Travelling around has its benefits, but one of the downsides is not being able to keep pets. I only realised how big a drawback that was when I met Tyrion.

Tyrion is the name I gave the small stray jack russel terrier who appeared at Duas Quintas one day (nerd much?). It was roaming around for about a week. Each time we’d chase it, but it would hide on the grounds and come back. Sasha, the black lab, wasn’t very good at chasing it off.  In fact, she’d wag her tail at Tyrion every morning to say hiya.

Tyrion was playful. Friendly. Thought everything was a game, and would wag his tail when we approached. I called him over one day to see if he had a name tag and even although I’d chased him literally around the house that morning, he still wandered over and let me scratch him behind the ears.

When it became apparent that Tyrion was here to stay, James’s mum decided to call round the animal sanctuaries in the Algarve to find him somewhere to go. Every one of them told her they were full. Some have a no kill policy, meaning that even if a dog is terminally ill they won’t put it down. Sadly, by refusing to kill the hopeless cases, they were signing the death warrant for this friendly little dog who would make the perfect family pet.

I told Mary she should have said that to the people on the phone, especially the girl who was already crying, but she’s not as mean as me.

One day Tyrion got really bold; he started begging breakfasts from the guests, and wandering into people’s rooms. We decided to catch him and chain him up. Well, James and his dad did. James, armed with a piece of bread, tried to tempt Tyrion closer… at which point Sasha would lunge for the bread, Les would shout at Sasha, and Tyrion would get a fright and run away. Eventually I intervened: I called Tyrion over, picked him up, and carried him over to Sasha’s kennel, and the chain.

After that, James’s mum said she had no option but to take wee Tyrion to the municipal kennel where he would be put down the next day. The sanctuaries were all full, the papers are full of dogs that no one wants, and it would be cruel to leave him to the elements.

I’m a big softie, so this broke my heart. When I went outside, Tyrion jumped for joy to see me. Hugging me, jumping on me, and licking my arm. Every time I went out Tyrion would jump for joy, and when I left him he would cry.

The vet and injection were booked for 3pm.

I decided to give it one last shot. I emailed and sent pictures to every animal sanctuary I could find, begging, pleading. But I got the same responses as Mary did.

Until Jan from Goldra answered my prayer (prayer, Facebook message, same difference).

“Is it male or female? I have someone looking for a jack russel and this one might be perfect.”

Only then did I find out that Tyrion’s a “she”. But she looks like a Tyrion, don’t you think?

Anyway. I emailed Jan back at half twelve.

An hour crept by.

They’re busy, I guess. No biggie.

Another hour started to creep by.

We had half an hour until Tyrion’s death sentence.

My only option was to phone Jan, but I feared her answer would be no: and if it wasn’t already, it would be once I started pressuring her. I have an irrational phobia of calling strangers so I put it off.

And then.

I bit the bullet.

I phoned Jan.

I apologised for putting the pressure on. I explained that the B&B wouldn’t let us keep the dog here, and we were just wondering what to do. She told me that her husband was picking up another dog, half an hour away, the next morning at 10am. If I could meet him, he’d take Tyrion.

My heart soared.

I told James’s parents, and they called the vet: with 15 minutes to go. Thankfully the vet wasn’t mad, she was actually happy because who would want to kill this gal?

It made me realise the great work that animal shelters do, and how often we take it for granted. I made a 100 Euro donation to go toward her sterilisation, flea treatments, whatever, but it must cost a fortune to get a dog like this ready for adoption.

If you fancy putting a quid or two towards Tyrion’s medical care, please pop over to Goldra’s Facebook page where you can find Paypal details. If you want to adopt her, I’ve heard that Jan can get paperwork sorted and fire her over to the UK for about 200 spondoolies!