Pocker is a lovably raggedy-looking toy dog who lives in Poland. Dressed up in his favorite bright red scarf, Pocker enjoys jetting around the world spreading the message that people should adopt dogs, not buy them. “Don’t spend money for love” is his slogan.
With Pocker’s passport stamps beginning to mount up, I checked in with his owner, the television journalist Kasia Pisarska, to get the scoop on this dog-trotter’s thrift-store back story, his canine travel tips, and the origin of his curious name.
Dogster: When did you first meet Pocker?
Kasia: I found him in a secondhand shop. I always try to promote the secondhand dogs, which are those in shelters. I paid something like $1.30 for him.
What attracted you to Pocker when you saw him?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure in the beginning whether he was a dog or a sheep! I had an idea in my head and Pocker seemed the cheapest and funnest way to put out a really important message. So I asked my neighbor’s five-year-old kid if she had a dog toy she could give me, but she was not really keen on that. So I went to the shop and found Pocker. I asked in the shop what he was and after an important debate we decided, yes, he is a dog!
Where does the name Pocker come from?
Well, my first adopted dog’s name was Rocky, and my second adopted dog is named Hacker, and then a year ago another dog entered into my house and his name is Jocker, so Pocker just completed the same type of names.
How do your dogs react to Pocker?
Well, Hacker loves him but Hacker loves everybody — if someone new comes to meet him he’ll want to give them lots of kisses and he’s scared of himself and he’s just really nice with everybody. Jocker’s character is a little bit different so he’ll try to steal him — I think he’s a little bit jealous about Pocker’s travels.
When did Pocker have his first adventure?
After the first dog I adopted in 2008, I knew there were lots of problems with dogs and shelters in Poland. I had my own TV program with dogs and I always tried to promote adoption — right now I’m trying to do a reality TV show about dogs in shelters — so when I put the information out there that I had a new dog all my fans were excited. I told them he was really calm, I didn’t have any problems with him and he was accepted by Hacker and Jocker.
Which countries has Pocker traveled to?
The United Kingdom — not only London but Bournemouth and also the place where the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed — and he’s been in Budapest in Hungary; he was in Australia, Estonia, Greece, and a lot of places in Poland of course, including the Polish parliament. He’s also soon flying to Berlin in Germany, Glasgow in Scotland and then back to the United States in about a month, to North Carolina.
Do you always travel with Pocker or do other people take him?
If I’m free, I’m taking him. But if someone else wants to take him it goes like this (whether they want to take him to work, to school or to a hospital): You can adopt him for a minimum of one day and a maximum of 10 days but you have to send me a minimum of one picture per day and you have to tell at least one person that instead of buying animals they should adopt them. Pocker also doesn’t travel by post — he has to go hand-to-hand with people.
Has anyone ever lost Pocker?
Don’t scare me! Not yet, but we had one problem when I had to bring him to a school and he was traveling from another city about 200 kilometers away and he ended up on the wrong bus by accident.
How do people react when they meet Pocker?
The love him, they want to kiss him and give him a hug. I know that not everybody will go to the shelter on the same day, but meeting Pocker lets them know there is an option and helps to open their mind to the idea of going to a shelter. It’s a good way to talk about adoptions like this.
Do you know what type of dog Pocker is?
He’s a silent one!
Pocker’s Facebook page includes some pictures of him meeting cats. How do they get on?
They are definitely a little bit curious, especially when he’s not going directly from my home, and so he hasn’t been washed and he’s been passed from people to people. They often have animals so he has a lot of different animal scents on him, so the cats are curious.
If Pocker could talk, what message would he like to tell people?
We have a nice phrase in Poland that goes when you adopt a dog you don’t change the world, but you do change the world for that dog. I think that would be Pocker’s message.
Follow Pocker and Kasia’s travels at Pocker the Polish DOGtrotter on Facebook.
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About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.