Dushi: Chow Mix

48″x48″ Oil on Canvas 2018

Human: Geert van der Plas,  Bonaire Carribean, Netherlands

 One morning around new year she was just standing there in my garden keeping her distance with her tail between her legs. She didn’t come close but observed me.

After some hours I put some food out for her, some left overs I had in my fridge. She ate some but was still very shy and did not come close.

This went one for a couple of days. Bit by bit she let me come closer.  When some left over fireworks  of the new year were shot in the air she would run like the wind. She was terrified of the noise.

But she showed up again and again and started to eat everything I would put our for her. I fell in love and named her Dushi (sweetheart)

She came in the house and I just let her explore for herself. After a while I gave her a collar with a tag with my phone number so where ever she would run to after a bang or something else what would scare her, anyone could call me.

This was 8 years ago. Her running away happened a couple of times, always around the end of the year when firework time started. She even jumped through a glass window one day still terrified of fireworks. But we became the best of friends, we would go for long walks every day and she slept  beside my bed from the moment she entered the house. And slowly but surely her tail came up and she became more self confident.

I felt so at ease with her, didn’t need any company just hers. Still incredible how she became so important or maybe the most important person in my life on Bonaire. She accepted me as her new home with her loyalty and I returned that loyalty back to her as I have never given to anyone else in my life.

4 years ago I met Vronie and her dog Doedel.   We fell in love with each other and it seemed the dogs too. Doedel and Dushi were so at ease from the first moment Vronie and Doedel came to visit us. After our first kiss Vronie and Doedel  stayed and never left.  We became a little family where how Vronie and I connected the dogs seem to connect the same. They were always together sleeping, playing, chasing, eating even peeing!

My long walks with the both of them were the highlight of my day.  Just being home the four of us was all I needed.

And our vacations in Europe with the both of them were the best, taking long walks in the woods or on the beaches, dunes, through the snow, even going for a drink on a city terrace or having dinner, sleeping in a (dog) hotel all was just so fantastic.

Then just before Christmas in 2016 she was not feeling well. I had to go to Holland for work and within that week I was gone it went down the hill with her really quickly. Vronie was at the Vet almost every day but nothing seem to help her getting better. One morning she didn’t wake up and I got the call from Vronie in the middle of a congress I was attending. The news broke me in to pieces, I was so devastated I left the congress. I sat at my mom’s waiting for the day I would fly  back to Bonaire not able to do anything else.  In the meantime Vronie arranged for Dushi to be held in a morgue so I could see her one more time.

She was still so beautiful, as if she was asleep. But she was gone. And I have never felt such a big loss in my life. I miss her every day and every time I see Doedel or when we go for a walk I feel incomplete. This feeling just doesn’t go away.

It’s been almost 2 years and I still tear up when I see old pictures. And I can still not believe this beautiful stray dog who just wandered into my life left such a hole in my heart. I am also so immensely grateful for all the time I had with her. This is real love, a love I will never forget and can never be replaced, she was my Dushi.

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