Day 10, 11 & 12: The Dog

This is a special one. Read the whole thing!

On day 10 we decided we wanted to drive up to the (formerly thought to be the) highest mountain of Montenegro. Just the drive there was already breathtaking. Beautiful green hills in the shadows of tall, sunlit mountains with clouds flowing above and across them. We stopped once to have a look at some horses, petting them and trying to take pictures with them. I was in awe of how easily Elena maneuvered around and interacted with them, while I was startled by every sound by something I didn’t see.

After that we commenced our hike to Bobotov Kuk, the 2523m high mountain. We began the hike on fog level, so it was really cold and windy, but it soon turned out to be quite a warm and sunny hike, a hike that got us all sunburnt. It was quite a long and strenuous hike, that should take around 6h and have a 600m altitude difference, with the bulk being made up by the last hour and a crazy 400m ascent. And yeah, it was worth it! The hike was beautiful! Here are some pictures:

You might ask yourself now, what is it with the title and the dog? Well the thing is: we were the last ones to arrive at the summit. Once we climbed on top of the mountain we saw a cute dog that apparently had been abandoned up there. The only thing dog related we found was a half of a small plastic canister labelled dog water with a Sharpie. No food for the dog, no note or anything. It seemed to us as if the dog had been up there quite a while, since it was really passive and didn’t bark nor panic. Also she wasn’t chipped or anything.

We felt sorry for the dog and after googling a bit found out that carrying dogs to places they can’t escape from on their own is kinda a thing down here in Montenegro. So we decided to take the dog down and then decide what we’re gonna do with it after having given her some salami slices and some of our water. She chugged it away like a champ.

I also took some pictures of the summit and some drone shots. Some of these shots I think are the best I’ve ever done.

So we then slowly carried the dog down. It was mostly Elena and Jason handling it, with Thor and me taking Jasons makeshift leash down on some easier paths. In the beginning the dog, which we had begun calling “Suka” at that point, (from Cyka Blyat), was really stubborn and needed lots of butt pushing and Salami baiting as motivation, but she eased up towards the end of the hike where she was really reluctant to step into the car, resulting in her being carried/pushed into the front passenger seat.

We then went to a nearby camping spot that was empty and had the dog sleep in the car. At this point we still didn’t know whether we would let it go in some village, go to a vet to have it euthanised or something else. We later found out that it is forbidden for dog shelters in Montenegro to take in stray dogs, so this was a big problem now for us. We then called a german non profit that engages in animal welfare in Montenegro and organised a pickup by a trusted shelter that will prepare the dog for a family in Germany and had Suka dewormed the other day. We went on a small walk with her around a lake and then drove down to Lake Shkodër to be ready for the handover the next morning.

We then started to have a problem though: We were unsure whether Suka was unwell, stressed out or pregnant. She breathed and panted heavily, her abdomen was enlarged and she was really sluggish. After some googling we feared she was pregnant and Jason and I checked whether she had a swollen vulva or something. We started drafting out worst case scenarios with us waking up to several puppies and stuff.

The next morning Suka had a good poo for the first time in three days and wiggled around with her tail happily after that. We thought we were past the worst at that point.

We handed Suka over heavy heartedly, growing attached to her after saving her from a slow but certain death atop that mountain peaky only to find out that she is pregnant with 13 puppies later that day!

Apparently they are now trying to abort the pregnancy and castrate Suka, we hope that everything goes well! We also wish her the very best and hope that we don’t come across other abandoned animals anymore. This was cruel and hurt us very much to see an innocent animal suffer like this. She was probably abandoned because she was pregnant. There are more humane ways to do that than putting helpless animals on places they can’t escape from themselves. She was neither chipped nor did she have a dog collar.

After that we drove from Ulcinj to a village near Podujevë, the place where my relatives live and my father grew up. We were greeted by all my relatives (I had to jump over a wall to open the gates) and had a fantastic dinner in a restaurant.

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