A double amputee has struck up an incredible bond with a rescue dog who only has two legs himself.
Gill Dalley, 57, lost both her legs to a virulent infection in 2004, a year after she left her home in Leeds to enjoy her retirement in Phuket, Thailand, with husband John, 67.
The pair had set up a charity called The Soi Dog Foundation to help the animals on the island and it was during a rescue that Gill waded through some water to reach the animal and contracted the infection.
Doctors were forced to amputate both legs as a result and she has had to get used to getting around on a pair of prosthetic limbs ever since.
In the July of 2016, Gill heard of a dog called Cola, who had been brought to a vet in Bangkok by his owner after a neighbour cruelly hacked off both his front legs with a sword in revenge for the ten-month-old puppy chewing his shoes.
Walking into the vet’s Gill Dalley took one look at the terribly injured young dog and instantly knew she was going to adopt him.
What’s more, Cola seemed to know it too.
Despite the fact that he had had his two front legs cruelly hacked off with he started barking with excitement, rolling onto his back for tickles like he’d never done before.
What had caused this extraordinary connection?
Quite simply, the pair were kindred spirits.
Gill instantly knew what the dog, who had been given his own prosthetic legs, would be going through and decided to bring him back to her home.
She explained: “The moment I saw Cola, there was an instant bond between us.
“It was quite incredible, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
“It was as if we’d known each other all our lives yet we’d never met.
“I knew immediately that not only did I have to help him, but that I was in a unique position to be able to.
“I knew exactly what he was going through – I’d been through it myself.
“I could help him build up his strength, perfect his walking and take care of the sores the prostheses would inevitably create, like no one else could.
“In turn, he instantly trusted me in a way he didn’t trust any other person.
“He knew we were the same.”
Gill managed to get a fresh set of prosthetics made for Cola and the puppy, who was then 16 months old, could do everything that other dogs can do.
Gill added: “He has to be the happiest dog on this earth – he never stops smiling, he grins from ear to ear and never looks sad…
“People say Cola’s lucky to have found me, but I think it’s the other way around.
“I’ve just learned so much from him.”
Sadly Gill passed away on the 13 February 2017. Every year, Soi Dog Foundation recognises this date as International Gill Dalley Remembrance Day, the day they commemorate their leader and co-founder.
Gill was the heart and soul of Soi Dog. Despite the many challenges that life presented to Gill, she always put the needs of homeless animals first.
Note: The neighbour was prosecuted and was sentenced to just a month in jail.
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