He was three years old and he came to stay over at our place for the first time. His mother, my sister, would drop him off.

Our dogs started barking as soon as they arrived. They wanted to sniff him. He was only a small child, just tall enough to look over the dogs. And though he knew us, our house and our dogs, it had become too frightening. He’d be here without his mother. Alone with us and most importantly: those dogs.

I lifted him on top of the table and asked him if he’d like to go swimming first. He’d been to the beautiful pool in our village before and he certainly wanted to go. Relieved to leave those creeps behind.

“Don’t be afraid. I only want to sniff you”

I was sitting at the shallow end of the pool. He was standing in the water. We were nearly the same height this way.
Suddenly he ran towards me at full throttle. He splashed the water, held his little hands in front of him like dangerous claws. He barked ominously. He looked at me as viciously as he could. He held still right in front of my face… He bent towards me and softly spoke: “Don’t be afraid. I only want to sniff you, so that I know who you are.” He pressed his button nose into the nape of my neck and sniffed softly.
Then he came running and growled like a bear. Again he held still right in front of me. Gingerly he sniffed my hair and comforted me: “I only want to sniff you, so that I know who you are.” After that he was a tiger, a lion, a rhino and even a large and threatening swan!

He then made us swap roles. I became all those frightening animals that held still at the last moment and the carefully sniffed him. I also had to say: “Don’t be afraid. I only want to sniff you, so I know who you are.”

“He put his little hands on the dogs’ backs”

We went home. At the front of the door I suggested going in first and letting the dogs out into the garden. He assured me there was no need.

He was the first to cross the threshold. He put his little hands on the dogs’ backs. He walked with them into the living room and climbed into the comfiest chair. He looked at the dogs and said without a trace of fear: “Come here. I am not afraid. You can sniff me, so you know who I am.”

From that day he and the dogs have been loyal friends. In the pictures you see him with Szuka who was there on that first day.

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