Stray Dog Finds New Home and New Career In New Country

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
While visiting Greece last year, Valia Orfanidou came upon a stray dog who not only changed her life, but now changes the lives of others as a therapy dog!

Valia Orfanidou of Athens, Greece, is an animal lover, not unfamiliar with helping rescue the many sad, stray dogs and cats she sees all over the Greek islands. Sadly, stray animals are an epidemic, and she said that she has to choose to help ones that she feels simply couldn’t survive on the streets–sick, hurt, pregnant, or newly born–while hoping for the best for the others.

Last August, she was walking her dogs on the beach of a small tourist town by the sea when she saw a stray dog–a young pup who seemed healthy enough, but who made her feel that there was something more she needed to do. Orfanidou says that the dog just had a sense of vulnerability about her, and allowed Orfanidou to pet her–clearly, this dog seemed desperate for attention.

Related: No Strays In The Netherlands – How Do They Do It?

She watched the dog over the next few days as she played in the sand or chased families visiting the ocean. Orfanidou couldn’t sleep, as she was constantly worrying about this dog. That’s when she decided to foster her until she could find a forever home. Naming the dog ‘Blue’ for the sea, Orfanidou began searching for a forever family.

At the same time in another country, a family in Holland was mourning the loss of one of their beloved dogs, Abbaio. Karin Folkerts, Abbaio’s mama, said that her loss left not only them and their remaining dog Rincewind brokenhearted, but the many patients of the nursing homes that the dogs visited to give therapy and comfort to felt a tremendous loss as well.

The Folkerts family came across Blue when the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society’s posted her picture, and they immediately knew she was meant to be with their family.

Orfanidou spoke with the Folkerts to ensure that Blue would be a match for them, and a week later, Blue was on her way to her new family in Holland. Rincewind immediately took to Blue and became best pup-buddies, while the Folkerts trained Blue to be a therapy dog.

Related: Therapy Dogs Help Children With Autism More Than We Thought

When people in the nursing homes saw Blue, they immediately lit up. Blue has a way with people that no matter what they are doing–crying, being noisy, talking loud–she is calm and stable, Folkerts says. Though it’s only been three months that they’ve been together, Folkerts says it’s like she’s always been with them and clearly was meant to be. For a dog who was desperate to give love and affection to anyone who would take it, she is now doing what she does best with people who are desperate to receive it.

And that is what you call a win-win. If you’d like to follow beautiful Blue’s adventures, you can visit her Facebook page!

(Additional photo credit: Blue Bayou/Facebook)

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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