Wolfdog - the best friend of man

By: Romana ("Rona") Paszkowska

We haven't bought our Czechoslovakian Wolfdog from any breeder. Our dog has never been presented at any dog show, and what's more – for 10 years we didn't even know that she probably was a pedigree dog. However, we've always felt that she was an extraordinary creature that suddenly, out of blue, appeared on our way as a prize for God knows what....

Rona and CheyAlmost 11 years ago it was Tina who found us when we were returning from a walk in the park. She was very young, about 4-5 weeks old, skinny, weak and unbelievably dirty. She must have been strolling around and searching for food in dust- bins. She simply selected our "pack", joined it and followed us wagging happily her little tail. When we reached a busy street my husband took her and carried home, where we gave her a bath, some food and she stayed with us for good.

She stayed with us against common sense – we lived in a flat in the centre of a big city, worked long hours, our kids spent much time at school. During the week Tina had to stay long hours at home on her own. Only during the weekends she had a ‘walking heaven'.

My husband is a geologist, at that time he did a lot of fieldwork and often took her for excursions and expeditions. TinaI suppose she hasn't been unhappy with us, though probably would be happier if we lived in a house with a garden or in the country. For many years Tina was taken for a mix of an Alsatian and Husky. Very often people in the street admired her wolfish beauty, warm-heartedness and expressively demonstrated joy of life. She is exceptionally friendly and behaves as if she loved the whole world. This feature does not fit the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog profile, but maybe she remembers that thanks to her friendliness she found a family? Or maybe due to this trait she had lost her first home?

But I have to admit that her warm nature has its good sides. Once I was walking her late at night in an empty street when suddenly I saw a group of suspiciously looking young men coming form the opposite direction. I felt rather scared, since Tina had never been trained to act as a defense dog. But our bright pet welcomed the muggers with such enthusiasm, wagged her tail, kissed them with affection, etc. so that they were instantly disarmed by the fantastic dog that ‘is able recognize good people' as they put it... It seems it was her precisely designed strategic plan which would probably not let her win a defense-dog show, but was amazingly successful..

About a year ago I met a lady with a dog that looked exactly like Tina. Amazed, I started a conversation with her and learnt about the existence of Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs. Later I found a Wolfdog webpage and read the description of the breed, which Tina fit almost perfectly. To my surprise, in the gallery I saw hundreds of almost identical dogs. I must admit I had rather mixed feelings because by that time I used to think that Tina was a unique creature! On the basis of the photos Margo assessed Tina as a wolfdog of an older type, which was later confirmed by a vet, a breed -expert.

It has never mattered to us if Tina is a pedigree dog or not. We know that the whole pedigree dog business: dog shows, kennel clubs, herd-books, etc. has its sense and we don't want to question this, but neither my husband, nor I have ever felt like participating in such events. Even when I had a very nobly born dachshund, of which one could say that when he walked "his breed preceded and followed him" but I also have to admit that finding out Tina's probable roots helped us a lot understand her soul and character, especially those features which did not fit ordinary dogs.

What is our Tina like? She has greyish coat and is really beautiful, full of girlish charm. She is bright –learns new things very quickly, even at later age. She is rather obedient but we always know when she disagrees with us. When somebody tries to break her will she becomes as stubborn as a donkey and ignores him politely, like a princess. However, we haven't had any serious conflicts with her for several years now. We learned how to respect her individuality and in return she tries to follow our principles. She doesn't have a definite pack-leader – rather treats my husband and me as ‘alpha couple' She's placed herself between our son, whom she admires and the daughter whom she loves dearly but looks down on, though just a little bit.

Tina moves like a true wolf and is very lightly- footed. She looks very wild when running and leaves an almost single- line trace. TinaEven today at the age of 11, she has incredible amount of energy. Like a wild beast, she has a ‘sports heart', that beats at normal speed only when the dog runs, jumps, swims, carries logs, etc. On holidays in the mountains she was several times taken for a wolf. Once she almost lost her life when a brave young man attacked her with a knife in an attempt to defend his girlfriend against a "wild beast" that was affectionally wagging her tail. Since then Tina always wears a red scarf when running in a an open space, so that everyone sees from a distance that she's a domesticated animal. She's able to run many kilometers by a bike, and after a short nap is ready to continue her efforts. She doesn't fear the height, climbs rocky slopes, easily approaches precipices in quarries, precedes her master when entering dark caves, omits obstacles in a very intelligent ways showing her ability to think strategically and anticipate dangers. But most of all she loves water – swims in every water basin she comes across, sometimes jumps into a river and dives. Nobody has ever taught her that – this is just her nature.

Tina couldn't bark by the time she was around two years old. She barks now only when she stays at home on her own and watches the household. When she wants to communicate us something she would rather moan. She howls like a wolf when she is worried and hysterically fears storms and fireworks – New Year's Eve is a real nightmare for her. She usually behaves very fairly. When she feels like taking something from a plate which lies on a table in an empty kitchen she first comes and tries to pass on the message. If we do not understand her, she helps herself, but immediately takes the blame on her and goes to a dark bathroom, where she stays for some time, until we "forgive" her the crime. .... To our surprise we found out that our dog had conscience, or sense of morality – when she was a puppy and broke the rules we used to punish her by depriving her of our company for 10-15 minutes. It happens sometimes that on coming home we find miserably looking Tina in the bathroom, waiting for the "forgiving ritual" – and we even don't know her sins!

She loves working – fetching slippers, carrying umbrellas, newspapers, letters, dragging sticks and logs... In these moments she feels handy and very proud of herself, raises her tail and wags it triumphantly waiting for our praises. She sleeps in an armchair close to our bed. But strangely enough she follows a ritual which she imposed on herself years ago: only when we turn the light off she opens our bedroom door sits at out bed and moans loudly until we both agree to her jumping in the armchair. Sometimes her good manners drive us mad, especially when one of us falls deeply asleep and has to wake up and produce the spell ‘up the armchair', just to please our over-polite dog.

Tina 13 årTina fyller 13

She is extremely unhappy when her family disperses. Whenever she sees bags or suitcases she becomes very upset. When the person returns she shows how cross she feels about the disappearance by not "talking" to him for a day or two. When somebody in the family has a problem or feels low, Tina comes to him, lies close or puts her head on his lap as if she wanted to say ‘Don't forget that you've got me' – just like a good friend does, without nagging or asking for attention. When she came to live with us she understood some simple commands, like sit, lay, give a paw – which was rather unusual for such a young puppy. Someone must have put a lot of effort to teach her all that. She was also trained to stay in her place when people eat their meal at the table. She still follows this rule even though nobody requires her to do so any more. My friend says that Tina is so much lady-like that she would show her class even when living in a scrap- heap.

 

We think with anxiety of the passing time. People in the street still comment ‘A young dog, isn't she?" Tina's wolf-like, greyish coat masks her age, she is happy and her eyes are full of life. But the, so far, excellent health has recently been slightly getting worse: she had to have her tooth extracted, last winter she coughed for a couple of months, strange bumps appear on her body... Can we call our relationship with Tina friendship? I think it's more than that.

Somebody who has never had a dog will never understand this specific relation. One feels, and perhaps even is, a better person because he looks after a living creature, but receives in return so much affection, unconditioned acceptance, love and faithfulness, that it is difficult to compare it to any other relationship.

Tinas 14. vinter Tinas 14. vinter

I used to have other dogs before, but I must admit that the relationship with a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is still different, due to the element of partnership that it involves. The wolfdog has something wild, unpredictable– a kind of internal freedom, which cannot be compared with e.g. the mere stubbornness of a dachshund . .... The wolfdog follows the rules only when it feels like doing so and considers it right and proper. Sometimes I feel that Tina allows us to do certain things to her, such as brush her teeth, give her a bath, or patiently waits for us outside the shop with an expression on her face saying "OK guys, let it be your way this time, but don't think that I will let you go away without a prize for my patience". And she surly wouldn't let us forget our debt.

On the Wolfdog webpage there are many stories of wolfdogs ‘from': from Molu Es, from Peronówka, etc. etc. I wanted to tell you a story about Tina without any "from" – a true orphan, without any documents, famous ancestors, brothers or sisters, without a family history (a mongrel, as Pavel puts it), though with a very noble looks and exceptionally visible wolfdog's soul . A story of Tina, who for us, our children, friends and neighbours will remain the top champion of all the dog's shows which she has never taken part in..

TinaBut seriously speaking – I can't even imagine what our life will look like when I wake up in the morning and will not be able to say ‘Hi Tina' and our sleepy dog will not wag her tail lazily and show her teeth in her wolfish smile.... So we keep enjoying every day spent with her, because she is a dog with an extraordinary personality and extremely good- natured. She is a good dog, but not in the meaning ‘obedient', but in the sense which is used when speaking about good, kind-hearted people...

I send my deep regards to all Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, those of noble breed and those without "papers" and to their respectable owners.

Rona (Poland)

Epilogue by Webmaster:

Wednesday 2nd of August 2007 Tina passed the Rainbow Bridge..