Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Könne-mer mal mache! – Wolfgang Michel (Let’s do it!)
In honor of his birthday, I thought I would list off some of the wonderful things that I cherish in my husband, Wolfgang.
• I love his sense of humor, the silly jokes and how he can laugh at himself. I think we laugh about half of the day. Even if it is mostly silly, it makes the day easier.
• His energy is inspring. He sings every morning while he is making breakfast. He keeps going when I am ready to fall down and sleep. He can wear out anybody I know.
• His ability to dive right in and do things has always amazed me. Just the other day, he tore apart our quad and fixed the transmission. I don’t suppose that is such a great thing till you know he knows virtually nothing about fixing a motor. He just does it. And not only that, he does it and fixes it!
• Wolfgang has done nearly all of the renovations on our house himself. After he laid the antique tiles in our hall, the professional from whom we bought the tiles said he wanted to come by and see how it went and he was impressed with what Wolfgang did. The tiles are not evenly made and you have to adjust the amount of cement that you use for each one. Everyone who visits us comments on the beauty of that floor!
• It seems to me he can play any instrument. He has a diploma in classical guitar and was good enough at it to get lessons with Segovia. He decided to learn cello and when he played on a “student” concert after only six months of lessons, noone believed that he was a beginner. He accompanies my students on their concerts and makes it possible for them to look good because he covers up their mistakes and helps them keep going. And he is my accompanist and puts up with all off my stuff so that we can make music together.
• What is very special to me is how he is willing to grow and learn personally. Some of our best conversations are about how we see ourselves and what we can learn from it.
I am very blessed to share my life with him. Best wishes on your birthday my love. I wish you many more!
Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
― Mark Twain
When we put Weia down, I thought I would never want another dog. She was so special, so much a part of us. But after you have lived with a dog in the house it is hard to live without one and so after about a month, I started looking in the internet for dogs to save. This time however, Wolfgang insisted on getting a puppy, so we found a breeder where the mother dog looked a lot like Weia – there is quite a range of looks in the Kuvasz breed – and we asked if we could be considered for a puppy. Interestingly, because it was the first litter, the breeder wasn’t sure that there would be enough puppies to give out. Usually the first litter is quite small. But “Devina” had 11 puppies in her first litter and after they were about a month old we went and picked one out.
Honestly, I would have taken them all home. Puppies are so cute as they stumble around and snort. I wanted a boy dog but Wolfgang insisted that we get a girl dog. Male Kuvasz dogs can get to over 100 lbs and there was reason to believe that I wouldn’t be able to control him so I agreed. We chose one little puffball called “Antares”, which is also the name of a star. It was very important to the breeder that we got to know the dogs before we picked them up – and also I think that they got to know us, they were very conscientious about making sure that the people who got their dogs would take good care of them -so we came a few times before we took her home and every visit with the whole bunch was a joy.
At the time we got Alja (pronounced AL-ee-ah and means “the Sublime”- we renamed her when we got home, Antares was a man), there was a lot of press about a polar bear cub that had been born in the zoo and we felt like we had our own little polar bear. Her fur is thick and bushy and her black-rimmed brown eyes look black from a distance and the black nose. Her paws were unbelievably soft in the beginning and wide and flat like a bear’s. She loved to play – not typical of the breed – and she was always so excited to see us and everyone else. It was always so cute, at least when she still weighed under 20 lbs.
But she grew up of course. She now weighs around 80 lbs and she still tries to jump up on us and on other people when they come, something we have never been able to cure. We were hoping that she would be different than Weia and get along with other dogs. To achieve that, we have tried to bring her together with other dogs as often as possible. We also take her regularly to a “day pension” for dogs so that she can have time with other dogs and get worn out from playing and we have never had a complaint there. But at home, if another dog walks by even if it is 100 yards away, all hell breaks loose. People who see it are shocked. She is so sweet with people and so aggressive with most dogs. We get lots of tips about what we should do to fix that.
The thing is with Alja nothing has seemed to work. Since she was a puppy, we have taken her to dog trainers. I have watched several Cesar Millan DVDs, I have read several of his books. I have read books about click training, about how to deal with a dominant aggressive dog. We had a private dog trainer who worked with us and Alja for six weeks. When it came to dealing with the aggression, she was shocked and helpless. We paid for two sessions with an expensive certified dog trainer and when she was there, Alja was perfect. The minute she left it was back to ground zero again. As sweet as she is in our four walls, when she gets outside and there are potential dangers to be seen or to be smelled or even to be imagined, she goes berserk. Kuvasz are very territorial and bread to be watch dogs and on top of that Alja is exceptionally “awake” for a dog. When a plane flies over, she stops and watches it go. At every wildlife track in the woods, you can see her go on alert and check it all out. As a result, we also have to really be on the alert. It can sometimes be very tiring.
That all being said, she is still a joy. Her fur is soft life silk velvet and she loves to be cuddled for hours. Alja is a young soul, unlike Weia who was so quiet and peaceful. Alja is full of bounding energy and is still like she was as a puppy, ready to play at the smallest opportunity. I defy anyone to resist her when she stands with her blanket in her mouth and looks at you with those big button eyes. She trusts us completely – at least in the house – you can do anything to her and she doesn’t complain. And when I come home after a whole day of teaching, even at 5 years old she still jumps for joy like I have been gone for ages. She is a wonderful energy in the house and we both adore her. We will do everything in our power to give her a long, healthy and happy life.