How our golden retriever Nala, became an inseparable part of our lives.

Women holding a dog
Nala and I
Woman and dog at the beach
Beach day

I have always been an animal lover, except snakes, which I think are still beautiful, but I can’t watch them and I fear them to death. As for any other kind of animal, wild or pet, I can’t take my eyes off of them. Throughout my life, when I lived with my parents and later on my own and now with my husband, I almost always have had a pet home. And not just dogs or cats, but you’d be surprised of how many and all sorts of pets. When we were little we used to have a little lambkin and fed him with a baby milk bottle.

Later on I even took a little duckling. He used to follow us around the apartment chirping and sometimes it would drive us crazy, but we loved him so much and took him out for coffee breaks. So you understand I have had many attempts to adopt a pet in our lives. But frankly I can say that I have only been 100 % successful with our actual pet, the golden retriever, Nala. She’s not just a pet for us now. She’s a member of the family and we give her as much as she gives us.

Woman and dog at a lake
Ilda and Nala at Bovilla Lake
Woman and dog
Care to dance?

What was different this time? I put more thought into it and tried to figure out, what would be best for our lifestyle and not just impulsively decide. One thing I knew, I wanted to take a pet with whom I could interact and create a relationship, one that I could keep forever and not find a way out of its commitment. To narrow it down, although I love cats very much, when it comes to that I am a dog person. Then I considered the fact that I live in an apartment in a busy city. So I was aware that I could have to walk a lot every day to take my dog out to proper parks and I would have to avoid any unpleasant situation with the neighbors. Fortunately lately the attitude towards pets is changing in Albania, but at first it was not easy.

People would react not so positively, like being scared, bothered or even disgusted to have them around. So I want a dog that I could easily train to walk by my side, whom I could take with me in most places I went, especially outdoors. So I wanted not only intelligent but a easily trainable breed. A dog that would be friendly with people and other pets around. Since I might have a baby or kids soon, I need my dog to be very good with babies. I needed a dog that wouldn’t bark much, to avoid bothering my neighbors. I also wanted a beautiful dog, but that wouldn’t shed much. Well there’s no dog that doesn’t shed and especially the beautiful furry ones.

Velipoje - Albania
Velipojë - Albania
Tirana park

So I read that some dogs do shed but their hair does not stick and does not smell so you can easily clean. That was ideal. I also had heard of stories of pet with health problems and people abandoning them or having to spend a lot on their health care especially for some breeds created by humans, so I needed a breed with no genetic health problems. But above all, I wanted a lovely and playful dog, who’d fill my life with love, although not clingy. And so, I made a list of all the criteria it would best for my dog to meet so it would be a great fit for my lifestyle, budget and place.

Then I did some research what breed and if a female or male would tick all the items of my list. And viola it was an easy choice, there’s no other breed that could fit better than a golden retriever. When I realized that what I needed was a golden retriever, I could stop myself from watching videos and photos on internet of cute golden retrievers. I would stop to pet any golden walking down the street and ask the owners if they were planning to have puppies. I wanted to adapt a puppy because I had read that the first year is very important for the dog’s training. But at the time, it was not the right season and I had to wait for moths. I kept asking to pet shops, animal rescue associations, golden retriever owners, but no luck. After a few months I received a call, saying that we have golden here. I ran to the pet shop and heart was pumping like crazy when I saw the little puppy in the cage and when I approached she shook her tail and came so smoothly so naturally into my arms.