Hello, my name is KOUKLA - Jamaican Xpress & Ebdomada newspaper


Ladies and gentlemen, kids! To understand the story I'm about to tell you, you have to visualize in your imagination that KOUKLA is a nice French Poodle, all white, with very beautiful sharp eyes.
IRMA on the other hand is the most gentle dog in the whole world; she always has shy, sad eyes, looking you right in the eye, she is black with white paws from the ankle down and the portion of her tail at the end is white.
TIGER is a magnificent cat; he always comes to everybody, always pushing his-self up to say "Hello, I'm here!"

Hello, my name is KOUKLA

For those of you that don't know what Koukla means, it is the Greek word for 'beautiful'. Eh, these Greek people always call the girls ‘Koukla’! Needless to say, I really deserve this name, because I am a real doll! However, my birth name was Lucky, given to me from my first owner. I am approximately 8 years old now, and I'm still in great shape. My fur is better than ever before; it's like silk. I became a mother twice, all before the age of two.

My previous owner gave me away after my second labor, because I was too old for him. I get along with my present owner, although he is miserable, fussy, rough, and yells at me every once in a while, but deep down I think he loves me. In fact, I can say he loves animals very much. No wonder why his co-workers call him "The Dog-Man"! I like to stay close to him, almost 24 hours a day; he keeps me all day long in the office, in the chair next to his, he gives me a bath 2-3 times a week, combs my hair, fixes my eyebrows, takes care of my nails, decorates my neck. Because I have very curly hair, he has to take care of it when combing it. He also puts some liquid underneath my eyes; this is because I sometimes cry when he yells at me after I bark at somebody. But I really like to bark at people, especially people with a uniform, men with shorts, and whoever is showing their legs to me!

Sometimes he yells at me because I bark too much; I like to bark all day long, non-stop! My owner is like an old gramophone with the needle stuck in the same spot; he keeps saying the same thing to me over and over again: “Stop Koukla, Stop Koukla!” But I still bark at people, I bark at people that I know, and people that I don't know; this is my way of saying "hello" and telling them "I'm here, look how beautiful I am!".

My barking has become very famous since I was on TV, in the Venture program of CBC (March of 2001), where you can see me walking beside my owner and barking at the camera. I was also in one of the biggest newspapers of Canada, the Toronto Star (February 5th, 2001), with a picture of me in my owner’s arms, covering more than half of the page. You can easily say that I am a very popular dog and see how photogenic I am!

I remember once, I was walking along with my owner on the street, where he saw a large monster of a dog and human companion coming toward us. My owner quickly scooped me up and held me tight in his arms. My owner could sense my teeth clenching harder and harder, and started worrying whether I was going to bite him to release me. When the large dog's master approached, he softly said to my master, "Do not worry kind sir, my dog is very calm and is not violent." My owner slowly looked back with a small crack of a smile and said, "I was not worried about my dog, I was more worried about your dog if I let Koukla go." I guess my owner knows me too well, where if I were let go, I would waste little time tearing that Goliath to pieces. I may look like a flea on a camels' back to some, but my biting power sometimes grow to epic proportions.

My owner works more than 16 hours per day in the office and I am always with him, sitting in the chair next to him or on his lap. After work, he always keeps me with him, even if he goes to bed. Most of the times I sleep with one eye open to make sure that he will not leave me alone in this life! If I am very tired, I sleep on his legs, so if he wakes up or tries to move, I also wake up so that he can't leave me!

I remember one time my owner went to the doctor to complain about feeling something heavy on his chest while he was sleeping. Well, at least that's what he told the doctor. Since that day, I don't sleep on his chest anymore, but he will never know that I was the one who caused this trouble, because I was sleeping on his chest. He sleeps very deep and for very few hours.

I deserve to sleep deep and comfortably too, because I work so hard all day long! The thing is though, that I don’t get any vacation, or benefits for my work. This is really a dog life!

A couple of years ago I got very depressed when I heard from someone talking to my boss, that my ex-husband, (Chippy), got his head crushed by black wheels underneath a big and heavy car. I always used to tell him to never play with a ball in the middle of the street, but he never listened to me! Since that day, I am officially a widow and I don't plan to marry again…

I never had another boyfriend, but I have a very good friend; her name is IRMA and she is a black Irish setter, or some kind of a funny name people sometimes give to dogs. IRMA was with my boss for years before I came in the picture. She is quiet, and doesn't bark at people, welcomes visitors showing very good manners, and keeps herself clean, but has the only fault of snoring loudly when sleeping. Her fur is black. She looks very silky after a bath. We have two things in common: we both love our owner very much, and we both go to the washroom at the same time, first IRMA then me. 

My owner also has a cat by the name of TIGER, who has a beautiful soft and delicate golden fur coat. Apparently, because of his color and his appearance, he probably is the great-grand-grand-grand son of the cat that Audrey Hepburn owned in the famous movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Tiger spends most of his time on the top of computers and printers, because they are warm and cozy. He also, sometimes, tries to catch birds outside the office, in which he usually succeeds. Both TIGER and I, sleep together with all of our legs stretching up in the same sofa, however IRMA sleeps on an area rug in front of the sofa.

Our owner takes us with him in the car whenever he drives somewhere. Tiger never wants to travel, so he stays behind and waits for us. Although we are supposed to sit in the back of the car, I always sneak slowly, and almost invisibly to the front, and sit on my owner’s lap. I make sure to choose the right time to do that, when he is distracted with traffic, and can’t deal with me. To avoid any further conversation with me he says: “Come on KOUKLA, sit down over here and be quiet!” This reminds me of the time, when I was on my owners lap sitting comfortably, when the police stopped us for a spot check. I didn't realize what was happening, but when my boss opened the window, and the police officer spoke, suddenly, I gave the loudest BARK, which took the policeman by surprise and he is probably still running from that day, without his hat and with his pants wet and smelly.

Our owner takes us everywhere, even to his important meetings. If he can't take us to the meeting, he leaves us in the car for a little while. IRMA sits very comfortably in the car waiting with patience and understanding, but I get very frustrated because people come up close to the car window, and look at me as if they have never seen a such a beautiful dog before. To show my frustration to my owner, I chew on the dashboard of the car, leaving my beautiful set of teeth marks.

The big difference between my-self and IRMA is that she eats anything, and never stops eating. She even eats grass from the garden! She just doesn't know when to stop eating!

I remember one time our owner took us to a Greek picnic, where they did funny things like roasting lambs; IRMA was going from table to table and she gave people a sad look like she hadn't eaten for days. So, everybody gave her food, feeding the "poor hungry dog, that no-one takes care of". At the end of the day, my boss had to carry her to the car because she couldn't even walk from eating too much! What a day that was!!

Once a month our owner takes us to the beauty salon for combing, trimming, bathing, nail cutting and all that. I don't know how much paper, (meaning paper money, specifically that I call French Francs), my owner gives the stylist, but I know that we deserve it! These are good days because, everybody tells us how beautiful we look after we come back to the office, but they don't really know how rough of a day we had at the beauty salon! People can’t understand how hard it is for a dog to sit down there and have someone trying to cut your nails short, and how painful sometimes it is if they make a mistake.

One day my owner took me to a big fancy place called a restaurant where people sat beside tables and ate from various plates, eating almost like there is no tomorrow. He took me inside without anybody's notice of my presence, by hiding me in his coat, and then I had to sit quietly on his lap underneath the tablecloth. I had to be quiet because my owner warned me that any noise would disturb the other patrons. So, I sat there, not making a sound, watching some boys in white clothes wearing a 'Papillion' (which is French for bow-tie) around their neck. These people are called 'garcon' (French for waiter). Now how do I know these words? Well, it's very simple; I am a French Poodle after all, and French is my native language. At the end of that night, I was getting very bored and I started to slowly growl under the table. At some point, one of the garcons was approaching the table with a couple of trays of coffee in both his hands. He was getting close to my owner and I thought he was going to attack my owner, so I forgot that I should sit quietly and invisible under that tablecloth, and suddenly barked very loudly at him and scared him. Then, everybody had a nice shower with that brown liquid he was carrying. I was only doing my job, which is to protect my owner! I cannot be blamed!

Because my owner is a boss of a food factory, I thought after he adopted me, I would never worry about food. 

But I was wrong; my owner always tries his new products before they are released to the super markets, and sometimes he asks me to try them along with him. In the lifetime that I have spent with him, he has given me terrible stuff to try such as spinach & rice, leeks and rice, lentils soup, cabbage soup, even raw chickpeas (because he tried to see if the product is good for canning)! 
Especially lately, with his new canned rice, ready to eat, with all these flavors my owner has been very excited. But I don’t know about this flavored rice... the chicken and beef it was not too bad when I tried it, but some other flavors are not exactly to my taste, like the vegetable with all the celery and all carrots… What does he think; I am a rabbit or something? I don't really understand why the human beings always buy his products from the super market shelves. 

It looks so weird to me because they really like them! I don’t understand humans and their taste! Personally, I have never seen a dog buying any Mr. Goudas products. Nevertheless, IRMA eats all of his products, even his raw rice. IRMA considers our owner's products to be the best in the whole world.

Yours truly,
Lucky KOUKLA Goudas
(I wrote this article at 3 a.m. on August 20, 2003 with the help of my owner.)

(Comments from Ingrid MacDonald from the radio broadcast)

Ladies and gentlemen, kids! Mr. Goudas has always had dogs and cats in his life; a true humanitarian!
As mentioned before, Mr. Goudas wrote this article at 3 a.m. It is obviously not a business article, but to me it's one of the nicest articles I've ever read. It characterizes beauty, warmth, love, kindness, compassion, humor, and many other qualities that are inherent in Mr. Goudas. Mr. Goudas could be a writer one day if he chooses to go in that direction. Who knows what will happen at another 3 a.m.!

This article appeared on the "Ebdomada" newspaper, first week of September 2003.
This article appeared on the "Jamaican Xpress" newspapter, October 23, 2003.
This article was broadcasted on CHIR radio station on October 18, 2003.

This story was translated from the dog language to the human language by Mr. Goudas, and it was put on paper and edited by Sofia Papadhimitri.

Click here for the audio in English, voiced by Jessie McDonald.
Click here for the audio in Greek, voiced by Basilis Diamantopoulos, CHIR RADIO TORONTO.
Click here for the Greek translation.
Click here for the French translation.
Click here for the Chinese translation.
Click here for the Korean translation.
Click here for the Spanish translation.
Click here for the Sri Lankan translation.
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