As an animal lover, Valia Orfanidou of Athens, Greece, was always sure to bring her beloved dogs along on her vacations. In her mind, taking them for walks presented the perfect opportunity to get out and explore any given locale on foot. And that’s exactly what she was doing in a small seaside Greek town when she made a startling discovery.
There, right by the beautiful beach, was a homeless dog. Upon initial inspection, the pup appeared to be in good health, but Valia couldn’t help shake the feeling that she needed her help. That was when the dog proved she had a magical ability…
Whenever Valia Orfanidou took a vacation, she always brought her beloved dogs along for the ride. According to the Athens, Greece, native, walking them around town gave her an excuse to see and experience places she wouldn’t ordinarily think about.
And that was what she was doing while visiting a small seaside town when she decided to take a stroll along the beach with her pups. Almost immediately, she spied something that concerned her…
A homeless dog was lying on the beach. Although she appeared in decent health, Valia couldn’t shake the feeling that the vulnerable stray needed her help. So she decided it was up to her to do something.
“When you are an animal lover living in Greece, you simply get used to lonely stray dogs wandering around everywhere,” explained Valia. “[You] choose to rescue the ones that can’t make it on the streets: the sick, emaciated or hurt ones, the newborns and the pregnant females.”
Even though this particular dog didn’t necessarily fall into any of those categories, Valia still felt a sudden sense of urgency when she looked at her.”I panicked,” she admitted. “There was something about her that made her life as a stray extremely vulnerable.”
Valia noted that, while many strays can be aggressive to strangers on the street, this dog was different. She seemed willing to accept all sorts of love and affection. If only Valia knew this dog was about to surprise the hopeful rescuer even more…
Suddenly, the stray made a gesture to Valia that proved her innate kind nature: she rolled over onto her back and allowed Valia to rub her belly! It was clear from that moment that the poor animal only needed some attention.
After that, Valia decided to keep her eye on the stray dog for the rest of her trip. During that time, she watched the happy pup follow different families around the boardwalk, chase cars, and play in the sand.
Ultimately, Valia just couldn’t get the stray off her mind. Soon, it began to affect more than just her mood. “I couldn’t sleep for two days, trying to find a way to take her off that beach as soon as possible,” she later told reporters.
Valia decided enough was enough: she needed to step in and do something! She provided the dog with a temporary home and even gave her a name. “I named her Blue for the blue sea that kept her company for the first few months of her life,” Valia said.
With Blue in tow, Valia headed back to Greece, where she contacted the Second Chance Rescue Society to help her locate a permanent home for the dog. Little did she know that she would make quite the difference in the lives of one family in the Netherlands…
See, the Dutch family was devastated after the loss of their beloved dog, Abbaio. Both Abbaio and the family’s other pooch, Rincewind, served as therapy dogs for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients through Stichting Snoezelhond, a training school in the Netherlands. Many of the patients there were also grieving the loss of Abbaio.
So when Second Chance Animal Rescue Society posted a picture of Blue on its Facebook page, it wasn’t long before the family’s matriarch, Karin Folkerts, saw that picture and immediately fell in love.
The family just knew they had to adopt Blue that instant! “We immediately pushed the contact button, and before we know it, we were called,” Karin explained to reporters. Valia reached out to see if they would be a good fit.
It turned out that the Folkerts were a perfect match! Valia and the staff from Second Chance Animal Rescue Society prepared Blue to be delivered to her new forever home in the Netherlands—and they found assistance in an unexpected place…
A couple vacationing in Greece happened to hear about Blue’s story—and how she was supposed to fly to the Netherlands. Coincidentally, that was where they were from! They generously offered to accompany the pup to her new forever home; they were headed back there anyway.
If there was any concern that Blue and Rincewind wouldn’t get along, it didn’t last long. “Rincewind … immediately fell in love with her,” Karin recalled. “That was so sweet and she was so welcome. Rincewind and [Blue] are BFFs.”
Blue was quickly trained to be a therapy dog just like Rincewind. She soon began to visit nursing home patients, who instantly fell in love with her charm. “She doesn’t have problems with people no matter what they are doing,” Karin said.
Luckily, the transition from a social stray beach dog in Greece to therapy dog in a loving forever home was seamless. “I realize it is just three months ago that Blue came to live with us,” Karin explained. “It feels like she was here [forever].”
To think the stray dog who was aimlessly following families on a beach in Greece was now living in the Netherlands and offering assistance to people who truly needed it is astounding. Valia sure picked an incredible dog to lend a helping paw!
It’s amazing to see how far Blue has come since she first met Valia on the beach. With a little bit of love, she was well on her way to becoming a pooch with a purpose.
Share Blue’s rescue story with your friends below!