Monday, November 17, 2014

More Stromovka

Until I got to know it a little better, I had kinda thought of Stromovka park as a little too wild and shaggy. In my mind, it wasn't manicured enough. It was nice, but it could be so much nicer, I thought. But now that I live close by, and have spent more time there, I've grown to really love it.

Not sure what I was thinking, really. 

(You can see more of my Stromovka photos here and here.)

World, Meet Sadie

Introducing Sadie.

We got her in early August, a few months after our beloved Chicho died. I'm allergic to cats, the apartment seemed incredibly empty without an animal, and the girls had desperately wanted a dog.

We decided to get a rescue dog. Daisy began following various shelters on Facebook.

Daisy and Emma were (and still are) particularly taken with French bulldogs, and we ended up finding two (!) who needed homes in the early summer.  They lived a few hours outside of Prague in what turned out to be pretty horrible conditions. We didn't really want two French bulldogs, but this pair -- named Lilly and Adena -- had been together for many years and it seemed unwise to split them up. They had a few health problems, but nothing that we couldn't handle. Or so we thought.

They ended up being too much for our small flat. Their health problems and behavior, combined with our work schedules, made keeping them impossible.

We felt awful.

During our quest for a dog, we had met Jana Bednarova from the XY agency in the small village of Vsenory, a few minutes outside of Prague. With nowhere else to turn, we asked Jana if she could take Lilly and Adena. She said she would. We donated a good
chunk of money to her shelter for her kindness.

We were very happy to learn that, after a few more health scares, both dogs were soon adopted to homes better able to accommodate their needs.

We can't thank Jana enough or say enough about the work she does there. If you're looking to adopt, please get in touch with her. Or just donate some money. She's a wonderful person, and it's a wonderful cause.

Our search for a dog continued.

In July, Daisy saw Sadie on the Facebook page of Home 4 Pets, another local adoption agency. She had been rescued from an illegal puppy mill in Slovakia that had been shut down. If you don't know anything about puppy mills, they are horrible places where dogs are kept in terrible conditions for the sole purpose of giving birth to litter after litter of puppies so they can be sold for big profits. God only knows what Sadie had been through before she was rescued.

Home 4 Pets believed she was about 3 years old. She was staying in a foster home when Emma and I first we went to see her.

She was very shy and very cute and very small (2.8 kilos) and had a very sad face. She was tan and white, with faint, caramel-coloreds wisps across her back. She was, we were told, mostly house-trained. I think I knew the moment I saw her that she was The One.

Sadie is the definition of a lap dog. If there's a lap anywhere in her vicinity, she'll find it. If you stop petting her, she'll scratch at you until you have no choice but to resume. Give her a treat and she runs around in circles with such delight that all you want to do is to give her another. (One of the reasons she's gained half a kilo since we got her.) She sleeps on our bed at night and during the day, while we're at work, she either snoozes in her own little bed or finds some nook and cranny in a closet somewhere in which to wedge herself.

Like most chihuahuas, she's very protective of her owners and barks at dogs 50 times her size. She has no idea how small she is. She also hates bicycles for some reason and barks and lunges at them when they whiz by. (We just took her to her first obedience class, run by Alex Van Der Kuijl, a dog trainer who also runs a dog hotel. He offers free obedience lessons at 11:15 every Saturday at Letna Park in Prague 7. So far, so good.)

We love her a lot and hope she's forgotten all about that terrible puppy mill by now.

We took Sadie to Germany a few weeks ago for some hiking. We ended up walking about 8 or 9 kilometers, and Sadie did the whole thing. We found out later than a long walk for a chihuahua is, at most, a couple of kilometers. She was exhausted. 

We gave Sadie a rawhide bone and were quite surprised when she took it out onto our terrace and buried it in a bowl full of dirt that Daisy had laying around from some gardening.