I’d always wanted a dog but never had the lifestyle to commit to looking after one until I settled in Portugal. Having agreed that the time was right for us to adopt a dog, and done a bit of research, Mike and I turned up at the municipal kennels in Coimbra one Tuesday afternoon.

We walked  around the cages, almost deafened by the desperate barking of the dogs clamouring for our attention. Some of the dogs simply sat or lay in their confines and looked sorrowfully up at us as we approached, tails thumping the floor half-heartedly.

Mike fell in love with Daisy’s blue eyes on the spot and she easily won me over by plastering herself to the front of her cage and frantically licking my hands.

Daisy, aged 4 months in the municipal kennels, Coimbra
Daisy, aged 4 months in the municipal kennels, Coimbra

Unfortunately, both she and the other dog we had our eye on had already been reserved.

Disappointed, we went home to sulk and scour the blogs for abandoned animals. When I spotted the same blue-eyed puppy we’d just seen listed as available on one of the blogs, I made enquiries. Ana Malho from AGIR Pelos Animais (Action for Animals) confirmed that someone else had chosen her but took my details just in case.

That was on Sunday. On Monday afternoon, I received a phone call at work. Lazuli, as she was known then, was available and did we still want her? Apparently, the woman who originally wanted her was intending to keep her on a chain in the yard all day, a common practice here in Portugal.

Knowing that foreigners tend to be soft on their pets, Ana thought Lazuli would stand a better chance of getting pampered with us. After some frantic form-filling and faxing of documents, our application was approved and the following day we changed her name to Daisy and brought her home.

I’ll never forget the way she went berserk with glee the first time she came into the house. As soon as I let her off the lead, she raced backwards and forwards through the hall from the living room to the kitchen, legs splayed, eyes wild, seemingly unable to believe her luck. She still does this crazy, excited run from time to time but has calmed down a lot since the early days.

I don’t know how many items of clothing we lost to her habit of pulling clothes of the line or clothes horse and ripping holes in them. Luckily, she wasn’t interested in shoes; I have to buy mine in the UK as I can’t find any big enough in Portuguese shops. She’s outgrown this tendency, thankfully, although she never grew as big as we thought she would based on the size of her paws. Just as well, really, as she still sneaks onto my lap at every opportunity.

Adult Daisy on my lap
Adult Daisy on my lap

Daisy’s of ‘indeterminate race’ but looks remarkably like a stocky version of a short-haired grande Portuguese Podengo except that someone (not us!) cut her tail off. Being daft enough to believe that hunting dogs are born with stumpy tails, I only realised what had happened to her when a friend described how some people use elastic bands to dock puppies’ tails.

That was three years ago and she’s matured into a loving, generally obedient dog who makes me laugh every day and gives me an excuse to go for a walk.

This is the latest post in my Personal A-Z of Portugal series.


  1. Author

    The beer’s mine – it makes Daisy sneeze when she licks up spills 🙂

  2. Love the fact that she’s got a bottle of beer whilst sitting on your lap ‘lol’

  3. She’s beautiful and obviously very grateful for the luck of finding a loving, caring home. The whole point in having animals is to spoil them! 😉

  4. Shes such a cutie! Love that photo of her on your lap, we have a beagle/mix who is about the same size and it still convinced he’s small enough to sleep on my lap too.

  5. She looks gorgeous. Nice post Julie. I hate seeing dogs on chains when I’m out walking in the Algarve. Why keep them if you’re not going to show them a little affection?

    1. Author

      Thanks, Jo. I’ve never understood the chain thing, either. The dog is useless as a guard dog because it’s restrained and leads a cold, lonely, miserable existence. Not like Daisy, who’s rather spoiled, I have to admit, although that’s probably obvious from the photo 🙂

  6. Oh she is adorable, how cute she looks sitting on your lap. She was certainly lucky she found you!! On my side 2 cats adopted me and then I had to adopt 3 of their litter. Would love a dog since I spend a lot of time alone, with hubby working away, but he doesn´t think we should have a dog with 5 cats around!

    1. Author

      I think the cats would soon show any dog that came into the household who’s boss. Dogs are much better company than cats so keep working on him.

  7. What a completely adorable doggie!!
    Cruel as it is, it’s probably good for your house that her tail was docked. Wild wagging tails can do a lot of damage LOLOL (I’m not condoning it though!)

    1. Author

      Absolutely! We’re secretly grateful for that, especially when we see our friends’ waggy tailed dog.

  8. oh she is SO cute!!!! I’m trying to persuade hubby at the moment – would love a dog too – he’s not so convinced yet!

    1. Author

      She’s well worth the hassle of working out what to do with her when we travel anywhere although I found that responsibility difficult to get my head around at first. Keep working on him 🙂

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