September 30, 2011

Her name was Lola

A little while ago, I made a post about the green dog, and it made me recall another story, which I would like to dedicate to my blogger friend, who loves dogs - Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

This took place many years ago in Russia. In those days, going abroad was an unbelievable event, significant not only to the traveler, but also to everyone that person was remotely familiar with. It wasn’t even a matter of the endless bureaucratic formalities and exhausting interviews – it was simply a matter of how maladapted a Soviet citizen was to live on the other side of the fence. The mentality wasn’t just “different” – it was the mentality of a person who lived in a constant state of fear. If you took one wrong step during your trip abroad, there was a definite possibility of never getting to go anywhere again.

One of our friends – a translator - go the chance to work in a Russian embassy for a whole six months. Six months in Paris!!! There was a saying among Russian women at the time – “See Paris, and you’re ready to die”.

The translator had two sources of difficulty in her life – a nine-year-old son, and a terrier named Lola. The son was sent off to his father’s parents, and the dog was given to our mutual artist friend. The artist was about fourty at the time. He wasn’t particularly well-known or creative; just a solid professional, who could deliver a good product. Of course, he enjoyed drinking – he wasn’t an alcoholic, but, at the time, an artist would only give up drinking due to a health condition.

The artist lived in a large attic, under the roof of an old house. That’s where he had his studio.

The translator busied herself with travel preparations, and then, at the last minute, she remembered to give the artist a call and say “I’d like to warn you. Lola can’t stand the smell of alcohol.”

The artist later told me that he sensed a bad feeling riding in his stomach. And for a good reason. Tension arose in his home as soon as the dog arrived. Whenever the artist would open the bottle just a tiny bit, Lola would start to growl. If he took a sip, she would start to bark. She also chewed a hole through the artist’s pillowcase, and ate his only good belt. 

The artist started to drink outside of his home, and, whenever he returned, he would keep his mouth shut. That was his new tactic.

One summer evening, the artist came home after his regular dose of alcohol, smoked a cigarette, and fell asleep on the couch. The cigarette butt, which he tried to throw into a tin can, didn’t quite reach its destination and, instead, fell down next to the curtain. The summer breeze tended to the tiny flame, and the curtain caught on fire.

The next time I visited this artist, I saw a burnt window frame with a large black spot underneath it.
The artist – having taken out a bottle of champagne he always prepared for my visits – told me, “Lola saved my life. Now I don’t drink at all.”

When disaster stroke, Lola did not lose her bearings. She started to bite the artist’s ear to awaken him. Can you image what would have happened, with all the flammable paints that littered the attic?

The translator never returned from Paris – not for her son, not for the dog. She stayed there, and got married – not once, but several times.

I can't find any photos of terriers, so, here are some photos of other dogs I have seen in the last little while:


  1. What a great story I love it. Feel a bit sorry for the abandoned son! The photos are fantastic But I love the one of the bloodshot eyed basset. Enjoy the weekend. Diane

  2. Great story. (Loved it.)
    And great pooch pictures!
    I especially liked the golden lab carrying a stick (almost too big for him...almost!), and the basset hound (I used to have a basset). Needs some eye drops though.

    You're right about Paris. And definitely right about the Kinks.

  3. Hello Olga:
    What a story of artists, alcohol and attics.....a combustible collection if ever there was one!!!And, what a good job that Lola earned her place in the artist's heart since to be abandoned once would have been misfortune,but twice would have been devastating!!

    We are really more cat people than dog people but your 'canine collection' is such fun. Our favourite has to be the faithful Labrador retrieving the stick. We rather like dogs which fetch.

    The Kinks....we are transported back in time.....and now have 'Sunny Afternoon' ringing in our ears!!!

  4. That´s some story. Sounds like a special dog, but my stomach cringes when I think of a mother not returning to get her son.

  5. What an incredible story! That dog was a hero.

  6. Dogs will always be mans' best friend.
    I had to laugh at the picture of Lola with her tongue hanging out.
    Who could not love her lol.
    Funny the Mom did not return to her child.Seems Lola was more of a wife and Mother to the artist than this friend was to her family.
    Freedom is important to people.I hope her son and family were not punished for her behavior as these regimes tend to do.

  7. A wonderful story. I am a bit envious of anyone who travels and mingles with the people of the world. I am also a Lab dog lover. I recently had to put down my old black lab and miss him a lot.
    Thanks for the warm story and pictures.

  8. That hussy translator!;) I can't believe she didn't come back for her son. Was Russia that could write a book Olga! Great story...lovely photos of the canines.=)

  9. Those were really trying times in that part of Europe. Drinking was the less of it. Not that current times are much better for many people.

  10. Olga, dear friend, a heartfelt "merci" to you. You were too kind to dedicate this lovely story to me. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and your dog pictures made my day-- scratch that -- my weekend! How I love these cute faces. The English bulldog is having a horrible time drinking out of that small cup, but I admire the perseverance. Merci, Olga. I am saving your "award" for my blog's first anniversary, coming up in a just a few weeks. Bon weekend! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  11. Actually the dog at the top is the most extraordinary looking creature. You wonder what it would be thinking if it were human. Interesting post - and a novel cure for heavy drinking! :)

  12. Nice post, cute dogs, and I love that song!

  13. A lovely story and to think that Lola actually saved the artist's life. Sad for the son who the translator abandoned. Great doggy photos dear Olga, love the labrador with the stick.
    xoxoxo ♡

  14. Wonderful dog photos and such a great story. A great way to brighten my day, dogs are great!

  15. awww that is such a cool story - dogs can be pretty amazing - i remember reading chicken soup for the animal lovers soul, right?!

  16. Olga, what a brilliant story! I love reading your snippets of life in the Soviet Union.

  17. Olga beautiful story. Dogs are very loyal to their owners
    Lola saved this man to die and helped him stop drinking.
    a kiss

  18. Great dogs....


  19. Many people should have such a dog:)

  20. Incredible story and thanks for sharing the photos!

  21. I wonder what happened to the son, and how he felt being doubly abandoned.

    I would never have thought that a dog could reform character - that's a new one. Glad he saved the kind artist who took him in's life.

  22. Nice dogs! I love them so much! I have a very small three years old pintscher called Kim. She is very happy and friendly. We love her.
    Kisses from Brazil and thanks for your comments! :)

  23. Hi Diane,
    The basset was very old, but he seemed delighted to pose. The son turned out fine; he was always a good guy.

    Hi Rick,
    The Kinks were introduced to me by my daughter.
    Dogs are adorable, but less so during rainy weather :)

    Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    It's interesting that you are cat people. I remember that your object of adoration is Kotsky :)

    Hi tinajo,
    The son of the translator visited her many years later, and somehow found his mom to be exempt from criticism.

    Hi Lydia,
    It was an incredible dog. You can write a book about her adventures.

    Hi A Lady's Life,
    You're absolutely right. This dog eventually created a link that established the friendship between the artist and the translator's son.

  24. Hi R. Jacob,
    This labrador was very keen on posing. His owner said that it's ridiculous how much he loves attention.

    Hi Sandy,
    Can you imagine - the translator's son grew into a kind person who considered his mom an adventurous type, and always tended to protect her.

    Hi Pet,
    For Russian artists, drinking was an everyday experience. Can you imagine what happened during exhibition openings?

    Hi Veronique,
    I am delighted that you saw the way the bulldog was drinking from a small cup. It wasn't easy for him. You are always welcome :)

    Hi Jenny,
    The dog on the first picture was very busy. He was overexcited to see us :)

  25. Hi Gillian Olson,
    I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for visiting.

    Hi Randy,
    Thank you. I love to take photos of animals. Glad you liked the song :)

    Hi Dianne,
    Trust me, her son turned out just fine. When he was older, he cared for and protected his mother.

    Hi lilylovekin,
    Dogs are great. And cute and smelly :)

    Hi Krystal,
    Great idea. Maybe I could write a Chicken Soup for the Soul book about animals :)

  26. Hi Talli,
    Yes, there are so many adventures and stories on my mind; I'm glad to have an outlet for them.

    Hi Sergio,
    Thank you for visiting. Glad you enjoyed the dogs :)

    Hi Laura.M,
    If only you knew how many more stories this dog is part of :)

    Hi Pierre,
    Thank you. I love to take photos of them :)

  27. Hi Ola,
    Yes, but there was only one such dog.

    Hi Nas Dean,
    Thank you for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

    Hi Sarah,
    There are certain women who are always loved and always right. Such was the case with the translator; her son adores her.

    Hi Gisa,
    What a beautiful name for a dog! I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

  28. What a marvelous story. I am always amazed by stories of dogs who save their owners' lives. They are angels in our lives, most definitely.

    Your photos of dogs are stupendous! The one of the Doberman in that beautiful light is one of the best dog images I have ever seen in my life. Wonderful post, Olga!

  29. I have never seen a life gray hound before near our neighborhood ... beautiful shots !

  30. Hi Lydia,
    Unfortunately, I don't have any experience keeping dogs, but the dogs I've known throughout my life have brought many surprises, and sometimes were very heroic.

    Hi Wong,
    Thank you. I love to take photos of dogs, even though they are usually too fast.