“Hunti” is with me now.
Hunti a.k.a. Hunter is a 2 year old Czech Wolfdog from the shelter. Thanks to the amazing family of Karin Binder at the shelter, he found me the very same day his previous world collapsed. And: Hunti had such a good time with the Binder family, that he is always happy to visit them.
Here is the story of how Hunti ended up with me and our first milestones together. Scroll down for latest updates!
On November 23rd, a Saturday afternoon, the world of 2 year old “Hunter”, a Czech Wolfdog, turned upside down. He was surrendered by his family and brought to the local animal shelter.
Hunter had a great life so far, coming from good kennel, he had been adopted by a young couple who loved him and raised him well. Hunter used to live in a paradise – an alpine cabin, with lots of people (and pets) coming and going. Unfortunately, for economic reasons, the paradise collapsed and so did his world.
On that Saturday, in the evening, a friend informed me about the fate of a surrendered Czech Wolfdog… That night I did not sleep…
Even though it was a Sunday, I called the shelter first thing the next morning – to find a good reason to forget about Hunter. They were nice and did not mind the Sunday call, but told me that dozens had called already. We talked about “Hunti” for a while I mentioned that my beloved Camots had died about three years ago and that I am not really over it yet. When I got him, Camots had also been a rescue dog, surrendered from a perfect home at the age of two. For Camots I had changed my life, my work, my car, the house – everything … and he was worth it. I will always miss him.
In the phone call with the people at Hunti’s shelter, we agreed that I would send some material I had published about my life with Camots and that we would talk again. Three days later I was in the car on a 1000km trip to see Hunter…
Before I got to see Hunti, I met the family who runs the shelter – and they already made the trip worth it! They are amazing and I love spending time with them. “Coincidently” they have the same family name as my friend who asked me about getting a dog again… 😉
For the “meeting strategy” we agreed that I would pretend to not notice his presence and let him check me out while we continued a lively conversation. Remembering that I came to find a reason not to adopt him – I immediately knew I was in trouble when I saw him in the corner of my eyes… It was love on first sight! My first impressions of him where: well-socialised, very gentle, smart, good communication, well behaved, hoggish! and… huge for his breed !! Hunti resembles Camots like a twin – but he is even larger and at least 7kg heavier… On the other side he is less traumatised and appears to be unspoiled – having an open, curious attitude.
Our “get to know encounter” was immediately followed by a long walk in the adjacent woods. Hunti was obviously troubled, nervous and did not understand what was going on – hence after a few meters he stopped and looked back to the shelter – that he considered a “safe harbour”. Luckily I was able to read and understand him and avoided any kind of pressure or stress, just gave him room. Eventually he agreed, that a walk with me might not do any harm and he was as easy going as breeze in summer. It helped that he seems to be used to be constantly served treats – so I made sure, that whenever he did something cool or pushed on my leg, there was a “Leckerli” (treat) in my hand…, accompanied by some praise in a calm, re-assuring tone.
After the walk I spent several hours hanging out with the family who runs the shelter – much longer than it took us to establish if I would be a good new owner for Hunti. We agreed that I would continue to visit him the next 10 days or so, to confirm that we really have the “chemistry” and to give us time getting to know each other. I also insisted that if they ever had any doubt about me or a potentially better new owner would appear, that I would step back – to make sure Hunti starts his new life in the best possible circumstances.
I also consulted my closest friends for advice because I was about to turn my life upside down (“Kansas going bye bye…”). My head and my ego were SCREAMING “Don’t you do it!” and I hoped that anyone would talk me out of it. Unfortunately all of them unanimously requested me to go for it.
And I agree. Sometimes you gotta abandon logic for passion.
As I continued to meet and walk Hunti the next days, he melted my heart away. And just to avoid any misunderstandings: he is no pussy-cat. He is strong, opinionated and he runs every thing you do or you want from him by his strong instincts (that guarantee him health and survival). With his 2 years of age, he is also still a teenager with plenty of silly ideas and the need to release some serious energy. There is no room for indecisiveness or hesitation… But by character he is good humoured, non-aggressive and again, open and curious. On our walks I figured out that he knows a few basic commands, walks on the leash like a lamb, walks without a leash like a lamb – is social but not perfect with other dogs, is not used to harness (yet) and not recallable (yet…). He also seems to be quite out of shape and not really into long walks (I hope this will change and is due to ((stress-related)) diarrhoea he had for over a week).
Time passed quickly and after about a week walking him and spending some time with his new “family”, we moved on to the next challenges. Test drive in “his” new van (so far my “van-life” converted Sprinter) and test-sleeping next to me at my friends house. The first drive was done after hanging out with him each evening for about an hour in the back of the van. During the first ten minute drive he got quite nervous and complained busily… (“commenting” is one of his trademarks). However, the second time, it was already much better – it helps that he can stick his head through a window into the driver cabin and get some reassurance.
The visit at my friends house was very easy going. Despite his tall size and the fact that he can easily rest his head on the kitchen table without even stretching and his strong oral focus (eat eat eat…) he was respectful and immediately reacted to commands when mischievous thoughts crossed his mind… ;-). My friend was quickly identified as great play-buddy and “adopted” into the pack in real time 💥🙏💪 This sealed the deal, from this moment on, the evening of December 7th, Hunti was officially with me!
To be continued as we move on into new adventures! Scroll down…
PS: Too bad the previous owners refused to be contacted by me – I would have loved to find out more about Hunti’s history, habits, preferences, dislikes, favorite food, regular food, schedules, medical history… It would have helped to make it easier for him to start his new life! But anyway – it will be even more fun, to find out myself… 😉
A big thank you to my friend Michael Rusam, who helped making this happen and who opened his doors for us to get through the first days. Danke Micha !! We arrived at Micha’s house, after an uneventful 45min drive and a looong walk. I was quite nervous (but not really worried…), how Hunti would behave in the loft-apartment. Micha was not even there when we arrived! As innocent and curious as Hunter is, he immediately went into the inspection of the place, which has been visited by dogs (including Camots) before. Since he is always hungry and pretending he hasn’t been fed for weeks… I thought that he would immediately declare the kitchen his self-serve restaurant and watched him like a hawk. He tried but immediately stopped when reminded to behave. Eventually he settled in and fell asleep: too much going on…. 😉 After another short walk before midnight he went night night and was neither seen nor heard until the next morning – for his pre-breakfast walk.
Later that day, he pulled his first stunt… We went on a long walk with Micha in a remote, quiet, agricultural area and decided to let him roam free. It was no problem until he discovered the car of young couple who must also have tried to find a quiet place. The driver door was open, the guy outside – so Hunti jumped on the driver seat, gave the girl a big kiss and escaped (the arriving me…) to the back-seat. I was so embarrassed… But the kids were just laughing and admiring his appearance.
The next day, I had to do some food-shopping. Hunti was in the back of the van and I considered him (and the van…) safe like this. There was no issue when I returned with two shopping bags full of food – and I stored them in front of the co-driver seat. On we went to the next stop, where I left Hunti for less then 10 minutes. When I returned – we was upside down on the co-driver seat, his head digging deep into the shopping bags – savouring some fresh eggs and distributing them all over the driver cabin… his mistake: now there is a metal-profile blocking his access to the front of the van… 😉
A few days later, we went back to the shelter, to get the paperwork done. Hunti had such a good time there and with the family and all the other animals, that he is always happy to go back. And who wouldn’t?? The whole place is so full of live and positive vibes that it is hard to resist it’s charm. Being there feels a bit like you never want o leave – and a few times I asked myself if it would be good to take Hunti away from there… ;-). It’s great to know that we are always welcome – so the “goodbyes” are never for ever!
>>the next chapter: the first three weeks<<