It seems we are always reading stories about our local children behaving badly, and I am not unaware of the social problems that do exist in West Pilton, but I thought for once it would be nice to hear praise for our local kids, hence my writing to you.
I have lived in West Pilton for nearly 20 years now. I’m fairly well known to a lot of the neighbourhood kids, because I have always had dogs and am out in the park with them every day. I sometimes also have pink hair, which the bairns seem to appreciate! I have never, ever had any problems with any of the local kids, but recently I have come to appreciate them all the more.
I have two dogs of my own, and I have recently started fostering dogs for various charities based abroad. My most recent foster (probable adoptee!) has come from Romania, and he is just plain terrified of everything, but so very gentle, showing no signs of aggression at all. In the week and a half I have had him he has really gained confidence in the house, but outside is a very scary place for him. He is scared of traffic, not sure about other dogs, but mostly it is people that terrify him. One can only imagine what he has gone through to become so traumatised.
I’ve been taking him out for three daily walks though, as he needs to overcome his fears to become a truly happy guy. We meet a lot of children when out for our walks and many ask if they can pet my dogs, and usually this presents no problems. With Roman it is different. He is so scared, he flattens himself to the ground and trembles all over. But when I tell his story to the children we meet, and explain that he is so scared because people have been very mean to him and that he expects to get hurt; but that he is gentle and will respond to love and a soft hand stroking him. I can honestly say that without exception, the kids have been interested, saddened and willing to help, being very quiet, respectful and sweet to him.
I just know the more people we meet who can be this kind to him, it will not be long before he is a happy, bouncy, playful dog who will have learned to love life, maybe for the first time ever. So I want to thank all the kids who we have met, and all those we are yet to meet. And their parents, who have clearly taught them to be kind and loving to animals. Hopefully one day soon you will meet us in the park, and Roman will have the confidence to come up to you and thank you himself!
Jenni (by email)