An islander grieving the loss of her rescue dog 'Ninja' is hoping to keep the spirit of her beloved canine alive by setting up a tennis ball collection point for local pups to enjoy on Grève d'Azette beach.
Monika Markowską set up the tribute to "sweet, loving, [and] wild" Ninja last week in the hope of sharing her "love for running and chasing the ball" on her favourite beach.
The tribute has attracted lots of positive comments from the local dog owners community - among them, eco campaigner Sheena Brockie, who said her dog Woody was "grateful to play with a ball in memory of Ninja".
While Monika has many positive memories of "playful" Ninja, she explained to Express that the start to her life was not easy.
When Monika adopted three-year-old Ninja from one of the Belgian Malinois Adoption Companies during the pandemic, the pup had already been starved, bitten, and had half her teeth filed.
“She arrived as skin and bone, with her ear flapped and half of her tail chewed off” Monika recalled.
The wounds were the result of the hound being kept in a kennel for two years, so Monika said it was no surprise when the owners of the adoption company were prosecuted for cruelty to animals later on.
Pictured: Ninja was a Belgian Shepherd.
When Ninja was first introduced to the unfamiliar streets and cars of town, she would bark at anything within a three-metre radius, as that was the only coping mechanism she knew.
Even though Ninja had psychological trauma, she was, however, known to be extremely affectionate at home - "she could never lie far away from us" - and easygoing with other dogs when they approached her on walks.
Monika explained that she had grown up with dogs all her life, so was determined to train her new furry friend with lots of patience and treats alongside her partner - even if it meant time away from work.
"We would never give up on her," Monika said.
"The human world had already failed her in her early years...we truly believe that there are no bad dogs, only bad humans who fail their dogs."
One of Ninja's favourite places to play was Grève d'Azette beach.
It was for that reason that, in memory of Ninja's love of running and chasing the ball, Monika decided to set up an area where local dog owners can collect a tennis ball and make memories with their own "furry tail-waggers".
Pictured: "Playful" Ninja on a walk.
Reflecting on her time with Ninja over the years, Monika said she wanted to remind dog owners of the importance of spending quality time with their animals and to cherish every moment.
"The time with dogs is limited anyway, as they live much shorter that humans, so it's great to have the walkies time bonding with them, giving them full attention and moments of happiness," she said.
Pictured: Islanders and their dogs have been enjoying playing with the gifted toys.
The initiative appears to have been very well received, with Monika receiving vast amounts of thoughtful messages from islanders whose own dogs have enjoyed playing with the gifted toys.
Monika said she hoped her time with Ninja would inspire others to see beyond the challenges and take a chance on rescue dogs, which can offer a warm-hearted companion.
“Ninja was an exceptional dog, who gave humans a second chance, whose pure love was stronger than her bad memories,” she said.
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