky but certainly not a labrador! I was stunned! But I was also immediately in love!
The image appeared around 11pm in the evening. Miraculously an email came through from a friend around the same time, advising me to look at a gallery of dogs from a shelter in Wales called ‘ Many Tears.’ I had never heard of them but took a look immediately. Once again, I was stunned, but even more so this time……..my heart raced….in fact jumped out of my body with surprise and shock!! For there, smiling at me, was the very image Muffin had sent me in the meditation!! I called to my friend to see and then with great excitement, I filled in the form online and sent it! Going to sleep after such an experience proved very difficult so in the night I sent a covering email to the shelter in a further effort to make sure I could secure this dog. She was from Romania and her name was Hera.
Anna and her darling Kiera meet
After various formalities, my friend and I travelled to Llanelli in South Wales to meet Hera and hopefully bring her home. She was as beautiful as in her photo and seemed very happy to come home with us……about 5 hours in the car. I changed her name to Kiera Cariad (cariad being Welsh for darling) and now she is known mostly as just Kiera. It has turned out she has quite a history…….
The challenges of Romania
Romania is a beautiful country. And, like all countries its history is a mixture of good and bad. Some of the people who live there are well off, others are very poor. Some of the people are kind, others cruel. Some are kind to animals. Some love and respect animals. Anna tells me that the puppy Kiera (then Hera) was born in a very poor part and sadly experienced hardship and cruelty from the start of her life
Anna says she is able to communicate with Kiera. What follows is what Anna tells me Kiera told her. It is an amazing story. What is clear is the great depth and compassion Anna has for animals.
Kiera’s story in her own words
Kiera’s humble beginnings
“The shed door was broken and flapped in the wind. It often made me jump as I huddled next to my doggy Mum. She was brownish in colour and very thin, had born many pups but this time I was her only one. There wasn’t much milk to be had but I felt comforted and warmed by her soft body and her steady breathing.Our shed was next to a ramshackle old place but Mum and I were never invited in there. It was the home of the Two Old Ones……a rather bent old man and a woman and they grew a few veggies near our sleeping shed. I think they were very poorand where we lived was pretty isolated as I didn’t see anyone else much.My doggy Mum loved me and looked out for me….she would snarl a little when a scraggy old cat came to visit us and would think nothing of catching a rat for her own sustenance.Now and then one of the Old Ones would throw us some scraps but my Mum always seemed hungry…
Kiera is warned about mortal danger
In the dead of night, when all was quiet and dark, she would talk to me and say I needed to hear about things for my own survival. I remember her telling me that dogs in this country were not safe and mostly unloved. I wasn’t to trust anyone, not even the Old Ones. Unwanted puppies were often left in the fields to perish or drowned in the river…this made me shiver with fright but Mum said I had to learn. And if I was ever in the city (where she promised not to take me)nasty men would kill us or drag us to a horrible place where we would eventually starve to death. This was the stuff of nightmares for me and when she relayed these stories, I huddled closer to her feeling soothed and took solace. At least I was safe!Yes and we had each other. An old shed acted as our shelter and we shared a potato sack which we used as our bedding. I know this because it smelled of potatoes and I quite liked it. We had scraps to eat and no one tried to kill us so we had a lot to be grateful for really. During the day, my Mum would take me for a wander around the little green patch near our shed and I was content and felt embraced by her love. It was a peaceful place and when the sun shone, the birds sang and I had my Mum I was actually quite happy I think…..Then one day everything changed.
Kiera’s mother disappears
The beautiful doggy Mum whom I absolutely adored and relied on suddenly disappeared….. vanished…..was nowhere to be seen….and that night I was on the potato sack in that old shed all alone. Well, when I say all alone there were the noisy rats scratting and squeaking which was a bit of a frightening experience. I remember crying and howling all night. Even the scraggy cat came to visit once which was better than nothing. ‘Mum’ I howled, over and over again….’where are you….where are you?’But my cries and howls went unheard….they just echoed down the valley and were lost in the wind. I was cold, hungry, alone and scared to death……
The next morning I saw her body…..
I dont know what happened, no one told me….
Kiera fears the worst is still to come
I had hardly had time to digest this fact when suddenly the gnarled and knotty hand of the old man reached down, grabbed me by the scruff of my neck (which hurt) and dropped me in a largish bag…..He then closed it with something, leaving just a very small patch of light above me. I tried so hard to stretch my nose up to the light but couldn’t quite reach, and if I tried too hard, the gnarled hand pushed me down again.
To say I was frightened is an understatement!! My heart was beating so very fast, I felt too hot and couldn’t breathe properly. My poor little brain was totally and utterly confused……….Then the steady walking began…..on and on and on…..jog, jog, jog…..it was terrible!!! The bag was swinging all the time and me in it…..I cried and whined, squeaked and squawked but the Old One took no notice. I was thirsty, then sick and still we jogged on until I thought I would die. My thoughts raced to what my Mum had warned me about…..this was probably my end then. Finally, I rolled into a miserable ball in one corner of the bag and fell silent, ‘silent as a grave’ I thought as I began to wonder if this was now my unhappy destination.
Suddenly everything stopped and the bag, with me in it, was dropped onto the hard ground! The Old One said nothing but I heard his steps retreating until I could hear them no more. I sat in the bag and kept very still …..I was wet, hot, scared, thirsty and terrified…..footsteps echoed around me and voices babbled but no one came to look at me or open the bag…….I sat……
Some Hope at last
Finally I felt the bag opening and some puzzled faces peered at me. Were these the “dog catchers” my Mum had warned me about? I tried to smile, showing my little teeth to prove I was friendly and to wag my poor, squashed and now painful tail. Someone lifted me out and at last I could stretch my stiff legs. I seemed to be near some shops (I know what a shop is now but didnt know then) and this person gave me some funny tasting stuff which now I understand was spicy sausage. It immediately made me sick and I vomited there and then….Standing there, dizzy with confusion I realized I was at everyone’s mercy and was preparing to run when a hand grabbed me. But this time it was a nice, feminine hand and I was lifted aloft and pressed into her chest. The relief was, as you can imagine, gigantic. I licked her face and was taken home.
I had met my saviour.
Her place seemed safe, was secure and friendly. I found I was to share a yard with several other dogs and a cat, all who became my buddies. I was fed (something which I had never had before) and met the other people… a kind and gentle man and a little girl. I think I was meant to stay and very soon this then felt like home.
These became, in my mind, The Young Ones and they had taken me in, rescued me, given me food and shelter and made sure I was safe. I quickly grew to love everyone there and, although I missed my doggy Mum and would sometimes feel sad, I began at long last to settle. The yard was my world because the Young Ones were away for 11 hours each day but always huge excitement for us animals when they came home every evening…….I didnt know anything different and was happy once again.
But all this was about to change……
Looking back at myself now, I can see I was exceptionally pretty! (Sorry, I don’t mean to brag too much but even my present,forever human Mum is very proud of my looks and always taking photos of me)……Anyway, we were all sitting in the sun one day in our safe, secure yard when suddenly two men appeared over the wall. One stayed on the wall and the other jumped down and grabbed me. It seemed that the yard wasn’t that secure or safe after all….
With me tucked uncomfortably under a sweaty arm, he ran like the wind, finally bringing me to a scruffy, dirty almost uninhabitable shack. It was much worse than that of the Old Ones where I was born. There were lots of peculiar smells and many tiny, rather grubby hands were now trying to hold me and I felt pulled in too many different directions at once. The same man suddenly grabbed me by my little tail and swung me round and round shouting triumphantly that he would make me fierce and turn me into a good guard dog……I tell you, it was hell!! Where were my lovely Young Ones? I wanted my doggy Mum, even the Old Ones were better than this….. Who were these dirty unkempt individuals? Where was I and what was to become of me?I whimpered as my tail was hurting really badly ( This was the second time now that my tail had suffered) but the man took no notice and tied me up outside his so- called front door. He threw a bit of bread in my direction and then disappeared inside his shack. I sat outside all alone with only the moon to keep me company……I cried, I whimpered, but I was too scared to howl. There was no one to hear me……I had no sack even…I was on concrete and that is where I had to stay for quite some time. I can’t tell you for how long but I was one very miserable pup believe you me……..
Love breaks through again
Sometime later, maybe weeks?……. (sorry but I have little concept of time), this same man whom I now disliked intensely, decided to return me to the Young Ones. He had been rather cruel towards me trying to make me fierce with lots of unpleasant teasing involving food. I saw something being exchanged and heard the word ‘ransom’. I have no idea what this was all about but thank goodness I was now back with those I loved and who loved me. This family, the other dogs, and even the cat welcomed me and I felt wanted and cared for..At last I had my sense of belonging…this was my world and I felt safe….
But once again, change was coming….
Confusion as a new life dawns
I knew something was afoot…suddenly there were longish trips to the vet, sleeping overnight there and pricks which hurt my leg.This was all very frightening ….I began to worry what was happening?
Then the Young Ones started to look rather distraught I thought and the kind lady who had rescued me began to cry! What was this all about? Had I done something awful? I was extremely concerned now as the air was thick with some strange, impending rather anxiety- provoking expectations. One morning, I was hugged and kissed then taken by a big strong man and put in a cage in a long blue van…..The van had a corridor down the middle and lots of different sized cages on each side.I saw two of my yard buddies opposite me and we were all terrified……..Then the van roared to life and seemed to drive forever. Every now and then, it stopped, the silence was so welcome. The large back doors would swing wide and my lungs stole as much fresh air as they could. Cage doors were opened and one by one us dogs would be lifted onto the ground which was actually full of delicious new smells! I soon learnt that this was my ‘pee time’. The man was kind but of course I didn’t trust him one bit….not really…even when he fed and watered me…….
I was still gripped by fear….was I being taken to the place of execution my doggy Mum had warned me about? And if so, why was it so far? Why did I have a soft pad to sit on and why was this man being so nice to us all? My poor brain had no comprehension any more….Eventually I fell into a deep and rather uneasy sleep, my body too exhausted for anything and I had to give up. If this was my end, then so be it…..please come quickly…
I awoke to much confusion and noise. I was lifted from the van….being out of that cage was such a relief and a very nice kind lady was with me. Another ride, another van, different people, unusual language, odd smells, lots of noise and a change in air ….all so terribly confusing and I am sorry but I cannot really distinguish one thing from another any more…..everything was and still is a blur……
But I do remember arriving somewhere and being placed in an enclosed space on my own. I noticed my buddies from the yard were also there but we were all distressed. I was beside myself…..what on earth was happening? Where was I? Who were these people? Their language was incomprehensible and I just couldn’t bear it any more….I missed my doggy Mum, my rescue family, the yard….I missed just about everything and no one explained to me what was happening. I just sat and howled the place down….I howled and howled all night….such was my intense and utter misery…..
The warmth of the new day
A few days later and what felt like more vet checks (what is the matter with humans? They seem obsessed sometimes), I found myself once again with people I did not know. They weren’t old, or young so I think of them as the ‘Inbetweeners’! Now they were really kind and actually gave me fun on the beach! There were other different dogs so I wasn’t the only one but I felt relief….at last this was probably where I was finally meant to be! I had a lovely bed of my own and it was a comfortable and warm house. These Inbetweeners were called ‘foster’ or something similar….I didn’t know what it meant, it might have been their name? I was happy now more than I had ever been . I needed time to recuperate and finally I began to settle…..I loved these people and couldn’t have been happier….they were kind, they were fun, they played ball and after a full and interesting day I would go to sleep in a cosy bed and dream……..safe at last….a sense of belonging again…..’
“Yes I dreamed a lot…..Some were more like nightmares filled with frightening memories of my past. Others were more peaceful like the very recent walks on expansive sands and chasing rabbits. Due to circumstances, I had lived in a yard most of my life and now, slowly, it was dawning on me that there was more, there was a whole world out there, waiting for me to explore.Then one night I had a dream like no other…A beautiful black labrador came to me. She was sleek and had a very special aura about her. ( Do people know that dogs can see auras?) …She spoke softly and introduced herself as ‘Muffin’. I was told there was to be one more change in my life….this lovely place was just temporary.I was devastated “But I like it here”…I spluttered, shuddering with dismay and disbelief.”Your forever home awaits you Hera” she said. ” I have been watching you….sadly I had to leave my home suddenly and you are to take my place. You are the Chosen One”….
Then Muffin slowly faded from sight.The dream stayed with me over the next few days and I carried it lovingly in my heart.I adored her words, “The Chosen One” They made me feel extra special and wanted…And so I waited. …Dogs know when True Destiny calls….nothing can change the calling….the path had been chosen and paws must follow….
So now I knew I would soon be leaving this place of warmth and comfort, the beach and all I had experienced here for my short duration.
But I was ‘The Chosen One’…the words were like a warm wind, blowing away all the trash in my heart, soul and mind.”The warm wind” I whispered….”Stay with me….breathe over me…..don’t leave…….” I felt it draw a protective cloak around me. I was wanted, chosen in fact. New friends and my forever home awaited me.
Then one night I had a vision….two older ladies appeared, one was rounder than the other. I did not know their names but thought somehow they seemed strangely familiar.Yes they were very kind and yes they both loved dogs…..the round one was coming to collect me it seemed and bringing the slimmer one with her!! I felt excited! The anticipation was huge!
The next day dawned and there seemed to be rather a flurry in the house.The Inbetweeners were tidying around and unusually busy. I had even been given a bath. Was this my special day? Normally when someone strange comes to the house I would be on my guard. It was my job to bark and growl and look fierce…We all heard the doorbell….”ding dong…
The others barked but I kept quiet! The round one and the slim one came in….I looked and saw! Muffin stood by the round one’s side and smiled ….I had at last, met my new Mum!!Round One and Slim One were, in my eyes, rather beautiful souls and with encouraging words from Muffin, I relaxed and went up to lick them and say “hello “.After a walk it was decided I would travel with the ladies the next day.In a way I was sorry to leave the Inbetweeners but I also knew that I would be loved and that it was my honored job to be the Round One’s very special companion. I felt truly blessed and that night I settled down to sleep with a deep feeling of contentment in my soul. A soul that had been tortured with fear and too many separations but now was feeling deep peace. A pleasant anticipation lulled me to sleep .Destiny had at last played the right card.”
Anna’s closing words
The next morning my friend and I went to collect the dog. We were surprised how very easily she came with us… no fuss whatsoever. She was truly beautiful and her dewy brown eyes seemed to draw me into her very soul….”I think I will change her name from Hera to Kiera” I said to my friend, “Kiera Cariad”.”Cariad” is Welsh for darling. I had found this precious dog in my beloved Wales, home of my Mother who was as Welsh as the hills. And so it was meant to be. We turned our little car in the direction of Sussex and with our new furry friend on board, set off for home.
Anna and Kiera
Kiera’s poem of love and thanks
I Iove to sit and stare
In mindful meditation..
And breathe the gentle air
In quiet contemplation….
I watch the swimming fish
Reflecting round and round…
.And hear the birds aflutter
Joyful in their sound….
And as I gaze I see the sky
And trees in green reaching high…
I love my life and where I am
Thank you Anna and Rosanne!
Below are some pictures of Kiera in Sussex
Click here for a Conversation with Kiera – a poem”.