Brutus (english)


Our first experience with the Pyrenean Mountain dog starts on one day in a home for lost animals in Rotterdam. Our dog, Sancho (Newfoundlander x Chow Chow) died and all dog lovers know how it is: It’s so quit at home! So one day we putted Romano (at that time 1 year old) in a buggy and took him with us for some doggy sightseeing. After visiting several shelters in the neighbourhood where they didn’t had the dog where we’re looking for (think a big, fluffy type), we arrived in Rotterdam. My husband went to the cages right and I took Romano with me to the cages on the left side. At the moment we enter the room, suddenly a gigantic white dog with a sad look in his eyes, stands up. He comes to the fence, stands straight up on his hind legs and starts to greet us enthusiastically. Instinctively we both know we don’t have to fear anything from this giant. We cal for Aad and I say: “That’s the one”, while Romano is cuddling with the big white bear.



Aad, as always sober, is going to take a look at the description: name: Brutus, breed: Pyrenean Mountain dog (never heard of it), age: 15 months (adolescent!), remarks: can’t stay alone, needs understanding, patience and strict upbringing. “He won’t fit in the car”, sighs Aad. “Oh, easily on the back seat”, I answer. “He can’t stay alone in the house”, objects Aad. Oh, there’s always someone there”, I’m going against him. “Not easy to bring him up”, cries Aad desperately. But too late; I’m head over heels in love with this giant, don’t see nothing but a clear, blue sky and with needy nonchalance I wave all the objections away. We’re going to take a walk with him and as self-evident Brutus takes his place on the left side of the buggy. We can take him home with us "on trial" for the weekend. If we where certain about it because he was brought back 4 times already? O, I was sure; only Aad wasn’t convinced yet. He's shivery watching while our latest asset places his 60 kilo on the back seat of our brand-new car. Litres of drool are dripping following the windows, then dripping down on the clothing of the car. “Shall I open the window, he most be very hot”. While I’m saying it, I’m already busy with it and Aad sees till his abhorrence the slaver run between the runways of the car. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!. While I’m thinking: “man, get a hold of yourself”, I don’t have the faintest idea that this is the first NOOOOOOOOO!!! of many to follow. First we’re going to visit Grandma and Grandpa to introduce their new grandchild. “Mum, you’ve a new grandson”. Surprised she turns around and she gapes open-mouthed at Brutus. What is that what you’ve brought with you, a polar bear? (This question shall be asked to us many times at exact the same way, but till now we’ve no idea). And proudly we say: a Pyrenean Mountain dog!



After wrapping Grandma and –pa completely around his paw, we go home and there he enters with a look on his face: ”I knew it, this is where I belong”. He greets our daughters just as enthusiastic as he did with us. And it doesn’t take long before he’s playing with Chantal, Delight and Romano in front of our house. At that moment we lived on a cycle-track and it didn’t take long for the people to come out of their houses to see Brutus. Wauw! What kind of dog is that? He’s huge! Lot of feeding to do, I guess? Is he nice? Questions of which we don’t know the answers ourselves yet, come over us like a waterfall. And Brutus? Brutus enjoys all the attentions and all the children who want to play and cuddle with him. Effortlessly he adapts himself and it’s wonderful to see how gentle the giant treats the children. In the evening he lays tired but satisfy snoring with 4 legs in the air and we look at each other. Now we’re really, really sure: He stays!!



And that’s how the first Pyr came into our life and into our harts. And of course he didn’t fit on the back seat when the children also came with us. So our sedan was in no time trade in for a station wagon. And indeed it wasn’t easy to raise a dog (with the rastypical character) witch such bad records. Running away, calling the police. Couldn’t stay alone (what he loudly showed) calling the police but then by the neighbours. Digging deep holes in the garden and only his bottom sticking up out of the hole. His task as guardian off the children he also took sometimes too seriously. He often lay in our garden in front of the house looking at the children playing. One time Romano had a dispute with a boy who was older then him. At the moment Brutus saw what was going on, he dashed up and took the boy in hold. He just held him nothing else. The boy was screaming: “please, Brutus, please, I’ll never do it again, please let me go”. And very carefully the Giant let Tom Thump go. But we were seized with fear by his action.



We’ve castrated him after I don’t know how many times he had run away. We had been searching for him with all the help we could get for hours and hours. The police even had a missing dog notice passed on to all units. And finally when we already gave up hope to find him again, we saw him running in a shopping mall on the other side of town. I flew out of the car, mad because he had run away again but also chuffed because nothing seemed wrong with him at first sight. Brutus! Brutus! The wild expression in his eyes made place for relive and happiness. And there he came tempestuous with all of his 65 kilo. I was squatted and he didn’t (of course!) use the break and before I knew what was happening, we fell down together. Bruises on my bottom and a hole in my trousers but I couldn’t care less; I had Brutus back. Next morning we’ve made an appointment with the vet.



While I’m typing this, a lot of memories come up in my mind. Brutus the favourite one of every child in the neighbourhood. Brutus pulling the sled with 1 or 2 children on it while the rest off the children were waiting on their turn. Brutus who had an accident with a car on which occasion the car had a lot of damage and Brutus didn’t even had a scratch. The first thing the lady said when she came out of the car: ”What kind of dog is that?!” Falling into the water and sinking because he didn’t wanted to swim. I still see 4 of us jumping into the water and trying to pull him out. The whole neighbourhood in an uproar because Brutus was “home alone” because it happens that you can’t take your dog with you everywhere.



We’ve never knew where Brutus came from but for us it was the most beautiful dog in the world. Did we knew much about standard and type. His eyes were hanging and so were his lips. Pigmentation wasn’t all that either (pink nose!) and he was really, really heavy about 75 kilos at the end. But what a lovely, beautiful dog in character. A dog who showed his appreciation in every possible way because we took him to a place where he clearly belonged; a family with children and people with attention for him.



We could enjoy Brutus for almost 10 years, then suddenly: short of breath, tight in the chest, hospitalised in Utrecht, me calling, asking how he’s doing while the whole time you hear him barking on the background. The homecoming of a clearly traumatized Brutus, asking me with his eyes if he could go into the garden to his special place. Asking with his eyes if I could come with him. I’m going to sit on his place in the garden and he puts his head on my lap. For a very short time I see the old naughty but o so lovely Brutus in his eyes. And in my arms he slowly glides away to a better place where there’s no pain for him anymore. Brutus is gone. A lot off people can’t understand it but I’ve the feeling I’ve lost a child. Brutus seemed (after autopsy) to have died of ruptures of the lung membrane, Because he was so tight in the chest, he kept performing the …….. of which we thought it was coughing. Brutus passed away on the 28th of November 2000 on the age of eleven and a half year………………….



I couldn’t get over him and I wasn’t the only one; Romano becomes ill, very ill. He’s so tired, won’t eat anymore, gains lots of kilos and can’t go to school anymore. In and out of the hospital time after time again, research after research don’t come up with a physical/bodily cause until finally one conclusion is left. Romano is depressed, very unusual for kids at that age but it happened to him. He had the feeling he had lost everything in a short period of time. Just before Brutus died, his sisters had gone living together with their friends and then his playmate went away too. According to the paediatrician a new dog would be the best medicine for him and so for the first time off our life we contacted the NVLPH, the Dutch club for Pyrenean Mountain dogs. Of course we wanted the same big white giant back but what a disappointment! There was a waiting list and it could take more then a year before we could get hold on a puppy. But we couldn’t wait that long. Romano was already on 2/3 of his weight and was visibly declining.




So again we went to the home for lost animals and there had just brought in a Beagle of 5 months old. Left behind by a mother in the companionship of 4 crying children. The bitch was bought as a puppy by the mother without knowing of her husband. The husband wasn’t a dog lover and then you come home with a Beagle!! (I think this breed is only suitable for the real lovers of the breed because of his character). And what is worse then a Beagle? Right; a Beagle without the proper upbringing! They had not done anything with her so all her instincts where extremely developed. Everything that somewhat moved, was chased by her. In spite of her age of 5 months old, she showed extreme dominance-behaviour. She wrecked and stole everything she could get her hands (paws) on. She had no respect for no one what so ever! Her last feat of arms was the wrecking off a brand new eiderdown quilt which was still in the packing. For the husband the cup was full right there and then and after I don’t know how many matrimonial fights about the Beagle, there was decided that a dog was no good for this family. And what do you do then? Exactly: you dump the dog in a home for lost animals!



Tragic for the puppy but what luck for us at that time. And our luck went on because the Beagle was already promised to a lady who already had one at home. But after one look at Romano and after us explaining the situation, the manager was very resolute; the lady had to wait for the next one to come because Chelsey went home with Romano. For the first time in weeks we saw him laugh about Chelsey, who not belying her nature, immediately went after our house rabbit at the moment she walked into the door. Bugs, used to the kindness of Brutus, didn’t know what came over him and slipped under the couch. Now a Beagle thinks (at least this one is) she can do anything so she thought she could get underneath it too. The result was a Beagle who (of course) got stuck under the couch. At the evening dinner, Romano doubled up with laughter because at the moment you were not watching her, the Beagle’s head appeared above the table. And in less then no time, she stole the food from our plates.



What a Dramadog! Nothing was safe, or if it was on the table, the sink, in the trashcan or in a sealed bag, it didn’t matter to her. She jumped into the dishwasher to lick off the dirty dishes. She even snatched food from out of your hand if she had the opportunity. Shoes where not safe anymore because she ate them up. Friends where plenty bitten whenever they went by her. And we couldn’t blame her because she just didn’t knew better. That was the way how she always played with the children in her former family. We had to put her in a bench, evenings and if we where going out because she wrecked the whole place and went into our bed for a nape. Well, I love my dogs dearly but I don't want them in my bed! The thoughts off: “O, my god, why did there had to be a Beagle at the moment we came by”, are countless. And it’s still not an easy dog and she goes on doing her own, sometimes annoying things. But she‘s clever; very, very clever! After sterilization she became more quiet and it’s been ages ago we had to put on a leash for it isn’t necessary anymore (which is rather unique for a Beagle). And we’re so grateful because she was the one that set the recovery of Romano going. But if I ever, ever could make that choice again then NEVER, NEVER, NEVER a Beagle again because she’s and will always stay a real Drama queen!




But in spite of the grateful feelings for Chelsey, there still remains a gnawing sorrow for missing “The Great White One”. And on Saturday evening, after the Thursday we’ve picked up Chelsey, the phone rings. And just like I instinctively knew then that I had nothing to fear of that white giant, I know now that there’s somebody calling to tell us that there’s a pup available. Al into tears, I nod yes even before my husband can answer to the person who he’s talking to. I think that the one asks a question like: “Have you already found a dog?” She knows the story about Romano because we’ve told her that. “Yes, we’ve fetched a dog from the shelter”, Aad answers. “So you have no interest in a puppy anymore?” After one look at my face, he says:”Of course we do!” A pup had come available, a male. Breeders are Jack and Hanneke Otten from “Symfonie van Merode” but we don’t know that at this moment. We don’t have a clue what’s in store for us. We get the phone number, cal and make an appointment and we all are as happy as can be.



We enter the home from people who has clearly put their heart and soul in the beautiful dogs which are all over the place. The're three of them, Hagar, Berlioz and mother off the litter, Anitra. All Champions we hear later but they don’t seem “to be weighed down by it”, because they’re just as sweet and gentle like our own Brutus. And then of course the puppy’s! Wauw, they’re really small. Romano came with us and although you can’t see much resemblance between the puppy’s and Brutus who was already 15 months when we got him, I see recognition is his eyes. He can hold one puppy after the other and is in heaven. “Can we just call him Brutus again?” For a nickname it’s okay but for the pedigree you have to choose a name, starting with a “C”. Name on pedigree???????“And it must have something to do with music”…….O, really, why? Jack and Hanneke do the explanation: “this is our third litter so it has to start with a “C”, and so on and so on. And we enter a whole new world off lines behind the puppy’s, shows and an enormous amount of names of clearly important dogs. And we get thoroughly screened: are we the right people to buy a Pyr puppy? We tell about Brutus and Jack and Hanneke are reassured; clearly people who know the breed and know what they’re doing. But I felt oppressed; will they sell us a puppy knowing it will only be a “housedog”? The image we have at that moment from dog shows is one of an overdone Poodle, standing on a table; passively undergoing the beauty treatments that the owners have in store for him. I already saw myself busy with powder and hairspray! Overwhelmed by the stories about dogs, lines and shows with the proofs of victories standing everywhere in the room, we stumble: “But we only want a “housedog” and if we can choose, the largest and the most white one from the litter. I’m holding my breath; “No, of course, that’s fine by us but it would be nice if you could come to YoDo day”.The what??? “The Young Dog, day where all the litters come together again”. Okay, that seems nice to us and what is one day on a dog’s lifetime, after all. Everything as long as we get that puppy!! At the end of the meeting it’s certain; we have a new Pyrenean Mountain dog.



While we’re waiting for the puppy, we pass away time by thinking about a name that has to start with a “C”. I come up with an impressive double name of which I think it suits to a dog with pedigree. “Nonsense”, says Aad, “just one name”. And so it will be; we call him Caldo, a name that sounds though and it suits a though dog because that’s what he is; the biggest one out of the litter. So our dog will be named; “Symfonie van Merode Caldo”. The family acts a bit laughy about it and immediately we’re going into defence for our puppy. We explain to them that it's custom for the puppy to wear the name of the kennel he comes from.



And then, on the 11th of April, we can fetch Caldo. The contract signed, we get a brochure about health, upbringing and all sorts of useful tips and a character description of Caldo. “You will cal us, won’t you if something comes up? And we’ll see each other again on Young Dog day”. And there we go with the first pup we had ever own. At the moment we get into the car, he cries but that’s just for a moment and in no time he falls asleep. He enters our house and self-evident he’s going to lie in the garden on Brutus’ special place. And the first night he sleeps on the doormat which was also the place where Brutus always was during the nights. Actually we had prepared ourselves for some sleepless nights but from the first day on our puppy sleeps when it’s needed; at night. What pleasure it is to have a puppy; we didn’t had that experience before. We were used to fetching older dogs from the shelter. And what fun can you have, telling people: ”He’s just a puppy”. “What? How big must he become then?” Eating, house-training, upbringing, it went all so easy. Nothing remained left of all the “Horror” stories we had heard about bringing up a puppy. Caldo was a calm, lovely and easy going little man.



To the Young Dog day we went; our first experience with show events. We had never seen something like that before; so many Pyreneans together. But there wasn’t much time to think about it because Jack walked towards to us.” Hurry up, you still have to go through the veterinary inspection (who, me?) and they’ve already started in the ring”. Who are they and what is the ring???? Jack shows us where the ring is and “They” appearing to be the judge, 2 ladies behind a desk and a gentleman who’s also in the ring. Okay, here I am, showing my dog for the first time and I don’t have a clue what to do. “You don’t have to be nervous about it”, says the kind man in the ring. “Put your dog”, says a nice lady along the side. What is she talking about? Caldo already stands on all of his 4 legs! Later on that day, I’ll understand what she mend by that. And I’ll get a lot more of those well mended advices from the old hands along the side. “His hindquarters”, shouts an enthusiastic man. Now I already know what the hindquarters is but what is wrong with it then? And again I hear: ”Put him ”. In the mean time I understand that it isn’t clever to wear mules when you’ve to “show” your dog. “Make a round”, says the nice lady and I’m walking with Caldo through the ring. “No, faster”, she requests me friendly. I’m trying to run but of course I stumble over my mules and Caldo. And he looks at me with a face like: “What are you doing?!" Finally Caldo and I were done and we can stand by and doing nothing besides the lady and her dog on the 3rd place. O, what a relief to leave the ring!



The rest off the day we never got tired of looking at all those people, who exactly knew how to put up their dog, exactly knew which speed to maintain for them and if there was only 1 leg not standing straight, they immediately putted it in the right position again. But it was a lovely day with the most beautiful weather you could ask for. It was lovely to see how Caldo still remembered his litter brothers and- sisters and how they were playing with each other. It was nice to talk with people who were just as wild about the breed as we were. A lot of fun we had with Jaap en Marian, owners of litter brother Chavez about “the fuss” in the ring and “our ugly ducks”. In the afternoon we’re all going into the ring again for the family happening. Of course the mother off the litter is there but also daddy “Neou”; what a dog!! We’re all a bit proud when “our” breeders win the price for the most beautiful and most homogeneous litter. After to have promised, to come to the Clubmatch, we get in the car, tired of all our new experiences. Caldo is already sleeping before we’ve left the home ground.



At home everything is going its business as usual and Caldo grows very fast. And before we even now it, it’s time to go to the Club match. At the moment we show up on the grounds, we (read: Caldo!) get admiring looks from the people who are already there. “Who is that?” Before we even have entered the building, we’ve heard this question 5 times. We didn’t understand it at all; this is just Caldo, our “house dog”. But Caldo appears to be worth while to take another look for the breeders present. Now we know what to do and of course I’ve practised with Caldo at home. He behaves himself very neatly in the ring, walks his rounds like he has learned (this time I left my mules at home) and stands still when the judge feels his body. Only looking at his teeth isn’t going so well with this judge although at home Caldo had no trouble with it. In thoughts we’re already placed nr. 1 because he really, really looks good. Then the judge starts to rank; 4th place and he walks to us with a regrettable look in his eyes: “Beautiful specimen”, and then an enumeration off those parts of which Caldo satisfies according to the breeding standard and -type. Maybe they’ll rank first the nr.1 instead of the 4th? But the judge opens my eyes very quickly; Caldo is to be classified as “Not much/little promising because of his teeth. Now what?! He has an under shut according to the judge. I’m leaving the ring, puzzling about the judge just had said to me. Although I can name all parts of his body nowadays, I don’t have the faintest idea what an under shut is. It must be something dreadful apparently because a dog that doesn’t even look like a Pyr is placed even before us. People come up to us: “What has happened?” When I say to them: ”He has an undershot, I think”, they suddenly look at me with a compassionate look in their eyes. “What a pity!”, and the next thing they do, is pulling Caldo’ mouth open to take a look at that apparently undershot teeth. “He doesn’t have an undershot at all!” “Yes, but the judge said he did”. “Didn’t you protest then?” No, I can hardly enter into discussion with somebody about something when I don’t even know what an “undershot” is. Jack is very disappointed but after taking a look in Caldo’ mouth too; he starts to get a bit angry. “What did he say, undershot?’, and drags Caldo and me along to Mrs. Jasica who is just finished judging the bitches. “Mrs. Jasica, can you have a look for me?”. She looks and Caldo undergoes it patiently for the I don’t know how many of time. He apparently has a preference for people who can look in his mouth. (or is it disapprove whom not): Yes, and?,” she friendly answers to Jack. “According to the judge he has an undershot”, She opens Caldo’ mouth again and takes another look. “That’s certainly not true; it maybe a bit tight at the moment but this is definitely not an undershot”, she says resolute. So well, that’s clear then; we’re going to the judge to straighten this out, he can remove it from the judging rapport and maybe we get a higher placement (how naïve can you be?) “It doesn’t work that way, placed is placed and the judge will not change that judging rapport”. And on that day I learn on a very annoying way that there’s only one boss in the ring and it’s his judgement and his judgement alone that rules. Later on we’ll meet this judge again and then he’ll be lyric about Caldo’ beautiful, French head; no remarks about an undershot what so ever.



So well, we’ve had enough for the moment with the “show thing”. And we let Caldo enjoy being a “house dog”. Till………………… Jack and Hanneke are paying us a visit because they want to see how Caldo is doing. Caldo, meanwhile 13 months old, has grown till a very impressive male. Pictures are to be taken and then and there comes the question; “Don’t you want to show Caldo, it would be a pity if you don’t”. When I come home from work Aad proudly tells me that J and H think that Caldo is such a beautiful dog and that they want to show him to several judges. But who’s going to show him then? After 2 times I was already fed up with it and Aad didn’t like the thought off showing either. But luckily Jack had offered to show him for us. And finally on the 9th of May 2002 the show carrier of Caldo begins.



Young Dog day 2002. This time we left home in time and again it is beautiful weather. Marco and Delight came along with us because they also want to see if the judge thinks that Caldo is that beautiful as Jach and Hanneke are thinking. We don’t have to convince our son, Romano. With the boundless trust where only children are capable off, it’s already clear to him; his dog will win! It’s strange to see how our “house dog” enters the ring hold by the hand off a clearly trained handler. Both are very calm and Caldo stands still all of the time (well, almost). Did it also took such long time then? And then there’s going to be ranked; unbelievable, he’s going to be ranked first in his class and gets the desired red rosette. Later on he has to go back in the ring again for ranking the best male but he is no match because his movements aren’t enough yet. But our day couldn’t be better; our “house dog” won his class! In the flush of victory we decide to practise with Caldo right away to improve his movements. J and H have asked us to come with them to the Belgian Club match and there he’ll be entered in the open class. At night we’re going to diner together to celebrate the victory. And our “Champion house dog??” He lies nicely snoring beside our table with four legs in the air and his red rosette tied to his collar.



And from that moment on it goes fast, very fast. Caldo wins the open class on the Belgium Club match and becomes 2nd best male after his father Neou. Wins the reserve CAC that immediately is turned into a CAC because his father is already Belgium Champion. Wins in Uden his first Dutch CAC, becomes BOB in Maasstricht and wins on the Bundessieger in Dortmund the Open classe, deserving his first German CAC.



But we have to show Caldo ourselves at sometime and in Genk, Belgium, Aad does that for the first time. And he (Aad) does it very well. Beside the ring I sympathize with them and give all kind of instructions, because after all ”it’s easy to be a backseat driver”. The next show I’m showing Caldo and promptly we end up 4th in a class of 4 dogs. Add up a terribly nervous owner (who trips over her dog again) and by that an also nervous dog and an all round judge and then this is the result you get! And then we had a problem; Aad was (and still is) far more better in showing the dog but with me Caldo was the most enthusiastic in movement and made the wheel. We’ve tried everything: pieces of cheese, meat, making a fool of ourselves for him before entering the ring; nothing worked. Caldo moved well and made the wheel when ever he felt like it and otherwise he didn’t (and nowadays he doesn’t behave differently). As it was important for him to make the wheel, I was the dupe to show Caldo. It has cost me a lot of beads of sweat and why I’m that nervous?; I don’t know. I start to talk to hem as soon as we’re in the ring:” Caldo, you will stand still, won’t you, when I put you in position”. He then looks at me with a face like: “o no, it’s that time again”, and directly moves his left hind leg to the front. Darned, preciously that leg again and I duck under Caldo to set his leg straight. “Hi, Hi”, he seems to think and puts at the same time his right foreleg in the “French position”. And this goes on and on the whole judgement through. Aad stands beside the ring and tries to give me instructions. But that makes me even more nervous; he uses a sign langue and mimics art I don’t understand, at least not when I’m in the ring. (That’s my fault, by the way, not his).



The next shows in Belgium got judged by race specialists. And they love him, they love him very much and prompt he becomes BOB and he captures 2 Belgium CAC/CACIB’s again. This will be an omen for the rest of his career; breed specialist (of whom there’re unfortunately too few); almost all the time prize, with the all rounder, you always have to wait what they’re going to do. And then of course you’ve to deal with the judges who (and luckily there aren’t with so many) are judging the person behind the dog instead of the dog. For their own convenience they forget we all have to pay the entree fees for our dogs. Not to be spoken about in public of course but everybody knows that it’s happening. Chauvinism isn’t unknown either for certain judges in Europe. So it can happen that you lose from a less race typical dog who’s on top of that limping because the judge rather sees a compatriot placed 1. A “fellow”-handler who's going to sit almost on top of you at the moment you’ve put your dog in position. And you also have to cope with the fact that they’re “talking” about your dog. Not in your face of course; behind your back; suppose you should say something back! “It melts your hart” to see how certain people, when they meet each other on shows, behave themselves so nicely towards people which they’re gossiping about. Now we’re not that long in this “little world’ but we already have more respect for those breeders who dislike each other and show it openly, then these “so called friends” who stab each other in the back whenever they’ve the opportunity. I’m reading your mind at the moment and I know what you’re thinking; is it all bad then? No of course not! As I said before; the demand for specialists on shows is bigger than the supplies. And luckily there are more then enough judges which are unprejudiced. One of the greatest advantages is that you’ll meet friends all over the world. Breeders who give onto each other still exist. And luckily every starting breeder meets someone who they can really, really trust. We know that we’re fortunate to have met such people as well in our own country as abroad. There're Beate, Berit and Arne of course from Alta Colina. And further on are the opinions of certain people not that important so you’ll just have to put them aside.



Well, further on with some nicer things now. Caldo starts in 2003 by winning the 2nd place in the Open class on the World Winner held in Dortmund (shown by Jack with nerves of steel). Also in 2003 he becomes Dutch, Belgium and International Champion. And in between he becomes BOB during our holiday in Croatia. In 2004 he becomes Luxemburg and German Champion (KFU and VDH). And from that moment on we stop showing Caldo on intensively base. It’s clear to us that Caldo hasn’t fun anymore in showing; maybe "show tired"? What he does like, is going on trips with us and that’s what we do at the moment; going to Denmark, Switzerland and of course each year we’re going to the Pyrenean in France; Mecca of the Pyrenean Mountain dog where you can find as much Pyrs as to be desired. And in 2003 that is where we saw Surcouf de Domaine de Peyrac for the first time. He draws our attention by his beautiful, a bit arrogant attitude. After some email contact with Catherine, we decide to get our 2nd puppy from her kennel.





And there we go; a drive for about 1200 kilometres on one day to fetch our new puppy. The tone in the car isn’t that well because I’ve stopped smocking for a few days now and I’m terribly , terribly grumpy! I’m looking at Aad and think: “don’t say a word to me or otherwise I’ll bite your head off”. Aad already feels that I’m on warpath and wisely keeps his mouth shot. He has already experienced me twice stop smoking and knows what he can say or not. But………………………not quite apparently. He thinks he can cheer me up on a positive way and says: “I think it’s so clever of you that you gave up smoking”. Wrong place, wrong time, and wrong words! Steam is coming out of my ears: ”Clever, what’s clever, that I’m already grinding my teeth for 3 days now in spite of the acupuncture needles in my ears?” I had let them put there because I actually didn’t want to stop smoking myself. I did it for Aad because he had stopped smoking too a few months ago. I thought the acupuncture could help me through the worst but apparently not so I felt sh...And of course I’m putting the blame on him that I feel so distressed. “I need to go to the toilet”, I snarl at him. I hear him thinking because we had stopped only a half hour ago. But after one look at my face he decides it might be safer to stop the car right now. I get out of the car, enter a kiosk, buy myself a pack of cigarettes, go round the back and light up a cigarette. It doesn’t even taste nice and I even get a bit sick. But after a few hauls, my angry mood disappears like snow in summer. Yah, I look like a junk! But after a few hauls more even that don’t bother me anymore. And happily smiling I’m walking back to the car. “Well, you’re cheerful all the sudden”. “I took a smoke”, I say and then the steam comes out of his ears. For a long time there’s a deadly silence in the car. My angry mood is already long gone (funny after just one cigarette?) but Aad’ still smoulders a bit. Sugary I ask: ”will it take long for us to be there? “Yes”, snarls Aad in his turn. “It’s quit a nice name we’ve picked out for the puppy, don’t you think?” ”Mmmm”, he grumbles at me. “Lot of traffic, don’t you think?”, I honey to him. Aad burst out laughing: “stop it right there, slime ball”. And cheerful we drive in the direction of “Uchan Caronne du Domaine de Peyrac”, as we named our new puppy.



The whole litter is still there because we’re the first puppy buyers to fetch their dog. Unfortunately it’s not going to be the one we’ve picked out before. Catherine fetches the rest off the male puppies and one shows himself the best. A bold little man that pushes all his brothers aside and jumps on my lap. “That’s the one”. (where have we heard that before?) and we put the pup through a physical investigation. Nice build, beautiful angulations, dew claws okay, and those eyes!! He’s a bit smaller then Caldo on that age but he has an attitude and radiation! Exactly that thing which stroke us with Surcouf. We put him in a basket on the back seat of the car but he doesn’t agree on that. As soon as we put him in, he rapidly jumps out again. After done this a few times he stays on his place. But now he starts to sing his song as loud as he can. At one moment he stops but only to start all over again. And then we come nearby Paris and the traffic is very heavy. Aad gets a bit irritated by that screaming little monster in the back. I decide to sit with him in the back and immediately he lays his head on my lap and falls asleep for the rest of the trip. At night we come home were everybody is waiting eagerly. Caldo suddenly looks like a giant comparing to that little thing and treats the puppy very gentle in his own usual way. The Beagle has to show who’s the boss in the house of course and leans over him. We’ve a suspicion that that won’t last long. We all are, very appropriate dog-tired and Caronne seeks his place against Caldo and falls into a deep sleep. We’re also going to bed (after I smoked a cigarette of course) because it’s already 02.00 o’clock.



He’s indefatigable and drives Caldo and even Chesley sometimes till despair. But, o, he’s so amusing!! In the beginning we think that maybe Catherine has sold us a Golden Retriever in Pyrenean disguise. He runs, plays and fetches balls which he faithfully brings back. In the mean time he has found himself a few friends and with them he regularly swims in a ditch in the park. It’s such fun to take puppy course with him; he listens very well. The youngest one of them all but the only one that comes from the other side of the field when you call without having an eye for all those other dogs. One moment he has an attitude from here till Tokyo and on other moments he’s a devoted baby with the affectionate behaviour to go with it.



The upbringing is easy too and there’s not the slightest problem until…… he becomes intercepted and attacked by another male during the exercise “in front”. And all of the sudden I see a whole different Caronne appear, a very fierce Caronne who doesn’t seems to be scared of the elder dog. As soon as we’ve separated them the instant he turns into the affectionate baby again. Later on when he’s 11 months old he will be attacked again by an elder dog on a show. That was horrible; both collars of the dogs got stuck into each other and I couldn’t get them loose. The dogs where all panicking for they couldn’t get away. “Get away from those dogs”, people are yelling but they have no idea what is going on. Finally one lady gets wind of it and she helps me to get the collars loose. I’m considerably bitten in my hand a few times, but I don’t care less; the dogs are separated. Since then Caronne is always on his guard not only when he sees a male, but even when he smells one.



Caronne also makes his debut on Young Dog day and again the weather is beautiful. Calm he enters the ring with an attitude saying “Who wants to touch me”. In this class 6 dogs will be showed and it’s the first show for them all. Caronne behaves himself very properly and he stands still so I’m also very calm. It’s nice to show him and when we’ve to make a round, he follows neatly just like he has learned on the course. Head up, attention and walk. He captures the 1st place. After that he may enter the ring for the judgement of Best Male (to sit by and doing nothing of course). It was a bit silly to see that little one standing between all those big, beautiful dogs. Finally he has to enter the ring for “Best puppy in class 3-6 months”. And again he neatly makes his rounds and beats the beautiful bitch which on her turn had defeated 12 competitors.



With Caronne we’re going to do something which we never had been thought of with Caldo; we’re going to show him as a puppy. Time and time again he ends up with great results including highlights as: “Best pup in show, Rotterdam 2004”, on the age of just 9 months he becomes 2nd in Youth class in Argelès, France , “Bundesjugendsieger 2004 in Dortmund and (on the age of 11 months) “Youth winner 2004” + res. CAC in Amsterdam. We also took him with us to Switzerland and Croatia; the results you can find on the page “show results”.





And then all the sudden a lady appears on stage. Well, lady??? She looks more like the first female “Terminator”!! But I tell you that story later. At Beate en Berit from kennel Alta Colina a litter is born. They have become dear friends of us in the course of time and they own “Alta Colina’s Crème de la Crème “Keldo”, sun of our Caldo. The litter is beautiful with the lovely Scandinavian bodies and hind quarters as they’re known for. Nr. 6 is the favourite one for both Beate and me. In an email she writes me that she wants nr.6 to stay “within her reach” and what do I think off placing her with me. I’m going downstairs to Aad with the proposal she made because although it’s our intention to take a bitch we had planned that in the future and not now. We talk about it with each other; this will be the ideal lady to combine with Caldo and as well as Caronne. And according to the pictures it’s a lovely lady. Let we pass this opportunity go by? The more we talk about it, it seems more and more the most logical thing to do. And we accepted the proposal formed into a co-ownership to seal our friendship and co-operation ones more.



But as it wasn’t our intention to take a puppy on such short notice, we’ve already booked our vacation to Croatia and a trip to Switzerland was also planned. We can’t take a puppy out of her familiar surroundings to leave her after a few days with my mother. And then after being home for 2 weeks to leave her again for our holliday. So we agree on Celice staying with Beate for a little while longer. Meanwhile Rieky v/d Berk has become interested too in a puppy from the same litter. She gets in touch with me and she also has a nice proposal. Why don’t you fly with me to fetch Jergan? A return Norway turns out to be not that quite expensive and actually it would be nice to see Beate again. Arne and Berit had already visited us just in July for the mating between Kelly and Caldo but I hadn’t seen Beate for more then a year now. And very important we want to now if the trip will turn out fine for a little puppy otherwise we shal fetch Celice (as we called her) by car. So I fly with Rieky to Norway to fetch litter brother Jergan. They’re friendly people who give us a warm welcome and the dogs which are all over the place are all gentle and kind. I got to see Kelly back who recognizes and welcomes me withy her famous smile. And it just looks like she waiting because she repeatedly looks behind me. I guess she’s wondering when Caldo and Caronne are coming. It’s the first time we meet Keldo in person; what a giant!! And for the first time Rieky holds her puppy and I got to meet Celice. They both are already extremely well developped. We got to meet all the dogs which we only knew from the pictures Beate had send us. Of course it gets late that day and it’s 4 in the night when we finally go to sleep wondering about the fact it’s still light outside. Next day Rieky sits beside me and is (literally and figuratively) on cloud nine because Jergan is safe and sound aboard; We’ve heard that loud and clear!!



Then finally it’s time to fetch Celice and I accept the invitation for staying a couple of days longer in Norway. Beate and her mum come to meet me at the airport. At home they serve all sorts of Norwegian specialities: the whole table is full with it and they persuade me to try everything. While we’re eating we’re looking at a Norwegian Club match. And of course we make a night of it again although we’ve to get up early the next day. Beate has made plans for “a little sightseeing” from “Langerdal til Sandefjord”. Awesome!!; We leave in the morning with sunshine and 24º, visit a beautiful nature reserve, dinning on our way up into the beautiful mountains with magnificent waterfalls to finally end up in a fairytale world of fjords, ice and snow 1500 meters above sea level. At the moment we get out of the car the serene silence and breathtaking beauty of nature comes over you. You immediately feel yourself settling down and there’s nothing more you would rather do then stay there. Late that night we come home and of course it’s still light! Photos of this trip you can find on page ”photos”. Beate has to go to work a few hours later (pour thing) and Berit and I are going to hunt for Trolls and Elks. After captured enough of them for friends and family we’re going home. And again it becomes early in the morning before we go to sleep and does it ever gets dark over there?!?



On the 30th of June we return to Holland. Properly in time we’re standing in line to deliver Celice at “Special Cargo”. And what happens? In front of us there’s a family who apparently are going to immigrate. Freight after freight is placed on the conveyor-belt; guitars, caves with guinea-pigs, bicycles, toys of children; in short everything you want to keep with you as long as possible before you get to emigrate. Their dog is nicely picked up by a co-worker and then finally it’s our turn after been waiting for more then a half our. “You’re late”. For one moment I think I misunderstood him. “Excuse me?” “You’re late so she can’t come with you anymore in the plane otherwise the plain leaves overdue”. My blood is boiling in my veins and I rush over to the other side of the lobby where I had checked in with dog for more then 2 hours ago. They’re very sorry but they can’t help me. While I rush back to the other side I’m on the verge of tears. Passing the co worker I furiously call at him that I’m going to file a complaint. It’s a downright shame; I was more then in time to deliver Celice. At the moment that I’m out of breath trying to tell my story at the desk, he comes to me. “Sorry, there’s someone on the way to fetch her”. And indeed someone is coming to fetch Celice. But now it’s my turn to be in time for boarding because I’m late too. I’m rushing through the gates (luckily all stays quiet) and I’m just in time to board. At the moment I get in the plain I start to get worried. Because Jergan we heard loud and clear as I told you before and now I hear nothing at all. The stewardesses are luckily very kind and one of them is going to take a look in the cargo space. And indeed Celice isn’t on board (yet)! The passengers get a hold of what is going on and they all are sympathizing. with us. Finally we hear through the intercom: “Ladies en gentlemen everybody is on board, including our puppy so we’re going to take off now”.



Ten minutes late the plain takes off. This time we land on Rotterdam Airport and at the foot of the stairs there’s a co-worker to welcome the passengers. I ask her how long it will take for Celice to come out of the plain because I hear her rant and rave considerably. She turns out to be all in the back of the air plain behind al the luggage. And as normal procedure the luggage will come first and Celice will be the last. ”Just a minute”, says the nice lady, “I’m not promising anything but I’ll see what I can do. And while we’re all waiting for our luggage, the “Vari” kennel with Celice in it comes out first. Of course I’ve thanked them already but I’ll do it again: “Thank you Transavia and thank you Rotterdam Airport for your kindness, understanding and good service!!”



On arrival my granddaughter Kaydee comes to me and says: “take Aliecie?” (for some reason she likes this name better then Celice) And self-evidently she takes over the leash and walks off withy Celice. And then; finally home with the new puppy; we let the dogs get acquainted with each other on neutral ground. Caldo thinks: “Mmm, bitch” and acts considerably pussy but after a few corrections that stops too (for the moment). The Beagle acts like her own dominant self but this time she has come to the wrong shop. Celice has been in the pack quit a bit longer then a puppy that goes to his new home at 8/9 weeks and she knows very well how to defend herself. “Grr”, she does and shakes off Chelsey like she’s an annoying fly. And Caronne? He sees the world opening up for him shaped into a perfect playmate and is most enthusiastic.



On her turn Celice is going to sleep neatly too the first night, dead beat by all the experiences that day. Next day Celice passes her time by playing with Caronne (Caldo is still a bit pussy), with the nice butterflies which are all over the garden (there aren’t anymore nowadays), and when I’ve fetched her inside, she’s playing with the plants (apparently she dislikes the carts on which is described how to treat them) and drags empty bottles through the house. Tired but satisfied she’s going to sleep the second night; at least……..we thought she did! We wake up by a loud bang. When I come downstairs Celice is chewing on the trunk of a 2 meter high Yuka. Yuka overturned (how did she managed that!), leaves and soil are all over the living room. “Celice, NOOOOOOOO!!” After a few days it turns out to be we’ve took ourselves a real “Terminator” in the house. She digs the plants out fanatically as well in- as outside the house. She also has no problem with the skirting boards from the floor. She sharpens her teeth with the help of my wall. The (wooden) open staircase is to be considered liquorice by her and a leather chair is a delicacy too. Magazines aren’t safe either and when she’s thirsty she just drinks out of the vase with water plants (or at my daughter’s place, out of the fish bowl).



mail 1 van Celice aan “Mamma Beate” mail 2 van Celice aan “Mamma Beate”


Although for most of the time her attention is more pointed at the boys she carefully watches the Beagle’s tricks. And as you know, she steels everything where she thinks of its eatable! Because Celice has already reached a considerable height, it’s easy for her to even get at the back of the sink. In the beginning we’ve thought: ”ah, little Puppy, can do no harm”. But if Puppy runs off with a whole meat roll you’ve just prepared for dinner, then it’s less. She runs of with her booty to the back of the garden where she has made her own thieves’ then and jumps in to it with a head long dive. Well, just try to get you meat roll back then!! Not to eat it up ourselves of course but we foresee some sanitary problems if we don’t. Nowadays we’re used to her tricks and put everything eatable in cupboards away. But the’re still people (mother, mother in law) who still think: “ah, puppy won’t do that”, and off Puppy goes with 4 pounds of cheese. Meat you’ve just bought at the butcher’; don’t leave it for just one minute on the sink while you’re putting away the rest of your shopping’s because she’s always on the look-out (together with the Beagle of course!) The last stunt she performed on that field was to pull a dish with marinated meat all over her with an orange dog as result. And that after we had especially bathed her for the trip to Argelès!



I know for sure that in the beginning she must have thought her name was “NOOOOOOOOOO!! But now she’s older (I don’t now if that automatically means she’s also wiser) and knows now what she can and can’t do (most of the time). She’s a smart, in dependable lady who has a funny quality; she talks to you. And especially disagreeing with you when you correct her. But Celice is a lovely dog, just as our handsome, calm, reliably Caldo who always thinks before he acts. You can bed on it that if he doesn’t trust someone (and he shows that clearly) that person isn’t to be trusted. And then there’s Caronne, “Prince of Peyrac’ as we tenderly call him sometimes. Always active, always patrolling in the garden with an attitude that makes it a pleasure to watch him. All different in character but all just as devoted and kind; yes, we can say:” What a piece of luck that we own those 3 Pyrs!!” NOTE: 16 JANUARY 2006 THE GLASS IS HALFF EMPTY OR...........THE GLASS IS HALF FULL Do you know this comparison? Gladly used to point out the difference between positive and negative. The same glass with the same amount of fluid in it is explained by one (negative) person as being half empty and by the other (positive) person to be considered as half full. Above you find the story about Brutus. About his story we’ve received a lot of reactions by common email but also through the guestbook. Most people red it as it was mend; just a nice story about how we’ve become till 3 Pyrs nowadays with all the feelings that played a part with it. There were also reactions from people who appreciated the honesty and sometimes self-mockery in the story. But there were also reactions which squared me a bit, like: I sometimes think about quitting with the whole thing just because of that or “that’s why we’ve quit showing”. All these reactions are referring to 2 paragraphs in the whole story; the little piece about the sometimes negative parts of showing your dog. Maybe I better could have written the piece in a more nuanced way or even better, just shouldn’t be mentioned at all. But why would I; what is wrong nowadays with honesty to each other? This site is about feelings that dogs stir up with people and these feelings are a part off that. About which breed we’re talking about, everybody knows it happens like this. You don’t have to consider me as the first person to bring it out in the open. Just look at any dog forum on the internet; you can find as much stories as you like about breeders, judges, quarrels about benches on show, and so on. And I’m certainly not a moralist because I also practiced these things for a short time. Till you suddenly come to your senses and realize what you’re doing. And that you actually have a lot of respect for the person who’s involved. I’ve called that person and asked for an honest, open talk. I’ve apologized and explained to him how I became like that. And the reason was simple: on that moment we had lost trust in each other. And of course you both hear things you rather would not hear but it clears the sky enormously. This piece wasn’t meant to put the showing to be all that negative. But to tell people these certain things can happen occasionally and that you especially must not hold your self back from entering a show for that reason. If you as a newcomer start showing very naively and it happens to you, you’re bewildered; how is it possible that your clearly better dog looses from a clearly lesser dog? Loosing from a clearly better dog or because the judge likes the other type better, that you can accept! And the first time you find out that someone of which you had never thought he/she would do that, gossips about you, is even worse! On some point it starts to bother you when you see a certain person hypocritically hug someone on shows of which you know that at the same that person gossips about the other. This are just some feelings that play a part in “showbiz world”. But as I said: these things happen occasionally. It’s just a lot of fun showing your dog and to find out what the judge thinks of your dog. If the things I’ve mentioned would happen on regularly bases then they probably would not organize shows anymore nowadays; simply because they wouldn’t have enough entries. For the people from whom their glass is half empty, I shall go deeper into the piece that I wrote. Prejustitfied Judges. I’ve not mentioned any names and I’m certainly not referring to the Dutch and Belgium judges we’ve experienced. We’ve never had a negative experience with them so we can’t judge about that. For what about other judges I can give you an example: Bundessieger 2003; Caldo looked great and went like a bomb but still had to loose (and missed the title Bundessieger) from a clearly lesser dog that on top of that, went all limping through the ring. Later on you hear from insiders that the judge and breeder know each other more then well and that’s the reason the other breeders hadn’t entered their male because they already knew the outcome. We didn’t had that knowledge at that time but it was clear to us that we had spend money and time on it and hadn’t stand a chance to win. Would you like that? Of course they all have their favourite type, some like the English type others the French type and so on. And that has to be that way otherwise it would always be the same type that stands on first place “They’re all unreliable breeders” That’s something I’ve never said and you won’t hear it from me either, never! We DO have reliable breeders all over the world, with exceptions of course but they’re not connected to the official club of the breed. (Oeps, stepped on another pair of toes again) These breeders are all loyal to this beautiful breed and they all have one big mutual interest in their flag: The Pyrenean Mountain dog! “Talking about your dogs”. And yes, unfortunately I have to say that does happen. Not by everybody but some people rather look first at the negative parts of the new dog in town then they’ll look to the positive ones. And be honest: that happens on every territory where the competitive plays a part or it’s in sports, work or in love: people always want to point out the disadvantages of their competitors as much as possible. The strange thing is that this competition war only rules between our own borderlines. About foreign dogs they can talk in a positive way. Have you ever thought about that? When we’ve a new dog, there’re always certain people of which we really want to know what their opinion is about the dog. Their opinion is important to us because these people give an honest opinion including the negatives ones. Well; honest, constructive criticism that’s something we can work with. And we can explain to them how we’re hoping to improve that in future by combining the dog with one of our other dogs. I prefer one particular type the most but I have 3 different types at home. The reason I have 3 different types is that I want to combine them in future. One has parts that lack the other and vice versa but isn’t that what breeding is all about? Combining all those positive parts and qualities of different kind of dogs into the “perfect” type with good character and the healthy body they so strongly need? If I mention only certain names when we talk about friends, it doesn’t mean, we don’t feel appreciation and friendship for the others. There’re more people in “Pyrland” that we do like and appreciate then we dislike. Beate, Berit and Arne are mentioned because they’re really our best friends and not only when it concerns dogs. And so we all have our “own” best friends on which we can trust and turned to when we’re on shows. Don’t let them fool your self that this story is about you or your dog because if so, you would have heard it from us already. And certainley do not listen to people who talk bad about a person or dog you don't know personally yourself (yet). Take the time to meet that person or dog whom it concerns yourself so you can draw your OWN conclusions. Finally, if there’re people I’ve stepped on their toes wrongly because their interpretation of the peace was different as what I had in mind, I really make my apologies. The people who fits the shoe, knows it very well themselves. But what I really want to say is: please read the story while your glass is half full!! 17 FEBRUARI 2006 HOW THE STORY CONTINUED Just when Celice was in Holland the Young Dog day was held in Belgium. We had already entered her for that show because it has become tradition to “introduce” our new dogs on a JoHo day. In Scandinavia it’s common to let the puppies get used to showing as soon as possible. You could see that clearly with Celice when she made her debut in the show ring. She behaved herself very well for such a little puppy. The results: a very good judging report and Best Pup of the day. Afterwards she played with her brother Jergan till they both were worn out completely. She went with us to France where she got a Very promising in Babyclasse and to the Winner in Amsterdam where she became Best puppy and was selected at the 10 Best puppies in show. In Fribourg, Switzerland she became the first day 2nd Excellent + reserve Youth CAC and the second day she became 1st Excellent + Youth CAC and Youth Champion Fribourg. Our Celice turns out to be a real Showgirl looking at her behaviour and attitude in the ring. But little Celice also has a “dark side” in her and has already left a lot of traces in and around the house. The skirting boards which we first repaired faithfully are already long gone. (there’s nothing to put back because they’ve disappeared in a mysterious way) Leather chairs which are “canvassed” by our baby are standing behind the table instead of in front. Aad has plastered the pillar in the kitchen already twice because of the grooves which suspiciously look like caused by Celice’s teeth. Her behaviour is one of a real mountain dog; she climbs the open stairs and comes back with all kinds of stuff which she has scrapped together on the 1st and 2nd floor. A garden fence has been put back after Celice went clean through it (little miscalculation of the distance). We especially bought a Christmas tree with clod so we could put the tree in the garden after the holidays. But after being dug out by our little Terminator for numerous of times now, I don’t think it will survive; the tree becomes already seriously brown. But….I can also look at it with my glass half full; At least he staid on end with all the decorations while he stood inside the house! On New Year’s Eve she conquered 3 doughnut balls and a half dish with titbits and last week she stole the meal that I already had prepared for an early dinner. The result? Our diner consisted of a freezer meal and hers out of a delicious hot pot with mushrooms. With “Prince Peyrac” we had lesser days. He has been seriously ill by a bacterial infection caught on our holiday in Croatia. At some time we thought we could feel his ribs a bit too much despite that Caronne ate very well. So we went to the vet and it turned out he had lost quite a bit of weight. Tests, waiting for a week on the test results; nothing. Another test, waiting again, another negative result and this went on and on. In the meantime he started to lose his beautiful, thick coat and it became painfully clear how much weight he had lost. We were referred to a specialist and there he has been turned inside out. An internal investigation brought to light that there were irregularities of the intestinal tract, caused by an infection and then most likely caused by a (foreign) parasite. Because Caldo was fine it is most likely that Caronne had got it from swimming. He loves to swim any time and any place while Caldo doesn’t even wants to walk in the rain. So Caronne got (3x) a drastic remedy in the shape of Panacure (actually a de-worm cure for sheep’s; so I immediately called the vet saying they gave me the wrong treatment and according to the prescription I had to give him an overdose. They told me it was okay because the cure and doses were needed to kill all kind of parasites, including heartworms), he has been put on a diet in case of it would be an allergic reaction to food and they gave him very strong broad spectrum antibiotics. At that moment he had lost weight till 38 kg and we were already prepared on the fact that we could probably lose him. But already after a few days his well-known look came back in his eyes again and we noticed that he felt obviously better. Now it’s a matter of gaining the lost kilos and to get back his beautiful coat. Soon he will be X-rayed too. Caldo has started his 2nd childhood with the help of Celice. He starts to act crazy more and more every day and copies a lot of the behaviour of Celice. You’re sitting comfortably on the couch and suddenly you hear: “WOEF” right into your ear and at the same time he plumps his beautiful bear head down close to yours. That’s okay when you’re watching the news but if there happens to be a thriller on TV, your heart cringes with fear. Earlier he wasn’t that enthusiastic when people came for a visit; nowadays he jumps and skips and he cuts the strangest capers for attention. Several times now he has sold my mother in law a smack in the eye while standing up to her. She “rewards” him with a snack and he returns the favour by giving her a smack in the eye again. Luckily she always has only a few snacks with her!! At the moment he does everything to conquer the heart of Celice because she has started her first heat. He’s following her everywhere, drawling all over the place and carrying the burden of bittersweet memories with him. Caronne acts like a jealous lover and don’t want to see them playing together. He guards the garden with his life even more then he did before. Even the postman isn’t allowed to come in the neighbourhood of Celice. So Celice is going to stay with Grandma (my mother) for a while to avoid problems. It will be very quiet at home………… To be continued