Finding a friend in the winter

By Marina Pugh
April 12, 2023

Getting to the site as the cold winter chill rolled through was difficult at first. I wasn't eager to go on a community walk, and I was regretting not packing enough wool socks. After my first three weeks of working with my organization, we had a two-week long break for the holidays. I was alone and the feeling of homesickness began to set in. One night, I walked to the neighborhood grocery store and stumbled across a tiny little creature, no bigger than my shoe, with fur missing in some spots. It slowly waddled around, deliriously seeking its next meal. My curiosity pushed me to take one step further and see clearly that it was a little puppy. I felt a tug on my heartstrings when I saw the condition of this dog.

Despite the stray dog issue in the Balkans, most community dogs are shown affection in passing from community members and even get tossed a few spare bones from homes and restaurants. They are often inoculated for rabies and released with tags on their ears, and they do quite well around people. However, this little pup had hardly been in the world for more than a month when I found her and didn't have a good chance at survival. I didn't want to walk by 15 minutes later and see a worse image, so I ran back to my apartment, grabbed an old towel, came back to the puppy, and scooped her up to go straight to the vet.

The veterinarian here in Mitrovica is a superstar. He gave her fluids, food, and all of the necessary meds to heal her from her bad state (I'll spare everyone from the details). He was even gracious enough to give her a little haircut. Nearly four months later, I have a little companion that has stolen the hearts of the community. Roxy will be heading back to live in the US with my family where we will reunite after my service in Kosovo. Lucky pup!

Headshot for PCV