One day, a woman from Athens in Greece was vacationing in a small tourist town right by the sea around 100 miles outside of Athens. She was walking her dogs on the beach when she spotted a stray dog.Valia Orfanidou, who is a self-confessed an animal lover, is used to seeing a lot of stray dogs and cats.
“When you are an animal lover living in Greece, you simply get used to lonely stray dogs wandering around everywhere,” she said, “and choose to rescue the ones that can’t make it on the streets: the sick, emaciated or hurt ones, the newborns and the pregnant females.”
But there was something different about this dog – she looked quite young and didn’t seem to have any of those pressing needs that made Valia feel a deep sense of urgency like other strays did.
“There was something about her that made her life as a stray extremely vulnerable. She had spotted us from a distance, and since she was looking desperately for company, she joined the four of us and tried to fit in,” said Valia.
The stray dog approached them, then immediately rolled over on her back and let Valia stroke her belly. It was unusual that she had no one who cared for her in the whole world, but yet she still had so much love to give. “She was desperate for attention,” Valia said.
Blue (as Valia named her) wasn’t in desperate circumstances. The pup was around 7 months old and healthy, so it meant she wasn’t a priority. But there was something about the friendly stray that called out to Valia. She could tell that the dog was desperate in her spirit.
She was “desperate for human company and for a family where she would feel like she belonged.”
She spent a summer chasing people and running behind cars of anyone she met on that beach wagging her tail and begging for something,” Valia further explained.
Valia watched the poor stray pup for a few days. Meanwhile, the dog was playing in the sand, chased passing cars and followed families visiting the sea. “I couldn’t sleep for two days, trying to find a way to take her off that beach as soon as possible,” she said.
Finally, Valia came and put her in the car. “I named her Blue for the blue sea that kept her company for the first few months of her life,” Orfanidou said.
Blue found a foster parent, but she still needed a forever home.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Holland, there was a family who were grieving the loss of one of their dogs. “Abbaio sadly passed away in the summer with leaving us and Rincewind [their other dog] mourning behind,” Karin Folkerts said.
Abbaio and Rincewind were both therapy dogs and worked together by visiting nursing homes in the local area and helping people with dementia and Alzheimer’s feel happy again. Not only did the family miss their dog – the people in the nursing home did too.
Soon though Folkerts fall in love with Blue after seeing a photo of her. Thanks to Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS).
Blue got all cleaned up and was then ready for adoption.
“We immediately pushed the contact button and before we know it we were called,” Folkerts said.
Valia and Folkerts had a few conversations to see if Blue was a good match for the family, which includes Rincewind the dog and also a couple of cats.
It was a match made in heaven, right from the off.
“Rincewind, who was with us, immediately fell in love with her,” Folkerts said. “That was so sweet and she was so welcome. Rincewind and she are BFFs.
Blue was trained as a therapy dog by Folkerts, and went on her first visit to the nursing home this month. People lit up when they saw her.
“She doesn’t have problems with people no matter what they are doing,” Folkerts said. “She isn’t scared when they are talking loud, are getting angry, are crying or noisy, she is so stable.
“I realize it is just three months ago that Blue came to live with us,” Folkerts said. “It feels like she was here for always.”
The poor stray who has spent her whole life all alone on the beach has finally found a family and even a career in helping people feel happy.
“Three months ago she was walking on the beach, offering her help, but nobody wanted it,” Folkerts said. “Now she is received with arms wide open.”