January 31, 1999: It is very cold but I don’t care at all because my fur is very thick. All I care about is how to open my mouth as much as I can so I can grab both ends of a piece of food that is sticking flat on the street after a car has ran over it. I am so hungry and I know that if I don’t find something to eat soon, I will surely start feeling cold!!! All of a sudden, a car stops at the curb and two men get out. “Does this puppy belong to someone?” one of the men asks. “No, I don’t think so” the other man replies. “I saw it yesterday for the first time and she is wearing a very worn-out leather collar”. The first man, his name was Dimitris as I found out later, bends down and with his hands out asks me to come close. I leave the stuck food on the street and, with all my courage, I approach him and hide my head down between his bent knees making a snoring sound (I still do that when I am happy or I want to play). Dimitris pets me, and the other man, named Panagiotis, says “Why don’t you call Christina”? From that moment on, my life changed completely. Christina came after a while and as I was walking towards her she said “Oh she is a doll (Koukla in Greek)”. She looked at my teeth, I don’t know why, and said “she is not more than 3 ½ months old”. After half an hour I was eating delicious dog food, drinking plenty of fresh water and I was already adjusting myself to the… central heating. I was always hearing the word “Koukla” and I realized that this would be my name. I liked it, because it was the first word that Christina told me. Dimitris and Christina took me to the vet, they brushed my hair daily and they were taking me on long walks. After a while they decided to neuter me so that I don’t get into the trouble of having puppies that might even end up strays, as I used to be, but the vet found out that I had a very serious heart problem and this would mean that sedating me would be life-threatening. If it wasn’t for my beloved vet, Christos, who eventually neutered me two years later, I would probably have lost my life when I got sick with pyometra. Today, our family/pack is quite big: I live with Dimitris, Christina, George (6 years old), Wacky, Erato, Baloo, Suka and Astero. I have done many things in my life, from search and rescue to helping Christina in her dog training sessions and visiting children with disabilities. I have lots of fun, especially when I see Christina put on a bright yellow t-shirt with a big photo of me on it! They say that I am “dominant” and “cold”, which I might be a little, at least when I am “working”, but wait till you see me play and frolic around when I am “off duty” and you will not believe it!
On 29/10/13 unfortunately Koukla passed, at 15 years of age. She left behind and into the hearts of her family and all members of the team a heavy “legacy”. We will all remember her as the first “teacher” of SAPT Hellas, and in a living tribute to all the strays of the world … some thrown on the street like garbage … Penelope Voutsinou of our team, to her credit, sketched a wonderful portrait of Koukla which we printed on our commemorative mugs and 2014 calendar.Here it is :