From caring for a moment to loving for life, the Story of Wednesday 

On the evening of January 11th, 2023, my wife and I were visiting my parents and having a cup of tea, just like any other ordinary visit. All of a sudden, I received a Facebook message from Dia Dijkhoff, a dedicated animal welfare advocate and foster mom on the island.

She informed me that her 12-year-old son had rescued a beautiful Shar Pei pup and named her Wednesday. The pup was found by construction workers who were busy building a house near her house. Dia’s house was already full, with 2 dogs, 5 cats, and 2 kittens being fostered. As such, Dia reached out to me with an urgent need for help. Her ask was, “We are in urgent need of a foster family.”

At first, I honestly thought her message was not intended for me. So, my reply was direct, “Dia, are you asking me to foster Wednesday?”

She replied instantly, “Yes, please!” Dia also informed me that Wednesday was sponsored by New Life for Paws Foundation and in less than two weeks she would be flying out to the US to find her fur-ever home.

What Dia didn’t know is that we also have a full house consisting of 7 dogs, 1 cat and two teenagers. But seeing that it was temporary, I told my wife to please bear with us having one extra family member for just about two weeks…she agreed (phew!).

As soon as Wednesday arrived we could see that she felt at home. She proved to be a little boss lady but also a beautiful darling in need of some tender love and care. My family and I fostered Wednesday for 10 days, and during that time she really became part of our family, but of course in the back of our minds we knew that the day would soon come when we had to say goodbye.

On January 21, 2023, Dia came to pick up Wednesday to prepare her for her flight to the US. My daughter and I were sad to see her go. We bought her a toy to travel with so she can be reminded of us.  We gave her hugs and kisses and handed her over with her traveling gear.

The moment Dia’s car left our home, my daughter Avah and I turned to each other and started crying. I tend to think that I am always good at keeping my emotions in check, especially trying to be strong for my daughter in this situation but when it comes to dogs or animals in general, I have a sensitive heart and it clearly showed.

My family and I were kept up to date on Wednesday’s travels throughout the day until she finally made it to MA in the evening and was on her way to her foster family. The updates did not necessarily help with the waterworks – the entire family was already missing sweet Wednesday but knew that she would soon find her forever home.

However, on January 22nd, we caved in and asked what had been on our minds since Wednesday left: “What if we, as a family, want to give Wednesday a good quality of life right here in Aruba?” The answer was positive, and Marie, the founder of NLFP Foundation, moved mountains to bring Wednesday back to the island. With the help of many friends, we started the paperwork needed for Wednesday to re-enter our island and become a permanent resident of Aruba and a permanent member of our family.

Finally, on February 5th, little boss lady Wednesday returned to Aruba to a home where she will be loved and cared for. In her we’ve found yet another family member we can’t live without!

It is important for us as citizens of Aruba to recognize that there’s an existing stray-animal problem.  It’s not a quick fix problem as it has many challenging factors, most countries deal with to find a long-term and sustainable solution. But one of the key factors is the responsible pet ownership, what means that you are 100% responsible for providing your pet with food, water, security, training, care, sterilization, and micro chipping.

The story of Wednesday is a beautiful example of the power of fostering. Fostering pets provides a safe and loving environment for animals in need and helps to reduce the number of animals in shelters. It also gives animals a chance to socialize and learn basic skills, increasing their chances of adoption. Fostering also helps to save lives, as many shelters are overcrowded. By fostering, you are making a difference in the life of an animal and providing them with the love and care they need to thrive. It is a rewarding experience that benefits both the foster family and the animal. So, consider fostering a pet and making a positive impact in their life.

Written by Minister Ursell Arends, Vice Premier, Minister of Integrity, Nature, Transport, and Elderly Care.

Share on:

March 15, 2023
Rona Coster