Today, Yummypets would like to introduce you to Sestra and her huge pet family. You may know her as Tchouko and Flynn, Hachikō, Æthena, Ava or L'Arche des Rescapés on Yummypets. While she has many pet accounts for her long list of pets, the Yummypets community knows her as Sestra, which means sister in Serbian. In this interview, she opens up to us about how she met her pets and how they have changed her outlook on life.
To start off with, Sestra is a very loving and down-to-earth Yummypets member. She is multilingual and absolutely hilarious in every language she speaks. Her warmth and positivity has brought her hundreds of followers on each of her profiles. But her love for animals doesn't stop at her own pets. Sestra is determined to save animals around her neighborhood and has even started a project to build her own pet refuge. You can find the link to her Cotizup page here. We are absolutely honored to have her on Yummypets.
Tell us how about the first time you met your pets!
I met Tchouko in July 2017 while walking in a forest. There was an abandoned van and he was attached under it with bloody paws and belly. I untied him and he ran away. Since then, I came everyday to feed him and he was always here, hiding under the van. He didn't want to eat in front of me so I used to put the food on the floor and go away. One day, however, he was sitting, waiting for me, and he literally jumped into my arms and cuddled with me (at first I thought he was attacking me!). That's kind of when I knew and decided he would be my dog. We later discovered, with the help of vets and shelters, that he had been mistreated by alcoholic men. He was traumatised by it and practically attacks every male human (and basically every human) he sees. But we're working on it!
We found Flynn in September 2019. He was in a cardboard box with his siblings (four brothers and a sister) that had been thrown into a river. We fished out the box, saved the puppies and found them good homes. We kept Flynn so that Tchouko would have a little brother!
Æthena found me in September 2019 too. It was nighttime and I wanted to go outside a bit to watch the stars and enjoy the warm temperature. But suddenly, a tabby cat ran into my house! I searched everywhere and then I found it just under my bed, I still have the picture!
So I just fed her and put her outside...and the day after this, she came back with a kitten that we named Arthur.
I found Émile while walking Tchouko in October 2019. He was stuck in some bushes and kept meowing. We were in the middle of nowhere, so I rushed to help him. He was obviously an orphan, so we brought him home. Æthena had just lost Arthur because a car ran over him, so she adopted Émile immediately and took care of him as if he was her son.
Finally, Hachikō! He was already a stray in July 2019 but he was fearful and never let people near him. As he walked on three legs, and I didn't know then if he was male or female, I called him Three-Legs. In August, someone told me that he had already been hit two times by a car. One evening, I was there with some friends when a third car hit him - he was sleeping on the road but the man in the car didn't see him and almost ran over him ! The dog escaped and we searched for him for two hours. We finally ambushed him in someone's garden and began giving him chicken to eat. He started wagging his tail and let us pet him. He was supposed to be my foster dog and I gave him the name "Chester". But after he waited too long to find a forever home, I decided to adopt him. He was such a good boy! Here's a picture of Hachikō the evening we "captured" him and another picture in March 2020.
What is the story behind their names?
Tchouko is originally written as "Ćuko" and it literally means "poochie/doggie" ! It's an affectionate word for "dog" in Serbian. We called him this for a long time and then when we had to make him ours, we had to find him a name! We searched for days but only came with "Charlie". We finally decided that Ćuko was original and he was already used to it. Charlie is now his second name!
Flynn, is named after Flynn Ryder's character from the "Tangled" movie. This is because he's a rascal (and Rascal is actually his second name)!
For Æthena, I asked Yummypals about it and I liked the proposition "Athena". I just put a "Æ" for originality. Turns out it was the perfect name as she's really my girl warrior and she protects the weak. She has proved this by adopting and taking care of kittens that weren't her own. She is also named Borea and Silvia, which represents my dead godmother, who was also a warrior and a really caring person. Her full name is: Æthena Borea Silvia!
Émile is a reference to Émile Zola, the famous French author!
Ava, Æthena's daughter, is named after Averell Dalton. Her second name is Isabella, which is one of my favourite cartoon characters!
Hachikō was first named Three-Legs, for obvious reasons. Then we named him Chester, as a tribute to the singer from Green Day, Chester Bennington. And finally, we named him Hachikō because he looks a bit like the famous Japanese dog and because he's incredibly faithful and waited so long to find a loving home.
What is the story behind all of your usernames?
The usernames of my profiles are basically my pet's names. Tchouko and Flynn share the same profile as they are "brothers". I started having too many pets so I made one for Hachikō, and another one for Æthena and Émile with only Æthena's name. Then, I made a profile for her daughter Ava. And my other profile is named "L'Arche des Rescapés", in English "the Arch". That's a profile where I post only about stray pets I found and put to adoption.
Do you have any pet photography tips for our fellow Yummypals?
To take good photos of your pet I would say: take the photo at the height of the said pet, preferably outside or in a bright room (natural light, not artificial). Or make a picture with the pet's head being the center of the picture! And I would say, no pictures in a room at night if you have a phone because lights are really bad.
What do you like most about Yummypets?
My favourite thing about Yummypets is that it's really like a big family. I made really great friends there. I also like that there's not only people who love their own pets, but who also love and care for other people's pets... There is always someone giving help or advice if needed. It's full of lovely people!
What is your favourite memory together?
From Hachikō's point of view : "My best memory is really when Sestra and her friends ambushed me. I was all scared, hurt and so lonely! I was really scared when they came closer to me but then they threw me a piece of chicken to eat! It was then that I knew it was my destiny to trust them. I haven't been lonely ever since because I met all my new family members that I love and protect: Tina and Émile, Flynn, and of course, Tchouko. He may not like me but I'm sure he will one day! I'm doing my best! ❤️"
From my point of view about Tchouko: " My best memory is when he jumped into my arms that one day when he was a stray scared dog. He was literally telling me "Don't leave me" with his eyes. It was love at first sight! Another great memory is one day when I was walking him. I let him run free, thinking there was nobody around. He ran far from me, met a dog, played with him and I panicked because where there's a dog, there's an owner. The said-owner just walked out of the woods! I was too far but I ran to catch Tchouko before he could attack anyone. To my surprise, he just walked beside the guy, only following his dog friend. The guy actually pet him on the back and Tchouko didn't say anything! That's the day I knew for sure that he could be cured of his trauma if given enough time and love. We've been working on it ever since."
Tell us a funny story about your pets!
For Tchouko : he doesn't really know "how to dog"! I had him for three years now so he's starting to understand a bit more though... He's always confused when meeting another dog and seeing it do different tricks. Tchouko will watch the stick or the ball (or the whatever toy you want) you throw and he will just sit there. Some dogs naturally don't bring back but he really looks at you, asking with his eyes : "What do you want me to do with this?". Another fun fact about Tchouko: he adores learning tricks and often shows me every one of them (he knows 11) even when I don't ask so that he could have something to eat!
Fun fact about Hachikō: well he's a photosynthetic dog! He loves to hang out in the sun and act like a plant!
What song best describes your life?
As a "theme song" describing Hachikō, I'd say the song "Waiting for love" by Avicii because Hachikō was totally "waiting for love" and he's just asking to give his own in return
As I couldn't find a song that represents Tchouko's story, here is a song describing our bond:
Tell us something we don't know about you!
Something you don't know about me: Tchouko actually saved me from severe depression. The month before I came to Bosnia, I did something awful due to that depression. Then, in Bosnia I found that poor dog tied up under a van, waiting for love and for help. He taught me more about myself than I ever did. I saved him but he's actually the one who saved me first. We are both fighting our own demons now but with each other's help.❤️❤️❤️
What is your motto?
Plenty of love, plenty of fun, there's a place here for everyone. I like it because every single pet or animal or every human is accepted here. ❤️