How All Started…

In 1992 our family moved to a detached house. We were thinking of keeping a dog especially because our seven-year old son and six-year old daughter wanted to play with it and take it for walks. Soon we got a small brown dog as a present. Her name was Buksi. Of course we wanted a bigger dog, too. At last we decided to have a Bernese Mountain dog, because we liked its natural elegant appearance and peaceful and family-loving character. We also wanted it to keep strangers away from our home. We were planning to buy a puppy from a good and famous kennel and we were thinking about its sex and name, too. In the meantime we rebuilt the fence around our house so that the dog couldn’t escape. We also arranged a good place for it.

As we were planning and thinking about our future dog, something painful happened which made us change our plans. A young couple moved from their detached house to a flat. Consequently they had to sell their loved Bernese Mountain dog. They advertised it in several newspapers but nobody wanted to buy a one and a half year-old dog. People usually want puppies. They found shelter for their dog at their relatives’ house in a nearby village. We thought we should have a look at it… We were shocked when we saw it. The dog’s house was in the sun and it was tied to the corner of the house with a short chain. It was thin, trembling and scared with wide open eyes and wet hairs. In the back garden there was a little short-hair brown dog tied to another dog’s house. The owner explained that he was not really happy to look after a new big dog because he already had one. What’s more the new one didn’t bark, didn’t want to eat the dog’s food bought by the young couple. The man also said that this dog was too big for him. The young couple had no chance to take their dog to another place, because their other relatives already had a Rottweiler dog which didn’t really liked any other dogs. They were also thinking about making it oversleep. The next day we took Elza to our home…

Her life was not easy in her other new home with new people who were strangers for her. She was very afraid of us because she couldn’t trust in people any more. She didn’t dare to come near us. She was just walking around us making big circles when we were asking her to come nearer. She drew away from us when we wanted to stroke. Buksi, our little dog was her only friend. She didn’t even want to eat and bark. Her previous owners (the young couple) visited her after some weeks. She was so happy to see them! She was running playing and rolling all the time. We had never seen her being so happy and relaxed before. As soon as her owners had gone away her happiness was over. She became melancholic and was looking at the gate all the time waiting for her owners to take her away. We often took Elza and Buksi for walks to a field because we wanted her to feel relaxed. She became a bit more carefree there, because she was on a neutral territory. After a while she went nearer and nearer our daughter, who managed to stroke her at last. We had been waiting for this moment for a long time! The next week she let our son go near her. Finally I and my husband were the last ones Elza trusted in. She liked playing but she never initiated the game. She came to us wagging her tail. Two or three months later she started barking at strangers. Half a year later her previous owners visited her again. It was the first time when she didn’t become depressed after they had gone home but we saw some sadness in her eyes. Then the months were going on…

Later Elza become a mother in 1996. She gave birth to Argosz then Barbie, Bella, Bonnie and Baribal were born. She was a very good mother and looked after her puppies very well. A lovely story often comes to my mind about this happy period of her life. Once I heard the puppies barking and growling in the garden. I looked out of the window and saw that they had pulled the covering from the hay. Even the rain didn’t reduce their pleasure in fighting with the covering. I told them not to do that. Elza looked at me for a moment and understood that she had to act immediately. She ordered the puppies too keep away from the hay. After the puppies had all gone up the garden stairs Elza looked at me again as if she asked: „Have I done everything well? Are you satisfied?” Elza even understood our thoughts. She always knew what we expected her to do and she wanted to do all her best for us. She was the member of our family with goodwill and love...

We took her to our weekend plot several times. Once we were planting plants. She was eager to know what we were doing, so she came to us from the lawn to see what we were doing. She saw us going on the path between the plant beds and she was going there too. She was stepping cautiously and did not break and disturb any plants. When she reached the end of the path she raised one of her pawns asking what to do. She was waiting until I continued making the path so that she could go on.

Unfortunately Elza had a very short life. A tumour developed on her hip and she died when she was only seven years old in 2001. Her tomb is in our garden under her favourite willow tree. She is lying on a place where she was playing a lot and was very happy once. Her friend Buksi was buried next to her in 2003. She lived 10 years with us.

Ilona Holes