I just returned from a weekend camping with M. It was great! We camped in the middle of the woods:
We made some nice long walks, the countryside is awesome:
It is still winter here, you know, and we had all sorts of weather. A cold wind, there was snow and hail and fierce sunshine:
It was kind of cold, but we don’t mind that. Ha! We are tough cookies. And we have a heater in the van. In the evening I slept in the cosy warmth and M ate hot soup made of peas – very Dutch soup, that is:
The next day we made another long walk. We encountered some rather strange animals:
I had a great weekend. I love camping! I hope you had an awesome weekend too.
We finally moved to our new home. It was quite an exciting time, a lot of amazing things happened. That is why you have not heard from me for a while. I was very busy.
I was busy inspecting the work. There were a lot of different humans coming to our new home, doing all sorts of things:
I was also busy inspecting my beds. You know: whether they were placed properly. They have to be in exactly the right spot, with enough sunlight, no draft and a good view so I can do some guarding, even when I rest.
I am glad to inform you we are all settled now. My beds are in the right places, my toys and chewy bones and food made it to the new house, too. I am quite content.
The first four months of my live I lived in a shelter in Athens, Greece. Me and my brothers and sisters were brought there by a caring human, she had found us newborn and left alone. We struggled to survive and my brother and I succeeded – we were the thoughest of our litter. After four months my brother and I went to Holland, where we both got adopted.
In the shelter I lived in the puppy quarters. A fun place, you can imagine that! We played together for hours. We also played with the grown up dogs, I had some great friends there too. A lot of these older dogs had been stray dogs. They thought me some valuable lessons about living on the streets. When you live on the streets there is only one thing on your mind: survival. In orde to survive you need food and a safe place to sleep. Some of the former strays I met were masters in getting plenty of food. They taught me how it works. There are two rules: 1 – be polite, always and 2 – chase away any canine that comes close to you and your potential source of food.
Both lessons I incorporated, so they come natural to me now. I thought they might be handy, even though I never became a stray dog. I enhanced the first lesson: I am polite, which means I look eager but not too pushy and I keep my distance. It is important to find the right distance: not too close, but not too far away either. You need to be able to catch the food that is thrown to you:
I made some subtle improvements to the second lesson, too. I chase away competitors and I am very good at that:
Over time I developed new ways of getting yummy food. Like this:
Can you see my tactics? I studied a long time on this one, to get it just right. I look longingly at the human, although what I really want lies in front of me. By not looking at this delicious piece of meat I tell the human: “You are the best human in the world! Do you love me as much as I love you? Please give me the meat!” It takes a lot of self control to do this, I can tell you. But it always works, the human I look so lovingly at will give me the delicious food as a reward.
Mind you: one can only use this specific method with humans one knows very well. Otherwise it will be counter productive, because it is a little bit intrusive.
It is almost christmas, M tells me. Great! I love christmas! Because of the love and peace and warm feelings we all have towards each other…. ha! Just kidding! I mainly love christmas because it means food, plenty of yummy delicious food! It is a time where I can sit in the kitchen for hours, smelling the wonderful smells of good food and anticipating the moment I will get it.
Or a big juicy bone!
My mouth is watering, even when I am writing this. Because I will get things like this, you know. I will eat the herring the Dutch way:
And gnaw on that juicy bone:
Maybe I will even have pizza, for desert. This is my famous pizza pic:
It was so delicious I ate it before I could take a picture. Sorry about that.
M has been reading a lot of food blogs recently. I know this because when she is looking at this luminous device she calls a computer I doze beside her. So I can read what is on the screen. First I found it interesting to see she is reading these blogs – one never knows what inspiration she gets from them, especially about things I find yummy too. Like recipes for grilled squid or slow cooked beef.
But, first to my surprise and than to my horror (because she explained it to me): there were no pics of animals on these blogs. Instead there were pics of veggies, loads of them, of fruit and seeds. They turned out to be blogs about a special kind of food: vegan food. My canine readers who are ignorant about this will ask me what vegan food is. My more world wise canine readers will roll over now, moaning. Vegan means: no animal products. No meat, no fish, no cheese, no butter, no yoghurt. Not even one tiny little shrimp. Not even honey! (Oh, all right, I don’t care about that).
After I had recovered from the shock, M started explaining to me that she is interested in food, on the whole. Which means she likes learning about food, vegan food as well. She won’t turn into a vegan herself, she assured me, but sometimes maybe she will eat food in this style. But I do not have to worry, because she will feed me meat still. Even when she is having a wonderfully tasty pizza, she won’t give me any of that.
I love pizza! Vegans have pizza too, it turns out! And little white rolls. Mmmmm. Maybe it is not so bad as I thought. Maybe I will join M and eat vegan too. A little, of course. The other day I would like to have squid. Or slow cooked beef.
Sometimes I muse about what I would have become if I would have remained a stray dog. I suspect I would have lived my life with a pack, working together to get our food. Like I see packs of wild dogs doing on tv (yes, I watch tv. Of course, I am a city dog!)
When I see these wild dogs roaming the streets, I notice that the members of the pack all have their own specialization. Some of them are like scouts: exploring the surroundings, finding the best opportunities for food. When they find something that is worth it, they let the other members of the pack know and together they start the chase. I am certain that in a wild pack of dogs I would be one of those scouts. My nose, eyes and ears are exceptional: I sense opportunities sooner than most dogs. Besides that I am very fast. I can start a hunt and let the others follow me, figuring out our tactics as we go.
When I am out with my friends, the bandidos, I am a scout. I see potentially dangerous dogs (in which case Boss is coming to assist me), yummy seafood or humans carrying sandwiches or other food that is of interest to me. But unlike the scouts in the wild packs I do not wait for the bandidos to follow me: I take the juicy bits before any of them arrives.
Is that selfish? No way. We are very well fed city dogs, we do not need the food to survive as a pack. At the end of the day we all go home to our loving humans, who fill our stomachs with yummy things. And then we watch tv together. Yeah, life is good. I am glad I did not remain a stray dog.
Thanks for the pic, Nicoline!
I love seafood. It has a delicious taste, a gorgeous smell and sometimes it is just lying there, on our beach! Whenever I go on holiday I try to taste new seafood – I am happy to say that so far I tasted shrimps, squid, shells and all kinds of fish.
However, not all seafood is good. Like this. I tasted it once and it was absolutely horrible. Maybe this was because the thing had been dead for some time, but anyway I decided to move it from my bucket list. Only labradors eat horrible stuff like this.
I really like the taste of squid, but I prefer crabs above all things from the sea. Not the big ones, they are too crunchy.
I like the little ones, they are young and tender.
There is nothing like it! What is your favorite seafood?
I hear humans wishing each other a happy new year. Well, I’d like to wish you the same, but I would like to add something to it. Because, you see, humans tend to overdo things. Especially when it comes to their idea of ‘happiness’. They seem to think that happiness is something huge. They think they have to work hard for it to achieve it, that they can only be happy when they have lots of money and/or time.
A lot of humans are very busy with this pursuit of happiness. The sad thing is: they will never get it, not that way. Because happiness is not something huge to strive and work hard for. It is the opposite: it is very small. If you search for it you will never find it, because it is not to be found. It is already there, everywhere around you! You just have to look in the right places to find it, or more accurate: you have to feel it.
Just think about it: what has made you very happy in the past? I bet it was something small. Like a tasty dinner with a good friend. A walk in the park with the sun warming you. A hug from a relative you hadn’t seen for a while. Something you did with other humans, like laughing or singing or playing a game. Those things make you feel happy, right? They are not huge, they do not cost much and they can be enjoyed anytime, whether you are rich or poor, healthy or ill.
This is my top 3 of most happy things:
- Yummy food.
- Snoozing in the sun, after a nice long walk.
- Having a big or small adventure with M and P.
What is your top 3? Think about it and do it more, in 2016! Then you will truly have a happy new year.
I notice that during these days a lot of humans look back at the past year. We dogs normally don’t do that: we do not muse about the past, we do not dream about the future, we are always and totally living in the present. But I can make an exception for my human readers. Actually, it is quite nice to look back on the last year! If it was a good year, that is.
My year was certainly a good one! I made some great new friends:
We did a lot of nice long walks:
We had awesome holidays, in the mountains and near the sea!
There was plenty of time to snooze in the sun:
And new culinary experiences:
Yes, it was a good year. I hope you had a splendid year, too!
I can be a very polite dog. Very polite. Priorities, right? We dogs are good in immediately sorting out our priorities. I personally like to go on an Adventure, to go hiking for instance. That is a priority. Snoozing in the sun is another one. But my top priority is food.
So when P is eating a juicy sandwich, I wait politely for him to share it with me. Of course, he always does. Who can resist my hungry look? No one can!
I think I would have been a very successful stray dog, if I had stayed in Athens. I would seduce all these tourists to share their food with me. I am glad I didn’t stay, though. I like it here. Besides, Dutch sandwiches are the best.