growing up in the countryside i saw a lot of animals come and go. our yard was always filled with all sorts of creatures. of course they all had names and they all came when called (yes, even the hens…) mum had a special way of whistling that meant food’s ready! (also for us children and for dad if he was somewhere nearby), but when the parrot learned to imitate her she had to come up with another way of communicating… the two rottweilers got a bit embarrassed when they realised they had been fooled by a bird in a cage..
oh, the stories i could tell… like the time those rottweilers chased two intruders up a tree and we left them there the whole day…
anyway. all those animals will always have a place deep in my heart, for different reasons. but there was one that was so much more. there was one that for ever will be the one i loved the most. her name was gaina, she was a schipperke and she was born on this very day 1992. she came into my life when i was just a child, a child that had lost two beloved dogs in four months. i was heartbroken and sure i could never love again and when we went to the breeder’s i wasn’t really interested.
at the breeder’s they had about 17 dogs, 12 cats and nine children, the house was a mess. i remember sitting there in their kitchen waiting whilst the fat woman was trying to find the puppy we were there to buy. suddenly i saw her. this little.. thing was coming from the hall, hauling my shoe. out of all the shoes (nine children, remember.. and yes, in finland we walk without shoes in people’s homes) she could choose from, she had picked out mine and she brought it straight to me. or tried at least, she was quite tiny and i have never been known for having small feet..
in the car on our way home i tried to put her in a box but when she crawled up in my lap for the third time and looked at me with those loyal pepper eyes i let her stay and there she stayed for more than 16 years. even when i moved away from home and had to leave her behind i was her whole world. my mum used to say that they always knew i was heading that way, no matter what weather, gaina would suddenly want outdoors and refuse to come in. in sun or rain, hot or cold, she would wait on the porch. when she heard my car she stood up and started treading, when she saw it she started yelping and as soon as the car stood still she came running as fast as those tiny feet could. when she had reached her goal – my lap – she howled. it was her way of letting the world know we were reunited.
to leave her broke my heart every time. she would see me packing my bag and those pepper eyes would fill up with tears (no, i’m not kidding. she knew how to cry.) she would jump up in my lap again, this time whimpering and when i finally had left, mum said she always sobbed for the rest of the evening. she would not touch her food nor want to go out. if it was really bad, mum would find her sleeping in my bed – even though all our animals always knew their place was on the floor.
it’s almost two years since our last goodbye but i still feel a lump in my throat when thinking about her and those brown pepper eyes looking at me with unconditional love.