Dora means gift in Greek. Although we didn’t know that when we named her, she really is true to her name. If you are interested in what we are doing, then you have to meet the whole family. You can catch up with our story on why we quit our live in the UK.
So far, I’ve mentioned Dora-dog in previous posts and she’s been in photos too. I’d like you to meet her properly. Let me begin…
Dora is the third person in our family and we completely dote on her. She captures the hearts of everyone (she likes) and puts on a pretty convincing act of being a scary dog – when she feels the need to.
Her most striking feature are her spectacular, expressive ears. They are constantly moving up and down and subsequently, we can read her emotions like a book!
At 10 weeks old, she fell deeply and madly in love with a tennis ball. Ever since then, it’s been a love affair that’s never wavered. I swear, she would do anything for that ball!
Dora-dog wags her tail when you talk to her, and spends half her time upside down, waiting for her tummy to be stroked. She’s also very polite and asks permission to jump on the bed…even at 2am in the morning! We’ve discovered that her favourite food is curry and rice which she devours with delight. All in all, she knows she is unconditionally loved and she plays on it.
Let’s go back to the beginning…
We accumulated Dora-dog by accident. She was a rescue puppy from Ireland, and had luckily survived the notorious Parvo virus. The virus had swept through her litter, taking the lives of half the pups. Consequently, the remaining puppies were fighting their way back to recovery.
We met Dora for the first time on a snowy January day. She was 8 weeks old, and a friend (who was fostering her) drove past and pulled up to say hello. She had the recovering Parvo-pups, including Dora, in a bed on the front seat of her car. They were all snuggled up together in knitted jumpers to keep them warm (see picture below of Dora rocking the knitted jumper.)
The ‘trial weekend’…
Of course every puppy is cute, and we fell in love with all of them at once. However, we were reluctant to get too attached to any of them. We already had one dog, and we didn’t want to upset the balance.
Over the coming weeks, we frequently saw the puppies. They needed lots of love and attention as they gained their strength back. It was amazing to watch them transform from being sickly and quiet, to playful and energetic. We managed to keep our promise of not becoming too attached. In contrast, our existing dog Finn… well…he failed! He fell in love with the little black and white puppy that would later become Dora.
She ended up with us for a “trial weekend” to see how things went. I think you can figure out the result of that one.
Part of the family…
Over the years, Dora has stolen our hearts. She’s a key part in our lives. We’ve shared muddy walks, river swims and ice creams with her. She’s been on camping trips and cycle rides with us. She enjoys a cheeky peanut-or-two under the table in the beer garden, and is very partial to tea and biscuits!
Moving Dora-dog to Greece…
There was no way we could leave Dora behind as we embarked on our new life in Greece. As a result, Dora-Dog made the journey, by plane, to be with us.
The day of Dora’s arrival was fraught with worry. Having heard horror stories involving animals travelling by aeroplane, we anxiously drove to the airport in Heraklion in silence.
After an hour of waiting, pacing up and down and staring obsessively for signs of a vehicle carrying an animal crate, Dora arrived. A rickety metal trailer clanked and bumped over the uneven road. Huddled in the back of the crate was a tiny white form. It seemed so small, I wondered if it was really her. However as soon as she heard our voices, she suddenly transformed into the Dora we know and love. We frantically opened the crate to let her out.
Her arrival instantly made us feel more at home in Crete. We euphorically walked her to the car and prepared her for the drive to her new home.
After a couple of weeks of being here, we were starting to worry about Dora’s exemplary behaviour! We informed friends and family that Dora had reformed herself and was now a quiet, model dog. The transition to Crete had somehow corrected her bad behaviour. She didn’t react when our neighbours walked past, nor did she bark in the garden late at night. This was what it was like to have a well behaved dog, we mused.
Our worries were unfounded and short lived… This meek and mild version of Dora, didn’t last long. She soon began to chase and bark at passing cars (which luckily we have very few of, being up a secluded track.) She’s definitely ‘found her feet.’ We are glad to report that nowadays, she tries to insert her authority with the neighbouring cats, and no car can get past without her noticing.
That first autumn and winter, we all enjoyed daily walks through the olive groves that surround our house. The olive harvest was well under-way. The mass picking-of-olives and pruning-of-trees could be heard everywhere. Chainsaws revved, and voices called to one another. We wandered past with Dora, as huge sacks of olives were piled into the back of trucks. The smell of smoke hung in the air from the bonfires burning the unwanted pruned branches.
The novelty of being able to walk straight out of the front door into the countryside still hasn’t worn off. We feel so lucky to be able to open the gate and descend into the maze of olive trees.
Coping with the summer heat…
Now that it’s the height of summer Dora is struggling with the intense heat. We’ve tried laying wet towels on her tummy and showering her with cold water, but it’s only a temporary fix. Before long, she is panting and itching again.
One afternoon, I decided to try and ease her suffering by giving her a haircut. Mr Sidestepping-Normal was out at the time and Dora happily laid still as I chopped away with a pair of scissors.
As I continued, the mountain of excess fur increased and I felt more confident with every chop!
When Mr Sidestepping-Normal returned, he couldn’t hide his amusement as he was greeted by the ‘new’ Dora. He joked that he would only walk her under the cover of darkness because she looked so ridiculous! It’s fair to say that my attempt did have a ‘rustic’ quality. The relief I could see in Dora, made it worth it though.
The fur is growing back quickly. Poor Dora will have to put her faith in my hairdressing skills once again in the near future!
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