Sometimes you wonder if things do happen for a reason. Like when Amanda was dog walking two pups from work and met with Athanasia and her adopted dog. Amanda and her partner Jonathan did not plan to buy a dog, but Athanasia and her story about the homeless dogs in Greece made such a strong impression on Amanda that the plans would soon change. Just a few months later the Greek rescue dog Buster came to Sweden and became her and Jonathan’s new beloved family member. Read the fantastic love story of Amanda and Buster below.
”This spring I went to Gärdet with two dogs from work who ended up playing with another dog. I started to talk with the owner of the other dog and I asked her about its breed since it looked a bit different than the dogs I normallt meet. The woman told me she was from Greece, but moved to Sweden a few years ago and brought two adopted dogs. I said that if I would ever get a dog, I would also like to adopt one and she instantly showed me several pages on Facebook where people post photos of dogs in urgent need for adoption. Like puppies found in trash bags or left outside hospitals. The last is very common to dogs who’s owner ends up in hospital. They leave them outside the hospital and if they pass away the dog will be left alone.
I became obsessed with these digital dog rescue forums and spent days and tried to immerse myself in what the situation actually looks like and the more I read and more photos I observed the more I must adopt a dog myself. And suddenly he showed up! Tzitzi, a little boy of about 7 months who had been found with his three siblings and her mother at about two months of age in an area that was severely affected by the crisis I immediately felt – that is our dog. The people who found him come from an organization called Ghost dogs of Asproyrgos, the world’s elders who spend their entire lives saving animals. Today I have contact with Photini almost every day, no one can live as a street dog as she can, amazing man. She told us that Buster and his siblings were in very bad condition and unfortunately his brother didn’t make it, but he and his two sisters were taken care of by volunteers after their treatment. Buster lived with a guy who had 15 other dogs with him, and he was not only the smallest one among the siblings but also among these 15 dogs.
This was at the beginning of May and in June we were moving into our new apartment and we thought he would come here in August so we could plan for vacation and spend 24/7 with him his first weeks here. But … I asked for a video of him since we only had seen single photos so far and when we got the videos I realized he can’t walk. Photini said he’s just shy but everything felt wrong. My family said this has been too fast, he is not well, it will be very high vet costs, you have no experience of an injured dog and so on. I said – I’ll take him home! Jonathan trusted me on my instinct.
Athanasia, whom I met in the park, was going down to Greece in August and we decided she’d bring Tzitzi home to Sweden. However, when we decided he would actually come here we wanted to get him as soon as possible (he was about 8 months when he come here). Everything happened at record speed and he was to be castrated (one of the requirements of Ghost dogs), vaccinated, get passports, etc. Athanasia, probably one of the best people I met in life, went down, met him and brought him on the plane to Sweden !! God, when she met him and called me on FaceTime. I cried and cried, and he could walk! Little Tzitzi became Buster and he weighed only 4 kg (he weighs 8.5 now :)) and got to be in the cabin which felt nice. Oh god when we came home with him … he was so tiny. You saw and felt every leg on the body and he was so careful. However, he would like to be close and that night he slept on our pillows between us.
From that moment everything has just continued as usual. After four months, we do not see any direct signs of him originating from the poor streets of Greece., However, at first he peed once a day. He poured water and food in such a way that we always made sure that his bowls were full so he could eat as much as he wanted to. We wanted him to understand that there is no stress, nobody is going to take his food. If he gets a chewing bone or a treat he haven’t had before, he always sneaks away with it in his mouth to eat in peace. Also, I bought bones, treats and toys, but he has probably never had access to that earlier. The first weeks it was so scary for him. Now though … He eats all the bones until they are completely done, he loves soft animals and collects all of them to his dog bed and plays with them until there are only rags left. Since we were waiting for our apartment to be ready we lived his first three weeks in Sweden with my parents, and initially he would only do his needs inside their fence. The whole house became like his safe castle. It was possible to go for short walks if there were two of us four who went with him, otherwise he refused. I think he felt he had his family now and would definitely not leave it. My mom and dad have really become his best friends! Before he came into our life they were lika any parents but they really opened their arms and mind when he arrived. Have a video on instagram where you really see how much he likes them. Love it!
He appreciates different surroundings around a lot. Grass, forest, sand, mountain.s Sometimes I think we have gotten a mountain goat. He’s crazy. He probably thinks he’s a spiderman in dog format! He was described before as a little Ferdinand. One who likes to sit under the Oak and smell the flowers. And yes, he was that calm and cautious in the beginning but since he began to understand that a dog life can be really fun, there is no stop! “Wonder if I can jump from the couch to the window sill …” That’s his mind set nowadays. Buster is our first dog and I really have no previous experience. Many dogs are testing boundaries for sure, but one really feels that he has come to life and blossomed. He is still afraid of some new situations, like with rain. He had never experienced rain before and at first he did not like it at all, but after a while he went out – and loved it! He still loves to cuddle. And so do I. Best thing is to push the entire nose into the fur and 95% of the times, Buster loves it oo. He really wants to do well, listen and learn quickly.
Buster has been so lucky in life even though he was born without a home. However, what if Photini and the others never found him? I’m so happy that they still fight for helping rescue pups to give them a better dog life. I was wondering why Buster was so terribly shy. The volunteer Alex, who Buster lived with, was honest and said he hasn’t anything more to give. He has no more food than the dogs already get. Thus, they will be hungry but survive. He can not spend enough time with each individual dog for each day, there are new dogs who need help. How and when can you say no to a dog in need? I can not decide if it’s good or bad to have 15 dogs in the same apartment, but at the same time I’m so grateful that everyone on Ghost dogs helped Buster. Our little dog, can not imagine a life without him now.
Imagine if I had not brought the dogs at work on my walk? And thus not met with Athanasia. Then this had never happened. Scary thought.”
– Amanda Milefors