Dog trains man

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Wild Thing And The Distinguished Gentleman

When Tilde and me were driving on our way to meet Baxter the Hovawart I was filled with anticipation. Baxter would be one of the few 13½ year aged Hovawarts I would have the privilege of meeting face to face.
I was therefore happily surprised when I received the invite for a dog meetup from Katrin, Baxter's dog parent. But to meet Baxter was also very special to me for a whole different reason.

I remembered how I found Baxter when I stumbled upon a German blog about Andra the Hovawart some seven years ago. Andra and Baxter made a couple once and as soon as I saw a picture of Baxter and also his and Andra's son Artus their looks took me by surprise. The resemblance with Kenzo was striking. We discussed it on the blog back then and we all agreed they could have been twins. After that I lost touch with Baxter. The last post I read in which he was mentioned was "Besuch Von Pappa Baxter" (Father Baxter visits) in 2011, five years ago.

Luckily for me, Katrin has after that first virtual meeting on the Internet always kept reading about Kenzo. She also followed the stories about Viva, and later Tilde.  Katrin hadn't forgotten us, and the stars seemed to align perfectly when she visited the Danish West-coast with Baxter and her partner Jörn for a holiday, close by where we now live. She decided to reach out.

When I jumped out of the car Baxter was the first to come up and say hello after he took a good sniff. Already there my heart was pounding. Baxter had become such a distinguished gentleman. His regal appearance shined through in all his movements. His bones were old and his legs weak, his spirit was as fresh and confident as ever. The gray muzzle underlined his vast experience in life and the long paths he walked. I couldn't help myself to think about Kenzo. Would he have looked like and been like Baxter, when he would have made it to this age? I think he would.

"Are you ready to meet the Wild Thing?" I asked Baxter, who looked curiously at the car door with the dog behind he had already noticed as soon as we arrived and sniffed my clothes. I opened the car door and Tilde came out flying. I think she sniffed Baxter in the short nano-second she raced past him, only to return in zig-zagging zoomies around and through - almost over - the four of us: Baxter, Katrin, Jörn and me. We were all standing in the middle of a tornado, named Tilde.

We started a short walk on the beach and played a little with Tilde and Baxter. Katrin mentioned how she already expected from our stories Tilde to be full of energy but she was taken by surprise nonetheless. The written word and pictures just don't do her energy level justice. I agreed. Baxter joined our play in his own way and tempo. It was wonderful to see how much he was enjoying himself even though he couldn't run or chase. I could see him look at Tilde and me with a smile. He thought we were a silly duo and no doubt he felt entertained. I was glad Tilde treated him almost automatically with the respect he deserved. He just demanded it too, without needing a growl or a warning to the youngster. His charisma was undeniably present.

It is wonderful to see how senior dogs can adapt. Also there Baxter reminded me of Kenzo. When Kenzo got weaker due to his ailments, he adapted, found new things to do and experience. Baxter didn't miss he couldn't run and play as before. Life simply changed for him, and he just embraces and enjoys it in the form it comes.

Time went by too fast and when we said goodbye I knelt down in front of Baxter and looked into his beautiful dark amber eyes. Baxter didn't look away and he held our gaze. I think, he looked just as deep into my soul, as I did in his. When we drove away I realized how special this meeting had been and the impression Baxter has left behind with me, is unforgettable.

I hope you do well old boy, when your mom reads this to you.



  1. Baxter, the father of my lovely Artus and father of the "Hollerbuscher", the babys from my pretty Andra. I heard from Katrin about the meeting in Danmark and now I like to see the photos and read the story. Yes, he is a very nice and friendly Hovawart and it was a good choose seven years ago. Baxter and Andra became a pair, ten Hovawartbabys was born, I got the wonderful Hovawart Artus and Katrin and me became friends. And it is so interesting to read the blog of Viva, Kenzo and now Tilda for both! Thank you for the nice stories!

    1. Likewise. I am so glad I found your blog as well, I would never have had this experience without it. Hope all is well - and belated birthday wishes for Andra!

  2. I love reading your blog. Kenzo and my Koa became ill around the same time though different illnesses took them both too young. Koa was my service dog and best friend. When I read about Tilde I can't help but giggle. Kui, my 8 month old Hovi, reminds me a lot of your stories of Tilde. Their crazy zoomies and funny antics. Thank you for sharing your stories and educating folks about Hovis. I really enjoy reading your blog.


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