|Family: Tilde, Eska, and Candi|
I was standing in front of the home of Ingrid and Twan in Holland, the breeders from Cherry, Tilde's mother. Once again, they found a visitor from Denmark on their doorsteps. But this time, it was good folk. The two Hovawarts, Candi and Eska, had already noticed me standing in front of the gate and rushed over to check me out, while alarming Ingrid and Twan inside.
Candi was Cherry's sister, which made her Tilde's "auntie". The other Hovawart was Eska, Candi's daughter, and Tilde's niece. After alarming the house, Candi and Eska practically accepted my treats through the gate. They were both beautiful and kind Hovawarts, although I knew it was probably not smart to open the gate myself. At the gate, they made a perfect display of what so many of us expect from a Hovawart. Protective and alarmed by strangers, yet never aggressive. We waited by the gate for Ingrid to arrive, who soon came over and let us in.
"Are you ready to meet the lost grandchild?", I asked, and we both laughed. I let Tilde out of the car, who looked petite compared to her auntie and niece. I was looking forward to hear what Ingrid would think of Tilde and I didn't have to wait long for Ingrid to notice how hyperactive she was. Which is undeniably Tilde in a nutshell. Both Candi and Eska seemed to agree, and Tilde was firmly reminded by her auntie and niece of the fact she came as a guest, and guests need to behave, also the hyperactive ones. A lesson was learned.
When we went for a walk in the beautiful landscape surrounding the house, I noticed how Tilde indeed treated Candi and Eska with some new-found respect. It is not often she meets a dog with a stronger will than herself. The apple must not haven fallen far from the tree and also, quite ironically, she would meet such a dog - two of them - in her own family.
We talked about Tilde, about the puppy mill and Cherry, about Ingrid's breeding and work for the local SPCA ("Dierenbescherming" in Dutch) and I was fascinated to hear Ingrid passionately talk about Hovawarts and dogs in general.
It was a shame I didn't have more time - just a couple of hours - there was so much more we could have talked about. But it was riveting to meet the family and to visit the place where Tilde's roots lie. Not everybody knows the ancestry of an adopted dog. I feel lucky, I do. While driving home, a new and vivid image formed in my mind when I traveled back through time. Not only did the black era of the puppy mill have a happy ending in dogs like Tilde, Emil, and Ronja. There was also good, and love, before it.