Dutch lesson: Golden retriever finds body

Article about cadaver-finding golden retriever
By Laure-Anne Viselé, November 2010

OK, I absolutely need to improve my Dutch. I’ve lived there since 2001, and I obviously still can’t follow a ‘routine’ conversation. There I was, walking dog, husband and kid through the Dutch woods when I came across this old lady and her Golden Retriever.

While we were sharing the customary dog stories, she recalled how her  dog would not stop barking in front of the canal, one day. She eventually checked it out and saw some handlebars and something or another coming out of the water. Something or another turned out to be ‘stoffelijk overschot’ (whatever that means, I thought). Next thing she says is that she called the police, who complimented her on her dog.

I nodded politely, thinking to myself: finding handlebars in a Dutch canal is like, well, finding fleas on a hedgehog. Sweet old lady…

So we walked on and I asked my husband: “So what WAS that stoff… thingie that the dog found?”. His answer:

a dead body… Shudder.

So there she was, an old lady telling me like it was the most normal thing in the world that her dog had found a dead body the other day. If she wasn’t traumatised by that, she must have  been by my totally unimpressed reaction!


  • Have you heard of a similar story where  you regularly walk your dog?
  • Has your dog ever made a gruesome find?
  • Is your Dutch appalling?   ;  )
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  1. Posted 15 November 2010 at 02:52 | Permalink

    OMG! This is great, and now I don’t feel so bad about my horrid language skills. (Okay, I still do… because I’m terrible at foreign languages, but still!)

    I’ve never heard of anything like that, save for people who specifically have their dogs trained for that purpose. Although, I did almost adopt a german shepherd trained as a cadaver dog, but was too busy being creeped out by the fact that he did his I FOUND A BODY! dance by what appeared to be a living hu—- Yick. Let’s not get into that.

    Do you think the lady to whom you were speaking was wondering why YOU were so calm about the whole affair? Maybe, on the other end of the conversation, she was thinking, “Well, if she doesn’t think it’s a big deal, nor should I.”

    I have relatives who are Italian. Er. Well, okay they’re Sicilian – which is just a fancy way of saying “Italians on an island that fancy themselves a separate culture.” They always attempt conversations in Italian with us around as though to say, “HA! You can’t understand us!”

    Since they’ve been doing that since I’ve been little… Well, I’ve picked up on a little bit of it, and now they think they should try having whole conversations with me.

    I have taken to running like hell when I see them coming.

    They… think it’s funny. -__-;;

    • Posted 15 November 2010 at 10:19 | Permalink

      That old lady MUST have been shocked at my lack of response. But if she was, she hid it well. I should trace her and become her agent. Coaching her through a brilliant poker career!

  2. Alexandra
    Posted 8 December 2010 at 13:56 | Permalink

    What a great story!

    No problems here with the Dutch language, but when I was staying in Italy for a while I was struggeling… one day I told some people who were admiring my dog, that I had put her in the washing machine that morning… Thankfully they weren’t too polite to not burst out in laughter; good for my learning curve.

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