Children’s queries

teo

When I was little, I remember asking my mother:

 “Mom, if ever they would tell you that there was a mistake in the hospital and I am not really your child, would you love me just as much?” 

She stopped her knitting for a moment and looked at me in amazement. She then smiled, reached out to pat me on the head and replied:

“Son, it’s not the brief pain of birth that counts, it’s the long lasting pain of a lifetime”.

Years went by and there I was with my newly acquired puppy. I watched her grow with me as we shared the same food, the same bed, the same days and nights. She was my friend, my companion. She jumped around and played and she made me very happy. She was sick and I felt sick as well. She got better and I was feeling better too.
And one day when she was grown I looked at her straight in the eyes and realized how deeply I would miss her when she will be gone. It was then that I understood my mother’s words, that it’s not the brief pain that counts but the pain of a lifetime.
It was for me to take care of her, to pet her, to buy her toys, to feed her, to make sure she has everything she needs, to watch her grow strong and play happily, to worry every moment that something bad might happen to her, to fear any illness.
And when the time came that the circle of her life was complete, I knew it in my heart that she would be irreplaceable, because every creature is unique and unrepeatable. Her lovely trace was indelibly printed on my soul.
What difference does it really make whether my child is human or canine? Wasn’t she raised with the same amount of love? Wasn’t she nurtured as if she was my own baby? Didn’t she make me feel unprecedented feelings? Didn’t I worry and cried for her? Didn’t I feel guilty at times for not providing for her as much as I should have?
Or is there any doubt that she didn’t love me in return? That she adored me and stood beside me in my every moment, be it good or bad? That she never betrayed me, criticized me or hurt me in any way? Did she ever deny me of her affection? Didn’t she wake me up with licks and kisses every morning? Didn’t she always respond to my call for play? Didn’t she stand quietly beside me in my times of sorrow? Is there any doubt, whatsoever, that she loved me any less than I loved her?
How can one describe the life with a dog? What one offered and what one received in return? Sometimes words are very poor, not enough, to specify, to reflect the feelings one experiences.
Now it’s my turn to add to my mother’s words:
“It’s not the brief pain of a moment that counts but the long lasting pain of the lifetime you spend with every furry friend you raise, you nurture and you love…Adopt a dog and adore him as if he were your own child. Treat him as if he were your baby. And remember that he will always love you very much more in return!”

Giorgis Taxideutis

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This day many years ago…

3rThis day many years ago… This day many years ago I arrived in the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, on my first trip to Mount Athos. The monastery that had offered me accommodation previously, was quite a distance easy and the travel to go there exhausted me. I found myself in big agony because I had made no arrangements for my stay in Vatopedi. So I wouldn’t know whether I would be allowed to stay there or where would I end that night. Fortunately, everything was settled and they accepted me in the monastery. Quite tired I simply decided to visit the church and light a candle in the night vigil to follow and later go to sleep. “Let me pray tomorrow and watch the liturgy of tomorrow”, I decided. Indeed, shortly after the start of the service, my tired feet brought me to the church.”I must stay for 5 minutes” I thought, “it shouldn’t be right if I left immediately”. After all, the Archangels’ celebration is dawning”. And these 5 minutes became 5 hours. And there I was, motionless, stunned, watching with my entire senses alert. The choruses changing one another, the melodies bedazzling, the angelic voices of the monks astonishing under the dim, candle light. And occasionally a monk gently wiggling the huge chandelier … The ritual so grand and strict that left you wondering whether you are about to see the form of a Byzantine emperor into the thin light… The whole congregation stood there still, intent, contemplating the words of the liturgy taking place in memory of the synaxis. I do not know how much time had passed when an elder monk stood in the middle of the church and in a calm and firm voice, read the Mass book: “… the most beautiful, stronger and brighter, boasted … above the stars of heaven I will put my throne, and I will be like the Highest … then he fell and along with him dragged many angels … at this critical time Archangel Michael stood in the middle of the sky and praised loudly the Lord: “Let us stand well, let us stand with fear.”And immediately the Angels stood in their place and began chanting: “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of your glory.” And so the falling stopped. On November 8, therefore, we are not celebrating the fall for which we regret, but the congregation. ” My eyes wept. He gave us free will. And we, ourselves, betray Him… Our course and outcome are of our responsibility… But He, in his boundless love for His creation, came to earth, taught, surrendered, was crucified, took upon Himself the sin of the whole human race, resurrected and has not ceased to forgive… Asking us for what? To simply say “I apologize, I have sinned”. To accept the mistakes we have done without excuses and ask for forgiveness. And if our repentance is true, then His hands are open and His joy great. Because everyone who turns to Him is not a sheep returning to the herd, but the prodigal son who returns to his Father… My soul bowed. And before the tears flood my eyes, I approached the image of the Mother Mary Esfagmeni (slain). I kneeled and asked for Her mediation and help, and I departed as discreetly as I could. I hope to find myself again, on such a day, to Vatopedi and live again the same experience. With a difference though: Being the prodigal who has finally found his way…
Angels of God, mediate for us…

2ar1ar

 

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Today I got to visit Mario

MariosToday I got to visit Mario; I went into his house and found him lying on the couch. He didn’t see me nor hear me; how could he anyway? I sat quietly beside him and caressed his head softly. He jumped up destructed and swayed his muzzle left and right, ‘caught’ my smell and instinctively rushed on me. He wasn’t furious nor attacking. He was his own unique self. He jumped in my arms and started licking my face all over. Every kiss he gave me was accompanied by a soft sigh. It was as though he wanted to say “where have you been? I missed you.” I wrapped my arms around him and let him kiss me. I sat on the floor and played a lot. I was holding him tight and he reached his front legs to me, holding me tight in its turn. In my arms he moved and licked me like a little puppy. He asked for my pudding and kissing. I lied on the floor and let him climb on my chest to go on kissing and hugging me. I moved him on the couch again and tried to take some photos. Yes, this is Mario; Lefki has spent a lot of money for him. Yes, it is Mario, he lives with Marita and Sotiris; they love and take care of him like a son. They take him for long strolls, even by the sea and he looks so calm when he is with them. This is Mario; Mario cannot see and hear. But he can feel, understand and has the same needs as other animals. It is Mario; he is not ‘registered’ in my name, he doesn’t belong to me and yet I feel like I’m hugging my own dog. This is Mario, who, I wish he finds a family of his own, someday, enjoying its exclusive love and care. It is Mario, who trusted me the first moment he felt me before him. One may say: ‘you feel pity on him… poor dog’. No, I don’t feel pity on him and I don’t believe it’s a ‘poor dog’. And I don’t believe that we must feel pity on animals with health problems. We must respect them, instead. And try to compensate for what nature has deprived them. Take care of them and be there for them, as they are there for us. And I dare say that, such animals especially, are there for their family much more than other animals. I wish I could be his eyes and ears, take him and show him the sunrise and the sunset of the day. Listen together and enjoy the plash of sea waves. Spend our nights and days together without anything separating us. My beloved prince. My adorable Mario. I can’t bring you home and feel remorse about it. But I can go on trying to find a person to love you like I love you. Much and forever!

 

Your Giorgis

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Melina

ΜελίναDecember 24 2004. I am passing outside a pet shop. I stop to see the window. A puppy playing happily in a cage. With no second thought I rush into the shop. “How much for the puppy?” “Nothing, it’s not a breed to sell!” My smile gets wider! “Can I hold it in my arms?” “Of course you can!” I take it in my hands. It is biting my fingers and licking my face! The spark gets fired. And suddenly a great love comes to life. It is female. I already know its name. ‘Melina’. I put it back in its cage, thank the shopkeeper and rush back home. “We are going to have a dog in the house”, I announce overjoyed! “Don’t even think of that”, my mother warns. “We will! I’m telling you!” I almost yell to her. And the race begins. “I’ll bring it over”, I say. “You will be thrown out along with your puppy!” “No, I say I’ll bring it here”. “Go to your own house and pack it with dogs, if you want to”. “Oh no, I will bring it here”! I say.

In the afternoon I go back to the shop. I watch the puppy sleeping blissfully. It tears my heart apart. It is Christmas night and yet another creature is left alone… I’m going back home. Headlong in the battle! I shout the same words again and again. “I will bring the puppy no matter what; I don’t care if you all blow yourself up”! Days pass… December 31. The puppy is still on display. I take the plunge. I step in the shop and ask to have it. I put it in my jacket; buy all necessary paraphernalia and rush back home, in pride. My mother is now suffering spasms. “Take it, take it away from me”, she is yelling. I put it in my room. It hides under my bed. I’m chasing it… and the game begins. A game that is still going on so many years later. Melina running in the house playing devil in its passing. Tables, chairs, carpets. Shiting everywhere. Climbing on tables, beds and sofas. Hugging and kissing every one of us. Bringing her toys to us to play with her. Going out for long strolls. Melina. My Melina. My first daughter. My beautiful child. And as to my family: The next day they adore her! They wake up earlier than me to prepare her milk! Feeding her by hand. Embracing and kissing her again and again. Melina. A fine puppy full of energy and kindness. Melina, who never rejected Lucky when Lucky was brought home and always allowed Lucky to taste her own food. Melina, who gave way to bed for Lucky to sit in. Melina, who, when Laky died, wept with tears… My Melina. My partner. My pride. My child, who cannot be exchanged for all the riches in the world, for all the glory, for the greatest love, for the most beautiful trip. Why? Because she herself is all to me.

Each year since that date, on 31/12 we celebrate her birthday. Her inclusion into my own family. Her presence, which changed my life and brought new meaning, happiness and hope to me. We buy a cake, blow out the candles and sing «Happy Birthday to you».

My precious daughter, this year, on your ninth birthday, one more time I wish many happy returns and may we live to spend many years together. May you live in health, beauty and happiness. My dear Melina, I owe you so much… As an acknowledgment of love and thankfulness I devote you this short memorandum. Your father Giorgis.

Giorgis Taxideutis

μελινα 2

μελινα1

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Small comment on Animal Welfare

1924616_714423168580622_1435136240_nSome people call themselves ‘animal lovers’ and maintain two or more animals. Many times, however, I can only disagree with what I see or I am told. Perhaps because, for me, the word ‘animal lover’, contains a meaning, such that cannot be matched with the behavior of such people towards animals. For example, I believe that when you see a dog and you have certain feelings for it, when this spark is created inside you, issues like, how much weight will it put on, or whether it is black, or of a good breed, or if it follows basic obedience rules and does its nasty things outside, are irrespective. And you should not expect to see any more characteristics to compare and get the best. Also, I expect it is perfectly normal to consider your dogs typical family members and maintain them into the house. Not because of the law requirements. But simply because dogs get to be cold and hot similarly to people, they need human presence and companionship, caress and touch. Just exactly as people do need these things themselves. They cannot therefore be living permanently in a garden, a courtyard, a terrace or a balcony just because the house will get messy and dirty, or because they should be ‘free’ or ‘it is simply a dog’ and it will be ‘just fine’. And this is irrespective of whether we keep them loose or tied. It is only that the second case is much worse.

Consequently, when I hear about training, I can only be angry when they tell me stories about this ‘positive training’ which included choke chains, electric collar, yelling, violent pulling of the leash, smack in the muzzle, kicks, intimidation with brooms and newspapers and finally treats… I also consider it unacceptable for someone to try to train their dog to be a guard. Such people, usually, are unable to simply realize that a training of this kind would render their dog dangerous with the highest possibilities to cause a lot of troubles. Please do not rush to criticize my exaggeration on the grounds that dogs do not suffer psychological trauma. Because I would oppose you that, phobia and aggression often observed is the result of psychological problems usually arising from human abuse!

I also believe that it is not wise to maintain animals with no parasitism ampoule and collar on them, no vaccines and annual exams for Kalazaar and Erlichia and give them bones or low quality dry food or human food to eat. It is also unwise to think that there’s no need to neuter your animal and instead wish your animal mated, because “There’ll be many out there wanting puppies”. The results of such behavior unfortunately are seen every day.

Finally, I would like to focus particularly on people who keep more animals than they can afford to and so they are unable to offer them any examinations, treatments or even vaccines.

One may ask ‘what are YOU doing about it?’ My answer would be straight away: I try to talk about it, explain, educate. Analyze obligations of the owner, welfare, positive training. Well, I usually fall on my face. Perhaps because, in Greece, most of us believe that simply owning a dog gives us automatic knowledge of all matters about it. Or maybe we are used to consider as right, old and outworn ideas that, the best they can prove is that people are often worst than animals.

My intention here is neither to make you feel uncomfortable nor tired. I would simply like to suggest you this: behave with love to your animals, touch them, share your house and heart with them, and educate yourself on what you have to do about them. I promise you that these animals themselves will reward you more and in better ways than you could ever imagine…

Giorgis

SMALL

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From the novel “In memory of…”

imagesThat evening, Panayiotis made her his for the first time. And as his lips were touching her lips and his body was struggling with hers, his last was not quenched, but rather became stronger. He felt like rough sea bursting against rocks only to come back more furious. The flame that kept burning him for so long now, instead of dying down, suddenly grew hotter, in no time, scorching every inch of his body and soul. Alas! He saw it clearly himself, this was not something he could ever escape from, not in this life. It was beyond his power. As he was kissing her virgin neck, agony reflected so evident in his eyes that Vaso was startled. This man, her man now, indeed felt so great things about her and she was never going to be able to return. Nevertheless, she left herself in his able hands to live her first night with him, putting all the passion she could afford into it. But this passion was not enough for Panayiotis. And when the first light of the day found them exhausted, one into the other’s arms, Panayiotis whispered to her “even though you became mine, you are not mine”. And if my eyes ever caught that you looked at another man or that another man looked at you, I will first kill you and then kill myself…

The cortege moved slowly up Maratou Street towards Anthoupoli’s Graveyard. The coffin was carried by the brothers of the deceased, his mother following at the back along with the crowd, relatives and friends. Alexandra was at the head of the cortege, almost imperious looking. A few small, unstable steps here and there and her waxen face, at moments betrayed what was really going on inside her.

Vaso was long waiting at her doorstep. As soon as she saw the cortege, she turned to her sister, Nikolitsa, and said to her: “Give me your jacket, from the coat hanger”. “You should come inside, what you are about to do is not right at all”, her sister answered. “Look, I don’t care if it is right; I am going to wear that jacket!” She reached after it, grabbed her sister’s red jacket by herself, put it on, took out a red varnish she found in a pocket, stood on the doorstep and began dyeing her nails slowly and showily. Nikolitsa started pulling her by the arm trying to get her in the house. “Are you insane, Vaso? It was your husband after all, what if you got separated? Come inside, you are making a fool of yourself”. “Oh, Death, the happiness you are giving me today, the sorrow you are taking away!” was Vasos’ reply, getting into a fury, planting her feet on the floor, for everyone to see her rejoicing. Indeed they did saw her. And into her eyes they saw the untamed hate for Panayiotis, a hate that was still there even after his death! Had there not been so many people, his brothers would have attacked her and killed her! They only whispered swears, as they walked slowly, gnashing their teeth… For her, this cortege was her triumph, her justice; such happiness she would never meet again and she would not exchange for anything.

When they reached the cemetery, the priest read some final words over the dead man and his brothers lifted the coffin and gently put it in its grave. At that moment, and that was the only moment, Alexandra looked like she had lost her strength, her legs bended and she collapsed. Perhaps it was then when she realized that her beloved son was gone, never to be seen again. Perhaps because she understood, finally, that, with our written fate, we are not entitled to interfere, and if we do interfere, the price will be too high, too painful and lasting forever!

Giorgis Taxideutis

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1974-2012

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Summer of 1974. I was a little child, not exactly aware of the things going on around me. That evening, I was watching TV along with my entire family. But this was an evening not alike the other ones. Agony and fear was evident on the faces of everyone. On windows and doors were hanging black curtains. Nobody was walking outside. A lady, friend of ours, had stayed over in our house. She wouldn’t dare return to her place.

Every time I tried to talk they would stop me abruptly. I couldn’t understand why. Until the landing of an airplane was shown on TV. A ladder was brought close and the door opened. A tall, proud gentleman appeared on the top. I remember my mother tearing. “He’s here finally”, she whispered. A little later this man was making a speech. Even when seated, he was the same impressive.

A short while passed and this man appeared on a balcony, speaking and waving to people who were cheering. His name was Karamanlis and everybody was talking about him. They said he brought ‘Democracy’ to our country. I was not sure who this Democracy was. Nor where she had been lost to. But I knew that nobody would be afraid to walk in the street, at last, and nobody would be talking about war anymore.

October 18, 1981. I am on a train with my mother. We are returning from Patra where she had to cast her vote. We are travelling standing up for the entire trip. No seats available. The train makes repeated stops. Cars, crowds of people, loud horns, too much fuss. “CHANGE”, everybody shouts, “DEMOCRACY, PEOPLE CANNOT FORGET WHAT RIGHT-WING MEANS”. Banners and posters showing a corn-fed, almost bald man. His name was Papandreou. They said he brought Democracy. I didn’t say anything but I thought she must have been lost again. Maybe it was our fault because we couldn’t manage to hold her; maybe she got out and lost her way. I wouldn’t know. I just kept looking around.

And the years passed by. And I grew up and finally understood. For long I was hearing slogans and watching disputes. “Come and take the lead!” one side, “Get lost!” the other side. “Traitors, collaborationists!” one side, “Communists, thieves!” the other side. Governments kept rising and falling and people kept cheering. And so the gatherings went on, buses carrying people, Syntagma Square packed. Long lines at the political offices. To grab a job, take a loan, ask to be transferred, ask to be detached from the boundaries of Greece to Athens. “Lost chances, debts, scorched land, this is what we received”, they all said.  Scandals, special Courts, cooperation governments, universal governments, Katsikis, Mitsotakis and Papandreou again. And later, when Karamanlis and Papandreou left this world, others took charge. And the stock market went sky-high and all became rich. “Sample of a prospering society”, said the prime minister of that time. His name was Simitis. He looked small, but he won the elections twice.

Years went by. Another Karamanlis and another Papandreou took charge… Olympic Games were conducted, Soccer European Championship and Eurovision were won, and we all together, proud for our country went out in the streets to sing «Let the dances last for ever…» And all countries were talking about the “Greek miracle”. Such a small country to achieve so many great things! Everybody wanted to come and stay in Greece, work, become Greeks and raise their children on this land.

April, 2012. I’m old now. I look around me and feel sad. “Economic crisis”, they all say. Poverty and hunger. Daily suicides, properties lost, houses and cars sold for a song. Our country has gone bankrupt. And still continues to borrow. We cannot even pay salaries and pensions, maintain an army, hospitals and schools. “We have saved you”, they say on the one hand, “You have doomed us” they say on the other.  “We would have been sinking, had we not been here” one side says; “We would have been saved without you” the other party goes. “You are going to destroy us” one party says; “We are the ones to save you” the other party goes. “You have been stealing the country, we haven’t” one party says; “You are the real thieves” the other party goes. And no one is anymore proud for             our country. No one wants to be here. Everybody is looking for a job in other countries. Politicians and clericals go to jail for misuse and fraud. And they are declaring innocent; no one is to blame. At the same time all these, politicians, government or non government people, are owners of large properties. Money in foreign countries, real estate, companies. And they owned nothing of these back in ’74… And in a few days we are going to elections again. And the same people are asking for our votes once again. They want to save us once again, they say. They want to lead us out of the dead end, to make us a country proud, independent and democratic, once again…

Giorgis Taxideutis

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Woman

297564_469304453092496_1596264103_nTo Katerina

She leaned over him and kissed his lips. A wild, passionate kiss that sent a chill down his spine. As her hands quickly unbuttoned his shirt, her lips travelled down his neck and chest. She had been thirsty for him for so long. And tonight she had him in her hands. He belonged to her now. For a moment, for once, in this life. The moment she had been wishing for so many years. Though she knew that there would be no next time, since they were both married and she, on her side, had no intention of destroying her family, losing the money, status and everything else her marriage provided, she wouldn’t lose her chance, not this one.

This moment, she couldn’t care less for anyone. Her husband, children, not even her poor mother, who wasted away for she knew where her daughter was now and for what reason… These all made no difference in her mind. She didn’t want to think of them and she wouldn’t.

A few minutes later they were both naked. She wrapped her legs around his waste and sat on him. She felt him hard on her belly and quickly took him inside her, losing no time. She started moving wildly, in violent passion. What if that was for one time only? She was going to enjoy it. Putting all her soul and body into it. He himself already felt the flame that was burning her. Not that he didn’t have any thoughts about her, all these years. On the contrary. She was a pretty woman. But this passion he was feeling now, he had never felt with any other woman in his life. He left himself to live this passion with her. Let it be. He would forget debts and wife and children. Just for her. Just for tonight.

Their bodies rolled on the couch and down the carpet. As soon as she was on top of him again she locked her legs more fiercely around him. If her husband, even for once, had made her feel what she was feeling now, she could go on and live the rest of her life in happiness. But he, always solid and careful, seemed like he could air no feeling at all. If he ever had any. She, on the other side, was a woman flooding with feelings. So intense and passionate that they were difficult to satisfy. And so she kept it to herself. Building the pressure like a volcano. A volcano that, tonight finally had erupted, its lava burning both her and her mate.

She went on to move her body even more wildly on him. Soon, he was carried by her passion, so much that he completely surrendered. His fluids sprang from his inside to meet her fluids. She neighed like a horse. She released her grasp, pulled back her legs from around his body and lied down next to him. Though her face looked stony, her body was finally calm.

She lit a cigarette and pulled herself at the edge of the carpet. She still felt her heart beating madly and her breath cut. She put all her strength to act like she was impassive. This woman, Katerina, master of herself, completed now, had taken what she had been wanting from him. He tried to come closer to embrace her. And then, she turned her back on him, stood up and started to dress. When she went out his doorstep closing the door behind her, leaving him gravelled, she already had decided to get him out of her mind. What’s done is done. It was time she went back to her home, to her mother-and-wife role. She walked imperiously in the street, a smile blossoming on her face. Her hills knocking on the pavement, her silhouette weaving slowly revealing a woman that felt like she had everything in life.

 

Giorgis Taxideutis

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‘LUCKY’, Memories Of a Life

Lucky

It was 18th May, 2005. I was leaving Antonis Tritsis Park offices in Ilion. It was then when I first noticed you, resting by the feet of a lady who was sitting on a chair. You were a little white (ex white) tiny creature, your right eye almost hanging out, a collar round your neck, begging for some attention. Skinny, filthy, close-cut haired and unbelievably miserable. I opened a tap and offered you water with the hose. You drunk with lust even though you weren’t quite keen to come close. You barely let me touch you, pet you. You were so afraid! I looked at you in agony. I didn’t know what to do for you. Should I take you home? I suspected problems from everybody else. Should I leave you there? Surely, out there… you couldn’t make it… I kept on petting you, doubtful you were on me… As I searched with my hands I discovered two small lumps on your belly. And that was when I took my decision. You can’t stay out here. I’ll take you in my arms, I’ll get you to a doctor and God knows what is going to happen when we get home. I asked you to follow me and you did… I opened the car’s door and easily you jumped in. You turned and looked at the park, by the back window, as we left, as if you were saying good bye. Your anxiety though could not be hidden. Who was I? Where was I taking you, what was I going to do to you.

A short while later we were at a familiar to me veterinary. She cleaned you eye, searched you for microchips – you didn’t have one – and estimated that you are 6-8 years old. Abandoned? Lost? Who knows… Maybe you ran away because you weren’t treated right, maybe they’d lost you, maybe they took you for a haircut discovered the lumps and left you!…

We left the veterinary and finally got home. My daughter stood up to smell you. You were so afraid. You drunk water and tried to run away. It wasn’t until much later that you finally went to your bed, exhausted. In the meantime I was attacked by all family. “More dogs? One is not enough? For God’s sake”. “She is lost!” I said. “I’ll search for her family and I’ll find it…” I said hopefully.

The next day I had great news; after many months of rough time and troubles my first book was finally published. I thought you brought me luck and that’s why I said I’ll call you ‘Lucky’.

Then I started searching. I phoned all veterinaries of the district were I had found you. I posted ad to the newspapers and hanged posters around. Your family wasn’t found. Only some gentleman asked for you. He wanted to use you for breeding with his male. I refused. I couldn’t stand the thought of it. Besides, we had already visited a second veterinary to find out what these lumps might be. The diagnosis was disappointing. “It looks like breast cancer. It needs surgery and biopsy”. “How much will it cost doctor?” “5,000 euro…” Of course I didn’t have that kind of money and neither had I believed anyone was going to give that money for you, should anyone have wanted to take you.

I decided to keep you forever, besides, the whole family had fallen in love with you by now and nobody could say no to you for any reason. Nor anybody wanted to chide you. Even when you looked angry on you sister and wanted to steel her food or when you wept because you were left alone in the house, with nobody around you.

And that’s where this race began, from doctor to doctor! Surely each of them asked whatever they could think of… 3,000 euro, 1,500 euro and so on… After a lot of adventure we ended up somewhere in Perama. That doctor operated you for only 150 euro and removed both lumps. She was absolutely positive that your problem would end up here. Nevertheless, one month later the lumps appeared. New race from doctor to doctor. “Wrong treatment. Total mastectomy and sterilization is required” said most of them. Only, the money they asked could not be afforded. So we ended up in the Animal Welfare Institute. I spent my last 100 euro for the sterilization procedure to stop hormones from being reproduced. We hoped to stop the lumps from growing. You recovered too quickly but my hope was in vain…  Another surgery was needed. A friend of mine suggested Mrs. Tziaki Martha. I took you there and she accepted to proceed to surgery for only 300 euro. Plus 50 for the biopsy.

Throughout the surgery I was waiting outside. I held the Beseeching Canon to Mother Mary and prayed. Such a little creature… harmless… defenseless. Please help me Mother. And she helped! The surgery had succeeded! Despite your suffering you came out walking – head up! The first night was a difficult one. We did not sleep. Yet you made a quick recovery. But, when I took the biopsy results I was terrified: “Among the worst kinds of metastatic cancer”. To reduce the risk of metastasis (unless it had already occurred) I had to take you to the surgery once again, the soonest. I wasn’t going to listen to that … After three times of anesthesia your heart developed signs of insufficiency. I decided that we had to stay away from that as long as we could. Once again I began searching for doctors and therapies. I ended up to Mrs. Loukaki Ekaterini, veterinary – homoeopath. Perhaps, this kind of therapy was going to help you.

And it did! You body responded to homoeopathy. Very soon you were back to your gamesome character and always ready for love and affection, as before. You climbed up and down chairs and beds and sofas so easily. And I was happy to see you wag your tail and giving me kisses. I remember every time when I got back home, I called your names, yours and your sister’s. You rushed out to the balcony, looked down at the street and ran around the house in madness to announce my coming. I remember getting in the house and you two jumping in my arms. I remember sitting in the chair and you two jumping on with me. That when I yelled in anger one look from you was enough to calm me down. That when I was praying you used to come beside me lie down and roll over showing me your belly with you legs. Once I blessed you making a cross on you, you licked my hands so pleased and sat there watching me until I finish. I remember you nudging me again and again to give you some of my food. That I took you in my arms to sleep together. That I dressed you at winter time to go for a stroll and you walked so proud in your tiny clothes. That I took you for a haircut and you were so happy. How can I forget when we went for swimming, and thinking that I was drowning, you rushed into the sea to try to pull me out and save me. So many things I have from you to remember. The happiest moments of my entire life!

Long time passed. You were always strong and healthy. You reached 13 kilos of weight and the doctor recommended a strict diet. Another two lumps appeared on the left side of your breast but remained so small that there was no need to operate. Neither caused you any pain at all.

Yet, as the years go by old age comes. Unfortunately this never comes alone. You developed renal insufficiency. Here we are now, ‘Athens Animal Hospital’ with a drip put on! I left you there alone just for one day. I had to be away. I came the next day. “She won’t eat” the told me “and kidney indexes are far too high”. I yelled “Luckyyy” and you jumped up in your cage. I took you in my arms; put the drip in my underarm lifted your food and water plates and went to sit on a chair, outside, you and me together. I wrapped you in a blanket and tried to give you some food. I kept trying and although you had no appetite at all you ate some. You didn’t want to refuse this to me. Three days later the kidney function indexes fell far below normal.  Mr. Kontos who responded to the phone calls of Mrs. Loukaki allowed me to take you home. His exact words were “There is nothing more to be done here by us in terms of medication”. She will be better in her house with her family. Besides she can’t stay here anymore herself…” and indeed when we got home you began feeling better. Despite the drip we put on every two days you were eating again and walking at a normal basis. We started going out again and playing silly games.

Until that afternoon when I had to go out for a couple of hours. Unfortunately you escaped everybody’s attention and, skinny and blind as you were, stepped through the rails of the balcony and fell from two storeys up! Broken pelvis!… ‘Attikon Hospital’ once again. This time I knew… the end was coming. I saw it coming… and stood there frozen. You held on for ten days. Ten days full of agony, which you didn’t deserve. Until that morning on the 22ndFebruary of 2011, 9:30 exactly, you slept and your soul rested in peace.

My child, today it is one year since you left my arms to travel into God’s arms. Not a day has passed that I did not think of you that I did not cry for you, that I did not pray to God to have you by his feet keeping him company. On that sinister day, when we took you for your long travel, your sister sat behind the door and wept. Since then every time she sees little white dogs she runs close in happiness. But when she understands it isn’t you turns in grief and leaves…

My little girl, my child, blessing of my misery and remedy of my pains. I pray to God every day to let me see you and hug you once more. To hold you in my arms and touch you and pet you just one last time. Remember what I kept telling you when I had you in my arms? “How much does Lucky’s father love her? She loves her from the earth to the sky, around the earth and back again. Why Lucky’s father loves her that much? Because she is his girl, she is his child, she is his love, she is his life, she is his star, she is his soul”. That is how much I loved you and this is how much I am going to love you through my entire life… I know you can see me from where you are and you can hear me and you care about me. If I could only see you!…

My child, I want to apologize for that afternoon, because I left, and I want to say thank you for everything we did together. For all precious moments you gave me. For all your hearty love you showed me. For everything you offered me without ever asking for anything. I want to thank you for simply being in my life. My daughter, fare well!

Your father

P.S. I would like to acknowledge:

o    Mrs. Tziaki Martha for performing successful mastectomy in special price,

o    Mrs. Loukaki Ekaterini for the years of services, the homoeopathy therapy she offered you and the unreserved attention and support not only at the time you were in hospital but in every moment of your life,

o    All friends and acquaintances for they support during those days…

Moral

In December 2013, Lucky participated in the Photo of the Year competition, of the Stray Animal Stories page on Facebook. On 31st of Dec. in the evening was announced her victory, a victory that rejoiced both her and her entire family. On this occasion both she and her father wrote a few more words.

Lucky wishes to thank all voters and equally share her prize to all her competitors. She explicitly declared to me that in this voting there are no defeaters and no defeated. Only sweet muzzles, she says, who posed expressively to the lens and showed to all people how sweet and joyful is for someone to live with a four legged animal. For this reason, she kindly asks the competition organizer to try and find a way so that the prize goes to all competitors, one by one! Finally she wishes a Happy New Year, Health, Prosperity and a Year Full of Love, to everyone!

I, myself, wish to make a comment, at this point. Lucky, my own Lucky, is not my child only. She is not just the companion of many years. She is something more.  She is the dog that somebody had left alone in the street. She is the ill and beaten dog that others got past showing abundant disinterest. She is the dog that somebody found and fought for, attended, did everything he could and understood and, tried to heal until the last moment. She is the dog that offered, in its turn, all her love, care and devotion to her new family.

Lucky is a symbol. Lucky is the dog that, right now, is out in the street, outside our house, suffering. It is the dog that needs help, hiding every night and crying while sleeping. It is the hungry, thirsty dog that so many shoo and even more do not bother for. It is the dog that cries out for help. And finally, it is the dog that will make everything to make its new parent happy. Lucky is out there, next to us, in front of us, behind us, in our neighborhood, in our stroll.

We got through many things, Lucky and me. Rough times as well. But I will not change any of them. Because our course was one and only. And if I gave one, I was given one hundred. To be honest, I was given as many as words cannot describe. I do not wish, nor can I say something more. You see, memories come up in my mind endlessly and I get so emotional. Just one thing: Please open your eyes and heart. Reach out and nurse a little animal from the street. It doesn’t matter if it’s ill, scabbed, one eyed, lame, blind or with cancer. You will save its life but, in its turn, it will save yours…

From the bottom of my heart

Thanks to everyone

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