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 Post subject: Elsa Died This Week
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:13 pm 
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Elsa, the 7 year old Dobermann, died this week. A real shame and sorrow to her owners, particularly because this dog had a terrible start in life, largely unknown, but certainly affecting her personality and outlook on the world.

She was first brought to my attention back in April 2015 when a call from PAD to transport her from Tours to Bordeaux was made. Already she had failed with one adoption because she was, reportedly, 'a biter'.



Now I was to collect her from the second re-home for the same reason.

I left one afternoon to arrive and spend the night at a routier nearby. I always try to avoid dogs having to overnight in the car, although the vast majority (I have only had 2 who needed special attention) are perfectly content, believing that I am nearby. Having checked the route I reasoned that she could be collected and delivered in the same day, if I was collecting her first thing.

So, after a good meal and a comfortable rest I presented myself at the large house in a rural hamlet at 8 o'clock the following morning. A press of the bell soon had the powered gates gaping and a man emerged firmly gripping a clearly agitated Dobie by the collar. A larger Dobie, a male, unleashed, looked on in the background.

The man paused, and shouted to me that she would bite, so I opened the side door, and cage door and stood back for him to load her in. People rarely give such a warning so I took it seriously, normally I would approach the dog and present the back of the hand for it to sniff and lick, very difficult for a dog to bite like that. But a determined biter could lunge and grab a wrist or leg for instance.



She went in well enough and I moved forward and secured the cage door, only then did I make my usual gesture. It was not met with a lick but a furious barking and baring of teeth. This dog was going to have to do the whole journey in one go, I thought. Even if she calmed down and I took her out for a walk half way, if she was a 'refusenik' and had to be lifted and shoved to go back in, as many are, such manhandling would surely produce another such loss of temper.

The journey went without incident, I now have small water feeders fixed to the inside of the bars which can be replenished from outside, a measure introduced after an experience with a very crafty and slippery cat, but at that time she had to wait till we got there. It wasn't too bad, the temperature is always ok in the car and I checked that she had been watered before departure.

Down the N 10 all the way to Bordeaux, rocade exterieur, over the Pont d'Aquitaine and then up the Medoc peninsular for 80 kms or so. Eddy's pension and education centre is totally isolated from the main roads and surrounded by forest. I dropped the Teardrop at the end of the track because there is very little room to turn at the gate. It can be done, but requires multiple shunts and there is always the danger of snagging some part of the vehicle on a bit of fencing. Nowadays with the Eriba. a larger caravan and more difficult to disconnect, I reverse the whole 200 metres from the lane, although sometimes Eddy meets me halfway.

He was waiting at the gate and asked the usual question about the dog's character. On hearing the answer he called for his heavy duty jacket, the one he uses when training guard dogs and we opened the door to the car and cage after first taking the precaution of shutting the outer gate behind us, forming a large 'airlock' in case the dog eludes us. Elsa was not fierce and aggressive though, just very frightened and retreated to the far side at the end of the cage, trembling. At first Eddy tried dominance, commanding her out in a strong deep voice. No effect. So then the soft approach, voice pitched higher, him crouched down low rather than bulky and overbearing. It took maybe 5 or 10 minutes but slowly she moved towards him and finally allowed him to attach a lead. This allowed him to move aside, previously he had filled the space for escape but now he could afford to give her more room. She jumped down from the car and touched his hand, and then looked at me, standing a few feet away, and moved towards me too. My outstretched hand was now greeted tenderly and I was allowed to fondle her ears, head and neck. A dog transformed.

Attachment:
P_20150409_133953_HDR_Easy-Resize.com.jpg


To make sure, before I left, Eddy opened the outer gate and walked her calmly on the lead down the track and back. Fully assured of another successful delivery, papers were exchanged and I drove away to collect the trailer and have myself a delayed lunch. Listening to the video I made as I left I am glad I don't pay too much attention to what I say. Heading west to Perigueux from Bordeaux is not a smart move, and advice I thankfully ignored at the time.

Five months later, in September 2015, I was heading back to Eddy's again. This time to collect a calm and well behaved dog in order to take her to her new owner near Bergerac. Her third. The new couple, very well experienced with Dobermanns and their training already had a male but had recently lost his female companion. They had had a detailed account of Elsa's history and were prepared to take her on.



This time there was no baring of teeth when I invited Elsa into the cage, and no problems when, a couple of hours later she emerged outside the home of her new owner and his wife. I walked her through the gates and into the well enclosed garden, down the path and, on the terrace, held on a lead was Baron, her new copain.

Attachment:
Elsa(L) with Baron 2_Easy-Resize.com.jpg


There was a certain amount of low growling it is true, but we kept them both to nose touching distance for a short while, then attached them to either ends of a bench. Then a short walk round the hamlet, again just in touching distance and back to the house for a coffee on the terrace. Soon, both were free. Elsa cuddling up to Gil, Baron watching closely but without jealousy. A perfect introduction, and I set off back home with a good feeling and a very large bag of surplus peaches from their tree, despite my protestation that I couldn't possibly eat so many.

So, the title of this account. After an intensive course at the local education centre, Elsa was confirmed as a perfect companion for her 3 new family members, with not one incident to trouble the harmony. But this week, the sad news, that she had never recovered from a stomach operation and died. Not all that uncommon with Dobies, but Baron, at 11 and a half is now once more without a canine companion.

I wrote this story because just recently I have several times had occasion to carry another Dobie, a pincher, or nipper, though some have averred he is a biter. Again 2 failed adoptions but he has always been fine with me and now the good news that he may well be adopted again to someone like Gil, who knows what he has to do. I really hope so, it is a fine decision to make about what to do with such dogs. Of all those I have carried, hundreds, only one has had to be killed, and he, after being boisterous and difficult to handle with me but never really menacing, then bit very seriously and intentionally 3 people in quick succession, one of whom was hospitalised in an emergency with a towel wrapped tightly around his gushing wrist. That person was Eddy, who had rushed to the aid of the first 2 without any time to grab his heavy jacket.

The 'pincher' is called Arcos, and I will be delivering him again in a couple of week's time. I really hope that I will have a happy story to complete his chequered career.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa Died This Week
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:58 pm 
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How very sad - so young :( But at least she would have known kindness and did not die in misery ....


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa Died This Week
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:54 pm 
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Blaze wrote:
How very sad - so young :( But at least she would have known kindness and did not die in misery ....



That is certainly true, after a lot of shunting around and misery (you only had to see that forced walk from the big gates at the start of the journey, it was all there), she had almost 2 brilliant years with Gil and his wife. We had several pictures from time to time of the dogs free in the countryside and even swimming in the river. No need for leads.

With Baron being so old now I think they will let him live out his life in tranquillity, before thinking of other dogs. Dobies, of course. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Elsa Died This Week
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:33 am 
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Its always sad when a pet dies, but especially so when they are young and had such a terrible start in life. She's in a better place now and would have crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be met by many other animal souls. RIP Elsa, thinking of your family x

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 Post subject: Re: Elsa Died This Week
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:45 am 
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Location: Le Périgord Vert (24)
sueindoors wrote:
Its always sad when a pet dies, but especially so when they are young and had such a terrible start in life. She's in a better place now and would have crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be met by many other animal souls. RIP Elsa, thinking of your family x


Thank you Sue, I too get attached to all my 'travelling companions', but I'm afraid that the French get way too sentimental. I have to wait ages for the PAD site to load after a death, while all the angels and other grahics appear one by one. :YMPRAY:

I think you got it about right. :)

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