Elmo came to us as a retired stud dog at the age of 7 years. He was the uncle of our Nena, just as beautiful and actually just as sweet as she was, although in terms of self-confidence he was ahead of his niece by classes.

Elmo moved in with us after we had to let my beloved Balu go over the rainbow. Nena suffered so much from the loss, because for the first time in her life she was without the company of a conspecific. Until then Teddy and Enya lived in the kitchen like many a two-legged couple. Enya had the sceptre firmly in her paw and Teddy had nothing to laugh with her, which he probably suffered a little bit from. Nena's grief became so intense after a few days that she started to stop eating. Here a solution had to be found very quickly. We started an experiment: Nena was unhappy because she was alone.

Teddy was not happy either, because the sugar-sweet Enya tyrannized him so. We lured Teddy into the bedroom with Nena and.... could have made the movie Love-Story a' la Rotti. That was love from the first second on. We'd only seen something like that before with Rimo and Ben and never again after that. So, we had solved that problem, the next one followed promptly. Nobody had to bully Enya anymore. She found it so stupid that she refused the food as well as the walk. When we opened the outer door for her to enjoy her free run on the property, she stood up briefly, gave the door an energetic push so that it crashed into the lock. So she was also fatally unhappy with being alone.

So it came that Elmo joined us, Elmo was a splendid boy, 7 years old and was retired as a stud dog. Enya came to life suddenly, but for us the next 3 months should be a hard test. Elmo was not only beautiful, but also self-confident and highly intelligent. Actually a dream dog (which he soon became), if there hadn't been a few peculiarities that brought Monika to the edge of madness. Because he was very social for an uncastrated male, he often shared his kennel with other dogs. The life in the house was completely strange for him. At that time our concern was that our dogs could suffer from a lack of water, so we gave each couple a 20l bucket of water. Apparently Elmo's kennel mates were not as social as he was and had probably always drunk everything away from him.

Elmo discovered the big bucket of water when he arrived and from now on he was eager to empty it as soon as possible. So came then also what had to come with an ex-kennel dog. Not only did he drink a lot, but logically he also got a lot of "acid rain" out of him, as he was used to it all his life, looking for a corner, lifting his leg, opening the sluice and the sewage (in quantities we only knew from our Oldenburg gelding). Very soon the cute guy of mine had the nickname El Flute. Especially the gas stove in the kitchen was his favourite. He conscientiously "signed" it several times a day.

So 4 to 5 times a day Moni had to move the stove away from the wall, wash it and remove the lake landscape underneath. At that time I seriously considered to mount the stove on wheels to make Moni's work easier. It didn't help, we had to ration the water, i.e. let both dogs drink and then put the bucket away for 2 hours etc. as well as other measures. Everything together led to success at some point. In his kennel Elmo had loved to have everything in view from a raised position. In the house he was missing the hut for this. For Elmo it was a piece of cake, from now on the kitchen table as well as the one in the veranda were used as berths. Extremely "spiky" tablecloths soon spoiled these places for him. Elmo was, as already mentioned, very intelligent and also extremely curious. Life in the house was full of exciting new discoveries. When Monika opened a cupboard door, Elmo's head disappeared in it before she could reach in herself.

He must have thought the cupboards were stupid, at least he was done with them in no time. So one "round" per cupboard was enough for him. But it was different with the refrigerator. The two seemed to have made a secret pact. No matter how many times we listened, we were never able to listen to how the fridge/freezer combination lured Elmo to his place and opened its doors in front of him. So it happened that one morning I came into the kitchen and only the empty packaging of our bread was left in front of the open fridge. Monika took care and evacuated our egg stock of about 50 eggs. The next day I almost contacted the kitchen floor with my face, it was as smooth as glass. What had happened? The refrigerator had once again seduced the completely innocent Elmo and persuaded the poor guy to take a full litre bottle of cooking oil from the door compartment, pour it out on the kitchen floor and then lick it up neatly. First and foremost I was afraid for Elmo's well-being. At least he had to be sick to his stomach, he had to have/get stomach ache and diarrhoea.

None of this scenario was true. Elmo was alert and followed my cleaning activities attentively with his beautiful beady eyes and of course he did not forget to grope through the mess at least 30 times. All this happened at a time when we were so badly off financially that we were afraid every month that we would lose our roof over our heads because no buyer wanted to find a buyer for our house in NRW, so we had 2 construction loans to pay and in return Monika had become disabled after a collapse/heart surgery. I have to mention these circumstances here so that we can think about the consequences of the next episode. For us it is by no means disreputable to buy discounted MHD-goods from discounters.

So it happened that I returned home proudly from the purchase of MHD bread toppings, including a package of cooked ham. Full of anticipation I wanted to open it the next day for breakfast, but then Moni's veto came. She had not been told that she had won the lottery, but in view of our situation it would be better to freeze the boiled ham and prepare a casserole with it from time to time. Disappointed, the package disappeared in the freezer compartment of the fridge/freezer combination next to the kitchen table, Elmo too. One or two days later Moni and I had some work to do on the lawn in front of the kitchen window.

Today I don't know what I wanted to get out of the kitchen when I took my breath away when I entered the kitchen, laughing about the same scene in a Disney movie. The door of the freezer compartment was open. On the floor was a torn open bag of frozen French fries that Enya was nibbling on. On the kitchen table Elmo stood and ate............., oh no(!!!!!!!), the boiled ham. Today we laugh about it, back then we needed a good run-up, but another morning, when all the contents of the fridge had been evacuated, I came into the kitchen and was grinned at again by the open fridge door.

Displeased that the fridge was completely empty, Elmo had torn out all the grills and distributed them in the kitchen, hallway and veranda. It could not go on like this. In the afternoon our refrigerator was presented in a new design. From now on its waist was discreetly accentuated by a lashing strap. Elmo watched with great interest when we babbled and sometimes annoyed when we fiddled the strap open and closed to use the refrigerator. Sometimes I thought I saw a gloating grin on his face. At some point we took this hurdle. Elmos living together with the sweet but bitchy Enya was quite interesting. The self-confident little macho didn't let her bitching around impress him. Teddy had usually chased her away when he wanted to go to her in the cave under the stairs.

Elmo was not impressed by this at all, but then turned around and simply parked backwards. If Enya hadn't put her head aside fast enough his butt would have landed on it. To the silent observer, this scene always looked like a new production of Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen a` la Rotti. When Elmo got increasingly lame in the 11th year of life because of arthrosis we decided to have a gold acupuncture. Because we wanted to have various additional blood values determined during the usual blood test before the anaesthesia, which the in-house laboratory of the TA could not determine, the TA left the complete blood analysis to the external laboratory to save us the costs of a double examination. That was, as we had to learn, well-intentioned but fatal.

During the procedure we suffered a cardiac arrest which fortunately could be resolved with cardiac massage. The recovery phase lasted unusually long. At home the next day Elmo did not want to eat or go for a walk. We were worried. The day after next Elmo spurred to the gate and indicated that he was ready to go for a walk. Overjoyed, I went off with him and Enya and was happy about every detour he showed us. Back home he ate with a big appetite, the world was alright again. All the bigger was the shock the following morning when Elmo didn't greet him as usual when entering the kitchen because he was lying on the veranda. He was........ dead. It was Sunday. On Monday we contacted the vet who was totally shocked.

On Tuesday we got the blood results by fax and a call from the vet. The blood values showed that Elmo had suffered from a kidney failure, which was not known to us and therefore his body could not stand the anesthesia. We all meant well. If we hadn't tried to take away his pain and save the vet money, the story would probably have been different. Since then none of our furry kids gets an anesthesia without having the corresponding blood values determined before.