DANCING WITH DOGS
From the time I was a very small child, I have always had close ties with dogs. My experiences with them during my tender years undoubtedly left their mark on me because today, as an adult, I can hardly contain myself when I see a cute dog somewhere.
One of my earliest experiences - which I unfortunately can no longer recall because I was still in my crawling stage at the time- went as follows:
My grandparents (on my mother's side), had a "dangerous" German Shepherd (at least kind of a German Shepherd) that I suspect served primarily as their guard dog. This particular dog was quite aggressive towards both humans and other animals, but I don't think that this was surprising because, instead of being able to run around freely, he was generally kept tied up somewhere most of the time.
One day, my family had decided, for incomprehensible reasons, to leave me at home alone while they went to go shopping or such thing - how could one possibly not want to take me along??? - and, to avoid any possible mischief, tied me to the door located at the end of the corridor with a long chord. (Today, this would surely be considered child abuse *ggg*.)
For security reasons, the German Shepherd too was put into the hall with me as a guard - he, it was decided, would be tied at the other side of the corridor. As it turns out, this method of confining us in the hall resulted in us both being only approximately a metre apart from one another.
At any rate, my poor mother (who undoubtedly never left me alone again after that) must of almost had a heart attack when she returned home a short while later. When she saw us both, she must of not believed her eyes: there, lying in the middle of the corridor, was this German Shepherd and this innocent, small child lying together peacefully, cuddled up together in a ball...
What happened, you ask? Obviously my family had dramatically underestimated the dexterity of a small child's fingers. I had evidently been capable of loosening the chord in order that I could make contact with the odd, panting and furry creature with the funny, shiny rubber nose ;-) - it just had to be investigated further!
Throughout my childhood, this German Shepherd was, at least during my school holidays that I spent at my grandparents, a very loyal and useful friend.
Whenever I managed to get the bigger boys angry and to subsequently run after me, the German Shepherd's dog house always served as an asylum for me - this is because no one had had the guts to come after me there, or at least not within the area that the guard dog was able to reach with his chain. I can't tell you how convenient this was for me!
Well, in those days, it seemed to me that everyone had a dog. Even my grandparent's (on my father's side) had a dog. This was very practical for me because I was able to divide up the many holidays we had during the school year between the various relatives and their dogs. These grandparents had a poodle - the strong smell of dog shampoo that this dog always exuded (the poor animal!) still lingers in my nose today.
He was really cute! I also found that it was a lot easier to go for a walk with him- the situation with the German Shepherd was somewhat reversed (he took me for a walk instead) - because I could "handle" the poodle much better.
I was always extremely sad when I had to leave my grandparents again - my tears must have really touched my grandmother even though (although I naturally loved my grandmother), I was actually largely crying because I had to part from the poodle.
When I really think about it, I virtually had no relatives that did not have a dog. Did I really drop into a kynological family?
Then, of course, there were also my aunts who also had dogs. One of my aunts in particular, even had a friend who worked at the border control and was required to take a fascinating German Shepherd along on his route (surely a very important criteria for my aunt!).
Well, the most important position of all, was still to be occupied. Unfortunately however, I never did get a dog of my own, even though I really wished for one.
Nevertheless, I was still able to express my love for animals in a variety of other small ways: through the years my room accommodated guineapigs, mice, crabs and ants (we had built our own terrariums at school and mine had had a slight construction defect - evidently ants are quite good at, for example, digging their way through clay - which subsequently led to the proliferation of ants living at our house for a time). Budgies too, were of course allowed to fly around my room freely and hamsters were also one of my favourites.
Now: How Cinderella the Dalmatian entered my life you can discover here: "Cinderella - in the Name of the Spots".