By Laurie Burns
The first time I met her, she had a cone around her neck, and a real tender area from where she lost her hind leg. She looked pathetic and sweet. Pathetic and hopeful. Pathetic and scared, her deep brown eyes looked into mine, and my heart broke. That was the moment that I met Fou May.
Since that faithful moment Fou May has been my life. She has lived in 2 continents, is an immigrant to Canada, gets by with 3 legs, has lived in 4 different homes, learned to live with a dog roommate and does it all with a smile. Yes! She really smiles. She loves to smile. Let’s bring it all back around, full circle to how I got my special little girl.
I was a young Canadian girl, who had to get out and see a bit more of the world. She was a Taiwanese street puppy, who looked like a fox, with small brown features and no one to love her. Most people in Taiwan do not love the street dogs. To them they are mostly like squirrels or rats, a nuisance, another thing in the way, another mouth to steal food. A natural dog lover all my life, I spent too much time feeding the hordes of street dogs outside my dorm room, chipping in to get some of the females neutered with groups of other Canadian girls. But I did not think I could get my own dog. I was too young, travelling, too busy having fun and teaching. But that all changed when I laid eyes on her, and I will always be so glad it did.
A friend of mine Diane, was Taiwanese, and married to a Canadian. I was instantly drawn to her, with our mutual love of skirts and animals. We became fast friends. One night, when it was raining, Diane was driving home in her brother’s car with her brother. The roads were hard to see, the rain came down as if the sky was falling; thick, loud and non-stop. Creeping their way along, they heard a sickening thump. Diane screamed, jumped out of the car and saw the mess. They had hit a puppy. Luckily for Fou May, Diane loves animals. I feel like if it had been any other car in Taiwan they probably would not have scooped her up. But Diane did, she scooped up the bloody pile of bones and took her to the vet.
Fou May lived at the vet for two months, getting surgery after surgery ,but staying positive throughout, earning herself the name Fou May from the vets, Chinese for “Lucky girl”. They finally had to take off the back right leg completely, and Fou May become a Tripod. When it was time for her to leave the vet, Diane was looking for a home for her. Recently married and with two cats, Fou May was not the ideal situation for her. She wasn’t ideal for me either, so I let her pass me by.
A week later, Diane and her husband were leaving on their honeymoon, and asked if I could watch Fou May. I said sure, I mean she was so pathetic and small. And that was that. Once she came to me, she has never left my side. When I decided to leave Taiwan a year and a half later and return to Nova Scotia Fou May came too.
She loves her life in Canada, she loves her dog brother Roy, she got used to snow and she still smiles. When we go to the park or lake for a walk we will most certainly be stopped. Fou May is famous! She has even been on the radio and in the local newspaper. People always want to know what happened to her leg, what kind of dog is she, does she come from the wild, is she okay, can she get around, how old was she was she lost the leg, is she happy. But me and Fou May we don’t mind the attention. We both know she is a star. We just both smile and tell the story again.