The year is not yet over, and I have to add one more highlight of 2016. Just before Christmas, we got quite the family extension with the adoption of Vanda, a five-year-old dog from the local pound. Life is full of surprises. I never thought a dog would join our family. But, since we love the quote, “Always be open for the unexpected surprise,” this happened.
I asked Judith and Femke two questions: 1. Why do you so desperately want a dog? 2. Why does it need to be Vanda?
Femke answered: 1. Dogs are cute and lovely, and it would change the atmosphere in our house. 2. Vanda is lovely and sad-looking. She lived her whole life in the pound, and although the helpers are very sweet, it is not such a nice place that you would want to live there your whole life.
Judith answered: 1. I just LOVE animals, and a dog is a very nice one. 2. Vanda is a dog with a story. No-one ever asked for her. But, she is lovely and sweet, does not bark, and seems very calm, which might be good for our family.
Her adopted name will be Milly Molly Mandy, after the cutest English Milly Molly Mandy. We have some very warm English memories of our family’s three years in England. (2007-2010)
How did this all happen? Well, that is hard to say. One decision is never standing alone. One of the factors was the proper, intelligent arguments used during the persuasive conversations our family faced in the last few months. Jelle, the reasonable one here, argued that we travel too much for such a lovely animal and that we would have trouble finding somebody to look after the dog.
With that, he gave the girls a proper problem to solve and challenged them to find a good solution, which they did. We couldn’t find any more good arguments against it.
So, we started with our dangerous visits to the pound (once you are this far in the process, there is hardly a way back). It was quite another challenge to choose from among 180 barking and jumping dogs. I often thought: Ah, we are doing something utterly crazy again. But, on our first visit, we saw a lovely dog—we all agreed on that. She did not bark or jump and was calmly waiting till the day was over. In fact, she looked quite depressed. That was another thing that challenged us: What if we could give this dog a home and make her happy? That is what we are trying to do now.
The first visit was not very nice. The workers had to drag the dog out of her place, as anxious as she was. We were able to take her for a walk—of ten meters. She was shivering, sad-looking, and happy to to go back to her cage.
The next time, we came with the whole family, which must have been a bit overwhelming for Vanda. We even brought a friend for advice. We went for another walk: fifteen meters.
The third time, we took along another dog from her pack and walked for 100 meters, and we were encouraged by the improvement. The fourth time, we walked all the way to the Drava river, a walk of about 500 meters.
We continued to take walks with her and saw improvement each time.
It has been an amazing journey to watch this scared dog calming down and getting more attached to us, teaching us that it is not too bad to come out of your comfort zone and step into a totally new adventure, trusting that all will be well.
We—as a family—decided that the time had come to prepare a place for her and bring her into her new home. She arrived on Christmas Eve, and thus was added one more highlight to the year of 2016.
The Huismanfamily including Vanda wishes you all the best for the coming year 2017
Jelle, Janneke, Marijke, Judith, Femke and Laurens.