Hello. Let me introduce myself. My name is Reggie and I am the luckiest and happiest dog in the world. Please read my story and find out why I am saying this.
Before we start my story I well tell you I am a 15 year old Shih Tzu mix living with Master and Mistress in Toronto, Canada. I am becoming a senior dog. My legs are a bit stiff and I have to bark around 5 every morning so that Mistress and Master can come downstairs and put me out to pee in the backyard. When you become an old dog you have to go the bathroom more often! But I get taken up to their bed and can snuggle under the covers and fall back to a wonderful sleep knowing I am safe and loved. This was not always the case in Egypt.
I was born in an Egyptian city called Cairo. I can’t remember who my parents were or where exactly I was born as that was so long ago. But I do remember that I had an owner called Anwar who lived alone in a small house outside Cairo.
Anwar was a well-known writer for a national newspaper. He was always happy and laughing after he said his morning prayers. He would feed me and then have his breakfast with two cups of tea and after that he would put my leash on and we would go for a walk. I pranced and swaggered being so very proud to be with Anwar. There were many dogs of all sizes who ran wild in the streets. I thought I was better than them as I had a home, food, water and a human who hugged me, played with me and fed me.
I was with Anwar for two years enjoying a happy life. We would watch a lot of television most of which was in English so that is how I learnt to speak and understand English. I would sit on his lap or beside him and if I was lucky I would get my tummy rubbed. That felt so good!
So you may ask how did I get the name Reggie? Anwar used to watch an American cartoon called Archie and his favourite character in that cartoon show was Reggie!
As I am an old dog my memory is not as good as it used to be. I learnt this from some documentaries I used to watch with Anwar. The same happens to humans when they become older.
What I remember was that one evening there was a banging on Anwar’s door with many angry voices outside shouting, “We are the army. Open your door!” Anwar opened the door and heavily armed soldiers stormed into our house. The soldiers told him he was under arrest for sedition because he had written articles in the newspaper criticizing the government. This is the last I saw of Anwar. One of the soldiers kicked me hard and shooed me out of my house saying awfully bad things to me. This soldier pointed his gun at me and said he was going to kill me like the dirty dog he thought I was but another soldier stopped him and I ran off so frightened and confused.
It was in the middle of the night and I had nowhere where I could go. There was no one to feed me and give me water and the tummy rubs that I loved. In my life I never knew that humans could be so mean to dogs. I never hurt them. I never barked at them yet here I was all alone on the streets with many other dogs and cats. I did make a few friends with some of the smaller dogs. The big dogs sometimes growled and barked at me which made me very frightened.
So how did I live? I lived outside hiding in abandoned cardboard boxes. I was near an outdoor market most of the time so I would go and beg for food and sometimes I would get a goat bone but most of the time the merchants would spit and say bad words to me and some tried to kick me.
My dog friends warned me that the life of an unwanted dog was frightening as police and animal control would often shoot or poison stray dogs. Very few people cared about stray animals in Cairo and killing them was a way to control them and not to find them homes with caring masters and mistresses.
One day I was so hungry as there was no food or garbage with food in it I could eat. Inside the gates to the market there was a guard dog who was at least five times my size. I think it was a Rottenwhiler.I was starving so I snuck under the fence and when I thought the big dog was not looking I started to eat food from his bowl but before I knew what happened out of nowhere he bounded up to me and bit my leg. I ran away under the fence and as he was chained he could not catch me. But I had a big cut in my leg and I was bleeding. I was hurting so very much I closed my eyes and cried like I have never cried before. This is where my journey to Canada started.