Our site here was still relatively unknown when we got a call from the TH. A nurse called and asked if there were any places available. When Moni said yes he told us about his problem child. It was a Rottweiler male, 9 years old, super sweet, but physically a wreck.

 The poor devil had been locked up in his kennel for years and had not left it all these years. Accordingly he had no muscles at all, endless joint problems and could hardly walk. A mediation seemed impossible and a euthanasia was considered to spare him at least the stress of the shelter. His keeper had taken Chico into his heart and he was looking for a place where Chico could have a few more nice weeks. After we had clarified that we could not do this for free, the keeper begged his superiors for Chico until they agreed. So Chico travelled to us with his nurse and a driver. Oh God, what had these people done.

Chico staggered more than he ran and collapsed after 10 meters. He was a gorgeous, sugarplum fairy. It was August and people were not very optimistic that he would have his birthday on October 2nd, but Christmas was definitely not going to happen, that was impossible. So, just to be clear. Chico celebrated Christmas with us three times. Chico had huge, cracked calluses in all typical and untypical places. Many of them had burst open, which is why he lost blood where he walked, stood or lay, which might have been one of the reasons for his dizzy gait. So it was necessary to rub these spots several times a day with wound and healing ointment. This in turn was probably unpleasant for him, certainly it hurt him despite all caution, which is why he commented the procedure with blood-curdling gargling. It took a long time until the last "leak" was healed.

The following days after Chico's arrival our orchard was mowed. We raked the grass with wooden rakes and wheelbarrows to the paddock next door where the suckler cows were happy about it. Chico showed himself to be very affectionate. He lay in the grass near us while we raked the grass together. Was a wheelbarrow full so he tried to walk as far as his legs would carry him. After each round he had the opportunity to rest. So the distances he was able to walk became longer and longer. Later we added a second, then a third barrow and changed the rhythm by filling up two barrows first.

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While I, escorted by Chico, emptied the first cart and then the second, Moni filled the third one, which I then emptied together with Chico. Yes, the little guy trained so hard, it was a delight. When all three carts were empty we raked together again which gave Chico the urgently needed break. So the boy has stimulated his muscle development quasi in own initiative. Sure, Moni added green-lipped mussels etc. to the food to support his joints. It was simply a joy to see how the boy fought and became more and more mobile. After the first cautious gassing rounds he showed so much zest for life and begged for bigger rounds. It was wonderful. At peak times he marched almost 2 hours with me, which does not mean that he had no complaints with his bones.
Standing up or lying down was a problem for him and certainly his joints hurt when he walked but his newfound joie de vivre helped him to overcome all this. Chico was a treasure and very soon the darling of all guests. To find out how his skeleton really is and if he could be helped any better we presented Chico at the TiHo in Hannover where a CT was made of his whole body. The leading orthopaedic surgeon there is a kind of confidant for us. After evaluation of all findings he was at a loss. On the basis of the findings there was actually, if one wanted to decide in the sense and for the well-being of the animal, only the immediate euthanasia. Nevertheless, he had this dear fellow in front of him, who despite everything was bubbling with joy of life, he admitted not to bring it over his heart. So Chico was prescribed a long-term pain therapy and we were admonished not to miss the moment when he starts to suffer. So Chico did not only experience his birthday, but also Christmas and the following summer and another birthday was achieved and again it had become winter.
Chico was getting worse and worse in spite of all measures. Even in the isolated kennel with a heated hut he deteriorated visibly. In the upper floor of our house a room was free. The steep wooden stairs, however, were out of question for Chico. The whole late summer I had been digging outside, 300 running meters of metal fence in 2,20m height had been put up and I was quite exhausted. It didn't help, an elevator had to be built, immediately and quickly. With the professional help of our friend Hartmut, an ingenious master locksmith from the neighbouring village, the project was realised according to my ideas. During the work the crazy idea came up to give Chico the move into the house for Christmas. Phew, now stress came up.

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Harmut gave everything and was finished with the welding work on 23.12. On 24.12. my alarm clock rang at 2 o'clock in the night. Around 2.30 I started to prime the corresponding parts of the elevator. On Christmas Eve at about 10 pm the paint was applied. On Christmas Day, early at about 6 o'clock, the work continued. I was afraid that the paint had not yet dried. The work did not become more pleasant with it. Anyway, eyes closed and through. A huge advantage is our residential area here. Where else could I have cut the floor slab for the car with a circular saw at 7 am on Christmas Day? Around 10 o'clock dear friends came to visit.

They wanted to be part of Chico's move, see it for themselves. So Herbert helped me to screw the walls in the car. At 2:15 p.m. Ready message. Chico was taken out of his kennel, went for a pee-pee across the meadow and upstairs. He was probably sceptical, but he trusted us and landed in his new realm, where he was welcomed with many treats by our friends and me. He immediately took the foldable hut in his room and yes, if he had a display on his forehead the writing "I like" would have flashed.

To see those shining eyes, that was worth the trouble. Thanks again to Hartmut, the master locksmith. Also on Sundays he welded for 10 hours to make the Christmas miracle possible. Unfortunately, Hartmut fell down dead at the age of only 57 while working next to a combine harvester. We miss him very much as a person, as a friend. As a craftsman, this exceptional talent is irreplaceable and has left a gap that cannot be filled for a large number of customers.

Chico has enjoyed his new life to the fullest and celebrated his birthday again on 2.10. However, as autumn progressed, Chico gradually diminished. Apparently the enormous forces that the little fighter had mobilized through joy, sometimes even euphoria and incredible willpower were gradually used up. Getting up became more difficult, walking less. In the 2nd half of November it went so suddenly that he could hardly move at all. With painkillers and other therapeutic measures he got himself back on his feet, but he was no longer the same. It became Christmas and we spent the 3rd Christmas with Chico. However, it could no longer be denied that it would probably be the last Christmas together. New Year's Eve Chico also spent with us. When I came to his room on the 1st of January in the morning he could not even lift his head. So the year began with great sadness, Chico went over the rainbow.