Mild as it’s been, enjoying late autumn

 

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Louis the boy dog at Lake Starnberg in Upper Bavaria

It’s been mild, we get it. November was rather warm here in Munich, and there hasn’t been much sunlight. It’s a good time to hole up and read. Or write.

However, when you’ve got dogs, there’s only so long you can stay inside. I’ve tried to convince the hounds to take themselves out, but they seem to appreciate my company. So outside we go.

The above photo was taken at Lake Starnberg a few weeks ago, and what a gorgeous day that was. There’ve been plenty of those lately.

Why am I throwing in a photo of Louis and not much else? Well, a little while ago, I wrote Once you get a taste of The Daily Argus, you can’t get enough. It got plenty of attention, and I even got a nice comment from the people over at The Daily Argus.

Here’s exactly what was said:

Hi Ken! Thanks so much for your kind words about Argus. We’d LOVE to see posts about Ella & Louis. Let us know if you ever come to Austin and we can get the pups together. I’d love to hear about living in Munich, also. We’ve traveled extensively but haven’t been anywhere in Germany yet – Munich is high on our list. Cheers!

Looks like we’ve got new Vizsla friends. If you’ve not yet been there, take a look at The Daily Argus. Good stuff.

I’ll leave you with a nice shot of a snail I got the other day:

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Once you get a taste of The Daily Argus, you can’t get enough

This YouTube video made my day, and I was already having a rather good one to begin with. A good day, that is. It’s a Vizsla trying to get a Tater Tot…the YouTube blurb says that after the taping, Argus eventually got the object of his desire. Heart warming, eh?

You know this is my favourite breed, right? I haven’t blogged about them in a good long while, but I’ve got sister and brother Hungarian Vizslas called Ella and Louis.

They are the centre of my world. It’s hard to describe how much joy they bring me daily. I had a friend in college, whose mother was Hungarian, and the family had a Vizsla boy dog. He was such a sweet and intelligent hound.

My family growing up always rescued dogs from animal shelters, and I continue to think that adoption is normally the best option for house pets. However, when I met that first Vizsla more than 20 years ago, I vowed that one day I’d have one of these dogs.

And what a joy it’s been.

So, after seeing the above video with dear Argus, I was thrilled to learn he’s even got his one blog. Can you believe it? Look, here it is:

The Daily Argus

Isn’t that delightful. And they’re even in Austin, which is one of my old stomping grounds. Wonder if I’ll run into Argus when I’m back over there visiting family at some point.

This reminds me: For years, I’ve considered writing some sort of fiction (or nonfiction even) with Ella and Louis as either the subjects or the main characters. I’ve got so many photos of them from when they were puppies, as well as throughout their lives, and even up to just last week. Endless photos, I’m telling you. Doesn’t matter how many I’ve taken of them wrestling and posing and panting, I can’t seem to get enough.

Is that something you think people would be interested in? Stories of Ella and her slightly slower brother Louis? Would you read that?

There have always been some people who follow me online just to see more photos of these gorgeous dogs. Well, here’s one for the likes of you:

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Much younger Ella and Louis basking in the sunlight

Oh, by the way. Thanks again to Argus for giving me a reason to blog about my favourite dogs. That video with the Tater Tot showed perseverance, didn’t it?

licking her lips atop the ‘sea mountain head’

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How did we get up here?

It was the first hike of the season last weekend, and it took me this long to upload the photos. Ella and Louis look rather regal, don’t they?

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The church in the middle of the village.

We took the train to Bayrischzell, which is an area of Upper Bavaria we know quite well. We’ve hiked here often. Sitting in the square before we began our way up the mountain, the dogs wondered what was taking us so long. Here we go…

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Bayrischzell from above.

Since we hadn’t hiked yet this year, I had to stop for relatively frequent breaks. I took the opportunity to snap a photo of the village on the way up. The dogs could’ve run on without any pause.

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‘Why do we have to stop?’

The mountain in the background is Rotwand (‘red wall’), which we’ve climbed in years past. Maybe that’s in our near future, as well.

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Aggressive bovine activity.

These cows might look friendly enough, but they were anything but. We’ve actually been chased off of a mountain by aggressive bovine activity in the past. Not a pretty sight.

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Ella licking her lips atop the Seeberghof at the moment of arrival.

This is the girl dog atop the Seebergkopf (‘sea mountain head‘). Her brother tires after about 6 or 7 hours of hiking and has to lay down, but I’ve never found Ella‘s limit. She doesn’t stop wanting to hike. Ever.

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Louis at the train station on the way home.

For some reason, I’ve always liked old train stations. The one in Bayrischzell is no exception. It wasn’t the longest hike, but it’s good to ease into the hiking season slowly. Well, for me, anyway. The dogs were ready to climb another mountain that very day.

 

 

 

 

the best red dogs on the planet turn eight today!

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doing what they love most…Ella and Louis will definitely spar like this at some point on their birthday

On 13 January 2005 the best red dogs on the planet were born. I went into detail about all this last year at the same time, but I just wanted to share this photo. If I let myself, I’d blog about their love and what an honour it is to take care of them on a daily basis.

My heart doubles in size when I see Ella and Louis playing. These dogs have quite simply been the single most reliable thing over the last several years.

Am thrilled that photos of them bring joy to so many people I know only from the internet. I’ve been using the hashtag #EllaandLouis for a while over at twitter if you’d like a sampling of the joy they bring. Have at it.

thanks Ralf for saving my Christmas

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Louis is not doing a yoga pose…NO, he’s not

Yesterday was Christmas Day, and all was going relatively well until my boy dog Louis decided to disappear. It was quite honestly the most terrifying half hour I could imagine, because he’s not one to wander off.

His sister Ella, on the other hand, regularly runs off when we’re hiking in the mountains, but she’s smart enough to come back. Eventually. As much as it scares me when she does it, she’s clever. She’s able to find her way back.

Her brother Louis? Is he clever like his female counterpart? Uh, well.

He’s got a great personality – he’s earnest and takes defending us quite seriously. I promise you he’s got his better qualities, but intelligence isn’t something he was blessed with. I’m not being cruel – he really is a bit dim.

So when I turned round and he’s gone, I wasn’t pleased. I was the opposite of pleased. Ella was concerned, but to be candid she takes everything a bit too seriously, so I assured her that her brother would be back soon enough. After a few minutes of whistling and hollering his name, I was no longer able to feign calmness.

She and I switched positions, and she began assuring me that he’d soon be found. Everything would be ok. Right?

I wasn’t quite sure.

Now, if I wanted to build suspense and make this a decent piece of writing, I might draw it out. I could go into excruciating detail and describe my emotional spiral in a blow by blow manner, but I simply can’t bring myself to do that. It’s not somewhere I’m prepared to go with this.

What I’d rather do is make yet another plea that you hold those you love closer to you during the holidays. If you come here regularly, you know it’s one of my regular themes. Savour what you’ve got while it’s there. Don’t wait till you lose someone or something to appreciate it. Really.

My family in America seems to be doing rather well. Every time I talk to my brother’s children, my heart hurts a little that I’m not there more often. They love their Uncle Ken, and I wish I could corrupt them in person and not just via Skype. At some point in the last month I realised that if I needed a character reference, my niece Amelia would be my best bet.

Go ahead, ask her. What does she think of her uncle? The one who lives in Germany and always brings her a Dirndl or a nice bit of Swiss chocolate? If only that reference could help me get a better job or help me find a flat…

But then I realise, when I have that kind of high quality character reference, what else do I need? If this particular eight-year-old is properly impressed, why am I worried about little things like a place to live or a more stable source of income? Her mom Sara told me while we were on the phone last night, ‘Well, you could always come live here.

With Ella and Louis and all the contents of my tea cupboard?

I don’t think Amelia would think I was so great if she had to live near me on a regular basis. All things in moderation – even moderation.

Hug your people. Tell them you love them.

Savour this life. It’s precious. It really is the only one you’ve got.

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Louis and his stare…where did you run off to sweet boy dog?

Did his sister and I eventually find the ridiculous boy dog? Yes, of course we did. He was being cared for by a very kind family that had dogs of their own. Ralf was the guy’s name, and he and his family had him in the boot of their car. They were patiently waiting for Louis‘ people to come wandering along, and eventually we did.

Wish I could say I didn’t get emotional and cry a little, but I’d be lying if I tried to appear more strong and/or silent. There were tears, and maybe a bit of hugging. I’m not sure if the family knew what they were getting into when they decided to take care of Louis, and after my blubbering display I’m not sure they’d do it again.

Wherever Ralf is, I hope he knows he saved our Christmas.

Ella and Louis are now sleeping peacefully and all is right with the world. It really is going to be ok.

all for the love of dog

Ella and Louis on the U-Bahn in Munich

Ella and Louis on the U-Bahn in Munich

Have been searching for a new flat, and in Munich that’s not an easy task. It’s like a full-time job, and I’ve already got one of those. Well, sort of.

So, the biggest impediment when it comes to finding a place, aside from the fact that Munich is completely saturated, is my two dogs. Ella and Louis mean the world to me, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Oy, is it not easy.

While I look for a place, the dogs are at the sitter. They love it there, but it’s not easy for me to have them there. I want them with me. Full stop.

Yesterday, I found a hotel that allowed dogs, rented a room, and spent the night with my little family. It was heaven.

Here’s how they greet me when I pick them up from the sitter. Enjoy:

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Don’t ask me what I’m thinking…I won’t tell you.

Recently took a day trip to Austria.

Whenever I travel without my dogs Ella and Louis, I stop and admire other dogs. It’s not something I can control.

Have always liked dogs. Because mine aren’t with me, I live vicariously through other dog owners. It’s a weakness.

This dog breed is Japanese.

Great dogs.

Very stubborn.

Unlike my dogs, not that interested in other people.

His owner he loves.

Anyone else? Not so much.

I wish he’d tell me what he thought. Or what he’s thinking.

Oh well.