4-Legged Love

Sep 02 2021

4-Legged Love

Going to Spain was already something I was planning to do, so when I saw that I could go with a Erasmus+ Project, I immediately signed on. I love these projects, and to be able to go to one that was about dogs was like the cherry on top. The only thing I didn’t like about the project is that it was so short!

 

The first day was spent on introductions and information sharing about what the situations were in our respective countries. Of course we were also given some leeway to be able to explore the venue and properly meet people outside of the training. We also got to visit the shelter and see some of the city where we were going to hold the adoption event. The second day was more about teaching us about how to behave ourselves with the dogs.

 

The second day we got to actually work with the dogs! We first got brought to the shelter and got an explanation of what our schedule would look like for the rest of the week, after which we got to meet the dogs in their kennels and choose which one we wanted to work with.

 

One of the dogs that I saw in that shelter was this beautiful GSD/greyhound mix. She didn’t have a name yet, and the shelter had a plaque up that specified she would not be easy to work with, because she was very insecure and scared. I saw that most people walked past her and that was what made me decide to work with her.

 

The security man told me that it was not going to be easy, but I knew that, and said that that was exactly why I wanted to work with her, and give her a chance to shine.

 

That turned out to be the best decision I made. It was very hard at first, just because she was so scared, but after a while she came out of her shell! At the end of the day she didn’t want to go back, and I can’t blame her, shelter kennels aren’t that great to be in all day.

 

The next day we went back and as I got her leash and walked to her kennel, she was actually excited and wanted to come up to me! And as I worked with her for those days leading up to the adoption event, she became more open and playful. She changed completely in front of my eyes and that is what gave me the most satisfaction. It is the most wonderful feeling to see a dog that is so scared and timid transform into a confident, happy and carefree dog.

 

After 5 days of working with the dogs and bonding as a group, it was time for the adoption event. I was scheduled to be one of the dog-showers together with David, a fellow participant who helped me with my dog. There were others who were charged with organizing activities and making sure we had the attention of the locals. We had named our dog Estrella, for the stars she got back in her eyes. It was a blast that day, and she had caught the eye of a local, who loved her happy, energetic vibes and immediately started calling family to see if it could be arranged that day.

 

While it warmed my heart to see that she was already catching someone’s attention, it also was incredibly hard. Me and David had built up a strong bond with her in those few days, and knowing that we wouldn’t see her again after this hit home like a sledgehammer. Despite the tears in both our eyes, it was a fun and eventful day.

 

After that we went back to the venue and had one more goodbye party before we had to go the next day. The week was well-spent and I felt very good about what I and all other participants had done for these dogs.

 

About a week after the project had ended, I found out through the man that had been at the event that Estrella had been adopted by him. I shared that news with the group in a joint WhatsApp chat. The happy responses made that moment even better.

 

 

I sincerely hope to go on another project like this again, it was truly special!

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