Tag Archives: stray dogs

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.

 

 

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Scout

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.

Exploring2

Thanks for the pic, Nicoline!