The Lucky Dog

by Steven van Groningen on 22 December, 2010

I was in a meeting when my son called. He is a student at a Dutch university but visiting for the Christmas holidays. “Dad, please send a car, quickly!”  What had happened? He had gone for a run around Hereastrau lake with his mother and our dog. This is nothing special, we run around the lake several times a week. When they came to the part close to Hard Rock Cafe they had heard a dog wailing. The dog had gotten on the ice of the part of the lake that was frozen but the ice was too thin to support its weight and he had gone through.

Never Go Skating Alone

Only his head and front paws were above water and he couldn’t pull himself out of the water on the ice. In the Netherlands this is what parents warn their children about when they go skating. When you go through the ice or you skate into a wake, there is no way you can get out by yourself. Something the poor dog was now experiencing. I would never go skating alone for that reason.

112 To The Rescue

My wife and son, realizing they would not be able to save the dog themselves, called 112 and in no time a team appeared. One of them was equipped with a wetsuit and could get to the dog and get him out. But what to do now? A terrified, totally exhausted dog, two cold runners in thin clothes and a pedigree dog 5 km from home. No use to save a dog from drowning and then let it freeze to death on shore, hence the phone call. I quickly send my driver over with the car and he took all of them home. The saved dog, an old skinny affair with a torn ear, got a warm shower and was cleaned and dried. When I got home later in the evening I found him still trembling like a leaf in the heated garage wrapped in blankets and surrounded with hot water bottles. He had already recovered enough strength to take a few steps and will probably recover fully.

What Is His Name?

This is not the first time I find a new dog when I get home. When we lived in Voluntari and had a bigger garden and the children were younger it was easier to find solutions. Those days it was puppies, saved from a certain death. I know from experience that the first step towards acceptance is to give the new dog a name. So I asked, looking at the trembling bag of bones in our garage: “Have you given him a name yet ?”

Yes,  we call him….Lucky.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

zalex December 22, 2010 at 01:17

Hello again, Mr. van Groningen

I like animals (i even took a tomcat from the streets and make him family four years ago), but i don’t understand one thing when it comes to stray dogs: everybody loves them, feeds them but… ON THE STREET! When it comes to take responsibilities for them, we find ourselves “blowing in the wind”. Romania (or is it only Bucharest?) have an issue with the stray dogs. They are too many, too hungry, too ill and too violent not to notice them. How’s the situation of stay dogs in Amsterdam, for egsample? Do we miss some “simple solution” in the stray dog’s problem or it’s all about money we don’t afford to spend on them? Thank you!


Woof January 10, 2011 at 00:15

The situation in Amsterdam concerning stray dogs is that there is no situation :) There are no stray dogs in The Netherlands. I haven’t been curious to see how exactly this aspect is being handled by the authorities, but what I observed while living there for some while (studying in the city with the same surname name as Mr. Steven has :P) is that also the mentality of people is different. They don’t abandon their pets on streets, and in all that time i spent there ( a couple of years), I haven’t seen not even one “mother dog” with puppies. So probably their breeding is also controlled. One other thing, is that you can hardly find these mixed breeds as we, Romanians, have on the streets or even in our homes. There are a lot of dog owners, and as far as I noticed, all were pure breeds. The dogs, not the owners :) But then again, there are so many things that differ in the Netherlands compared to what happens in Romania. I’d say, let’s be happy with what we have functional and strive to improve the dysfunctional features. We have a lot of work to do, but at least we have delicious food :)


Calin December 22, 2010 at 09:31

Lucky he is, then! :)


Manuela December 22, 2010 at 16:01

Dear Steve,
It is striking again to me that on Christmas we receive all kind of signs from the Almighty! Your son and yourself have done the most wonderful thing rescuing Lucky and adopting him.. I am proud of being one of your friends!


Luminita December 22, 2010 at 16:52

M-a impresionat comentariul acesta, cred ca este singurul comentariu pe care l-ati scris pana acum si care m-a lasat fara cuvinte………. Da, sunt de acord cu Calin, LUKY e cel mai potrivit nume, dar cred ca i s-ar potrivi si RAIFF (de la RAIFFEISEN). In aceasta saptamana a Craciunului ati reusit sa ne impresionati intr-un mod extraordinar! Sincer, n-am cuvinte……… Si pentru ca ne aflam in preajma marii sarbatori a nasterii domnului, permiteti-mi sa va urez dumneavoastra si familiei dv, multa sanatate, ganduri bune, bucurii pe masura sufletului dumneavoastra si a lor, prieteni adevarati in jurul dumneavoastra si tot ce a mai ramas bun pe lumea asta sa vina spre dumneavoastra, pentru ca o meritati din plin! CRACIUN FERICIT, domnule van Groningen!


jhuitz December 24, 2010 at 11:06

Commendable. My wife and I are hard core dog lovers. We didn’t bring our own to Romania with us because we felt it was too much for him, fights with strays was a certainty and on a scouting trip we found that they are unwelcome in restaurants. It’s great to be home with him now for the holidays.

Anyway, my wife joined others in starting an NGO in rescuing puppies in Bucharest. We and others foster them, get their shots, papers and once a month a van takes them to Germany and Austria were people will adopt mutts and are not so fixated on pure-breeds. Sad stories are common.

We can take Romania for the most part. But every so often we reach the point where we can’t bear the site of hungry and limping dogs and cats or the local rethoric about mass culling beng the only solution. We pack our bags as I think of a job anywhere but there. The site of pensioners begging doesn’t help either.

But sometimes we see Romanians doing everything they can to make a difference. It isn’t going to change the tide, but maybe one day it will.

Thanks for the story. I’m glad that a senior executive car has been put to good use. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

– Juan


Alina December 27, 2010 at 15:14

Lucky dog, indeed … Congratulations for the human gesture of your family! My parents have a yardhouse near Pitesti and they constantly rescue or just feed homeless dogs, cats …. You have a big heart, indeed! An example to follow. Thank you!


raluca January 27, 2011 at 20:33

A Lucky one,indeed! – got a brend new life and a lovelly
family too ! More people with big heart in Bucharest would make the
local atmosphere more breathable! Especially for these poor lillte
four paws ‘s souls… Such a touching story!


BL January 31, 2011 at 11:10

The solution is simple zalex. I can tell you that in New
Zealand (almost the Netherlands :-)) and I am sure in other Western
countries, all dogs must be registered for a small annual fee. This
also requires them to be vaccinated. The local councils then have a
duty to supply dog control officers who gather up any dogs
wandering the streets. If the dogs have registration tags, they are
returned to the owner for a fee (much like cars that are towed away
for being illegally parked, another difference between NZ and
Romania!). If they do not have tags, they are held for a certain
period of time (where they are able to be adopted) and then put
down. This means there is NO stray dog issue, they simply do not
exist. For me the idea of dangerous wild animals roaming the
streets is so bizarre that I still struggle with it.


mihai February 4, 2011 at 11:13

Felicitari! You saved a soul from a terrible


Sven March 31, 2011 at 08:27

why aren’t you updating your blog anymore.?


SvG April 1, 2011 at 09:31

Well, It is all a matter of time, my blogging is suffering because of my Ironman training, which is taking up a lot of time. I was difficult to find the balance. Now that my triathlon training is going well, I make an effort to return to regular postings. Thanks for asking ! It is good to know people notice.


bizzar May 1, 2011 at 12:27

I miss your posts/thoughts. Good luck with the training.


Roxana April 21, 2011 at 16:20

I am glad to have discovered this blog. You inspire me to express my feelings and thoughts in a different way :) Thank you very much!


Luminita May 13, 2011 at 12:15

Buna ziua!
Domnule van Groningen, sunteti suparat pe noi? ce se intampla cu blogul dv? am citit explicatia dv, dar totusi……….! nu va plac discutiile in contradictoriu? ei, glumesc! va doresc o zi buna!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: