Four years ago, I saw the first photo of Tofu on my Facebook. A tiny fluffball in the arms of her savior. The winters in Romania are very harsh, and back then, it was -20 celsius, snowing, and the dogs were (and are) held in open cages. It made me think about it, but as I always want to adopt every animal in need, I tried to put my mind off of her. She appeared a second time tho, nobody wanted her and her time was running down. In a bit of an impulse decision, we decided on adopting her. I wanted her out of the kill shelter, out of the snow.

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The first time I’ve seen her

First day at home

She arrived in the Netherlands after a 3-day long car ride from Romania to the Netherlands, together with about 30 other cats and dogs that were adopted. She was very tranquil, but she was in shock. Back home, when she got out of her shock, we got to meet our little girl: terrified of men, children, other dogs, baby cries, food, floors, basically everything. She only felt safe on top of something soft; our bed, our couch, or me. I worked really hard on her traumas, and she made a lot of progress, but the weird anxiety and behaviors are just part of who she is. She started building fortresses or nests out of everything, the bed, rugs, blankets, pillows, her dog bed, sand on the beach, grass in the forest. She uses teeth and paws, and when she is satisfied, she will roll up as a little fox and fall asleep.

First time close to her big sister

First try with the new fortress

Three years ago, I fell into a severe burn-out caused by anxiety, panic disorder, and PTSS. I was committed to a clinic because I had so much panic attacks and anxiety I didn’t sleep for 4 months. I didn’t recognize it as such, though. Looking back, Tofu and I were destined to heal together from fears of the world.

Suspicious, but safe

After two years of a lot of therapy, research, and a thousand other recovery projects, my energy was gone, and I could only sit on the couch. Being couch-bound, I learned one stitch and started sewing. I tried to make something to cover Tofu’s needs. She never wants something covering her up; she wants ‘walls’ surrounding her. I wanted something good at home and on the road as we used to go on many adventures. This became the anti-anxiety bed. The first try was a skate session with her dad, who is my man. Boy, did it work out! She would go into the bed when she felt insecure and came out whenever she felt like it. We were able to travel by bike as she would now lay in a comfy fortress cloud.

Her bed on her bed

Camping in Bretagne

We took it camping, and both my dogs loved it. My retired border collie, who at almost 11 years old, is still such a workaholic, suddenly fell in deep sleep if she lay in her bed.

Bike ride

From the kill shelter to supermodel

Not knowing it back then, Tofu and my burn-out were necessary to find my purpose in life: helping animals with anxiety to relax a bit more. Within about 10 months, I made about 300 beds for a lot of animals and the best part? The photos and messages I receive from their humans.

We even take it to the beach so she can climb in when she needs to