Dog trains man

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Hovawart Was Born After All

The three of us reached a clearing in the forest we were hiking. Tilde, Dok-dek, and me. Dok-dek was our guest on the West-coast for the week, to escape the noise of the New Year's celebratory fireworks of the city. It was freezing cold, -5 C with a sturdy breeze. The clearing we entered offered no refuge for the sudden drop in temperature caused by the wind chill. I put my hat back on, looked down in an attempt to keep the wind out of my face and stepped up the pace to reach the other side of the clearing.

Half-way through I looked up at the hunter's tower at the edge of the forest to my right and noticed a shadow. It took me by surprise. In the more than two years we have walked these woods, the tower had always been empty. This was the first time it was occupied. I waved at the shadow, figuring it to be most important the hunter had seen us. Luckily both Tilde and Dok-dek were leashed. The hunter waved back. Of course he had already seen us. For a moment I was indecisive. Should we return and drop this trail, but as we already were half-way through I decided to continue.

At the end of the clearing, a bit further into the forest, I knew there was another tower. To my surprise, also this tower was occupied by a hunter. He already waved at me, signaling he had seen me and the dogs. A feeling of walking naked on a shooting range started to creep on me and again I was in doubt to return or to continue. The fastest way to get out was ahead though, and to pass the second tower as well. Again we continued on the trail.

The second tower was closer to the trail and I exchanged a hello with the hunter. He said something I couldn't understand while he pointed along the trail. Maybe he wanted us to continue in a hurry? I got the answer when I noticed a fresh kill was laying along side the trail. Hidden by the tall grass we almost hadn't noticed it, if not Tilde and Dok-dek suddenly started to pull like crazy. I had to pull the leash with everything I got to get them passed the deer.

Dok-dek didn't agree though. He threw his butt on the ground and he wasn't moving. It was back to the deer or nothing. He didn't budge, ignored my pleas and treats. Unsure what to do, I just started waiting if he would change his mind and shouted some bad jokes about the situation to the hunter, "Did you ring the dinner bell?", who at least was laughing about them while shaking his head. Some minutes later, I was still waiting and the smile on the face of the hunter was exchanged with a more impatient expression. We were clearly spoiling his hunt, and I started to get more anxious myself too. I really wanted to leave the area. I have no desire to be with people carrying guns.

I picked up Dok-dek to break the impasse. Tilde followed on her long line. I walked with Dok-dek in my arms as far as I could. We would soon reach a new clearing, out of sight of the hunters, and just 100 meters away from the point where we could make a right turn away from this trail.

"Hello! Hey!"

You got to be kidding me?!

Another hunter. Only this one was not in a tower but approaching us from the edge of the forest. He was hurrying over to us as fast as he could wade through the tall grass. He was a bear of man, accentuated by a huge fur hat he was wearing, with camouflage cloths and a fluorescent hunting vest. He was waving with both his hands. His face was red from the cold.

I realized how me carrying Dok-dek looked like a hunting accident aftermath, and the hunter must be wanting to help. When the man almost reached us, I checked on Tilde to make sure what she thought of the situation. Her tail was wagging as usual when she meets people, but I noticed the tail wag was different. Her ears were back and she had locked her gaze on the approaching hunter. I quickly placed Dok-dek down and grabbed Tilde's long-line behind her to turn it into a leash.

Tilde rocketed forward towards the hunter, "You are NOT coming ANY closer!" She had that intense ferocity over her which I only had seen once in my life before. It was with Kenzo, when he washed out those intruders from our garden some years ago. It is undeniable when you see it. They are there, when it matters. Even my people-loving and every-man's friend Tilde. The Hovawart that doesn't Wart. Even her. A Hovawart was born after all. Tilde was no doubt responding to the combination of my anxiety and the odd scenario with that yelling huge bear of a man coming out of the forest.

The hunter stopped approaching us further, but he was close enough for me to tell him not to worry and explain to him how Dok-dek didn't want to pass the deer. He was relieved to hear nobody was hurt but he was still staring fascinated at Tilde, who had returned in her position next to me, while not letting the man out of her sight, "She looks after you very well," he commented. The hunter was clearly impressed. So was I.

We waved goodbye and at least all the commotion had made Dok-dek to forget everything about the deer and we could continue on our way. I was not surprised to find another hunter where I wanted to turn right. I asked him what way would be best, but he said they were on most trails, also the one I took now. In a way, I didn't care anymore, took the trail, passed one more hunter, until we reached the edge of the forest and we were back on the road, where three more hunters were standing beside their car.

They were the last. It was like we had crashed a freaking hunters convention. I guess when they all come together in their hunters lodge later today, they also have their own story to tell. A story about a dumb-ass and his dogs, one of them quite fierce!

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