Dog trains man

Monday, June 11, 2018

Puppy, Puppy, Puppy

"It's really her, Zerline."

Atie, Zerline's breeder, was met with confusion. Zerline couldn't believe her nose. It couldn't be her?
Mother Amber was also there, and Atie's husband Cor. Zerline was overwhelmed. She took her time, being her cautious self, to process all the information.

"Puppy, puppy, puppy!" Atie said, using the words she had used so often to get the attention of the litter. Step by step Zerline surrendered to the feeling of recognition and finally embraced the sender of all these senses which were so familiar to her. It is heart-warming when they recognize their roots.

I have a great deal of respect for Atie. She holds all what it means to be a responsible breeder. In a poorly regulated world, where so many breed for profit or make a well-meant attempt without knowing what they are doing, breeders like Atie are like a breath of fresh air. For Atie her litters are a lifetime commitment. The fact one of her puppies lives abroad will not deter her from visiting. We kept in touch since I picked up puppy Zerline at Schiphol airport one year ago, but there is nothing that can replace direct contact.

Atie doesn't visit to check on me, or to preach on how to raise a young Hovawart. She visits, partly to satisfy her curiosity as a breeder, to witness first hand how the offspring is doing and how they are growing. But her main reason is to keep in touch. To underline she will always be there. If something would go wrong, I know who to reach out to. It is good to have this safety net for Zerline. After recently surviving a heart attack myself, I just escaped needing it. It was a reminder life happens and things can go wrong. Some things you have no control over. Atie knows like no other. Mother Amber came to her as a rescue herself.

We made a walk to the beach later during the day. I kept myself with Tilde a little in the background and put Zerline on the long leash, curious about what she would do. Zerline trotted forward, with that same rush as her mother walking beside her. She kept close to Atie and her mother Amber, studying them and attempting to participate in what they were doing. She even followed them into the surf.

Little Zerline. Surrounded by people that love her, sharing a common interest in her well-being. A family has formed around her. Like real family, sometimes you don't see them, but if you need them, they will always answer.


  1. There is nothing my husband and I love more than visiting the pups from our litter. The puppies always remember us and knock us down with kisses. It is such a joy!

    Glad you have Atie. I too am impressed with ways that you've shared that she is there for you.

    Awesome when someone really cares for the well being of the puppies and you. :)

    1. I can imagine. It must be awesome. One of the reasons why I am sure I will never breed, I wouldn't be able to let the puppies go!

  2. Leo, I am definitely not a sentimental person, but your blog makes me always either laugh or cry and often both at the same time. Put it together in a book, PLEASE.I am sure that it will be the best book about animals since James Herriot's "All creatures great and small"

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