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Blog / / Some people and some friends may disappoint you, but not your dog.
BLOG
Some people and some friends may disappoint you, but not your dog.
If someone had told me a few years ago that a dog would be a part of my family, I would have thought they were joking. A dog in the house? No way. A dog is a responsibility, and I already have so many. Between work, two kids, a house, and everything else, I didn't think I could handle a pet. But as it often happens, my kids begged us to get a dog. Today, my family and I share our living space with our beloved furry friends, more precisely, three of them.

First, three years ago, we got Dara, a dachshund affectionately known as sausage dog (kobasičarka). We went to get her from Kovin on a gloomy February morning in 2021, in the midst of Covid. We thought we'd break the monotony and fulfil our kids' wish. She can be a bit stubborn, but she's incredibly devoted to all members of the family. She brought a new energy into our home and ’opened the door’ for the others. Sometimes we call her countess when she acts all fancy and looks like she came straight from the Vienna court.

In May 2022, Đina (Gina) arrived. She's a black mixed-breed Labrador with long legs and a huge heart for all animals and people. She's a dog with a soul who loves everyone and can get along with anyone. My older daughter brought her home as a tiny puppy. She was meant to be a gift for a little girl who couldn't keep her, so it was either a new home or the street. The list of things she's eaten is quite long, but her gentle character always wins us over and we forgive her everything.

Finally, in May 2023, we welcomed Žuća (Goldie). He's also a mixed-breed dog who had been wandering the city and freezing until my dear colleague Sanja rescued him from the street. The problem was that Sanja travelled to her hometown of Novi Sad every weekend, and Žuća was left on the street again. We took him in temporarily to stay with us on weekends. It took us a little while to love Mr. Žuća, a dog with a strong personality, and decide to keep him permanently. We are especially fond of him because we know what he went through and how much he suffered before finding his family.

If you thought that was all, you're mistaken. Sometimes we have an extended family when Đura, a mixed-breed dachshund who was abandoned on Fruška Gora, joins the gang. We went to Sremski Karlovci in March 2023 to get him. My older daughter who lives in Belgrade adopted him, but he often stays with us in Vršac. When he arrives, it's complete chaos.

It's not easy living with three dogs. It's a big responsibility. When you adopt a dog and they become a part of your family, it's forever, in good times and bad. Every dog requires full care and attention. First and foremost, you need to microchip them, vaccinate them regularly, take care of their health and hygiene. You need to feed them, walk them, cuddle them, and provide love and security. And even when you feel like you don't have time and are overwhelmed with a hundred other responsibilities, you have to make time for them. Luckily, I live in a family house with a huge yard and an even bigger garden, so they have plenty of space to run around and enjoy the fresh air.

And speaking of home and yard, that's a whole different story. Maintaining hygiene requires daily cleaning, vacuuming, wiping, and airing out the rooms. Then there's washing the mats and their covers. Forget about having a carpet; it's not practical at all. Be prepared for them, especially when they're young, to chew on the sports shoes you forgot to put away, to gnaw on the heels of your favourite pumps after New Year's Eve, or to eat the TV remote. Oh yes, but you'll forgive them everything. And you'll teach them what's allowed and what's not.

Good organization is also necessary when it comes to spending time with them. We usually try to combine our schedules so that they are alone as little as possible. When we go on a family vacation, my sister steps in to take care of them.

When I put it this way, it may sound a bit intimidating. But there's a nicer, much, much nicer part of the story. What you give and the time you invest is nothing compared to the enormous love you receive. And it's the real, pure, unspoiled kind of love. Your dog will love you unconditionally. You are the centre of their world and universe. As they say, you have a job, a family, and friends, but your dog only has you. Some people and some friends may disappoint you, but not your dog.

Adopting a dog is one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. First of all, the fact that you've helped an innocent and helpless being to live a better, decent life makes you feel like a better person, like you've done something noble. At the same time, I've become more sensitive to injustice and sad fate of strays and abandoned dogs, whose numbers are increasing every day.

One of the biggest benefits is the impact on my family's mental health. Dara, Đina, and Žuća have brought a completely new, positive energy and joy into our lives. They've brought us closer together, made us laugh more, share anecdotes from our daily life, and send each other funny pictures and videos. When we come home tired from work or school, or when we're having a bad day, they greet us with joy, wagging their tails and being genuinely happy to see us. Or when we sit together as a family, they snuggle up close to us as equal members. And then I realize that I couldn't imagine my life without them. And yes, maybe I don't have that perfect lawn as before, maybe they'll wake me up in the middle of the night sometimes, but those are all just material things and details.

I believe that we need to work systematically and at all levels to raise awareness that a dog is not meant to be chained up, that it's a living being that deserves love and attention, and that the problem of abandoned dogs needs to be taken seriously. I've met and started to follow some wonderful people and organizations that take care of abandoned animals, and I help as much as I can. I try to set an example for others to adopt a dog. Adopt, don't shop, that often-mentioned phrase really has its power. Don't buy a breed of dog, don't buy someone else's opinion that you have a really great, fancy dog. Adopt a dog, and you'll get great love and a friend completely for free, and that's actually what's most valuable.
AUTHOR
Jasna Topalović
Head of Accounting West Balkans, Hemofarm A.D.