Life is often more intricate than the greatest works of fiction, and the story below submitted to us by Ivana, a veterinarian from Macedonia is one such example. Below Ivana tells her story of a hard working old man named Minik and his dog Eyes, and how they had a profound impact on her life.

Life is often more intricate than the greatest works of fiction, and the story below submitted to us by Ivana, a veterinarian from Macedonia is one such example. Below Ivana tells her story of a hard working old man named Minik and his dog Eyes, and how they had a profound impact on her life …

Close to the northern border of Mount Galicica in Macedonia lies the village of Evla. It’s a small place; with only one grocery store, one school and one veterinarian, but in spite of this the village is colorful, full of life with an untamed, wild spirit. Every house in the village has a big fruit garden and every fruit garden has guarding dogs. In one such house lived Minik; a hard working man in his sixties whose garden was blessed with the biggest apple trees which grew the tastiest apples in the region. They grew under the alert and watchful guard of Eva, a three year old mixed-breed bitch. The love between Minik and Eva was special; a unique relationship of mutual respect and adoration. On a warm summer evening, under the tallest apple tree in the garden, Eva gave birth to five small puppies – four brown puppies with hazel eyes and one white puppy with blue eyes. Minik helped her as best he could and yet, two days after giving birth, Eva died.

Although devastated Minik was determined to take care of Eva’s puppies, but after many sleepless nights of constant care, Minik was only able to save one – the white coated puppy with deep blue eyes.

Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe something else, but this puppy was the spitting image of his mother. Minik decided to name him Eyes. Eyes loved his master as much as his mother had, and while Minik never quite accepted the loss of Eva, he was aware of how much Eyes tried.

The young dog guarded the tree fiercely and in return Minik took Eyes with him everywhere. To the mountain for wood chopping, mushroom collecting and hunting or the local street market to sell their naturally grown apples and even the countryside for nice relaxing walks.

Old Minik never used a leash because Minik and Eyes understood each other with a friendship that was stronger than any leash could be.But after four years Minik fell ill, and before long Eyes became ill too. Once again, it seemed like a higher force was at work; old Minik had a heart disease and Eyes had a growth on his neck. And though he tried to keep working and though Eyes was there with him every second, soon Minik passed away. His widow tried her best to look after and comfort Eyes, but Eyes was filled with an unrelenting sadness. He refused to be touched, stopped protecting the tree and every day visited Minik’s grave. He would howl and cry for hours before returning home. Then one night, Eyes, sadly didn’t come back.

On the southern border of Mount Galicica, lies the city of Bitola. A stark contrast to Evla, it is big, beautiful and modern, with many grocery stores, schools and veterinarians; including myself. My name is Ivana and I have worked and lived with animals for most of my life. One morning I was returning from my regular visit to the local zoo. It was a searing hot day, the kind of heat that would leave you gasping for water every few minutes.

I was in a hurry to get home, but as I passed by some bushes something caught my attention. There was a dog trapped in the bush, crying out in distress, a dog with the most brilliant blue eyes I had ever seen.

I grabbed my car from round the corner, took the dog and rushed him to the clinic. He was tired and starving, his white coat dirty and neglected. But the worst part was the growth on his neck. My team and I started doing some diagnosing procedures and after a few hours we found that the dog had a tumor; fortunately it was operable. We took care of him for a few days before the surgery, helping him regain his strength, and when he was strong enough we performed the surgery.

He was a real fighter; he handled the surgery and the ensuing chemotherapy brilliantly. By the time he was back to full strength, he had well and truly won the hearts of all the doctors in the clinic and even become best friends with my dog Azra. I decided to keep him and named him Aron, after my childhood dog.Aron and Azra enjoyed playing together, but still, there was always something in Aron’s eyes; a touch of sadness that even my friends and colleagues would occasionally comment on. Then, one year after I first found Aron, alone and crying in that bush down the side of the road, he escaped!

It was a dreadful feeling; we may have only known each other for a year, but in this short time both me and Azra had built a strong bond with Aron and we worried endlessly. A few days after, tired from my shift, I decided to close the clinic early. As I locked the door, a luxurious sports car parked in front of me. The driver was a young and polite gentleman; he introduced himself and went into a story of how miraculously, his grandfather’s long lost dog had returned to them.

The man had a smile that went from cheek to cheek, I wasn’t sure I had ever seen anyone so happy and couldn’t help but feel a spike of jealousy as he told me that he was moving to America (a place I was planning on moving to eventually myself) and so happy to have the dog back before he left. He wanted to take the dog with him and as such needed to microchip him in case anything ever happened again. The young man was so happy and friendly, I couldn’t refuse. As he went to retrieve his dog, I had to try hard to push away the renewed pain of losing Aron. That was, until he opened the door and his dog came bounding out. A white dog with the most brilliant blue eyes, my Aron! The man explained that this was in fact his grandfather Minik’s dog, Eyes. He told me how his grandfather had died and Eyes escaped. Everyone believed he was dead, until he unexpectedly showed up again. And as I looked into Eyes’ beautiful blue eyes, I saw a happiness that wiped away any lingering sense of loss. Because I now knew why he had been so sad and I knew he was now back where he belonged. They say that coincidences in life are often stranger than fiction. I had never really believed that until this happened. In my working experience, I have seen many different cases and heard many inspiring stories involving dogs. They are such amazing creatures. However, none of them are as close to my heart as this story about Eyes.

Every time I think about Eyes, it fills me with a deep appreciation and sense of respect for the strong bonds we humans build with our beloved pets.