Flowers from George

Flowers from George

I hated cockroaches. I have always hated them.

When I was young and before I rented my very first own apartment, I had never ever seen one prior to then.

The apartment was in a run down building that was barely occupied and some apartments were so broken down, that the doors were missing and water was leaking out of pipes, that had been fixated to not flood the building and were leading the water elsewhere.

 It was eerie, really, really eerie – BUT – it was a place to call home after a 19 hours flight and a new start in life, when I was still a wild child and rather disorderly, a rebel of society sort of speaking.

I saw no reason to waste money on a hotel or motel, not even a hostel, especially since I did not have much of it anyway.

Money, always money- whoever invented that needs to be shot.

When I entered the outskirts of Tacoma, Washington, I asked the taxi driver, who was an older and a bit scary looking guy with a scruffy face, if he knew of apartment buildings, that would rent quickly and without checking on credit, since I had none and just relocated to the USA.

He answered: “Child, this is the US of A and there are plenty of buildings, but the budget you named is not enough for a very good area, only for the lesser pretty part of town.”

Naive, young and dumb as I was, I said: “OK, so take me there please.”

The streets became darker and less friendly. We drove through an industrial area that looked like a ghost town out of a really scary horror movie and I felt my heart drop a little towards my knees.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974 came to mind, as did The Fog.

 I caught myself looking around and expecting something to jump out from somewhere.

What if the Cabby was really a monster or zombie and just disguised himself? All possibilities of being murdered entered my mind and now I was really scared, especially since he was being so quiet and had a determined and grim look on his already a little scary looking face.

I found myself clearing my throat and asking in a very quiet, shy and shaky little girl’s voice:

 “Are we there yet?” He did not answer.

 Maybe he did not hear me, so I asked again, just a little louder: “Are we there yet?”

He put on the breaks very harshly, turned around with a very angry look on his face and said:

“Does it look like we are there yet?”

He realized that he pushed it a bit hard when I saw the surprised look on his face, as tears were running down mine.

 I did not expect this at all and was tired, hungry, a bit afraid, because I was all alone on a different continent, where I only spent a few years in my very early childhood and did not have much memory of it at that. But it was home and I wanted to be there.

Growing up in Europe was not easy and I never felt, I belonged there, especially since I looked different from the rest of my family and was treated accordingly also, and not always in a good way. While my family had blond,light brown hair and greyish, blue and green eyes with a very light skin, I contrasted them with very dark eyes, black hair and easy to tan skin, that made me look so different from them.

 I never questioned it, at times I even thought I was adopted, and while growing up with my grandparents, I enjoyed the best Education that money could buy, including the schools that teach you how to eat, walk, talk and how to act around other people.

God, how I hated having that big ass bible on top of my head to learn how to balance while walking or while sitting at the table trying to eat, with two more books, one under each arm.

Am I a princess or why did they put me through this?

As it turned out much later, I was no princess, but they tried to change my heritage without realizing that they could not change the spots on a leopard.

I have to give it to them, they really, really tried – hard!

I found out many years later, that I am half gypsy and THAT was unacceptable to the rest of the family and their environment. That was the reason, they were constantly yelling at my mother and making her cry.

So that is why my father was never allowed at our house. I was too small to understand, but I did understand the sense of evilness and unacceptance floating around.

I watched my mom slowly deteriorate over the years after she was forced to divorce him and she never was the same again.

 I was too young to really understand back then what was going on, so I did not question things, but I did catch the ugliness of that situation.

I decided at that point and right then and there to leave as soon as I was old enough and I did – quietly, not telling anyone, because I would have never made it out of there, since my grandma, the reigning house dragon, as she was lovingly called, was lining up the young studs to marry me and get me out of her house and away from her having to be responsible for me.

I was just a teenager, for Christ sake. This was MY life and MY choice, and I needed to do whatever it took to get away.

I played organ for money in churches during masses, I played waitress at several cafe’s and did whatever I could do for work to remove my unwanted self from the situation I was living in.

And finally the day had come: I had enough for a one way ticket to Tacoma, wherever the hell that was, and booked it. I just had one thought on my mind: Away from a family that really did not want me there, but simply tolerated me and flying into freedom.

Why did they not just leave me with my parents and insisted instead that I grow up with them?

 I got all those answers much later in my life, but that is another story.

So, anyway, I heard Nick, the Cabby say: “I am so sorry, I did not want to frighten you, but I hate this area. Too much trouble, too much crime, but it is a shortcut to save you money, because the regular way would have been 10 miles or more. We will be at the other side of town in a few minutes.

As it turned out upon arrival and the initial introduction, his friend managed this run down building and as we drove up to it, I thought:

 “OH – MY – GOD!”

I heard of graffiti, but never saw it in real life and here it was in all of its glory. Actually it was not bad looking in my opinion, I convinced myself.

After all, this was going to be home for a short while.

Marcus, Nick’s friend was an older, toothless guy, but very nice and he apologized right away for the condition of the building.

 The owner, he told me, cared less about it and now he was left renting to low income people, but that everyone in the building was one big happy family.

Cool, so I can breathe normal again.

My new stable was on the fourth floor and looked clean on the first look and even though, the pipes were outside of the walls, which I never saw before, it looked, – well -, almost cozy.

Marcus asked me if I needed some furniture to get started and I told him I cannot afford them yet. He answered: “No problem, I have a storage full of them, they are almost new and you are welcome to them.”

This turned out to be a great new start, I thought.

 I opened the cabinets and all was clean. I found the broom closet and saw a stack of newspapers, that were left behind in the top area and pulled it down – along with hundreds of cockroaches of all sizes, that covered me and were all over my body.

I screamed in horror and both Nick and Marcus hurried up and tried to get them off me.

Once I recovered from that shock, Marcus immediately called the exterminator to take care of the problem. More to this later.

To get back on track to the here and now, and leaving all the gory details in between out for the moment, I ended up relocating to Thailand seven years ago still hating cockroaches with a passion.

That was until I saw the movie “Joe’s Apartment” a couple of years back.

Hmm, kind of cool, I thought. I stumbled across that movie by accident and after watching it, I saw cockroaches in a whole new light.

So very recently and just a few days ago, as I was preparing dinner for my husband, I felt as if someone was watching me.

I looked up and saw the biggest and seriously majestic looking cockroach ever in my life on the upper part of my kitchen wall.

Thailand does not just have roaches, they have the supersize cockroach, that spent years in the gym to built muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger and that will walk away with your entire plate if given the chance.

The feelers of that thing on my wall were curiously swaying and I did not dare move, remembering my little adventure from Tacoma years ago with horror – still.

He just sat there and I just stood there staring at him. He did not move, but I felt a sense of calmness coming from him.

So I continued to prepare dinner, after realizing, that he posed no threat. He watched me the whole time and when I served dinner and returned the dishes to the kitchen sink, he was gone.

This repeated itself every evening for weeks and it may sound crazy, but we had a silent understanding, that I won’t kill him and he won’t come near me.

Since we live in this rural environment with all kind of animals, critters and crawlers, which include scorpions, snakes, as well as very beasty army and fire ants, all the other garden roaches knew my broom, because I made it a point to be in control of my area and when they saw me coming with that thing, they would turn around and angrily stomp away, so it seemed.

They did not really want to continue to make the acquaintance with that broom, and preferably stayed in their area, while I stayed in mine.

You may think this bitch here is crazy, so maybe I am, but I have learned long time ago to live with nature and not against it, which is why these creatures are allowed to live in my yard.

After all, it is US invading THEIR space and not THEM invading OURS!!!

THEY were here first.

I named my kitchen friend George and thought to myself: So this is how far you have gotten. You are having discussions with cockroaches. I caught myself talking to him and believe it or not, he was answering in his own way, but still careful and from a safe distance.  

Since I studied animal communication,I at first struggled with it, but then I started to understand George.

Having lived a life full of hatred and despise towards him so far, because of who he was, he  learned to be careful.

The thoughts kept crossing my mind, that all creatures have a purpose in life, even the most disgusting and ugliest and George let me feel, that his purpose in life was to eat the dead carcasses of lizards maybe laying around somewhere, the garbage and nasty, dead stuff, that makes us sick, when left laying around for too long and that could seriously kill or make my rescued eleven dogs and nine cats very ill.

He was not trying to invade my space. He did what he was destined to do and accepted the fact that he had to share his space with humans, that had invaded his.

All of the sudden I understood.

George visited every evening, sat in the same spot with his feelers curiously swaying, and I actually was looking forward to his presence.

There always was a sense of calmness entering when he was around. Strange, very, very strange.

Then, one evening, I noticed he was not there and I was wondering, why not.

After all he should know, that I was not going to harm him.

 I caught myself seriously looking for him, how weird.

A few days later I found him laying on his back in a corner behind a decorative cup. I knew right away it was him because of his color and size. He looked and acted different from the other ones outside.…

The strange thing was, he had a very small flower next to him and his two front legs embraced it, as if he wanted to bring it to me.

Unbelievable, I felt tears coming up and choking me and the sense of having lost a very good friend.

Weird? No, it took a cockroach to finally having understood the purpose of all living beings and respecting them, no matter what or who they are.

And how was your day?

Sissy – From Tramp To Lady


Sissy – From Tramp To Lady

Once upon a time, there was a gorgeous four-legged, black fur nose without a name in the same shelter, we were still working at.
They called her “Dam”, which is Thai for Black.

I had been so busy with trying to figure out how to get Loki out of there and thinking about how to convince my hubby, who was dead set on NOT adopting any more animals, that I did not realize, he had long set his eyes on another pup.

I was in Loki’s run when my hubby came to me and asked me to follow him since he wanted to show me something in area B, which was the back part of the shelter and mainly the rescued fur noses from the illegal dog meat trade were kept there.

I was in that area every day and could not imagine, what he wanted to show me, that I did not already know.

There were so many runs, and some of the personalities of the dogs did not match with each other. It was my job back there to observe and start pairing the dogs with more suitable friends.

My hubby lead me to a run, that was aside from the others and more hidden, but that was because of the way Area B was built, not to hide dogs.

And there she was – kept in check and pushed in the corner by the others, who were all very friendly dogs, but somehow did not like “Dam”.

We entered the run and very carefully sat on the bamboo table for a while and let the pack smell us and determine for themselves, that we were friends and meant no harm.

“Dam” was in an open cage way to small for her and started to sneak out, as the other dogs were busy with us. I felt a wet nose from behind on my arm and realized, it was “Dam” trying to see who we were.

When the other dogs realized she was near, they snarled and growled at her and chased her back into that small cage, where she just cowered and shook vividly with fear.

It is no wonder, I never noticed her before, if she was being intimidated like this and always hiding.

My hubby told me, he had spotted her a few days ago, as she was being chased by the others and did exactly the same thing.

As he was walking by, her eyes caught the eyes of my hubby and seemed to beg to get her out of there! He stopped dead in his tracks and she came to the front gate and looked deep into his eyes with a look that could have melted melt the heart of stone.
Needless to say, he fell in love instantly!

We started to spend time in that run every day after we finished our work and she very shyly observed us from her hiding place, but with curiosity in her eyes. Finally, we talked to the director of the shelter and asked if we could take her home.

With over 600 dogs around it is hard to know each one of them and we had to show her whom we meant, as some of them are really hard cases, especially coming from the dog meat trade.
She agreed and “Dam” was taken out of the run and taken to the clinic area, where she was bathed and put in a large cage to dry off and settle down, as well as to be observed for any sign of illnesses for a few days.

At that time, I did not want to ask about Loki and my tears started to fill my eyes, as I now saw zero chance for Loki to join our family.

The day had come, where we could take “Dam” home and we decided to change her name to Sissy, which she seemed to accept right away, because the first time we called her new name, her ears perked right up.

How would our pack react to a newcomer and more importantly, after the experiences Sissy made in the shelter for Lord knows how long, how would she react?

Sissy’s Arrival At Her New Home

Living in the boonies with nothing but jungle, rice fields, and neighbors who looked at the “Farangs”, (which expats are called here in Thailand), like we were from another planet, it is needless to say, that our house was an old warehouse and just fixed up to live in.
Being in animal rescue, there are no luxury items, other than a TV, that, if not too tired, is watched occasionally.
We did have computers and internet there and my husband was able to set up a fraction of our recording studio, which with the work we were doing, was hardly ever used anymore.

I had taken a break from teaching to give my entire time to animal rescue and it was a nonstop job.

The day we brought Sissy home, the neighbors were burning garbage in their garden and our house smelled of burned plastic among other fine poisoned fumes.
Opening the windows was useless, as more of those fumes would have entered.

Something about these smells seemed to frighten Sissy and when turned loose in the house, she instantly looked for a place to hide.

The first acquaintance she made was with Shadow, our old black cat we brought from Germany.
They looked at each other and Shadow hissed and Sissy snapped at her and nipped her in the behind.
That was enough saying hello for Shadow and she ran into another room.

Sissy was not seen for hours and she must have found a really good spot because we could not find her.

As dinner time rolled around, I was cooking for hubby and the clan and the smell of delicious chicken drove Sissy out of her hiding place.
I tried to get close to her, but she was not having any of that yet.

The surprising part was when she saw or heard my husband, she would run and hide instantly again – and that after flirting with him so shamelessly at the shelter.

When I served my hubby his dinner and then all the animals, she realized there was something for her as well. She slowly crawled towards her food in her bowl and shrugged with every noise she heard and looked around scared.

The Rimklong Gang, as we call our four-legged clan, seemed to know that Sissy still needed that time to adjust and did not even look at her.

We observed her without her knowing it and saw, that she would snag a piece of food and run with it. That is when we realized how repressed she must have been for such a long time by all the other dogs living with her in the past.

The days went by and we had given Sissy all the room she needed and wanted to adjust and she still would not come near us.

We had a big fenced yard with two huge water tanks in it and fenced in very high. We even put chain link fence over the top as a roof to ensure none of our gang would get out and nothing would come in, especially since there were a number of cats as well, that we took care of, other than our own and they loved to climb.

If you think, there is no difference between rural and domestic cats, you are dead wrong.
These guys are most creative in developing ways to escape and with all the cobras and scorpions among centipedes and other nice creatures around, that was something we did not want or need, since the next vet or civilized city was 45 minutes drive away, just like the next 711…lol.
Sissy discovered that yard and would not come in anymore for that day.
She was quite comfortable behind the tanks and among the hundreds of spiders that lived there.
Then she heard a Thai man yell at something and like speed lightning, she shot out from behind the water tanks and ran into the house cowering and shaking in the corner.
That was the first time I was able to pick her up and tried to calm her and told her, that everything was alright.
By the way, her body was reacting, I felt that she wanted to believe me, but had severe issues with trusting me.

She seemed not so frightened of women, but she panicked when she heard the Thai language spoken or yelled by men. She definitely had issues with all men. Furthermore, she only needed to see my husband and off she went into hiding.
My husband was a little confused, especially after she had flirted with him so shamelessly and he just said to her: “So you just used me to get out of there, huh?”
She just threw him that look as if she wanted to say: “Yeah and you were stupid enough to help me, and now you can kiss my Heini” … lol.

The days and months went by and Sissy adjusted quite well, even though she kept pacing, and pacing, and pacing without a break on a daily basis.
She never barked and we got to know her quite well, even though she still kept her distance.

When she thought we were not looking, she started to play with the others and rolled on the floor or her favorite red couch, but as soon as she realized she was being watched, she went right back into her old behavior.
We also noticed, that she was well trained in climbing and gracious show movements and started to try to find out her past. Of course, there was not much to find out and we realized since she came from the illegal dog meat trade, that she must have been someone’s pet at some time and was stolen, maybe. We also learned after quite a bit of research, that she survived a fire in a different shelter among 80 other dogs. All of the other animals living there, unfortunately, were killed and after that second horrible ordeal, she finally ended up at the shelter we were working at.

She always seemed to look for something, as she sniffed in the air constantly while on her pacing routine.

My husband still could not get near her and me? She occasionally treated me with her attention, but on her terms. We continued to give her all the space and time she seemed to still need.

Loki’s Arrival

Then the day came where Loki finally joined us. I was so thankful that my husband finally agreed, after seeing the special bond Loki and I had and still have.

THAT was the turning point for Sissy. A friend out of the same place, with similar experiences, was what she needed to open up.
Sissy and Loki became the best of friends and she even started to be silly with all the other animals.

It was love at first sight and a wonderful experience for us to see how an abused dog finally opens up.

Then she found her bark again and what a bark it was. That was not a ladylike bark, but more the roaring of a dog that was in the process of finding itself again.
That bark left no misunderstanding but an “I am a dog – just hear me roar”.

Our time at the shelter had come to an end and it was time to move on, so we packed up all of our belongings, which was not much other than the recording studio and all the animals and moved to a different part of Thailand.

Sissy seemed to sense that it was time to move on and voluntarily went into her big crate together with Loki. Her eyes had a look of anticipation and happiness much to our surprise.
After a very long and endless seeming ride across Thailand with two moving trucks, we finally arrived at our new destination about 18 hours later and all the animals were gems and very patient during that journey.

Of course, we had stopped for plenty of bathroom, food and water breaks and all of them behaved like the perfect children, knowing that this was the beginning of a new chapter.
Once turned loose at the new house with that huge yard, there was so much to discover and all of them ran around like silly children sniffing and exploring their new home.

We kept the cats inside for a few days to give them time to adjust, and they were quite thankful for that. After all, that gave them time to explore the house and think of all kind of silly stuff to do.

Now it came to another turning point for Sissy, and she started to show interest in my husband.
By now two years had gone by, and she started to sniff at him, when he was laying down, even to the point of snuggling next to him, when he was sleeping, maybe realizing he wasn’t so bad after all. She and I had developed a great relationship, and she no longer ducked when one of us moved.

Then the big day came and Sissy finally overcame her fear and came to my husband voluntarily, shyly licking his hand.

It took a few more months for her to fully trust him, but today she rewards him with hundreds of kisses and snuggles and flirts shamelessly with him when she wants something.
She had learned to trust and today she even comes near our friends and shows no more signs of fear.

She vividly defends this property against the mailman and delivery people and is all dog – finally. The tramp became a lady and what a lady she is !!!

And How Was Your Day?

Just Another Day In Paradise

Just another day in Paradise

December 01, 2019

Another hot and humid day in my home of choice – Thailand.
I had been woken up by the screaming of two birds, that obviously did not know how to share this huge insect they’d found and were fighting over it, while the insect decided to make a run (or flight) for it.
Here comes the old German saying to mind:
 “When two quarrel, the third is happy.”

These two mynah birds really were at it to a point where even all of my nine very naughty rescue cats would stay away.

After all, they already had enough experience with these birds to know not to mess with them.
To a cat trying to catch a small bird, there is nothing worse than THAT bird yelling for his bigger friends, which arrive instantly with screaming and by the dozens to bomb on them.

So here I was, waiting patiently on my coffee maker to finish brewing that so desperately needed life elixir to wake up not only my body, but my senses as well.

Somehow I get the feeling, that a part of getting older is waking up in stages instead of as a whole, the way it used to be – which reminds me…where on earth did I put my glasses?

After all, today was laundry day, and all the blankets of the animals living here needed to be washed.

Since we are a private shelter with free roaming animals on the premises instead of caged and neither funded nor sponsored, we don’t have an over abundance of supplies, and I just have to wash more often.
Oh joy…I really am looking forward to that.

At least, all I have to do is fill up the washing machine and let her do all the work, and that about seven times for the day.

Being also an online teacher, I have a pretty good routine, which allows me to juggle the job, the household, the music and the animals nicely throughout the days and being the witch that I am, it even leaves room for that occasional “thank you ritual” and daily witch’s hour of power (prayer), as well as the Reiki practices for the animals when needed.

Excited at the thought to have clean blankets again, the dogs surrounded the washer and me to watch the process and very cooly; I tried to demonstrate how things are done around here.

Why was I explaining to them, how a washing machine works?

My big boy Loki stood up on his hind legs to look inside of the washer, that ate his blanket; (he thought) and wagged his tail, when he discovered his blanket was still alive.

I had to explain to him that the washer was neither his new bed, nor could he drag his blanket out of there.
God, how he reminded me of Marmaduke.

Is that coffee done yet?

These 14-hour days sometimes make me forget about some things…like the coffee, I started to brew.

A loud honking at the gate prompted all 11 ferocious watchdogs to race each other to the front, one faster and louder than the others with the smallest one kg loudmouthed Chihuahua named Leo being the leader, followed by dancing girl Chili.

Both are not bigger than an attitude, much less have one.

Chili & Leo

Oh yes, it was Lazada delivery….I forgot about them.
And where did I put my coffee, or did I even pour a cup yet?

After paying the man outside the gate and bringing my package into the house followed by my bodyguards, I found my empty coffee cup.
Time to sit for a moment and enjoy this flavorful magical, lifesaving elixir called coffee… so I thought.

In the meantime, the dogs were enjoying the sunshine and the garden, when suddenly a rumbling sound came from the direction washing machine, which I had filled up with some of the blankets a little earlier.

That thing sounded like it was about to explode, and Loki came running and jumping into my arms like: “Mommy, mommy, there is a spitting monster in the garden, please make it go away.”
Well, that was pretty courageous, considering we are talking about a dog that is scared of spiders and other creepy little crawlers.
After all, those huge butterflies co-existing with us here have scared the living hell out of my poor boy on more than one occasion.
I really should have called him Marmeduke, he is as lovable and twice as clumsy.

My Hero Loki

And to think, I was just about to pour that coffee and enjoy it. With a sigh, I put down my still empty cup to see what was wrong with the washer and – oh boy – I guess that was it.
That thing was on its last breath and after a few coughing sounds it just kind of folded.

Wonderful – the first batch of blankets soaking in water with 6 more loads to go looked at me; it seemed, with a grin to tell me, that I am back to basics and get to do this by hand.

Living pretty rural at the edge of the jungle, of course there was no laundromat near by and why should there be…the next 7-eleven was a few miles away as well.

I felt a big wave of stress coming on and where the hell was my coffee? Oh, right, I have not had any yet!

I took a very deep breath with 11 pairs of eyes staring at me, no – 20 pairs of eyes, because the cats were watching this scenario as well from a safe distance.
That rumbling, smoking and fire spitting square thing was something they did not really want to make an acquaintance with.

I dragged my tired, (and not having had any coffee yet), behind to the bungalow to get that big tub out, that I used before when my first washer exploded. That seems to be the norm here after two years with washing machines.

When I turned on the water hose to fill up that black plastic tub, the hose slipped off the tap, and the water splashed everywhere.

One way to wake up without having had any coffee yet, I thought. Lucky this is Thailand, and it stays hot, so a little lukewarm splash is a welcome cool-off even in the weirdest of situations.

My goodness, I realized that my courageous gang of dogs was made of sugar, because they had scattered in all directions to avoid that dangerous stream of water.

So here I was, soaking wet, still without coffee and feeling just a teenzie weenzie bit irritated at this glorious Monday morning.

What the heck, with my hardworking hubby still sleeping, and not getting any of this commotion, I suddenly felt really alone and just wanted to cry.

Nevertheless, then again, I realized that an earthquake could not wake him unless the bed was pulled from under him, and he deserves his well-earned sleep after a hard day in the recording studio.

So I ended up putting these wet blankets into the tub and started to walk on them.

The dogs were looking at me like I lost my mind, the cats were courageous and tried to put their paws on the blankets only to pull them back really fast realizing…YUCK…THAT was water!!!

I kept walking on these blankets for at least half an hour and thought of my Zumba classes.

Did I even have coffee yet? I don’t think so.

Finally done with that wash, I looked around me and realized, that I was alone, no cats, no dogs … hmmm, how very weird

After hanging the blankets up to dry, I finally went to get my well-deserved delicious cup of coffee and to check on hubby …. well, well, well, what did I find?

11 dogs and 9 cats all snuggled up on my side in the bed hugging my blanket, since they didn’t have any at this time.

Oh well, I guess, I will sleep in the doggie basket tonight.

And How Was Your Day?

The Becoming Of Loki


The Becoming Of Loki

It was a rather cold day about 3 years ago and I was working at an animal sanctuary at the time.

The stories of some of the dogs and cats were rather heartbreaking and new ones were being dumped on a daily base in every imaginable rice field or near the sanctuary on the open roads.

The sanctuary was already way overcrowded, but the number of newbies was growing almost daily.

We had some volunteers arrive from Germany and it seemed to be just another day at the rescue.

Everyone was going by their business and doing their daily chores, when a truck arrived with an in dark blue plastic covered cage on it.

It was driven by a farm worker who was performing her daily duties in a rice field and came across this big, in plastic wrapped package.

She usually would have not paid more attention to it, because things like that are found on a daily base, but this package made weak, little noises and when she peaked through a small hole, she found the most pathetic looking bunch of puppies, she had ever laid eyes on.

She wasted no time, dropped everything she was doing and loaded the cage onto her truck to bring the puppies to us.

Upon her arrival, we gathered around her truck to unpack this mysterious package – and my heart almost stopped.

My eyes filled with tears and I could not stop them from vividly running down my face.

Oh God, why do you allow things like this to happen?

Too weak to even move their heads, five puppies, no more than maybe 3-4 weeks old and covered in filth, were trying to cuddle with each other for some comfort.

A food bowl with an unidentifiable and moving something was in the middle of that cage, no water and the poor pups covered on feces and giving out a smell, that would have knocked the strongest bull over.

We pulled them out one by one and they slowly opened their weak eyes and looked at us so scared and started to duck, as if they were about to be beat.

Any fast movement on our side made them shake with fear.

Whoever did this to such innocent fur babies, deserves nothing short of the worst life has to give.

They were so frightened, so fragile – and so sweet and all of our hearts just melted.

I had never seen more pathetic little creatures, yet with such a strong will to live, that they survived the unmerciful Thailand sun for days, being locked up and additionally wrapped in plastic.

Someone hurried and went to get some water and these pups drank so much of that much needed liquid, they started to look like balloons.

Their fur itself looked, like it was twitching and we discovered an army of fleas and ticks on them.

So first things first – a flea and tick bath.

Our volunteers had never seen anything like this and were still in shock, but managed to get over it after one stopped vomiting.

The woman was fine, it was the man, who could not handle this site and that god awful smell.

But then we know, some men also need a gas mask to change a baby’s diaper…lol.

I gently grabbed the first one, which was a blond little girl with very wiry hair and the fleas just ran across me as well.

She thoroughly enjoyed her massage and while the flea and tick shampoo was soaking in, I started with puppy number two.

The man had watched and wanted to try to accomplish this heavy duty task as well and sat on the floor with puppy number three – and fell in love instantly.

The woman took puppy number four and we shared the last one.

We had to let the shampoo settle for a while, because that army of fleas and ticks was not about to give up their host that easy.

As the fleas were dying and the pups were itching less, they perked up a little, realizing that they now were in safety, and here came the first, very shy wagging of their tales.

I believe it was already at that moment, that I fell in love with Loki and he must have known, because he perked up and looked straight at me.

No, I can not take more dogs, I thought to myself, my husband will shoot me, we already had six dogs and 2 cats at that point.

But I did not expect the cleverness of Loki at a later point, who was determined to become my everything.

We found a small, unused dog run near the house owned clinic on the premises, that was unused and perfect for puppies in their first stages of puppy-hood and made it comfortable for them.

They were exhausted after that complete ordeal, but still needed to eat, so we prepared a mixture of soft and dry food enriched with vitamins and everything a weakened puppy heart needed and desired when hungry.

Did I say puppy?

It was more like vacuum cleaners when we put the big bowl down, because it did not even take 15 seconds before it was empty and they were still looking for more.

I had to decline, because after not eating for days it is important not to overfeed or their little systems would have not been able to take it and would have shut down.

Time to go to sleep for them and for us.

We left the run and stood outside looking in and watching these innocent, sweet little creatures settle themselves in for the night. I bet that was the first night in days they could really rest. I fell in love even more and seriously started to hate people, because it was and still is beyond me, how any human being is able to perform such cruelty to innocent living beings.

The next days were crucial, because puppies at that age could carry the  Parvo Virus or Distemper among many other deadly diseases, especially in Thailand and being taken away from their mother too early, will raise that chance immensely.

They were much too young to vaccinate and for a few days it was touch and go. We spent a lot of time with them observing, playing, naming and categorizing them for the administration.

Luckily they were healthy and did not seem to carry much memory of their ordeal after a few days.

They did what puppies do best – eat, sleep a lot, play insanely with each other and I spent a lot of time every day with them, after I finished with all the other animals.

Somehow these guys seemed different and they were growing and becoming stronger by the second, it seemed.

The pups were now about 6 weeks old, vaccinated with their first set of shots and very strong, but most of all, so cute and adorable and when they looked at us, it was like they could do nothing wrong.

They were so innocent – I thought.

Then, one day, when we were eating lunch in the workers area, not too far from the puppy run, I heard a heartbreaking yelping coming from that area. I dropped my fork, my plate fell on the ground, which the dogs in the front area appreciated a lot, and ran to the puppy run.

Four puppies were trying to pull number five apart in all directions, which was Loki and he was screaming so pathetically, it tore my heart in two. I picked him up and noticed big tears in his eyes and he had a droopy and pouting lip, which I have never seen on any animal before – ever. He sobbed and looked at me with his tear-filled eyes and I promised him, I will get him out of there.

Loki, Happy & Delgada

Little did I know, that my husband, who definitely did not want any more dogs, had flirted long already with another dog, but I will save that for the next story.

After a couple of days in the clinic, Loki’s wounds had healed and he was returned to his siblings. I spent time with them day after day and it was not long before Loki screamed again.

He must have known at what times I was near, because it did not matter what time it was, this happened always when I was near the run.

I pulled him out and away from his siblings again and again and again and each time he looked at me with those beautiful tear filled eyes and that pouting lip with a sobbing to melt a stone.

We had long adopted the other dog and now it was like: how do I convince my husband to take one more?

Loki was allowed from that point on to roam free, as long as I was on the premises and he never, ever left my site. He knew when it was time to go inside the clinic to sleep, which was always around the time, when I had to leave the sanctuary. He was content with that as long as he got to see me the next day.

It was a weekend and the director had to leave town, so I asked, if I could take Loki home to see if he gets along with the other gangsters, that already long stole our hearts and lived with us.

Needless to say, he knew what time it was and was already on that motorbike we used for transportation, before I could tell him the great news.

Like a champ and proud as can be, he sat between my husband and me and seemingly enjoyed that ride.

Upon arrival at our house, he acted, as if he never lived anywhere else and the others accepted him right away, cats included.

The bed became his favorite place and he only left it reluctantly and under much protest.

Monday morning came and it was time to take him back to the shelter.

Upon arrival, the other free roaming dogs tried to attack him and shred him to pieces, so my softhearted husband took him back to our house and we informed the director of what was going on.

Loki already had convinced my husband that he was the perfect dog to have around and the kindhearted director allowed him to be adopted by us and so Loki moved in.

By time I had gotten home, he had made himself a corner with a blanket, all the toys he could get his paws on and a bunch of dry dog food, he had carried into his food bowl portion by portion.

Up to this day, I still wonder, what he told his sisters and brothers, if he gave up his food portions and what he told the other dogs living free in the front ???

Today I am his whole world and he is mine and we are like 2 peas in the pod. The others have accepted, that he has somewhat the stand of the leader and he will let everyone know that he is the boss.

I still do wonder what goes on in the heads of these dogs, when they decide they want a particular person as their forever friend, maybe one day I will know.

Today I am convinced, that this all was planned by Loki, because he is one of the smartest dogs, I have ever met and I really would not put it passed him. 🙂

And how was your day?

And How Was your Day?

I could not really sleep, because I was nervous, excited and felt whatever is normal to feel when you enter a new stage in your life.

My first thought was to have a cup of coffee and as I tumbled out of the bedroom, my 11 dogs and 9 cats looked at me a little disillusioned because it was way too early to get up in their opinion.

Have you ever seen a dog raise its eyebrows at you with that kind of look that states: Are you out of your tree? I got that look 11 times, while my mini chihuahua was not sure if she should keep wagging her tail with speed lightning or just go back to sleep on my pillow. (I gave up fighting her for my pillow long ago … she wins all the time anyway and it does not matter how many pillows I put out there, she will choose the one that I want to lay on every time.)

So as I am fighting my way through the cats and dogs still half asleep and just wishing desperately for a cup of coffee, I passed a mirror and glanced automatically at it.

Holy cow, what happened to my hair?

I keep it short but THAT looked like my hand was stuck in an electrical socket all night long.

Oh, it dawned on me.

While I was passed out my other mini chihuahua played hairdresser again. He loves to just chew and dig in my hair gently, while I am trying to sleep.

With my eyes still half closed and no contact lenses or glasses nearby, I guessed my way into the direction of the kitchen hoping to turn on the coffee maker that I set before going to bed….or did I?

I finally made it halfway through our king-sized hallway and peeked at the huge glass sliding door just to see a pair of big rabbit ears belonging to Bebe, my black and white big, bad boy rabbit. I had to separate him from his brother a while back because he was constantly trying to mutilate him and I know he did not like being alone.

There are 3 rabbits outside in big cages and if one gets out, it is usually Taz – the brown one.

Oh well, coffee had to wait.

It was too early for any of the animals to be outside because during the rainy season in Thailand the centipedes, scorpions and snakes are out and we have lost animals to their unmerciful stings and bites in the past.

To catch a rabbit that is tame and hand raised should be an easy task I thought – BUT – I did not count on Bebe enjoying his freedom so much.

We have a huge yard with all kind of tropical palm plants, bushes, fruit trees, lots of grass, etc. for the animals and Bebe was not thinking for a second about going back to the safety of his cage.

Let the games begin: No coffee, no glasses or contact lenses and me running after a rabbit that has just discovered a 380 m2 garden with everything in it that his little rabbit heart could possibly desire.

I do have a run for the rabbits, where they get to enjoy a little freedom regularly, but it is nothing like that real freedom Bebe just discovered.

Out of breath and sweating like a hog, because the heat already settled in with unmerciful sunlight, I decided to let him be for a minute and turn on the coffee maker.

While turning on my computer and doing my usual checking emails and work times for the day, the time passed and knowing it takes exactly 11 minutes for the coffee to be done, I was listening for the gurgling noises the coffee maker usually makes to signal that the coffee is almost done.

No noises…hmmm…I decided to go check on it.

Well Dummy me, I forgot to put down the lid – so I did and turned it on again. (this is one of those modern machines that does not brew or turn on with the lid left open.)

By now I was really desperate for a freakin’ cup of coffee and checked the thermos. Oh good – there was a little left from last night. I hate cold coffee but at this point I was desperate. After all, I still needed to catch Bebe.

So inhaling the small sip of cold coffee that was left in the thermos I felt a little more awake.

Next, try to catch Bebe – so I thought. That rabbit knew what I was up too, and still was not thinking about getting anywhere near me or his cage.

I will walk for miles and miles, but I refuse to run and so I figured a few more minutes for Bebe to enjoy the garden can’t hurt, especially since he had found a nice, juicy patch of grass beneath the gooseberry tree.

By now I was really looking forward to that freshly brewed, nice, hot and delicious cup of coffee.

Entering my kitchen there was still no smell of coffee nor anything sounding remotely like a coffeemaker signaling that fresh coffee is almost available.

So I looked at my coffee maker, that I thought was on, but nothing was happening. The clock showed no mercy either and it was 9:15 am by now.

I still needed to catch Bebe, still had no coffee other than that poor excuse of what once was a delicious liquid the evening before and I still looked like I had been in a major, disastrous storm and started to get a little upset. Then I did a little more investigating – Dummy me… I neither poured water in my coffee maker nor did I add the coffee.

So it was not the coffee maker’s fault at all that it did not brew.

I thought that machine was on a personal vendetta against me and wanted to taunt me for the day.

I poured the water in, put the coffee in the filter, double checked, pushed the on-button and all was well – yet I still needed to catch Bebe.

I took a foldable cage run, which comes apart that we use for the water turtles to stay in when cleaning their pool and pulled it apart to build a fence around his cage and the area where the turtles are – since Bebe was hiding there and did not think I saw him. Now he was ready to go back to his cage and sweetly looked at me as if to say thank you for my little adventure and happily went into his cage on his own.

THAT was a relief.

I folded the run back up and really was looking forward to that nice, fresh cup of coffee. So I went into the kitchen with the happy thought of that coffee and by now it was 9:45 am – 15 minutes away to be brain picked about my abilities as a teacher and to discuss my contract that was already on the virtual table.


I had thrown some water on my hair to tame this ridiculous look that would have scared any interviewer half to death and finally looked civil.

Bebe was safe again and I found my glasses too and was ready to rumble.

I got this – all I needed was a cup of coffee and I don’t think that was asked too much. By now the time is 9:48 am, 12 minutes away from the interview.

I happily had my cup ready to pour this most deserved and fresh, delicious cup of coffee – but – there was none.

I must have looked really stupid and made a gesture of some kind because my big boy dog Loki looked at me like I was off my rocker and went hiding under my desk.

What and where was the problem and why on earth could I not get a damned cup of coffee this morning? Electricity was on, so there was no reason for that stupid thing called coffee maker not to work.

Oh yes, there was !!!!! I forgot to plug it in, Dummy me.

I had exactly 11 minutes and 32 seconds left before I had to be at my virtual interview and quickly plugged the machine in and turned it on.

I raced to my computer, opened the virtual classroom to pull up the material and at 9:59 am I heard the sound I was so desperately waiting for – the gurgling of the coffeemaker. That was the most beautiful sound and smell all morning long and I had exactly 21 seconds left to get that cup of coffee.

I did and while I am taking that first, most desired sip of it, my interviewer appeared – with a cup of coffee in her hand as well.

I took another sip and now was ready.

Of course, I passed with flying colors and could now go over to the rest of the day’s happenings, which were peaceful and nothing out of the ordinary.

And how was your day?

Life’s Stories by Claudia Ulm – The Whispering Witch