Horses, Dogs & Me - Andrea Busfield

Horses, Dogs & Me - Andrea Busfield

Meet our new blogger, renowned author AndreaBusfield, whose childhood dream of owning a dog came true in her thirties, andfinally a horse in her early forties. It quickly became an obsession that (shesays) turned her from a financially comfortable career woman, into a(self-confessed) stony-broke horse bore. And she’s never been happier . .

After living in various locations around the world during her career asa journalist, Andrea lives with her six dogs in Cyprus, where she spends hertime writing novels, teaching creative writing, and riding her two belovedhorses.

Each month, Andrea will be writing a blog about her life with her horsesand dogs. “Horses, Dogs and Me”

We begin with . .

01 September 2019

My House of Dogs and Dust

A little over thirteen years ago I walked into a Kabulrescue shelter looking for a ‘wolf’ and somehow managed to come home with amangy six-month-old puppy instead. Due to her skin condition, I called her Blister.

Blister had been rescued from the street by anAmerican soldier, along with five other siblings who all sadly died, and on theshort drive home she threw up a number of times in the back of my driver’s car.This pretty much set the tone for our first year together.

Strangely enough, toilet training was never an issue,Blister was and still is – thank God – a very intelligent dog, something Idiscovered after returning home one night to find she had not only opened allthe cupboard doors in the kitchen, but buried the entire contents of thosecupboards in the garden.

A number of mobile phones were also lost to thegarden, heels were detached from shoes on an almost weekly basis and favouritekeepsakes were damaged beyond all recognition. Yet I loved her.

I loved her from the moment I brought her home.

In that first year together, we bonded over breakfastas our windows rattled to a bomb blast at the Ministry of Interior, we survivedthe oil burner blowing up in our bedroom, and we braved packs of wild dogs aswe strolled around the streets of Kabul, much to the horror of my friends inthe security business.

Then, when Blister was kidnapped, I finally decidedenough was enough – we both had to leave.

It was a teenage boy who held my dog for ransom aftershe escaped from the house while I was away in the UK. My Afghan helper wascanny and managed to get Blister back with no dollars exchanging hands, butwhen I discovered what had happened I went ballistic. I immediately went insearch of the boy, my long hair free of any scarf and my hands wielding apolice baton I’d picked up from the German PX. I didn’t find him, but I causedenough of a scene for the word to get around, and the boy had the good sense tostay away from the area after that.

Now I’ve calmed down, I mainly remember this as anunfortunate incident – I understand how poverty can drive people to dodesperate acts – but this was not the world I wanted for my dog and so I madeplans to get us out of Afghanistan. Of course, this was not as easy as itsounds thanks to various animal export laws.

So, to cut a long story short, I got a job in Qatarfor a year. Blister and I then travelled to Pakistan for a week (where we foundpossibly the only dog-friendly hotel in the whole of Islamabad) and once herpaperwork was in order we moved to Qatar where she could get a rabiesvaccination that would allow her entry into Europe (though not the UK).

From Qatar, we moved to Cyprus, then to Austria, tookholidays in France and even took a road trip to Croatia after my then-boyfriendannoyed me at Christmas and I walked out of the house with Blister and theturkey.

In fact, it’s highly possible that Blister is actuallythe best-travelled dog to come out of Afghanistan.

Today, we live in Cyprus and share our home with fivemore rescue dogs – Alfie, El Disco Bastardos, Walter Pickle, Bonnie and Target.I also have two horses, an off-the-track thoroughbred called Lucky and anAndalusian mare called Mina.

It’s not a conventional life by any stretch of theimagination – and we no doubt trouble the Aqueos shop more than most – but it’sa life filled with love in our home of dogs and dust.