| Learning from dogs: Optimist
I was some twenty years of age I met my first teaching master. In those
days I wasn’t doing all too well: I was lonely,
not very social and had got to Ibiza
whithout any goal. I did quarrel a lot and didn't like to
connect with people. On account of
my inability to socialize I spent my days making long walks
along the island. I visited the coast, Ibiza
city and the island’s interior. Once I decided to go to the
coast passing an
industrial zone by
The hour was about noon and it was horrendously warm. I was walking in
blistering sun across the zone and there she was: panting, hot,
dirty. A small, black doggie full of patches and filth alone in the
shade of an
I was no
stranger to finding stray dogs anywhere anytime.
would look as long as was necessary to find them a home but
this time I toot it upon myself to do thing differently: I would not
get attached, adopt her,
project all my lonely feeling on her but leave the situation as it was.
another look at this panting mess of a dog and thought to myself that
some water would do no harm. Uninvited the doggie was already following
I returned to my then sleeping accommodation. At the time I was living on a boat which was lying in quay being
I gave the doggie some water and concluded I had done my part.
out differently. The little dog kept following me tirelessly. It
occurred to me that if I walked back to where I had found her she would
own way: she didn’t. It occurred to me that if I went to Ibiza
she would find her own bearings: she didn’t. In the evening I
got into my
sleeping place thinking she would disappear during the night: she
I came out in the morning she was lying curled up at the base of the
but surely I realised I wasn’t choosing the dog but doggie
had chosen me.
That eventually I too chose her I would soon
learn as I took her to a
bar after having cleaned and cut her and a young man came up to
said: ‘Hey, that’s Mora my dog. You’ve
cut her and she limps.’ The doggie I had
already christened Optimist was lying in a straight line with her head
the floor. ‘Mora, come!’ the young man called.
Optimist stayed down and the
only thing that moved was her left eye than winked at me, then at him
more at me. As if with that glance she said: ‘Don’t
betray me, I belong to
you.’ The young man tried again. To no avail. ‘Then
I must be mistaken’, he
said. I picked up Optimist (I did not want him to see she indeed
said: ‘I think so too. She’s called Optimist and
she came with me from Holland’.
After that I
quickly left the bar and have never gone back to avoid running into the
man again for fear he claim her again.
that moment on my own socialising began. As a result of her my
vulnerable, sensitive side surfaced and I hid less and less behind a
toughness. After Optimist many dogs followed and each
of them helped me to discover things about my own personality and
growing as a human. I have had the opportunity to experience the
heeling influence that dogs can have on people. I would like to make an
effort to let people experience the same.
1000 BP Amsterdam