About two years ago, on a plane from Erbil to Vienna, I was allocated the middle seat between two very large and beefy men travelling home to Bosnia... both dog handlers working in Chamchamal. The men were friendly enough (good thing as both of them were big enough to encroach into my seat space), but due to lack of a common language, I was unable to discover much of what their work might be like. But in my mind, MDDs (Mine Detection Dogs) and EDDs (Explosive Detection Dogs) were large, potentially ferocious and unsociable dogs... likely German Shepherds... and the job of handling these dogs, one that required every last muscle the two giants beside me possessed.
Imagine my surprise then, upon meeting Celeste. Last year, an acquaintance told me about an MDD/EDD canine trainee needing a home... possibly my home! A border collie named Celeste. Not only is Celeste not a ferocious name, the dog was quiet, smiley, tail-waggy and friendly. Of course she had not yet undergone MDD training, but had been selected as a candidate. Due to lack of trainer time, she (complete with shots and papers) was being given away for free!
Unfortunately, soon after meeting Celeste, her caretaker returned to South Africa and I was unable to contact him. I tried to visit her on a couple of occasions, but did not meet with success. Finally, I gave up.
Well, two weekends ago, I went to a friend's afternoon rooftop gathering to be met enthusiastically by... yes, Celeste! I was so surprised to see her.... and also slightly sad. It seems the prior owner did not see me as a fit enough parent for the lovely Celeste to contact me on his return. But all's well that ends well. Celeste now has a wonderful home with wonderful people... and I can visit her whenever I like.
Note: In order to protect Celeste's identity, the photo in the top left is NOT Celeste, but merely a random border collie whose picture was pulled from the internet.