This summer will be definitely one of my fondest memories. It was scary and exciting and in many ways exceeded my expectations.
It was my first time living on my own away from my family and I wouldn't have been able to do it in a million years without Nadia.
Hungary is a very interesting country, and while I'd already fallen in love with Budapest last Summer, I fell even more deeply enamoured with it after living there for a few months. It's the most dog friendly country of any I've visited, which was great because it meant that even while Nadia was off duty, I could take her along for the ride so to speak. There was one bar in particular that had a dog-concept... dogs were not only allowed in but also up on the couches and had toys and water dishes to choose from. The staff adored Nadia
Most bars allowed dogs though and any given night at most bars or pubs (that weren't nightclubs) there were at least one or two dogs. Dogs are allowed on public transit (so long as they are muzzled when on the actual bus/tram/metro). She got her first Race track experience at Kincsem Park where we attended the Hungarian Derby, after we also attended the Red Bull Air Race along the Danube. I also took her to the Pride Parade where she behaved in a stellar manner (and once again was a great hit). It was great to have the freedom of just leaving our flat when we wanted and wander all over town together, whether on foot or using public transit.
I even took her to the location of the Water Polo world championship finals (it came down to Croatia vs Hungary) where we cheered with the home crowd (and celebrated with them, even though in the end we lost).
As a whole too, because Hungarians are so dog-friendly people had a much more positive reaction to her than people do on average in North America. I'd say while 3/4 of people have positive reactions to her there's always that 1/4 here that react to her like she is some kind of blood thirsty t-rex even though she is just walking and minding her own business. (But you know them 'dangerous dobermans!' can't trust 'em) in Hungary 9/10 times people were delighted to see her, the remaining 10% of the time tended to be foreigners, ironically!
So many people fell in love with her, both admiring her looks and personality.
Another thing that took some getting used to were the amounts of dogs being walked off leash. Often no collar or harness. It took a moment to check if they were accompanied by a human to determine if they were lost lol! But unsurprisingly, this led to many more well socialised dogs. Same with dog parks... completely different dog culture than in North America, and that was definitely a wonderful thing to see. Especially considering 96% of the dogs we met were intact.
We met a lot of interesting/uncommon breeds too (at least compared to southern quebec, although Vizslak are increasingly popular here). the Magyar Agar, plenty of Pulik, a few Pumik, one or two Komondorok, a fair few Mudik as well! (The Mudi being one of the breeds I was most interested in meeting that I'd not met before. I don't believe they're even recognised by the Canadian Kennel Club yet).
Nadia did so well on her first flights ever, and honestly she exceeded my expectations in the airport. She was a real trooper for the plane ride home as a family emergency had me move my flight up and the only available ones were connecting through Amsterdam (instead of Paris as initially planned) and had a very long layover.
One night I went on a date at one of the popular squares/parks/hangouts. I met up with the girl, we had drinks and sat and talked until 3 or 4 am. Nadia was with me, naturally. A few times throughout the evening various people tried approaching us. The first time some guys approached with unwanted attention she came up and watched closely. When my date and I told them we weren't interested and they became pushier, while we got increasingly hostile, she eventually came between our picnic blanket and the guys, growling at them, and eventually barking until they backed off. When it was just a guy looking for directions, she was quiet and aloof but relaxed and allowed herself to be petted. When it was guys acting like idiots trying to get her to react and bark she ignored them completely. Giggling gaggles of girls just wanting to pet her, she brought them her toy. When it was men who were obviously drunk and obviously wanting something from us we didn't want to give (like in the first occurence I described), Nadia would stand between them and us and growl until they left. At one point a pair of guys approached and they barely had time to say a word before she was standing on guard hackles raised, and barking for them not to come any nearer.
Meanwhile she absolutely adored my date which surprised me because she is fairly aloof with strangers at first (unless they're guests in our home). She'll allow herself to be petted but won't even really care to sniff. She was all over this girl giving her "hugs" as she normally only does to me and seeking attention and cuddles. She said she felt pretty safe with Nadia around. For what its worth she and I still text and are hoping to see each other again soon... either my going back or she visits to Canada
I worked as a bartender in a "Party hostel" while I was there, and I took Nadia to work with me. She was a hit with the guests and was becoming quite used to the 'bar dog/hostel dog' life. It was great because there was a lovely dog park not far from my work place so I would often stop by on my way to work and give her a chance to run before heading out for my shift.
I haven't had the chance to sort through all of my photos but stay tuned, I'll be sure to add some ASAP.