It was the summer of 1995. My daughter and I had gone to the island of Aegina (located in the Saronic Gulf) on vacation. We were strolling by the seaside when we saw a poster advertising the animal shelter located at the old jail inviting people to come see and visit. My daughter started pleading with me asking me that we go and see the "doggies". At first, I resisted. I knew that if we went, we would walk away with a dog and I felt that my days were too jam packed to find the time needed to incorporate an addition to our family. She insisted - I gave in. Going to the shelter, I was met by the most adorable dog I had ever seen. Her eyes were expressive, filled with that "I love you, will you take me home with you?" look which was impossible to ignore. Suffice to say, that day, Snowy left with us and found a new home.
About a year later, while walking Snowy, I was approached by a gentleman who asked me if I knew what breed my dog was. My reply was that she was not a pure breed, just a loving companion. A companion who I swear was born to love and take care of us. He then asked me if I knew anything about dog shows, pure breeds etc. I did not. These were subjects which were totally unknown to me. He explained to me that Snowy was a relatively rare breed, a Polski Owczarek Nizinny (Polish Lowland Sheepdog) who I should take to the next dog show and have her obtain a Greek Kennel Registry Number (at the time, the books were still open in Greece and it was still possible to obtain a Registry Number for dogs which did not have a pedigree). I followed his advise and took Snowy to be confirmed as a PON by the memorable Richard Masters. He advised me that she was an excellent dog and would most likely do well at the dog shows. And that's how it all started...
Did I mention that I felt that my days were too jam packed for a dog? Well... it seems I was wrong. I may not be able to find the time, but it would seem that I could make the time. After Snowy followed more dogs (PONs and Rough Collies) in addition to my serving as Ring Secretary and Ring Steward to more shows than I can remember, serving as President of the British Sheepdog Club of Greece, Secretary of the Hellenic Spaniel Club, member of the Greek Kennel Club, member of the Retriever Club of Greece, writing articles and, amidst all that, also found time for a few PON and Rough Collie litters.
Thank you Snowy. You may have crossed the Rainbow Bridge but you manage to be with me always. You taught me much about love, loyalty, patience, devotion, humor, protection and humility. I can only hope that I was a worthy student.