Two years ago, a scruffy little soul entered our life – and changed everything. Kalle – formerly known as „Stuppi“ – came all the way from Romania, where he had lived as a stray-dog on the streets of Bistrița, carrying the weight of a difficult past. The road to our connection wasn’t easy; it was a journey of patience, persistence and perseverance.
When Kalle first arrived in Berlin, his eyes were anxious and sad, his body held a hint of fear and uncertainty. After a 14-hour journey from Romania, he stayed for two days on the couch, holding on tight to a small Teddy between his paws. He was exhausted and underweight and his right ear a little chopped. We don’t know (and still don’t) what had happened to him. In those early days, I often wondered if we would ever truly bond, if he would ever feel safe and at ease in his new home. He needed an anchor, and often I wasn’t sure if we were able to be his safe haven. Both of us never owned a dog before; we were probably as insecure as Kalle.
We took small steps together, inching our way towards trust. I watched as Kalle cautiously explored his surroundings, testing the boundaries of this home. The first steps into the staircase, the hours we spend just sitting on our doorstep, listening to the sounds of our neighbours and the echos from the street. The first time we went on a very short walk just down the street …and quickly back. The first time after 3 (!!!) months that he finally felt at ease to pee outside.
The city was too loud and too crowded, and Kalle was too scared and overwhelmed by it all. Everything was new – surroundings, climate, smell, and noise – and thus he felt lost, just like I had felt in Cambodia a while ago. Each time Kalle timidly wagged his tail or played with crushed paper or each time he started resting his head on our laps or rubbed his nose against our legs, my heart swelled with joy. It was a reminder that Kalle trusted us –if just a little – and that resilience knows no bounds.
As time passed (and his fur grew longer and longer), Kalle’s true nature emerged. Every day, he was unfolding a little more. His playful spirit, his goofy side, the cheekiness and infectious dog smile, that still makes other people stop on the streets to smile back at him. We went traveling together, from romping through snowed covered dunes to chasing waves on sandy shores. We taught him safety, and „the basics“ like sit, down, stop and high five; Kalle taught us to be still and appreciate the simple joys in life, to find solace in the present moment, to just be and take a break.
It wasn’t just Kalle who changed through our shared experiences. Through Kalle we learnt a lot about patience and resilience and healing over time, about the strength of the human-animal connection. It would be nothing but a lie to call this a smooth journey. Kalle brought out the best in us, but also challenged us to our deepest cores. Twice we thought we couldn’t do this anymore, both times Kalle showed us that we could. In his eyes, I saw a reflection of everyone else’s journey—overcoming obstacles, finding my place in this world, and embracing the beauty of imperfection.
Today, as I look into those deep, soulful eyes, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for the countless tail wags, wet kisses, and unwavering companionship. Gratitude for the lessons learned, the ups and downs, the healing and the long way ahead.
Happy two-year anniversary, Kalle Boie Balthasar. Together, we have woven a tapestry of memories, affection and resilience that will forever be etched in my heart. Here’s to many more adventures, cuddles, and balcony sessions. Thank you for choosing us as your humans, and for allowing us to witness the transformation of a stray into a real Berliner Schnauze. You are finally home, Kalle. ❤️🐾