Friday, January 30, 2009


It was a another rainy day when I set out for the grocery store. I was navigating my way around miniature lakes that have formed along the road when I swerved to avoid running him over. I stopped the car and opened the door to see where he went. And then, there he was. Standing in the pouring rain, muddy and shaken was a little black puppy with white markings obviously in need of a loving home and at the very minimum, some food.

I closed the car door and thought to myself..."oh crap". I sat in the car sheltered from the rain as the puppy looked at me from outside. I dug in my purse for my phone and dialed home.
Kosta answered and I said, " you're going to kill me".
His reply was, "what did you do to the car?". (typical male response eh?)

I said, "nothing, the car is fine but there's this puppy out looks distressed and it's alone...near the dog lady...I don't want her to get him. Can I bring him home?" (the dog lady is a dog hoarder, her dogs live in cages and filth...over 200 of them...someone probably dumped him there thinking she's doing a good thing)

Without a pause, he said yes. (Whew... )

I opened the car door and he was a little nervous but then he came toward me, licking my hands and wiggling his little body. I picked him up and put him in the back of the car. He was so muddy and seemed to have some trust in me as he didn't put up a fight when I placed him in the car.

Izabella was home from school that day, she was very ill early in the morning. She watched from the front window as I took the puppy out of the car. She started to giggle and jump on the couch. I put him on the back porch with some food and water. He ate all of the food within minutes. I still had to go to the store so I left him on the porch with some towels and blankets where he was sheltered from the wind and rain.

Here he is, shortly after his arrival, muddy and wet.

He was a little camera shy too.

Here he is just days after we took him in... already comfortable with stealing my slippers and outfitted with a masculine collar.

Biting my toes...

Getting to know Foti.

Foti is thrilled with Tarzan because he's always wanted a big dog...a big dog that's a boy. I remember when we introduced him to Gigi. He was disappointed because she was a small dog. Foti also named him Tarzan. Other name possibilities included: Hercules, Caesar and Zeus. But, Foti picked Tarzan and so that's his name. End of discussion.

We took him to the vet for his immunizations and his estimated age is about 2 months. Yep, he's a big 2 months! He's a Shepard dog but I can't find his breed online. Well, I'm sure that he's not 100% anything, but I'm still looking for the closest match. He's going to grow to be about 70lbs./around 32 kilos and I'm told that he's going to be wonderful with the children. Actually, he is a very gentle dog and is already great with them. We've had him for about 2 weeks and he's already grown a lot. He's also damaged a lot! That's why he'll be our happy outside puppy...much too big for indoors. Tarzan is the now the king of our olive grove.

And there's one more... dog...

Shortly after we took in Tarzan, another stray dog came to our home. She walked in the gate as if she belonged here. It seemed as if she knew Tarzan because she went to him as soon as she was in. I put her out of the gate and she came back in through the bars. Kosta and I put her out again, only for her to return. We spent 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon putting plastic mesh over the bars so that she couldn't get in...but alas, she got in. As she would squeeze through the bars she'd get stuck and squeal as she wiggled her way in, she was desperate. We couldn't watch her do it we let her stay. I called a local animal rescue agency and our vet to try to find her a home. She's adorable and really no trouble at all. We've actually considered keeping her too. But can I have 3 dogs and 3 kids?! I received a call from an organization in Thessaloniki, they may have found a new home for her. We're really on the fence because she's a doll. And, whenever we open the gate to pull the car out -she watches patiently and as soon as we're ready to close the gate, she runs back in, making it clear that she plans on staying. So, we haven't officially named her because we don't want to get too attached. Izabella calls her "Asproula" and I call her "Blondie".

Here she is...

I'm not sure what will happen with her but whether she stays here or goes to a new home, she'll be loved more than she apparently had been. I've got my hands full but it's ok. The kids love having 3 dogs to play with also. There's never a dull moment around here.


  1. dude, you so have 3 dogs now. :)

    tarzan reminds me of sonja. she was a border collie/shepherd/husky mix. LOVED to play fetch with tennis balls and loved to go on bike rides (we got her a pulling harness and she'd pull).

  2. I will take her. I love her. Bring her to me!!! She's beautiful.

    And I think Tarzan is going to make a great friend to Foti - he looks like a boy's dog through and through. We always had shepherds growing up - one taught me to walk by letting me pull myself up handful of skin by handful of skin and then walking around with me holding on. Shepherds are wonderful with people and smart as you could wish for.

    I'll take the blonde dog. Bring her to France. She belongs with me.

  3. What a cute doggy and a lucky one to have such excellent 'parents' like you all Cheryl. Best regards and wishes too.

  4. i'm tired of dog ladies too - they take on so many dogs, and can't look after them properly, while at the same time trying to pass themselves off as a kind of animal lovers.

    Fotis' bundled up for very cold weather. i guess it's freezing where you are. here, it's cold and damp, but tolerable.

    I have linked my most recent post to your blog - you will see why!

  5. Plus, 'asproula' goes well with 'hondroula' - which is Geena's other family's pet name for her LOL. Yes, she needs to come here, for sure.

  6. Linda...yeah dude...three dogs! Could you have ever imagined that? Three dogs and a messy house...what's up with me? LOL! :)

    Syd, I agree that Foti and Tarzan will be the best of buddies. I am so happy that he's so gentle already too. He's very obedient and just cuter than I could have imagined. I believe that it's essential that children are exposed to animals early in life. I'm so glad that my parents let us have animals too.
    And, Asproula...what can I say? She can melt any heart. MIL said that if she didn't live in an apt. that she would take her in a heartbeat. She's honestly a perfect dog. She always plops down on her back when I approach...waiting for a belly rub. The only thing that I don't like is that she jumps on me & the kids...very happy jumping...but that's something that can change with a little attention. She's a doll. I think that Asproula and Hondroula would also look fantastic as a pair! But, my car STILL isn't 100% legal so I can't take it out of the country yet. ACK! It's been almost 2 years. Kosta is on the fence with her also. He didn't like her at first because she forced her way in. But then last week he was in the yard and he asked if we should buy her a collar. ???? Again, whatever the outcome...I'm happy to make her happy.

    Philip...thank you! I believe that they're both lucky. They are wonderful and very grateful, lovely dogs. I'm lucky to have them. Hey, we're all lucky!

    Maria, the dog lady is out of control and the stench is unbearable when driving past. She's so close that on a peaceful afternoon you can "enjoy" the sound of 200 dogs barking along with the birds. I admire her commitment but she needs to realize that those dogs are suffering. What's more is that ignorant people have to start spaying/neutering their animals AND stop dumping them in the countryside for people like me to deal with. I could go on and on...that's a whole post in itself.

    Yes, Foti was bundled up because it was a little colder but I think that I can safely put the heavy coats away soon. The kids really haven't needed them lately.

    I'll go over to your blog now! I'm curious!

  7. My immediate feeling was border collie/shepard mix, your first commenter had it right. My grandsons have a border collie and they make wonderful pets. Blondie, I have no idea but she is cute...ciao

  8. Hi Cheryl,
    Oh my goodness! When it rains it pours! Both of the puppies are too cute, I guess if you have the land for them to roam, it can't be that bad. I go a little nuts with my 2 dogs and 1 cat but we don't have a yard for everyone to hang out in so they are mostly inside. How is Gigi handling all of this?
    Take care,

  9. Is there a chance they are related? There is a significant resemblance. Mum and son?

  10. Difficult, we have the same problems here. We have the choice of 2 strays at the moment but when do you say ENOUGH?? Hopefully , before you get to the Doglady stage..

  11. Hi Cheryl,
    There is a NO KILL animal shelter in Nikiti; I believe the dogs are given to good homes in Germany and Greece. This place is not a "dog lady" shelter as the animals are cared for. Maybe you're already aware of this place.

    Cute, cute doggies found their way to you. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Rositta-Yes, I think that you & Linda are right about Tarzan. He is already very good with the kids. Sweet as can be!

    Angela-Yes, there is plenty of land to why do they poop right in the front of the house? Ha ha! I think that's their way of showing me love. Anyway, Gigi is doing great with the other two. She doesn't get to go out too much as we like to keep her clean, but when she does venture out she has a blast. Sometimes Tarzan can be a little overwhelming for her though as he's such a big puppy and is a little rough, I mean ruff! (ok, now you know how much of a dork I am)

    Anonymous-Hi there! I have considered that they might be related as she was determined to stay with him and they're always together. That was one of my first thoughts. She's also very good at disciplining him when he's irritating her. I see a resemblance also but we'll never know.

    Jude, yes, it's a big problem. I'm almost certain that two dogs will be enough. It's getting quite messy around here and schlepping around in rubber boots with a shovel isn't glamorous! :) If we can find a good home for Asproula I think that I can take comfort in knowing that I helped.

    Iosifina-Thank you for the info, I didn't know about the shelter in Nikiti, I'm glad to know of more. I'm working with one in Halkidiki and the woman who owns the shelter can only hold 35 dogs-that's her count right now. She asked me if I could keep Asproula here and care for her until they find her a good home, which could be outside of Greece. So, that's where we are. Although, I'm tempted to keep her, I'm sure that she'll be happier if she received more attention than I can give. Although, she is getting a little spoiled already!

  13. Syd...if you want her we can definitely find a way for you to have her. :) I'm on myspace, if you are...message me there.

  14. Tarzan is way cool. The blonde is typical Syd type of dog. I wonder how Geena would react. I dunno - but if Syd says yes that's it then, innit?

    Kudos to you for taking care of them. They sure have a rough time in that country.

    All the best.

  15. Rick...yes, Tarzan is cool. He's sweet and a little clumsy-cute.

    I think that if Geena is/was familiar with seeing other dogs around, she might not have a hard time. I'm really surprised that Gigi was so playful the first time that we let Asproula run with her. That's not the case with Tarzan...Gigi is afraid of him because he's so big.
    Syd can think about it, I have her here and she's being cared for. I've been telling everyone that she's a perfect dog. I think that Syd would give her more attention than I can, as much as I adore her. So, think about it and if you're serious we can work something out.

  16. What will you do if you see another sad-looking puppy in the rain, the next time you go out?

    When we arrived in Greece (Kalymnos) I ended up with several dogs and kittens within days.

    It's so hard to walk away from them.

    Anyway, well done to you for not walking away.

  17. Minky, you raised a good question...what will I do? Probably the same. I'll try to find a home for it. I've taken in cats back in the U.S. -as it's usually more likely to find a stray cat than a dog in my neighborhood.
    It's very hard to walk away for them and I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself if I wouldn't have taken Tarzan in. Asproula basically forced herself in, she really didn't give me a choice so I turned to the resources available. I received a call from the rescue organization earlier this evening regarding Asproula. They think that they may have found her a family. It will be hard to see her go but I think that it's the best.
    As for you saving those animals...great job! I'm sure that those animals are living fantastic lives with you. They're probably so grateful and lovable, what a great comfort.

  18. 3 dogs - 3 children, one dog for each child! It is ok when you have the land for them to run around, I guess, but it means a lot of work for you! I saw a german shepherd on the tiny balcony of what is probably a tiny apartment and it made me so sad. Dogs need to run around!

    I can't blame you for being suckered into getting Tarzan. There are so many dogs around our house that it is really hard not to do everything we can to take care of them. Thankfully, a woman behind us gets a vet to come up and look at the strays and she puts food and water down for them and has two extra dog houses outside her gate so I know the 'hood dogs get some care. With three cats, there is no way we are taking in a dog, and I think Thanos would prefer there were three less cats as it is. ;) But even he gets puppy guilt when it comes to the dogs around us. They always get our table scraps!

  19. Hi Mel! Yes, it's a lot of work! Cats are so much easier! I miss having a cat...they aren't as messy, that's for sure. The third dog is on her way out as soon as a good home is found for her.As I've mentioned before, she's adorable but I know my limits. It's way too much for me to handle even with all of our space. They like to make all of their messes in our immediate space and it's hard for me to keep up. I don't blame you for not taking in a dog.
    As for big dogs on tiny balconies, it's nice that they're loved enough to be allowed on the balcony but I agree, dogs need to run. Even little Gigi needs to run. If they walk the dogs it's one thing, but if they don't?
    It's nice that you and your neighbors care for the strays. They need a little love once in a while:)Every little bit counts.

  20. I've been haunting the shelter looking for the perfect dog - sure wish we were in Greece because Asproula looks perfect. Three dogs is a lot though, especially with young kids, so I understand why you're looking to place her elsewhere.

  21. Laurie,

    She is the perfect dog...if you were here, I'd give her to you!
    Looks like she may be staying...
    It's been over a month and I haven't heard anything. She's happy here. It's a lot of work but I'll manage. I love schlepping around the yard with my rubber boots and a shovel!