If dogs could use social media, they’d no doubt be jealous of Buddy the “aspin,” who, after his adoption, has swapped the white sand beaches of Boracay for the snow and trams of Bayern, Germany.
Buddy, an aspin or local street dog and native of Boracay Island, “migrated” to Germany in November 2015 after German dive instructor Emmy Karnot felt an instant connection with him and refused to leave the Philippines without him.
The seven-month process of adopting a dog in the Philippines and flying him to Europe may have been long and arduous, but Emmy endured the paperwork and legalities—and even exhausted her bank account—just so she could bring Buddy home.
Now almost two years later, Emmy and Buddy are still living happily together on the other side of the world, traveling to some of the most beautiful cities in Germany and central Europe. His permanent residence may be Bayern, but Buddy has also traveled to France and the Czech Republic, and will be in a caravan headed for Italy and Croatia next year.
According to Emmy, Buddy has since made a lot of friends—with and without fur. And he even has a girlfriend!
“His best friend is a husky and his girlfriend is a greyhound. They love to run together as fast as they can and Buddy is also so fast like a greyhound — that’s amazing!” she told INQUIRER.net in an interview over Facebook Messenger.
“My friends love Buddy a lot, they say he has such a lovely and unique personality,” she added.
Since their story went viral two years ago, Emmy has already helped get three more dogs adopted by new families in Germany. She is also planning to write a book about Buddy, and everything that they have gone through together.
Here’s the rest of the conversation with Emmy:
Upon arriving in Germany, how did Buddy adjust to his new environment?
We arrived at the end of November so it was winter already. The first days he was just wondering why it was so damn cold. But then he adjusted to the cold weather really fast—faster than me. He really loves snow… When we play fetch the snowball he eats them and when the lakes are frozen he runs on them. But he still has so less fur on his stomach that he needs his winter jacket when the temperatures get below 0.
What sort of reactions did you get from your family when they learned that you wanted to bring Buddy home?
First reaction of my mom was: “Are you crazy? Leave the dog there and come back asap!” At that moment I had no more savings and was running out of money but I was able to convince my mom to lend me P500,000 to extend my stay in the Philippines for Buddy. And now she loves him so much.
And from your friends?
All my friends told me: “You have to bring him to Germany – you can’t leave him behind! It’s great what you are doing for him!” They also lent me some money so that I could stay for seven months longer until Buddy is old enough and all the papers and tests are done… In the end strangers also donated money for Buddy’s ticket. This was so overwhelming – so much tears of joy!
What are you and Buddy’s daily routine like?
At the moment we work together in an engineering office and we can come and go whenever we want as long we finish our work until the end of the week. So we stay up together, make breakfast, go for a walk and then off to work.
I’m working and Buddy is sleeping until our noon break. And in the noon break we go to a park which is only five minutes away to meet up with Buddy’s fur friends there every day. Then we go back to the office, Buddy takes a nap or monitor me while I go on working. Sometimes after work we go to the park again for inline-skating and during weekends we meet up with friends.
Do you plan to bring him back to the Philippines for a visit?
I would love to when he would be allowed inside the cabin… but he is too heavy and I don’t wanna give him the stress in the cargo. I’m planning a trip to the Philippines February next year for three weeks and I’m pretty sure I’ll miss Buddy so, so much during this time. It will be the first time that we will be separated for more than a few hours… this will be really hard for me, and for Buddy, too, but he’ll be staying with my mom and his grandma will take good care of him.
What did you have to give up so that you and Buddy can be together?
I had to give up my work as a dive instructor. To travel with a dog between different countries is not that easy — like in Bali, you can’t bring a pet there; in Australia you need to undergo a 6 month-quarantine and so on… so I decided go back to Germany and work in an office again as a team assistant.
What effects did the decision to bring Buddy to Germany have on you?
It made me a better person—I get so much love every single day from him. Before I was selfish but since having him, I share everything with him. Instead of buying high heels, dresses or jewelry, I now spend my money so we can have a great time together. Buddy is my very little own piece of happiness.