Bodo vendors Ralf and Mario: “Life without dogs? Impossible!”

By Sebastian Sellhorst, bodo

Anyone who is a guest at a bodo contact point will always meet one or more dogs there. There is hardly a vendor meeting where a handful of four-legged friends are not present. We accompanied some of them on a walk through downtown Bochum.

With Ralf and Mario we walk through the Appolonia-Pfaus Park. With them is a troupe of three dogs, who are happy to romp around again after sitting still for an hour at the vendor meeting. “When I got an apartment in Bochum, I didn’t know anyone here and fell into a hole. I wasn’t with bodo at the time. That’s when my family gave me Maja,” Mario says. “She was 14 months old at the time and came to me from Macedonia and was my salvation. In the meantime, I couldn’t imagine my life without her.”

Left - Ralf with Tyson and Cassey, Right - Mario with Maja. Credit: Sebastian Sellhorst.

It was much the same for him, Ralf tells us, as he keeps trying in vain to untangle the two dog leashes with Tyson and Cassey. “Sometimes there are days when I’m not feeling well and I wonder why I even bother to get up. Then I look at these two and know why I’m doing all this.”

As we walk down Kortumstrasse, we keep stopping to say hello to other dog-human teams. “You inevitably strike up a conversation with other pet owners,” Ralf knows. “For many people on the street, their dog is the only constant in their lives. They would never part with their animal. That’s why, for many, overnight shelters where you’re not allowed to take animals are out of the question.”

Maja sits by a recent issue of bodo. Credit: Sebastian Sellhorst

After a few metres we pass the sales place of Petra, who has already set up with Milo and Amy. For her, too, the animals come first. She can plan expenses for food well. It is difficult with veterinary costs. That can quickly become expensive. “But I would rather save on food than on the health of my two,” she says as she slips them a treat.

When we arrive at Mario’s selling point, the first thing we do there is spread out Maja’s blanket. “At first she was skeptical when it came to selling. But now she’s relaxed and knows all the regular customers,” Mario reports as he fills a small bowl with water. Recently, Maja and Mario have also had another offspring. “Bella, a beagle with extra length,” as Mario describes her with a laugh. Actually, she should only stay with him for a short time for care, but at the moment it looks like she will stay longer. Because there was one thing everyone agreed on today: A life without a dog? Impossible!

Courtesy of bodo / International Network of Street Papers