Dog trains man

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tour de Viva with a Clumsy Casanova

This Tour is for me, now Kenzo is doing good so soon - more about him later - and I would really want to return to the places Viva enjoyed so much on our travels, and remember some of the best memories we have of her.

She was never a fan of driving in a car, but the destinations we chose always made it up to her in tenfold. She loved to dash on the beaches of the North-Sea and dip her toes in the water while harassing Kenzo. She could hike the West-Danish heath fields and the Norwegian tundra's endlessly, while scanning the horizon on the hunt for game, and enjoying the simple fact she was on an adventure, alone with her family. And at the end of the day, enjoy a quiet sunset with us.

We are packing, and leave for a 3-week road-trip in Viva's footsteps. Except Norway, that's too cold this time of the year, even for us. I think it would be great to do now, and not wait, as it still feels like she is with us every moment of our daily life. There is not a walk we have, or a cup of coffee we can drink for that matter, where we not think about, what Viva would have done at that moment. Memories are good, at least for me, I cherish them, and try to write down as many as I can. She still makes me laugh, like she always has.

It is not very well-planned, thought-through, and a spur of the moment thing. But that's me. And now Kenzo is doing so much better, I am allowed to be myself.

Yes, Kenzo. He bounced back remarkably soon, and I can only be happy for that. I like to think that some of the additional things I did might have helped him a lot. One of them was to take him with me everywhere, I haven't left him a minute alone since Viva passed. The other thing was to stake-out the trails of all his former sweethearts.

What can I say, he loved it, and so did the girls. He immediately started to "protect" them as well, in typical Kenzo-style. Sometimes I wonder if the vet actually forgot something while neutering him, or Kenzo hasn't got the memo. Of course, all that showing off and impressing the ladies can backfire, which it also did, when he tripped on a bottle hiding under the leaves in a ditch, underlining his well-deserved nickname of Clumsy Casanova, and finished the trail with a limp.

If Viva would have been with him, she would have never allowed it! Always the clever one.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wizards Gary and Jacque, and their Hovawart Amber

I am very excited to introduce you to our youngest ever - 8 weeks - Hovawart Wizards, Gary and Jacque!

Gary and Jacque had a Hovawart before, without them knowing it!

Thank you for participating in the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry!

Hovawart Wizards: We are Gary and Jacque. We live in the U.K., 30 miles north of London. Both of us are designers and run our own business,

Hovawart: Our latest addition to our family is Amber, an 8 weeks Hovawart puppy and growing fast! We hope to start a blog or website about Amber soon. She was bred by Val Shone from Surrey.

We had many rescue Golden Retrievers so far, and the one we loved best we called our "huge" Golden. He sadly passed away in July due to a heart attack. Later we found out, he was not a Golden at all, but a Hovawart.

Our daily life so far consists of poo & wee chasing and constantly being nibbled upon. In other words, fantastic fun. We are looking forward to puppy class that will start in a couple of weeks. Other than that we do a lot of reading and getting good suggestions and advice from Val Shone, the breeder.

What I love about Amber is her intelligence and fun loving nature, which is already shining through. She looks great too.

When she meets other dogs, she wants to be friendly, and even at such a young age, she can already be overwhelming to other dogs like only a Hovawart can. Thankfully, she has a great playing nanny, our 13-year old Golden Retriever.

We don't have a lot of advice to Muggles and other Wizards yet. We are still learning the spells, potions and are absorbing all the magic.


Hovawart Wizards, like Gary and Jacque, try to provide real life information for Muggles - those not yet touched by the Hovawart's magic - to learn more about Hovawarts in the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. A place where Muggles can read how we play, what kind of training and activities we undertake. What makes Hovawarts special to us, and how they made us into Wizards. The role they came to play in our lives. And the hard times we shared. Helping Muggles to make the best choice possible if a Hovawart could be the Magical Creature for them, or at least what to expect.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kenzo's Grief

Kenzo is grieving. Also for him, time is needed, to heal.

On the day of Viva's passing, I took her body home with me for Kenzo to understand what happened.

It had rained the whole week, but on that day the sun was shining abundantly.

So instead of taking Viva inside, I laid her down in the sun at the start of the driveway to our house. The sun warmed her body and gave her that beautiful golden glow.

Kenzo frantically sniffed the air around Viva, with his nose slightly up. He only came close to her paws, which he touched gently with his nose, still sniffing.

He remained restless and acted like he wanted to go for a walk, so I let him. I followed him down the driveway. At the end of it, just before the point where we usually would have turned left into the forest, Kenzo stopped.

He went straight back to Viva and sniffed the air around her one more time, and then retreated a couple of yards, where he laid down, with his side to Viva and his face upright, pointing towards the road. People and dogs passed by in the distance, but Kenzo didn't move, neither did he made a sound.

I think - I hope - he understood Viva was no more.

After I returned Viva and said the last farewell, we tried to follow our usual routine for the rest of the day and the days to come as much as we could for Kenzo's sake. He seemed himself. We made sure he didn't experienced we were sad. We haven't changed anything in the house, and Viva's things are still where they used to be.

But he is not his bubbly self, because of one tiny difference. For each walk, training session, play or cuddle, I have to invite him. Usually it is Kenzo that invites me. Therefore I know, that first on the day where Kenzo will seek contact once more, he has had the time he needed to give Viva a new place in his life.

Next to the family, Viva was the center focal point of Kenzo's life and purpose, always trying to keep his "big sister" safe. Although I have never before helped a dog through mourning a companion, if I listen good enough and let him "talk", I know we can make it through Viva's loss together.

It is still early, Kenzo just needs more time, like the rest of us. It is only natural. He will be alright again one day, and all I can do is support him getting there. Finding this purpose, gives me strength too.


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Deep Breath

After taking a very deep breath, Operation Spoil Viva was launched.

We sticked to our daily routine and our usual places, while showering Viva in special treats, play, cuddles, and undivided attention - alright, Kenzo got his part as well.

Avoiding anything that could add stress, like anything new, we went for all things she knows and loves, just a lot of it, cramped together in a few days.

We invited some of Viva's favorite people to stop by for a last hug, if they, for Viva's sake, could make it passed the "sobbing not allowed" sign by the door. At one point Viva was being cuddled by three of her favorite persons at once. I could swear I heard her purr like a cat.

Each morning we took another deep breath to kick-start the new day, got charged by the fun Viva was having, send her positive vibes and more fun in return, until the upward spiral crashed the entire family exhausted on the couch to see a bad movie to fall asleep on.

It was good, these last few days. Viva was happy despite her nose, and I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to say goodbye to Viva while she was still feeling good, with fun, instead of tears. They will be allowed to flow later.

While I write this, she is sleeping peacefully beside my desk. She is dreaming, and talking in her sleep, and by the sound of it, she might very well be on an epic squirrel hunt.

Tomorrow - today when you read this - Viva will fall into one more sleep, and will rest in our hearts.

Then we will take one more very deep breath, and embark on Operation Support Kenzo, to help him through his grief first.

Thank you all, for the love you send to Viva and the family. Your kind words, poems, comforting messages, prayers and support, are all deeply cherished. It warms me tremendously to know Viva touched so many.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Rock

The last photo I made, before the "steak"
When I would have a nose that was sore and looked like a raw steak, I would feel pretty sorry for myself.

Not Viva.

She invented some new tactics, on how to play with Kenzo, crash through low bushes, and greet her favorite people, without her nose being touched. I learned you can actually greet people with your side - or your butt - first.

And when the nose gets too painful or itchy, she shows me with some grins, or rubbing the side of her face, it is time for her pain relief.

She has always been bossy.

When we train, and I missed a perfect behavior, she reminded me so far with two quick nose bumps on the pocket where I keep the treats. Tap-tap. That has been exchanged by two snorts. She really wants to remain in charge of my training.

And she is as excited as always to go for walks. Sniff out the local dog newspaper - meet friends, play and act crazy. Learn the youngsters how to be polite to a lady.

Viva The Rock.

Me? Not so much. I second-guess myself and my vet. I go on wild-goose chases for treatments that don't seem to exist. I lost my control over the situation.

Fact is, DLE is illusive, and I have to face I might not be able to help Viva with this. This is her battle.

Thank god she is The Rock. And I am her biggest supporter.


Update November 7:

Viva's nose is deteriorating rapidly now.
The vet, bless her honesty, suggested it might be time to say our goodbyes. We still have a little time left to let her go without suffering.

I have to do what's best for her, and will use the next couple of days to spoil her rotten.

I write this to all of you beautiful people that have been so supportive for Viva and me during the last years, through all her ups and downs. You all helped me help Viva having a good life and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. I will give her a kiss from each of you.

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