True Hero
May 1, 2016
A Zen Fountain
January 2, 2017

Little Bear Comes to America

An Immigrant’s Tale

“I am an immigrant!”

“For real! I was born in Holland. A lot of people ask me if Holland is the same country as “The Netherlands” and yes, it is! We have a lot of windmills in Holland. They still pump water out of the fields so we can grow things. Not many people wear wooden shoes anymore.  Dutch farmers used to wear them to keep their feet warm and dry, but most people wear boots now. Holland is known for the beautiful flowers they grow in those fields, like tulips.  Holland is also known for its cheeses, which are sold all over the world. People often wonder if I come from Sweden, or Denmark, that makes me a little upset because those countries are completely different. We are all part of the same continent, called Europe, but if you want to visit Sweden and Denmark, it would take at least a whole day of driving! I am really proud I was born in Holland. You see, I am a pretty famous kind of dog. We are called “Dachshunds,” because we were known to hunt for “badgers.” In Holland they also call us “Teckels,” which sounds way cooler, I think.  My great grandmother was a really big star in Holland. She lived with a family called “Jan, Jans, and Children.” Once a week, a famous magazine would write a story about that family and my great grandmother, named “Lotje,” was their Teckel. So everyone in Holland knew Lotje and loved her. I also had an uncle who was the Teckel in a famous children’s book series called “Jip and Janneke.”


Look at this picture of my uncle “Takkie,” with the children Jip and Janneke. Do you see how much we look alike? Thanks to my great grandmother Lotje and my uncle Takkie, pictures of Teckels are now everywhere in Holland; on spoons, cups, and birthday plates. Even on T-shirts! It’s really fun to be so famous!



I am not just a regular Teckel; I am a wire- haired Teckel. It means I have different hair than all the other Teckels. I have long thick hair, and a mustache. My ears are pretty long and really soft, kind of like light-brown velvet. And my tail is long and I can make it stand up when I get excited. I am super good at barking. I make a high pitch yipping noise that always gets the attention. I get a lot of special treatment because of it.


When I was born, I could only understand Dutch. That is the language people speak in Holland. I was born on a farm in a very small town, called “De Lutte.” My whole family of wire haired Teckels lived on the farm. My Mom, Dad, 2 Uncles, 1 Aunt, 3 Sisters, 1 Brother, and 2 cousins! We had a ton of fun, because we could just run around in the big meadow, which we shared with a little pony and a goat.


One day, when I was just a baby Tekkel, a girl came to visit. She was really sweet, and gentle, and I loved the way she smelled. I could smell at least three or four other dogs when I dug my little nose in her belly.  She had long red hair, and I swear it looked like gold when the sun was shining. Her blue eyes smiled the whole time she was playing with me, but when it was time to say goodbye, she looked really sad. I was sad too, because I already loved her. She told me that she would come back but I was not sure what that meant.



I was really happy to see her again the next day. She ran up to me and whispered in my ear that she had big news. She told me that she had asked her mom if I could come live with them in America and her mom said that it was ok if I got all my shots on time and if they had seats left on the plane. When she said the word plane, I perked my ears up and my tail went up in the air and I got really excited because I had seen airplanes flying over our farm since the day I was born, and had secretly wished that someday I could be in one and see what the world and our farm would look like from up there. And this sweet girl, whose name was Amy, told me that I might be able to have my dream come true to go to America! I was going to be adopted by an American Family.  Amy told me I would not be the only dog at my new house. She said I would have three brothers, two black ones, and one white brother. It all sounded so cool, I could not wait. Of course, I had to get my shots first, so my new best friend Amy, took me to the animal doctor. Amy’s Grandpa, named “Opa,” (that is Dutch for grandpa) came with us. And he also brought their Golden Retriever named Sophie. Sophie had long blond hair and she sat next to me when I was scared and it made me feel much better. Amy let me sit in her lap and tickled my ears. I was really brave at the doctor when he put a microchip under my skin. This was to make sure that if I ever got lost in America, people could find me and bring me back home. They could scan the number on my microchip and read whom I belonged to. It made me feel so safe.



After the trip to the doctor, she took me to a pet store. They had cookies and gave me one! They also had collars and beds for little guys like me, and Amy put me in a couple of the beds to see which one fit the best. She bought a little bed basket with handles. It was beautiful, it had white, green, and brown stripes, and it was really soft, kind of like my ears. When I was inside, there was a window where I could see Amy. It seemed like a little warm and cozy house to me. The Golden Retriever named Sophie gave me a small soft blanket with a paw print on it, when we got back to Amy’s grandparents house. Sophie said I could take the little blanket to America if I wanted. I did! It smelled like Holland.


The next morning, Amy woke me up and said it was time to go on our big trip to America. She gave me a tiny bit of food and explained that my belly had to be empty so I would not have to go to the bathroom during the plane ride. Her grandpa brought us to the airport. I could not believe my eyes and ears when we got close to the airport and a real airplane flew right over the highway above us! I was so loud and so big, and seemed so close. I had always lived on a farm, so this was all so different. I was getting a little nervous but I knew I could stand up for myself if I needed to. My mom always said that I was pretty bossy and my bark was really loud. Also, I was the fastest runner in my family. And I always really like adventures. When Amy said goodbye to her grandpa, she had tears rolling down her cheeks. I did not, because I did not know yet what it meant to live in another country, across the Atlantic Ocean, and to miss your grandparents, but Amy did. I had to stay in my little striped velvet dog-house, which Amy had zipped up to make sure I could not fall out.  I was happy that I could see her through the little window. Every-time we talked to someone; she would open it and take me out. The person looked at me and asked for my passport. Did I tell you I have a real passport?



So cool! It has my name in it, and a list of all the shots I had and where I was born and all that! You need a passport if you want to travel to another country. Here is a picture of mine. When we got to the place where we needed to wait for the plane to arrive, Amy took me out of my little house and I was allowed to sit on her lap. Lots of people came to visit us and they all said I was super-cute. When it was finally time to find our seat in the plane, I could hardly keep my eyes open, I was so tired. But the view out the window was even better then I ever imagined, the houses looked so tiny and I think I even saw our little goat in a big field. After that Amy said that I could not stay on her lap the whole time and had to sleep in my little house for a couple hours so I could be ready to meet my new brothers.


I arrived in America in a city called Boston, which is in the State of Massachusetts. We had to show my passport again and Amy told the man at the counter the story how she found me and adopted me. When the man said I was a really good-looking pup I was bursting with pride. After we picked up Amy’s suitcase, I had to go back into my little house for a little while because Amy said it was still a long walk to meet my new mom. We went through a place called “customs” which is where they checked our suitcases to make sure we did not bring any of my dog bones to America. They did not allow any meat into this country. Amy carried me in her arms until finally, the doors opened and there was my new mom! She gave me kisses right away, and she just seemed so wonderful. She smelled like other dogs as well, and right then, I knew that this was going to be a great home for a little guy like me. It was like going to Paradise…



I got to ride in the back seat with Amy’s sister Audrey on the way to my new home. Audrey was so excited to see me and told me I was the cutest thing she had ever seen. That made me really happy. Soon enough, we arrived in Medfield, a little town outside of Boston, which would be my new home. When I got out of the car, my new dad came out of the house, and he gave me hugs, and two other kids. One was a boy, named James. He was the size of a giant, but he looked really friendly, and smiled at me. There was another girl who had long brown hair and freckles. Her name was Margaret, she giggled when she saw me and said that I was so little. When we went inside the house, my new brothers were there, waiting for me. I thought they had been barking to welcome me but it turned out they were more excited to see my new mom. As I would discover soon, if you lived in Paradise, you were a mamma’s boy. In fact, my dad called us MB1 (short for Mama’s boy), MB2, MB3, and MB4. I was MB4, and they named me “Little Bear, which means “Beertje” in Holland. I do not mind, because it means I get to sleep next to my mom and dad in bed every night, while the others have to stay on the couch.


My three new bothers came over and sniffed me a lot, and I sniffed them right back! The oldest, named Buddha, was a little bit shy. He did not seem really friendly, but I thought that maybe he just did not like making new friends. The other two brothers, a yellow Lab named Bodhi and a black Lab named Balou were much friendlier. And when my new dad showed me the backyard, I knew I had really landed in Paradise. It was so beautiful; I saw lot of trees and thousands of flowers. It smelled really sweet. There were butterflies everywhere. Birds were singing, and squirrels running. One side of the yard even had a little fairy-town in it, with a little bridge connecting it to the rest of the gardens. I was really excited and knew that moving to America was like a dream come true. I will never forget that first day I arrived and became an immigrant. I already had made new friends. When I went to a big soft bed in the kitchen to take a nap, my new brothers cuddled up around me and watched over me. I felt right at home.


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