For this occasion, I thought it would be nice to share the story of how we got Mogli and write down some memories. :)
When Flo and I became a couple, we soon found out that we both like dogs a lot and thought that it would be nice to have a dog in our family one day. We both grew up with having pets (I had ducks, geese, a turkey, chicken, cats and goats during my childhood, Flo had bunnies, a cat and a turtle), but none of us ever had a dog. We talked about this more often, but it only was daydreaming and no real planning.
During that time, we often watched the documentary 'Dogs with jobs' on Sunday mornings and then we fell in love with dogs even more. There were always dogs with special skills or which fulfilled certain tasks and one day, there was a dalmatian who lived with a family with a daughter who suffered fom epilepsy and the dog saved the kid's life with waking up the parents during a nighttime epileptic shock and calmed down the kid. This was the first time we really became aware of dalmatians (apart from having watched '101 Dalmatians' for a million times during childhood ;)) and fell in love with this breed.
The more we talked about dogs and admired them, the more aware we became of all the breed's differences and began reading books to find out which breed would be perfect for us one day and it turned out that dalmatians were a great fit to our lifestyle. We like being outside and going on really long walks a lot (where a pug or a chihuahua for example would have difficulties when going on a bike tour with us) and because dalmatians originally walked next to horses and buckboards in the past, this seemed to be perfect. Moreover, a dalmatian's character is awesome: super friendly, attentive, curious and positive. This kind of dog needs lots of attention, but not as much as a shepherd's dog, for example. Moreover, dalmatians love being with people and are really sociable, which is another plus point. It's lots of effort to bring up and educate them, but not more than it's the case with other dogs and in a way that it's suitable for first time dog owners.
After having thought about it and talked about this for several months, we also started planning to move together and the thought of then wanting a dog became more serious. While I was reading lots of dog books, Flo began searching for a good dog breeder and found someone on the Internet. He came across Forst Eichenhorst via the German Association of Dogs Beings (= Verband für das deutsche Hundewesen) which controls dog breeders so that they bring up puppies according to a certain standard. Of course it's always better to rescue a dog from the local animal shelter, but because it was about to be our very first dog, we didn't have the confidence to deal with a dog who had gone trough a lot of trouble and rather decided on taking a dog about which we knew it didn't have a difficult past which might influence its behaviour and overwhelm us with educating it.
Flo then contacted the dog breeders and they immediately invited us to visit them. We drove there halfway across the country and spent there half a day, talking about dogs, about having a dalmatian, about responsibilities and what it would mean to take care of an own dog. The couple at Forst Eichenhorst was super friendly, patiently answered all of our questions and of course asked us a lot, too. They really wanted to make sure that we knew what adoption a dog would mean to us and our lives. They also asked us about a plan B and who would care for Mogli in case we would split up, but we also had an emergency solution for this. From that day on, we stayed in touch and decided to wait for the next puppies coming in a few months.
In the meantime, we went to the animal shelter several times a week for a few months, during good and bad weather, and took out all different kinds of dogs. We wanted to make sure we could really do this and moreover, those dogs were so thankful for someone spending time with them and taking them out. Sometimes I thought we could also have taken a dog from this place, but it simply didn't seem reasonable considering our lack of experience with a dog who has gone through some traumatic experiences. Nevertheless, spending lots of time there taught us a lot and we were at least able to give some dogs some happy hours outside with us.
With time passing by, we became more and more excited and then one of the dalmatians became pregnant. When it gave birth to the puppies, we nearly couldn't stand our excitement anymore. :) The dogbreeder then put photos online each week so that we could see the puppies grow. In the meantime, we had been moving together and got everything ready for our life's new episode with a dog. We drove away for a long weekend for our last short holiday as a couple without the dog. We spent all weekend thinking about dog names, talking about the names of sweets (e.g. Snickers) or movie stars or what else came to our mind. Then we got stuck at Disney movies and the Jungle Book and the name 'Mogli' came to Flo's mind, that was just a perfect fit!!! :) In case we would take a female dog, we chose the name 'Lily'.
When the puppies were four weeks old, we were allowed to visit them for the first time. Until that day, we still couldn't decide on whether we wanted a female or male dog. We had been thinking about the pros and cons for a while, but simply couldn't decide, so we thought it wouldn't matter and we simply should let it happen. When we came there, it felt so magical to watch those teeny tiny dog babies which at that time had about the size of a guinea pig, their eyes still closed most of the time and only having a few pale dots. :) We were allowed to touch them slightly and carefully take them into our hands and Mogli was the first one we build up a connection with. He stayed on my lap for a while and then peeed into my hands and we fell in love with him. :) This was supposed to be our cute baby dog and we decided that he should be the one we would take home soon.
We drove home full of joy and love feelings for this tiny furry creature and counted the days until we could finally get him. In the meantime, the lovely dog breeder always sent us photos so that we could see how he and his siblings were developing. This was SO exciting!
When he was finally eight weeks old, the big day came! We had read as many dog books as we could (to soak up all the theoretical knowledge ;D), prepared our home and made it dog-safe and bought necessary equipment. Then we drove to get him with our hearts nearly exploding from all the excitement. During those four weeks we hadn't seen him, Mogli had nearly tripled his size and was a lively and incredibly cute little puppy! It felt super strange taking him with us, knowing he would probably never see his siblings and mother again, but Mogli was brave, only cried a few minutes in the car and then he nearly slept on Flo's lap during nearly the whole four hour car ride while I was driving. He only woke up for a little break and then immediately fell back asleep.
When we arrived, he explored his new home and then fell asleep super quickly, still being a tiny baby. The very first night with him at home was sooo special and magical, we watched him a while before we fell asleep ourselves, our hearts already filled with love for that cute little thing which from that day on would enrich our lives every day!
Especially the first weeks were exciting, happy and exhausting at the same time. Of course he wasn't house-trained, yet, and peeed into our home A LOT! :D It took us several weeks, but then everything was fine. Mogli immediately felt comfortable at our home, was super curious and we had the best time watching him become bigger. Our friends were also super excited about him and we really had to tame them because all of them always wanted to be with him at the same time and we didn't want to overwhelm this tiny creature. :) First of all, we had to get him used to the two of us and slowly teach him the basics on how to behave.
Time went by so quickly and he grew up so fast, my computer is full of photos of cute Mogli, growing up and learning something new each week. For the first few weeks, we went to puppy school so that he could meet other puppies and socialize with them and we lived next to a huge dog field and next to the forest, so he had lots of contact with many other dogs. I think this is mainly the reason why he's such a friendly dog today: from his early days on he had always been in contact with other dogs and quickly learned how to behave.
When he was about a year old, he was a tiny devil. He often pretended not to hear our commands, he peeed onto the couch, destroyed some furniture and one day he got caught after having torn apart all my books and notes of the current semester at university. :D I was angry, but couldn't stop laughing. Too good that this episode went by quickly, but it cost us lots of energy, some tears, some broken things at home, lots of strict behaviour towards him, but also lots of laughter and precioius memories.
So what is Mogli like, what is life with a dog like?
Flo and I are both people who enjoy being outsite a lot, so a dog was just perfect for us. Mogli gets to spend lots of time outside, we love long forest walks, sometimes a morning run, wandering around with friends or exploring the city in summer. Mogli is with us most of the time and that's great!
Having a dog means taking lots of responsobilily and is nothing for people who love to travel frequently. We love holidays at the seaside where we can take Mogli along, all-inclusive holiday clubs aren't our first choice. :) There's so much one has to take into account when thinking about getting a dog, this can easily become overwhelming. We thought about it for 1 1/2 years before we finally got him and we also have an emergency plan in the worst case that we split up one day. Moreover, I've got relatively flexible working hours and Flo is at home a lot, so it's not a problem to take care of Mogli and he seldomly is alone for too long.
Mogli loves being outside, he loves ball games, hunts and running and he easily gets bored when he isn't entertained enough.
Sometimes when he's love-sick (poor guy!) he sits there in a strange pose, simply staring at the wall.
Sometimes he gets dirty and only a few times a year (for example when he rolls his body over a dead bird or wild boar excrements ;)) he needs to take a shower. We have been practicing this since he was a baby, so no big deal for him. :D
And sometimes he gets REALLY dirty! The darker a puddle of mud is, the happier he is. Well, at least until he is forced to get a shower afterwards. ;)
Moreover, Mogli is super greedy. :) But if he only knew what ice cream would do to his poor belly, I bet he wouldn't want it anymore.
But he doesn't only want to be with us for cuddling, he also wants to help. He loves to 'help' with garden work, he keeps me company when I'm sitting in the sun or he tries to warm Flo's lap. Isn't that super kind of him? :)
The happiest he is when we are outside, of course he enjoys long walks and outdoor adventures. No mountain high enough, no branch heavy enough for brave Mr. Mogli, he loves showing off what he has and can. ;)
When he's not too busy with fulfilling his daily tasks, Mogli also loves going on holiday with us. At first, his chest harness had been attached to the seat belt while sitting on the back seat (and trying to come as close to us as possible ;)) and then he moved to the trunk where he has more space and some luxurious pillows for comfortable travelling.
One of his fave places is the seaside. Mogli loves running around the beach like crazy and he even enjoys drinking salty sea water. ;P
And now after a happy 7th doggy birthday filled with extra snacks, extra long walks, even more cuddles and a play date with his friend, he is deeply asleep, probably dreaming about upcoming adventures and keeping me company (as he always does :)) while I am writing this blogpost.
Life with a dog costs some time and effort and requires lots of planning (no spontaneous movie dates without walking the dog in advance, no long disco nights until the sun comes up, because the dog needs to pee, no plane rides as a couple without having someone to take care of the dog, ...), but if you are aware of this and it still fits your lifestyle, a dog brings so much joy and happiness and I wouldn't want to miss any of those moments of the past seven years with Mogli! :)
Can't wait to see if someone of you will ever read this super long blog post! :D I think it's one of the longest blog texts I've ever written. :)
I will go now and cuddle my cute dog!
Happy happy day!