Every dog has its day

When I turned four, the equivalent of thirty human years, I found myself in the animal shelter for the fifth time.

Al dat hekwerk om me heen? Hier zit ik nog in het asiel. This time round I would be there for ten agonisingly long months. Nobody wanted me anymore, many must have thought, and I instinctively thought, too. A walk round the block with the paper seemed to have worked a treat. As always dog lovers fell for my attractively patterned coat and deep light-blue eyes. Keepers didn’t hand me over to just anybody; I’m no dog for a couple of short walks a day. I’m not the sort of dog you can lock away in a bench when you go out for the day - it would drive me mad. I’m not good around small children, prodding my eyes and pulling my ears. Owners-to-be would come to look at me and ask questions. Even if they didn’t get to take me home, they were all impressed by wild stories of me biting cats to death, catching ducks and being an altogether impossible but gorgeous creature.

On a week-day in the summer of 1999, there was a new customer come to take a look. The huge picture poster in the entrance hall of the animal shelter of The Hague seemed to have worked. We got acquainted, while I kept my gear in neutral. Why should I get all excited when I would most probably be returned to a cage in a couple of weeks or months? But no, things worked out different. The man came back that same afternoon and I went with him! Walking to the umpteenth strange house, I was as cool as a cucumber: you want contact? Well, you do the work, then, mate. I didn’t really want to commit myself anymore. Once in the new house someone else arrived in the evening, who apparently also lived there.

That I’m standing here now, is proof enough. The three of us really bonded at home and the bond continues. We are together for nine years now. This is the life for me. We go for nice long walks, we go cycling during the day or in the summertime at night, and we frequently take the train to the Swiss Alps. The ideal place to be, due to the endless rambling opportunities with meltwater along the way and, higher up, perennial snow - that’s what I like! And I have lots of fun there with my owners, and I always will. Apart from taking cycle and tram rides, I also go along to the office. Sometimes there’s nothing else for it, but to get off early, because I go wild when I see a kid with a balloon. This scares me out of my wits - plant sprays, too, by the way. That’s something to do with my past, I suppose.

At the office I have a room with a balcony, what could be better? At Proefdiervrij there are four other dogs. Take a look at them on the following page.

translation by Willem Groenewegen, 2004

My four friends>>