In classic films, the main character used to appear with the word “starring” underneath... Today, our spotlight falls on Trufa (Cádiz, 2019), a charming mix of German Shorthaired Pointer and Weimaraner Pointer, but, above all, part fundamental of the family of Paula Koops (Madrid, 1998).
Trufa came to the family through adoption from SOS Weimaraner, proving to be all love and dedication towards his new family. Paula, renowned singer and songwriter, has just released her latest single 'Que te voy bonito' and is achieving success with sold-out concerts. Beyond her professional career, Paula has had numerous pets and has a special passion for animals. Do you want to know more? She has shared her home with 12 rabbits, including Lunita, Estrellita, Manzanita, Orejitas, and even a turtle named Manchitas, with whom she was in love...
How are you?
Well, very good... Right now, Trufa is down there. He's usually here on the couch, but I'm sure he's doing his thing.
Its name is Truffle, but it was almost called Nugget, like the breaded chicken portions...
Yes. I wanted to call her Nugget... She had that color. Now she's a little darker, but when she arrived, she was lighter and reminded me of a Nugget. Nowadays, I find it quite strange to think about her and associate her with that name, but at her time, it was a viable option.
The winning option was Truffle...
The name was chosen by my little cousin. It was something she proposed to me and, since I like pet food names, Truffle stuck out. In fact, I plan to call him “Tomato” if I have a male dog… I love it. I don't like the tomato itself, but as a name, I love it.
What do you remember about the day you went to look for Trufa?
I remember it as the happiest day of my life. She was so sad and she was so small that it was something incredible.
Coming from a shelter... It is difficult to see the number of animals that are there waiting for an opportunity...
We went to look for her at a shelter. They were so small that all the puppies were in one house and assigned to one family. Of course, in quotes, it wasn't that hard, but it is true that my partner and I have gone to kennels several times to give them walks and it is very sad.
What was Truffle like when he arrived?
Paula looks up, remembering, and smiles from ear to ear...
She was very cute. Very tiny. We had been told that her parents were a German Shorthaired Pointer and a Weimaraner, but she was so small that we thought she was actually a mix of other dogs. I don't know... dachshund, she looks like him but he's a dwarf... she was very, very small. Also, her belly was super swollen because she had an infection all over that area, but well, she was wonderful, a baby, beautiful.
You say that she is everything to you... What does she give you?
It gives me a lot of peace. She is a very calm dog, she is always sleeping, always close to her... When I am very stressed, seeing her like this, I sit next to her and she gives me that feeling of peace. She also gives me a lot of happiness. When you see her so happy with small things, like a stick in the park, or when you come home, even if you've only been gone five minutes, and you see her so excited, you try to learn to incorporate those values into your life. I think it is one of the most important lessons they give us.
What are, for you, the fundamental values that a person who wants to have a dog should have?
Wow... What a difficult question!... Obviously, love for animals. For me, it is something fundamental, just like considering them part of your family. Is essential. Dogs, or any animal, are not there to fulfill a function such as guarding the house, they should be part of the family. I'm not saying that you should have them like me, that I let them get on the couch, they sleep with me in the bed... It is not necessary to go to that extreme, which I understand is not the most appropriate for everyone, but you do need to treat them as one of the family. All of that is very important.
On the other hand, have a sense of responsibility and be aware that you have a living being in your care. If he is a dog, you must dedicate the time, affection and respect to him, to walk him and educate him well. What dogs do is a consequence of what we have and do. If you treat a dog with love and affection, he will do the same with others.
What do you like to do with it?
Walk, really. When we have free time we try to go to the mountains of Madrid to give them longer and different walks because walking them through the park at your house is not the same as walking them through rivers, mountains, places where they receive very different stimuli than usual. In the summer, less so now because I start touring, I always take her, well, her and Utah, my husband's Husky, both of them. We go to beaches that allow dogs because we like them to be a total part of our lives.
Do you take them on tour?
Depends. If my parents give us a hand, yes, because even if a concert lasts two hours, the artist must be at the venue all day. Of course, if we wear earplugs because of all the noise that is generated during the preparation and then the concert, I don't know if that is the best for them. At some concerts, where we have gone to hotels that allow pets, they have come and it has been my parents who have been with them during the day and have taken them for a walk. They are only alone during the two hours of the concert.
How do they influence your character?
In noticing the little things. I am a person who has many emotions during the day and I would not have that peace and being aware of living "in the here and now" if they were not there. I am a person very used to living with pets because I have had them all my life, There was only a brief period that I was without a pet and I remember it with great sadness. Of course, I don't know a Paula without animals.
What is the most difficult thing about living with Trufa and Utah?
Nothing. There is nothing difficult. Let's see, there are complicated things, although for me they are not. Above all, the organization of whether I am going to be in the studio all day or go to Barcelona to sing, because you must have someone to take care of them and that is the most difficult part. I am grateful to have my parents and my aunt, who are the ones who gladly lend us a hand because they adore them like another child. My partner and I have a very complicated life and knowing that we have family is enormous support.
Do you ever get angry?
Never. Well, when he eats poop, yes. They explained to us, when we adopted her, that in the past they gave hunting dogs remains and, sometimes, in families where there was nothing, those remains were feces and, by instinct, they like it. What scares me is that one day it won't be poop, it will be a sausage with spikes and something very serious could happen to it. I don't want him to eat anything that's on the floor. Only then do I get a little angry.
You are a person who has always been surrounded by animals... You are not only one of dogs... Who was Mau?
I was ready...
Paula says “She was my cat…” with a broken voice. She can't continue. You can tell that the feeling is so great that she blocks her words. Part pain, part longing, all memories of a family… of her soulmate…
We had a cat in the town where my grandparents live, which my grandfather decided to name Manolo. That cat had three beautiful babies and we went to see them when they were already a month old. My parents didn't want to have cats and wouldn't let me, so, on the trip back to Madrid, I hid a cat under my dress during the entire trip. When there was half an hour left to arrive, it started meowing. Of course, he already stayed with us in Madrid, until a few years ago when he left us. He was with me for 18 years and was my soulmate. Mau.
Dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles... How do you relate to each species?... Is the feeling the same?
I think so. Maybe with the turtle the relationship changed a little more, but the feeling was the same. I have never cared about race or species because the responsibility and commitment are the same. When I was younger, I treated them like another brother and I didn't care that they were different. There will be people who do see a difference, but I don't.
What is the hardest moment you have experienced with your four-legged family?
In general, losses. That is the hardest moment. Canela, my first dog, in one of her jealousy, got an infection and it was “either we operate on her or she goes away.” That moment was very hard. In the end, everything is related to loss. It's that fear of letting them go, of them leaving you and losing them. In general, I have had a very bad time with all of them because they were one of the family.
Speaking of losses... How do you face them?... Do you get used to them?
No. You don't get used to it because, furthermore, each one is different. At first I said “nothing is going to hurt me as much as when I lost Canela” and now I think about losing Trufa and I'm dying… In a way, that affection that I gave to Canela I now channel towards Trufa and Utah. For example, since she was smaller, she didn't give as much importance to walking Canela as I do now. It's a moment that I don't want to be taken away from my day.
You learn to live with the pain of loss but you never get over it.
What do they eat?
I give them Dogfy Diet, which is a cooked food, very good for them, but my cousin, who is a veterinarian, suggested that since there were not so many studies on this type of food, I should continue giving them feed because it contains the nutrients they need. So we give them a mix of both. The best of both worlds.
Utah is the more affectionate of the two… How does Trufa express herself?
They both are, but Trufa is not the typical dog that is going to get on top of you, he is going to give you kisses... He wants to be with you but in a different way. If you're on the couch, he's going to get on it but he won't be next to you. Utah, on the other hand, in the morning and at night, does stand next to you and gives you kisses but, in reality, he is quite the cat. He is independent because he is a Husky and it is in character for him. Each one is loving in their own way.
What is your formula for taking care of a dog?
I don't know... I imagine I'm like everyone else. I take care of your needs. I take them to the vet for vaccine issues or, since I'm somewhat paranoid, for anything strange I might see. Also, Trufa has a tendency to get very sick, we give them antiparasitic pills... everything they may need. Also, we follow specific routines such as eating meals at the same time or giving them the necessary walk time.
What makes you angry about human behavior towards animals?
Abandonment and abuse. I don't know what the solution is. I can understand that a person is afraid of animals and that is why they do not have them or that if they find one loose on the street they ask you to pick it up, and that is their right, but I do not understand a person who has had a dog in his house and abandons him. It doesn't matter the reason, because you are getting older, you are sick or you are going on vacation. I also don't understand people who hit an animal because everything it offers is good. He should be punished more.
You scold a dog and two seconds later it comes up to you wagging its tail! Even a person who has mistreated him still loves him with all his heart. These people should not be on the streets because if they are capable of mistreating a soul as pure as that of an animal, they can do it to the rest of us. It's what makes me most angry.
Paula… Tell me a secret of yours
I don't know if we have secrets. I give him sweets, yogurt when I have little left... it's an open secret. They last so little that I give them anything that can make them happy. To the right extent, of course. Trufa and Utah are the ones who watch me rehearse the most and see a side of me that no one else can. Rehearsals, making a fool of yourself, why many times when I rehearse a choreography... It turns out terrible! … They are able to see something that no one else sees about me. Everything that happens behind my life.
They are also there when I cry, I am frustrated and it is, at that moment, that I go to them and hug them. When I feel bad and I'm crying, only they know why.
Truffle, Utah, Paula, thank you very much…
And you, Ed.
At the end of our talk, Paula is so sincere that she apologizes again for that moment in which her feelings have taken over. This says a lot about the wonderful family in which Trufa and Utah live and that she has allowed me to enter, for a few minutes, into her privacy. Afterwards, we continued talking about her tour, her concerts in Barcelona, Madrid and about the sacrifices that a career like hers implies, but well... That's another story.