Volunteering Diary – Dogs of Winter and Love at First Sight

Not very long ago I became a volunteer for the local animal shelter, to walk the dogs. Going there when the time allows, is not a full time job, but is a full time commitment in my heart and mind.

Even if the nature of the job is pretty simple, it can get complicated quite rapidly. You take a dog from the shelter for a walk, you have that special connection, and then you have to take him back there, and say ‘see you later’. That’s very hard for me, and saying goodbye is almost impossible and very heartbreaking, even if you know the dogs are well taken care of, by their caregivers. You just can’t help but wonder how they’re doing and if they’re happy.

Snowy

A Beautiful Walk With Precious Snowy

My second dog, after the first contact with Sharky, was Snowy, a precious 11 year old American Bulldog, deaf but amazingly sweet. Going for a very slow and relaxed walk, we had a nice time in the wild landscape. A long walk and a few cookies are good even for an older pup, and her mood improved quite a lot before going back to the shelter.

I always said you don’t adopt a dog. You have the feeling that you do, when in fact you get adopted by the dog. The dog chooses you, but he will let you think you did all the work ūüôā

Taking a dog back to the shelter becomes extra hard when you get adopted by that one special pup.

Sam

Walking My Favorite Pup, Sam

Sam, an amazing 2 year old Rottweiler adopted me from the first moment we met. Having a weakness for the breed, when I realized I have to walk a Rottweiler called Sam, I couldn’t help it but have a huge grin on my face for the rest of the day ūüėÄ

Me and Sam created a deep connection and friendship. I guess I’ve finally learned the meaning of love at first sight! When we met again, his face and reaction said it all. Also, saying goodbye wasn’t easy, as he just wouldn’t want to leave my sight and go back in the kennel.

Sam left paw prints all over my heart and is very hard to know he doesn’t have the loving family he deserves and needs. Even if adoption is not an option for me right now, I went back a few more times to spend some time with him. I hope he’ll soon be surrounded by a loving family, like he deserves it.

Donnie

Having fun with precious Donnie

Next on my list of favorites is Donnie, an amazing border collie, full of life and very well behaved. Always paying attention to the human, and eager to please, a walk with such an amazing dog, can’t get any better. I’m always amazed to see dogs so well trained, in the shelters. Most of the dogs shouldn’t be there in first place!

noordjes

A very nice walk, with sweet Noordjes

Just like Donnie’s, is also Noordjes case, a surprise Cocker Spaniel and Labrador mix, as I was pretty sure she’s only a puppy, when in fact she’s around 4 years old. Very lovable, well trained, and also full of life, the little fur ball really made my day, with a very energetic and lovely walk, in the dunes.

Such a pity people buy adorable puppies, without thinking of the adult dog, and they end up throwing them in a shelter, when they realize the adult dog is now what they were looking for… I wish more people would think much longer about the commitment, before deciding to buy a puppy. No dog should end up in shelters, because people don’t know what they’re getting themselves into! It’s a situation which can be so easily avoided, by doing some research prior to the adoption…

Before my first walk with a shelter dog, I was 100% sure this experience is all about giving, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Sometimes, giving gives back more than you would ever think is possible. The love of a dog definitely makes us hole! And if during walking dogs we also end up with new friends, life just can’t get any better!

To never know the love of a dog is to miss the best thing life has to give

friends

Nothing better than a day spent with good friends and silly Doefes


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Bee Season

Either in our gardens, the park, or flower fields, spring is the season when we see a large number of bees, flying from one flower to the other. It’s the right season to admire these beautiful insects, at work, and capture a few pictures.

bees flowers

Every now and then, we might meet a few exhausted bees, unable to fly back to their hive, which puts them at risk of being eaten by birds. We can help the bees though, by making a sugar and water mix which helps revive them.

To create the¬†‘energy drink’¬†you should¬†mix two tablespoons of white, granulated sugar, with one tablespoon of water, and place the mix on a spoon. Even if it seems little, do not add more water, otherwise the bee could drown. Then, place the exhausted bee on the spoon, where it will hopefully have a drink¬†and¬†gather the energy to fly back to its hive.

I believe bees are essential for the planet, so every rescue matters. If we can do something to help, then why not? ūüôā Happy Bee Season!


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Spring Walk In Three Colors, Birds and a Wagging Tail

Best way to experience the new season? By going out for a walk¬†and enjoying Mother Nature’s colorful new clothes.

The color spectrum goes from green, to yellow, to red, to purple, from one plant to the other. What can be more beautiful than this?

Another wonderful aspect of warmer weather is the presence of more and more creatures, coming out to celebrate the return to life of nature.

I love birds, and it’s a great¬†feeling to hear them sing, in early spring. It feels like the entire nature comes back to live, mesmerized by their lovely song.

I was lucky enough to come very close to a few House Wrens, which were making a nest in the area. Extremely rapid, bubbling and full of live, just like the sounds they make, it was pure joy to see them build.

A few interesting facts about House Wrens:

When establishing a territory, a male fills all available cavities or nesting boxes in its domain with sticks, which seems to protect the nest sites from encroachment by other Wrens.

When it arrives, the female selects a nest site, throws out much of the material deposited by the male and builds another nest.

A male often attracts two mates. Males sometimes puncture¬†other birds’ eggs, possibility in defense of their nesting territory.

~ Special thanks to my dear friend, Frances,

for the information provided ~

birdmakingnest1

Gorgeous little creatures, aren’t they?

However, the best part of going out for a walk, is sharing it with a walk enthusiast. Who better for this job, than Lisa? ūüôā

If you ever wondered how a graphic representation of ‘being happy’ looks like, in the left picture you¬†can see it clearly¬†(that’s also what I call the ‘There’s¬†Mommy!’ face).

Lisawalk1

Spring is known for a very moody weather,¬†and¬†from time to time (most of the time), it¬†decides to display¬†all seasons in one day. When you get beautiful white ‘pearls’ racing down from the sky, followed shortly by snow, you tend to reconsider your walking plan of the day, or at least make it shorter ūüôā

All in all, flowers in the sun, birds singing and a wagging tale. A perfect combination for a perfect spring day!


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The Butterfly Pavilion – Color Madness

Natura Artis Magistra’s Butterfly Pavilion,¬†the largest of its kind in the Netherlands (of around a thousand square meters), is the home of¬†thousands of butterflies. Twice a day, the butterflies that came¬†out of their cocoons are released into the pavilion, including the stunning¬†Blue Morpho. Quite a sight!

This was definitely the most colorful and joyful walk I took, in a long time ūüôā

The Natura Artis Magistra Adventure

Artis is one of the oldest zoos in Europe (176 years old), located in the heart of Amsterdam. Founded in 1838 by three wealthy Dutch gentlemen, Gerard Westerman, J.W.H. Werlemann and J.J. Wijsmuller, the zoo is the home of an Aquarium, a Butterfly Pavilion, an Insectarium, and a Planetarium.

Starting with a small number of¬†animals,¬†a few monkeys, some parrots and other birds, and a Surinamese wildcat, Artis¬†rapidly expanded, more¬†land being¬†purchased, some with existing structures on them.¬†This is how¬†27 monumental buildings are still located in the zoo’s gardens, most being used as animal enclosures.

The full name of the zoo stands for: nature is the teacher of art and science. That being said, I present to you the cutest teachers around: