Tag Archives: shelter

Lessons from the shelter

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:

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I made some subtle improvements to the second lesson, too. I chase away competitors and I am very good at that:

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Over time I developed new ways of getting yummy food. Like this:

Method 1

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.

 

 

One lucky dog – a listicle

I am a lucky dog. You know why? I made a list of all the things that make me so lucky:

I could have been a poor and skinny stray dog in Greece, but I became a wealthy city dog. Because some loving humans organized for me and my friends to come to Holland and they got us adopted. This is me, 5 months old and new in Holland. Cute, hey? No wonder M and P adopted me on the spot!

Foto Bubbles

I get lots of yummy food, sometimes really fancy stuff:

Confit de canard

I have nice soft warm beds on every floor in our house:

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Exhausted

We have this as our backyard:

And this (when you take the other turn):

Forest

I do all sorts of fun stuff. Like (when M isn’t looking) fooling around with little dogs. I like to surprise them, so they start running and I can chase them! They are always very impressed by my approach.

Nicoline 3

I have exiting Adventures with my humans, M and P. We travel!

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I have loads of friends:

Bubbles holiday1

On top of all that, I have my own blog! Which you are reading now. Thank you for that!
I wonder: what makes you happy? Can you tell me?

Life is a game for two

This is so cool, I have to share it with you. It is a video by the band Playmen and it features dogs in the shelter in Athens, the one I come from!

I must admit I even cried a little because of the lyrics. ‘All I need is you – life is a game for two’. And this one: ‘The love I got for you is true’. That is sooooo true.

Too bad they did not ask me to be an actor in this video, I would love to be a movie rockstar. But I guess they did not ask me because I already have a home. Fair enough. I hope my brothers and sisters in the video will find a loving home of their own too, soon.

Just click on this weblink to see the video. Sorry I can’t show it here, M won’t pay for the WordPress package-thing that allows to embed video’s directly into posts (she is such a tightwad).

Look-alike

Look who I met on the beach again: my look-alike!

Dubbelganger

She is my friend from Greece, she arrived this year at her new home in Holland. She lived in the shelter in Athens, the same shelter where I grew up. It was nice to meet her again. We gossiped a bit about the shelter back in Athens and then we started to run. After that we investigated our surroundings. We like it in Holland, especially the beaches: they are huge! Great for running.

Friend from Greece

Look who I met on the beach:20150629_134024

Her name is Filia and she has just arrived in Holland. She looks a bit like me, doesn’t she? She is from the shelter where I grew up, in Athens, Greece! And now she lives in Holland, because a Dutch human adopted her. Which means she is an expat, like me.

Together we explored the beach and tested the water.

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When we got warmed up a little, we started sprinting. M and I sometimes do this, but for me that is very easy because M is slow. Sprinting with a dog like Filia is more challenging! Very nice.

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Do you see how she is looking at me, asking me to go faster? When she got tired and slowed down a bit, I motivated her to move on:

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In the end we both were wet and tired. We had a great time. I hope I will meet her again soon!

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Do you want to adopt a gorgeous dog, just like us? Take a look at the website of the shelter. They have awesome dogs and cute puppies as well. If you live in Holland, you can go to the site of Huize Zwerfhond, the Dutch foundation that arranged for Filia and me to come to Holland. Please do, because I’d like to meet more expats like Filia on the beach!

Priorities

Sometimes I really do not understand humans. For instance: they seem to sort their priorities in the wrong way. I thought priorities were the same for humans, dogs and all other animals alike:

1. Food

2. Shelter

3. Happiness

The first two are straightforward, you can direct all your energy to obtain those two. When you have them, you can go to number 3: happiness. I think happiness is the same for humans and dogs, too: being healthy, feeling energetic, being with the ones you love, enjoying the warmth of the sun, being outdoors, feeling connected. We all like that, it makes us happy.

So why is it that humans do so many other things, stuff they do not really like, when they already fulfilled the three top priorities? Take M and P. We have a nice and warm house and food every day. They look happy to me, most of the time. Of course, one has to invest in keeping food, shelter and happiness, so that takes some time. However, they spend lots of time on things that do not contribute to obtaining food, shelter or happiness. They sit behind these luminous devices for hours and hours every day and talk into these black boxes. They fuss about catching the train to get to their appointments on time. All these things have nothing to do with obtaining food, shelter or happiness. So why do they do it?

It would be so much better for them if they would take me as an example. We could have a big breakfast, go out together (the three of us) and when we are back home again we could sleep in the sun. When we wake up, we have some snacks, another nice walk and play and then we can snooze again. That would be nice!

M tells me sometimes there are conflicting priorities and you have to sort them out. I understand that, we dogs have this too. For instance when we are out fetching balls and another dog wants to play with us. Like this:

Priorities

Then we decide what to do: continue to gnaw on the ball, or play with the other dog. We take this decision in a nanosecond. We dogs are very good at quickly sorting our priorities, getting them right. I think humans can learn a lot from us.