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Leopold turned up at my gate one evening,bruised and a tight string noose around his neck. He had been badly abused by his owners for whatever mistake he had done.

I took him in-into my compound and fed him. His wounds healed,but he still walks with a limp on his hind limb.

He adores me. I adore him for company.
Whenever Leopold stretches his now misshapen body in the sun, I remember his whimpering at my gate that first night he turned up.

Leopold just whines or grunts.
He doesn’t bark.
His vocal cords must have been traumatised by that choking tight string noose around his neck when I first found him.

I always thought I loved dogs,but Leopold’s evident abuse brought me close to tears.
Many months have gone now.
We have grown to love each other,Leopold and I.

Nobody ever came to claim Leopold.
I have always wondered whether such a dog of very good breeding was infact,a stray dog.

Leopold’s weak bark,or growl has never improved significantly.

But Jaffa,the orange coloured tomcat who sneaks away with my supper sometimes,has a purr like thunder,
And would be a good source of alarm to any potential burglar in my compound than Leopold.

But there aren’t many crimes around my Estate-it is a place where you can safely sleep the night over with the main doors unlocked.

Leopold is always afraid of something.
His sheepish face is forever anticipating some kind of trouble or rejection.

He hardly sits alone in the compound.
He is always at my feet where his sympathetic whimpering has a ready audience.

Leopold is not the trusting type.
Whenever any one else besides me approaches him,he cowers,shivers and whines piteously,rolling his eyes as if he expects another serious beating.

Never has a dog been lavished with so much love,never did a dog give so much of an impression of being whipped by his master to within an inch of his life,every evening.

I always find myself explaining the whole story over and over again to my visiting friends who initially are prone to think that it is me who abused this pitiful dog.

Sometimes,Leopold falls asleep under my feet.
He twitches his tail lovingly in his sleep.
Then he starts to whimper and shiver,
Probably dreaming or having a nightmare about those past beatings.

When he finally wakes up,he looks all around him,then fixes his gaze at me,
Probably to exact an assurance that the portion of his past that troubles him in his dreams is buried in the grave of forgotten memories,
That only come back to haunt him,occasionally in his sleep.

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