A couple of days ago I listened to a podcast of a man who, as a young lad, had lived on the streets of Ireland with a pack of stray dogs. He had been the youngest and smallest of triplets, only a couple of pounds at birth, born into the large family of an Irish father and a German mother, who were often at odds. The dog boy, Martin McKenna, was scholastically challenged, to say the least and hyperactive, what would now be called ADHD. I believe he still doesn’t write although was persuaded to “write” his book with a voice recorder. His father having treated him dreadfully, thinking he was good for nothing, and that the devil was in him. The other children didn’t get the same bad treatment. Whenever his father was drunk, a regular occurrence, Martin would hide or be beaten. When he was as young as seven his father began locking him in the cellar for days at a time, with nothing to eat but coal dust.
Eventually Martin ran away, initially digging a hole in the ground to hide in, and eventually developing a life on the streets as top dog of a pack of stray mongrels. It was a raw existence, eating maybe every second day, living on pilfered bread and milk from the home deliveries of those times. After three years, with his brothers saying, come back, come back, Ma is sick, he returned to live at home and stayed until she died, at which time the whole family dispersed. Martin has gone on to make a success of his life, based on his in-depth understanding of the psychology of dogs.