The first dog I had as my own was an Old English sheepdog - Fiti. There were many before in my life, friends dogs to whom I was close to or some stray ones we took care of, but unfortunately, I had the first dog only when I was 25 years old. Fiti has been the best thing that happened to us and he became a member of the family whom I loved from the day we met. A furry ball has enjoyed all the spoiling we could attend him with. Unfortunately, because of reckless dog breeding "professional" he was born with a genetics hip problem. We had no idea about it but in the beginning and it was a luck that he ended up with us as we helped him to live the best life possible. Having a dog showed me what an unconditional love is and all the joys of coming home to have someone greet you like you were gone for ages, you know dog stuff. I was devastatingly sad when he was gone and I am happy for all the memories I have of him.
When I settled down in Krcedin I had space and both Katarina and I really wanted some pets. She went to a neighboring city with friends and this amazing golden retriever stuck with her following her around. Two of them became inseparable as soon as they met and the way Leo looks at Katarina is amazing even now, a couple of years later. He is very smart, friendly and never away from his tennis balls. He is the kind of dog everyone could wish for. He understands everything, enjoys walking and running, has good character and likes the company of other dogs, kids, and people. We could not be more happy with him and that is how our pack was started.
Leo was alone only for some time, as we needed time to figure out can we take care of another dog. Unfortunately, animal awareness in Serbia is very low or even not existing and there are a lot of abandoned animals living on streets. Driving around in countryside can be specifically sad when you see a lot of dogs both crossbred and fancy breeds whom you cant help no matter how much you want to. I was one of those early cold February nights with heavy rain that seemed not to be willing to stop at all. I arrived back to my house from work and on the doorstep lied a dog hiding from bad weather. I have been struggling a lot with thoughts of getting a breed that I like while on the other side I had so many opportunities of saving a dog from the streets. The feeling I had when we rescued Leo and brought him back as a healthy and happy dog has been one of the best feelings I felt but still, I really liked wolf-liked white dogs. There she was, waiting for me. I brought her in and Malena (Tiny one) became a second member of the pack.
She and Leo immediately fell in love with each other. She is kind of a wild and restless dog, always reaching for new things, has been the dog that raised our fences with the easiness of her escapes. She knows the most tricks and it is still impossible to walk with her calmly from all the excitement in her blood. Looking back at that time, having two dogs was much easier than having only one and I would recommend it to everyone struggling with the thought. Dogs have each other and taking care of two is not a big difference comparing to one dog.
We soon found out that Malena had a friend, small black dog that walked on two legs. I started feeding her and occasionally let her in to sleep in the yard during the night. I did not know if she was somebody's else dog and we were really scared of the possibility of having one more. Maca (kitty cat) is a dog that you either love or you did not meet. She literally pushed her way into our hearts and lives. If she wants something, she is gonna get it, definitely, for sure, and there is no dog trainer in the world that could get it to happen otherwise. She is needy, spoiled, her bark can be annoying, she will jump in your lap as soon as you sit without asking or even caring about what you think about it. If you were not before, 5 minutes with her will make you a dog person, or when I think about it, rather a Maca person. If she was our first dog we would never think of another as we always say, but never the less we love her the most. Writing about things you like comes easy and I am definitely breaking all the rules of keeping a post light, but if you stumbled upon our page and came here I am sure pictures would say more than words.
Katarina was driving with her friend on a highway when she saw two dogs trapped between cars driving 120km/h and a fence. They stopped, got the dogs in the car and wanted to just get them out to a safe place, living them in next village away from the roads. Next village happened to be ours, and next stop our house. For one of the dogs, a golden retriever Meda(Teddy bear), we found a home at the most amazing family he could get, while the other stayed with us. She was frightened, untrusty, very very skinny and afraid of even the slightest sound. We called her Pegica (Spotty) while we were figuring out how to make her trust us by eating, drinking water and slowly joining our pack. It was very hard as she has been so traumatized. The concept of petting is something she is still getting used to. She is a mother figure in the pack, barking at other dogs while playing which is something others find difficult to understand and sometimes consider a threat. When she finally started to learn about happiness, she got into a very serious fight with Malena that did not help the recovery. Now she has beautiful fur, most caring eyes, she knows how to remove ticks from other dogs and takes care of all of them. It is been two years now and finally, she had a year without any incident, we keep her separated from other dogs when we leave just to be sure and hope to recover her fully. The process of healing traumatized dog is slow and asks for a lot of devotion but finally, we think we are on right track and we are so happy when we see her playing with other dogs.
The last dog had a life similar to the one of the youngest child. Her name is Kiflica (Croissant). I was driving back home one night, saw her laying down in the middle of the road, picked her up and took her home. She was never problematic in any sense, learned more from other dogs while finding a way for herself. She was the only dog that came to us as a real baby, while we were solving other problems she grew and turned into a beautiful healthy dog. She is always in the same sentence with Jeanny, lone cat in the pack. Only a couple of months before Kiflica, we adopted a stray cat. She was tiny and much smaller than her brothers and sisters when she climbed on Katarina thus choosing us as a new family. Since that time, when she was only a couple of months old, she lived with dogs and has proven her bossy status in a pack as she is an absolute ruler of our animals. She is an awesome black cat spending days sunbathing, climbing to an old attic or the roof. We are desperately trying to fight her predator instincts and stop her from chasing lizards as they are highly beneficial animals taking care of many insect pests. Most of all she likes to play with Kiflica, and two of them are inseparable since they met. As they came last to the pack they found each other and their games never seize to amaze and entertain us.
Besides all, we had some other attempts to save stray animals with only some being successful. It is painful to know there are some we could not help. Unfortunately sharing some news about an abandoned dog is drowned among many similar posts on social media and most of our friends either have dogs or consume a lifestyle that barely gives them time to themselves. It is too much-repeated fact, but getting a furry best friend or couple of them is a life-changing experience and helping abandoned and alone creature is even more rewarding. Keep in mind, we humans made dogs what they are when we domesticated wolfs. Dogs are not wild animals and they can only live with humans or close to them so it is our duty take care of them.
All our animals are neutered and it is one more fact that I specifically struggled with as there are many opinions in both directions. Finally, we settled down with the fact that they are not wild animals and as we can not afford to let them breed we had to make a less painful decision. And I must add that none of their characters changed a bit. They live in a huge yard, running around whole day and enjoying to the fullest. I intentionally keep some trees lower to make fruit accessible to them, and we keep a schedule of next dog in line for a walk in the city. Youngest, Kiflica is 2 years old while oldest Leo has around 5. They are healthy, spend all the time we can with us or in their never-ending games. They are our best friends, a family and one of the best things that happened to us.
Here are some bonus images of our pack: