Andréa Conrad, Paco und Timber. Who are we?

Well, this is Paco

He is a cross-breed of German Sheppherd and some other breed. He was brought to an animal's shelter in Giessen (Germany), when he was a puppy. After that, a 75 year old lady took him home with her.Some months later, she brought him back to the animal's shelter, because he had gotten too big and too strong for her. That's what she told the shelter's employees: "He destroyed my garden.".

On the next pages, you are going to see what kind of things Paco is capable of learning. He must have been bored to death living with this elderly lady. Of course, a dog starts to look for some relief to his boredom and starts looking himself for things to do, like for example destroying the garden.

And now I'm coming into the story

Since I work for a living, I always thought I'd never be able to have a dog. But that was before a friend of mine told me about "dog sitting". From that moment on, I started seriously thinking about getting myself a dog. I had been working from home 3 days a week for the last couple of years and my dog would only to spend two days a week at his dog sitter's. So my husband and I drove to the animal's shelter in Giessen to have a look at the dogs and see if we could find one for us. I actually wanted a puppy and, as to the breed, I wanted to have some boxer-mix. Since I had a very detailed idea about what my dog was going to look like, I guess I'd have passed by Paco, withouth having given him a second glance. He simply wasn't the kind of dog I was looking for. However, my husband saw Paco's brother (Pogo), who also lived in the shelter in an outside area. My husband said: "He is very beautiful!". And he was really very beautiful, but there was no spark of sympathy between him and me, when I looked at him. In my opininon, there has to be an immediate emotional connection between the person and the dog. Otherwise, it's not the right dog. But my husband wanted to take Pogo for wallk and he asked one of the shelter's emplyees, if we could go out with him. She replied: "Have you seen his brother, yet? He is in there." And then we saw Paco for the first tim. He was 9 months old and he was already almost as big as now. And I found him so sweet!

For a whole month, I drove almost very day to the shelter and took Paco for a wallk to get to know him. I wanted to be totally sure, that he was the right dog for me. At the end, I took him home, knowing fully well that he was the wrong dog for me. Paco was then 10 months old. He was one wild dog, who only knew his name and the word "SIT", because that's what he had to do to get treats from the people that visited the shelter. I'd had a dog for 14 years, but that one had a been a very calm dog. I had to experience with such a dog as Paco. Besides, he was much stronger than I and I couldn't really stop him, if he decided to go anywhere. But my heart spoke louder than my brain. I felt sorry for the "poor dog" living in the shelter and I decided I wanted him.

On Jund 19, 2003 Paco came home with us. When we drove to the shelter to pick him up, I was worried that he perhaps wouldn't want to get into our car. That's why we had a secret weapon with us: a toy! We alreday new that Paco was totally crazy for toys. Whe we arrived at our car, as I had expected, Paco came to halt and didn't want to get into the car. So my husband threw the toy on the back sit and there jumped Paco after it without a second a thought. No problem. My husband sat on the back sit with Paco while I drove very slowly (about 20 minutes), because we didn't want to make Paco nervous. But he lay most of the time with his head on my husband's lap. When we arrived home, his first measure was to inspect every single room of our appartment. He really looked behind each door, put his head into the tub, the shower and even into the toilett. After he was finished with his inpection, he went into our living room, laid down on the carpet with sigh and fell asleep. I guess that meant: "Well, it's no palace, but I can live with it.".

The first weeks with Paco (even the first months) were very difficult. Paco and I had to get to know and to love each other. It took time, but nowadays we are everything for each other. What happened to this "team" after this first day, is what you are going to be able to find out on the next pages of our web site.

And then Timber came...

When we had had Paco for about 3 years, I started thinking about getting him a "little brother". First, because Paco loves puppies Second, because I had the impression that Paco was very bored most of the time. I had been able to work from home almost every day of the week for over a year now, but I spent most of the day sitting in front of my computer and Paco looked bored all the time, because I had so little time for him during the day.

So I started looking for a puppy on the Internet. I wanted to have a labrador-mix, because I love the way Labradors behave. My favourite mixes were either LabradorXBorder Collie or LabradorXAustralian Sheppherd. For 2 whole months, I scanned all adds on the Internet looking for my puppy and I found some puppies, that I would have liked to take, but, because of some family matters, it had to coincide with a certain date and, besides, I wanted to take home an 8 week old puppy, to be able to teach him everything from the beginning.

At the beginning of March, 2006, I found a puppy that fulfilled all my crieteria. He was still 5 weeks old and he was a Labrador-mix! Timber is a mix of Labrador and Berneese. Om March 27, 2006, my husband and I picked Timber up near Pforzheim (Germany). The drive home (about 1.5 hours) was terrible for him and the poor thing threw up. Fortunately, I had foresseen this possibility and had a taken a small dog bed with me, which I had filled with baby pampers. So it wasn't that bad for me or for the car.

What surprised us very much was Paco's lack of interest in his new brother. We had expected him to find it wonderful to have a puppy only for him, but he ignored Timber for the first 3 days. Timber tried often to lay down touching Paco, but Paco simply stood up everytime and went out of the room looking very annoyed. At night, Timber slept beside my bed in his little bed on the floor.Paco had always slept in our bedroom until then, but, when Timber came, he started sleeping on the couch in the living room. I started getting very worried that I could have a made a big mistake

However, on the 4th day, something happened that made us sigh with relief. I came down the stairs and saw Paco and Timber playing like mad with each other on the carpet in the living room! When Paco saw me, he stopped playing immediately and came very slowly in my direction, behaving as if he had done something wrong. That's when I understood that he was very unsure, whether he was allowed to play with this puppy or not. On the next days, I always tried to encourage him to play with Timber. Nowadays, they play everyday for more than an hour with each other at home and they also play with each other during our walks. For Timber, Paco is his big brother who he imitates in everything (in bad things, of course, as well). Paco is always looking after Timber and making sure he won't get lost when we go for a walk. For some months, Paco also decided to protect Timber from other dogs, but that's over now. However, Paco hates it, whenever Timber plays with other dogs. He always splits Timber from the other dog and barks very angrily at him. But, since Timber can run much faster than Paco, he uses this situation to run from Paco and have a lot of fun.

Timber was introduced to the clicker, when he was 10 weeks old. We've already started dancing with each. He is a very calm dog and he seems not to be annoyed by the audience or by other dogs while he is dancing. Once he's learned a new move, he performs it everywhere exactly the same way. This is a new experience for me, because Paco gets very nervous whenever anyone is watching us and then many moves don't work very well anymore. The other positive thing about Timber's calmness is the fact that he never barks while dancing. Paco barks almost the whole time.

You will be able to see on our homepage how Timber develops in the next years. I'm very curious, too!