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Little Children + Wild Dogs = Mommy Nervous Breakdown

by Laura on September 18th, 2012

We never really know how we’ll grow when thrown into unfamiliar circumstances. In today’s story, I didn’t even realize I was changing from an anxious mommy into a relaxed, (slightly more) fun one.

The Case of the Wild Dog Epidemic

Fall 2010. Ring, ring ring … ME: Hey, Jami, how are you?

JAMI (my brother): I’m good. What’s up? How are things in Belgrade?

ME: Not much, except … I am freaking out about these wild dogs everywhere. There are three who sleep outside an abandoned building close to my apartment. One followed us home today.

JAMI: Can’t you call a dog catcher?

ME: Animal Control doesn’t seem to be very proactive here. You don’t understand. IT’S A WILD DOG EPIDEMIC.

* * * * *

Those dogs are harmless, except …

Earlier that day I was doing errands around town—on foot, pushing a baby in a stroller, coaxing a toddler to walk just a little bit more, pleeease.

When we returned home without rabies safely, I enlisted advice from my ‘all-things Serbia go-to person,’ i.e. my husband.

“I’m really worried,” I said. “I bought meat, and a wild dog followed us home. If one attacks, I’m afraid won’t be able to get everyone out of the way fast enough.”

“Laura, don’t worry. Those dogs may be wild in the sense that they don’t have an owner, but they’re actually very tame,” Misha said. “They’ve learned from years of experience that aggression toward people will only get them beaten. Nothing bad is going to happen.”

“Okay, I feel better.”

“Just don’t let the kids pet them.”

“What? Why? You just said they’re harmless.”

“Have you heard of worms? Germs? They probably won’t bite you or the kids. But who knows what types of diseases you could catch.”

* * * * *


Approximately one year later. Ring, ring, ring … ME: We have puppies!

JAMI: What? You and Misha got a dog?

ME: What are you talking about?

JAMI: You just said that you have puppies.

ME: No, no, sorry. A neighborhood dog had puppies, six or eight, I haven’t been able to count exactly. The momma is really nice, and the pups are SOOOO cute! They’re fluffy, little Rottweilers, and fat, because people leave meat and stews for them. The neighborhood girls made a little house and make sure they have dry blankets.

JAMI: A year ago, you said there was a wild dog epidemic in Belgrade. You were pretty worked up.

ME: I was?

JAMI: Yes. You were losing your shit.

ME: That’s a misunderstanding. These are good dogs. The kids love to pet them.

JAMI: You let the kids touch them? What about worms, and diseases, and no public infrastructure?

ME: Did I say that? I’ve changed since then, haven’t I?

* * * * *

Case Solved

I had changed. I had completely forgotten about my worries from a year before. As is true with so many things in life, it’s all about your attitude and expectations. There may be wild dogs around, but it’s not all bad. My kids enjoyed cuddling puppies, without me having to actually own a dog.

I’m still not sure the dog catcher here is doing much, but maybe he is. Two years later, I can hardly find one wild dog to photograph for this blog. I saw one, but I have to admit, I’m a wary of chasing a wild dog just for the sake of “photojournalism.” No need to push my luck.


From → Expat Mommy

  1. Hey, Laura. There's that adventure working again. Sounds like they're clearing up the doggy problem, or maybe folks are adopting them. Either way it sounds like you're adapting to your new home.

    Bless, Prudence

    • admin permalink

      Yes, it's hard to look at it as "adventure" when you're freaking out, so it seems that relaxing is key. Yes, I really have no idea what exactly happened with the dogs, specifically those 6 little puppies! Thanks for reading …

  2. Sanja permalink

    Nothing happend with dogs. They are still here. Puppies are grown, and they findd some nice people who leave tham a food (somewhere around, not soo far awau). But, now you are not terrified. And you simply look at the same dogs with diferent attitude. Your attitude doesnt alow you to find a "wild" dogs. Now the same dogs are cute and nice…..

    And the Belgrade is fool with dogs without the owners, and children from block are playung with them.

    We (my building) have a cat who lives at the starecase almoust a year. When the cat get a kitty, neighbour from second flor took cat in his home. I have a lot of picture with this cat. Ii let her to my place every day from afternoon until night. and i also have in that moment two little children. Two of my close friends have a old dog who live infront of her door…

    I enyou to read your blogs Laura!!! sorry for my english…..

    • admin permalink

      Hey Sanja,

      Thanks for writing, I really appreciate it! (And anyway, you're English is MUCH better than my Serbian). Yes, it seems like people really do care for "wild" dogs and cats here. I still see the momma dog sometimes, but hadn't seen the puppies, but now that you mention it, I did see a big black dog yesterday — that's probably one of them!

      I'm glad you're enjoying the blog … Talk to you soon!


  3. Marija permalink

    HI Laura,

    I always enjoy reading someone else's prospective about my hometown. Please write more often about your point of view…..

    I lived for 11 years in NJ and could not wait to come back to Belgrade. You adjust to things and accept them as they are. I also was afraid of the street dogs at first but realized how harmless they are!

    • admin permalink


      Thanks for commenting. It is amazing how adaptable we can be, although I think I held onto my preconceived for far too long! I grew up in New Jersey, where did you live? At least the climate is similar to Belgrade — coming from LA, I had a hard time dealing with winter.

      I do plan to write more! Thanks!


  4. Marija permalink

    HI Laura,

    we lived in Montclair. AS far as climate, NJ was way to humid. Also my seasonal allergies disappeared as soon as we moved back to Belgrade. I figured you live in New Belgrade now. That is where I grew up, in block 61!

    • admin permalink

      Yes, we're in Blok 63, close to the "famous" Blok 45. Montclair is close to where I was born in Englewood. Small world! What are you doing in Belgrade now?

  5. am glad you are fine and safe : )

    kids need a lot of care and responsibility

    i wish you all the best

    • admin permalink

      Farouk, Thanks! Yes, it seemed everything worked out okay. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you're read more! -Laura

  6. Aloha Laura,

    I wanted to thank you again for submitting your article to the Byteful Travel Blog Carnival. It’s been included in the 15th BT Blog Carnival which was published today.

    So, if you could retweet, stumble, or "Like" the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. It would also help more people discover your article, too!

    Thanks again. Looking forward to your submissions next time! :)
    Andrew recently posted..Why I take the Slow-Burn Approach to Friendships (& even Dating!)My Profile
    Andrew recently posted..Why I take the Slow-Burn Approach to Friendships (& even Dating!)My Profile

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