Saturday, July 23, 2011

What a year it's been!

It's been a year since we collected a somewhat concerned looking Dave from his foster
family in Stockholm. He was looking concerned because two strangers had came and bundled
him off in a car, ripping him away from his home where he had just arrived a few weeks
previously after having been brought over from Ireland by the charity Hundar Utan Hem (link to the right).

As he snoozed, or pretended to snooze to ignore us, in the back of the car, none of us
could know how things would turn out. He was going to be our first dog and we were his
first 'parents'. After having had a rough start in Ireland where he had been on the to-
be-destroyed list in the pound, he made his way into our life via a tiny little picture
and description on the Hundar Utan Hem website. Out of all the dogs they have that
desperately need homes, we chanced upon Dave. We had been regular surfers on their
website and there were a few dogs that looked nice but Dave T. Dog seemed to leap off
the page at us. After a meeting and interview with Dave and a Hundar Utan Hem lady, we
signed the contract and arranged to pick Dave up.

All that seems ancient history now and it's hard to imagine not having Dave here at all,
he's become a treasured part of our lives. And we, hopefully, have become something to
him as well.

Dave really has been a dream dog from the start. Gentle natured but happy and full of
energy, even now people still think he's a puppy because he gets so happy when meeting
other dogs in the forest. Everyone who meets Dave can't help liking him, when he aims
those big eyes and wags his bum like mad, there's nothing anyone can do to stop from
smiling. Just last week his bum was wagging even at the Vet's place, where he was
getting a blood sample taken to check that his rabies vaccine has worked. (Will let you
know later if it has.)

And he's not just looks! At a dog training course Dave was always fast to pick up on new
commands, helped in no small part due to his love of snausages! That love of food is
still helping him to learn new tricks to this day. After mastering sit, down, sneak,
paw, stop and roll, in a matter of a few lessons he's gotten the hand of turn as well,
where he turns around 360 degrees. He was OK at following a scent trail in the forest
but needs more work, his main problem is that he gets too excited and flies off into the
trees without taking time to get his nose down! Poor weather has been the main problem
with the scent training, and our hatred of ticks!

That somewhat uncertain little dog that first sat on our sofa, looking at us with
questioning eyes as if to say 'who are you people and what do you plan to do with me?!',
has went from just a dog to an integral part of our lives. Dave's personality has
blossomed as well as we bonded over time into a little family. One sign that he feels
this is his home is that recently he's started to guard our apartment. Sometimes,
mostly in the evening when he's dozing with a full belly, if he hears a strange noise his ears will come up and so will a low growl in his throat. One day a few months ago he suddenly awoke with a start, hair
on his back sticking up, a rumbling in his chest. He leaped off the chair and went to
attack the threat that he had heard. Running through to the spare room it
became clear that he'd forgotten that Elisa was working from home that day! He slunk
back to his chair avoiding my eyes, hoping I hadn't noticed his error.

He's mostly silent, only barking when other dogs refuse to play with him!

So, what of the year ahead? We just hope that we can continue to provide him with a
loving home and that he'll enjoy sharing our lives. In the meantime, here's some
highlights of the year that's been...

Taking Dave to his new home.

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