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vom 11.12.2005

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My First Sloughi

by Anne Sasson

Deutsche Version

from lefti: Irkan, I'Kashem and Iqbal Rafik el Amen (photo: Eberhardt)
First trip to Berlin (photo: Sasson)
Taariq and I'Kashem (photo: Sasson)
The daily run (photo: Sasson)
On Tour (photo: Sasson)
I'Kashem in Dresden (photo: Eberhardt)

Kashem is not only my first Sloughi, Kashem is also my first dog. He didn't come unexpected, though sooner han planned. It was a well and much considered decision, on which I tried to think about everything, though I knew it was impossible. Kashem would show me what the life with a dog looks like. A statement, I was right at my rate!

But back to the spring of 2004, when the story started, and Kashem was not even borne. A dog should have enriched our lives, but which one? As we felt very well with the Whippet, which belonged to a good friend of ours, it was soon clear, a Sighthound should move in with us. Then I watched a programme on TV about Sloughis, was fascinated, thought shortly about my own Morrocan origin and set on my way to look for our whelp. It can happen so fast and so simply. However, first I spent many hours in the Internet, looked at different Sloughis from America to Italy, searched the French pages and naturally I loked at the German Breeders. I began to make out differences among the dogs and developed a kind of special liking for a little "bulkier" more original Sloughis. And in June the moment has arrived, the first litter should come by Rafik El Amen at the end of the month.

I didn't give away it to anybody, though I was very excited, when the date of bringing forth the young approached. I crept unobtrusively around the Internet-page of Rafik El Amen, until they - at last arrived! The four weeks before my first visit were endless and so was the journey by train through the whole Rep blic of Germany that at last I could see the puppies. Meanwhile I think I have passed the "Test" and Stephan and Oliver were obviously convinced, that I would take up the challenge bravely, to make a Sloughi as my first dog happy. And all of a sudden I had to decide very quickly: the brave, cool "Grabowski" - as Kashem's temporary name was -should, being 9 weeks old, conquer the metropolis, and for this you will need good nerves. That Kashem will take it with the needed calmness one could see it immediate at the long car ride from Künzelsau to Berlin. He simply slept the ent journey. On the Autobahn car park he granted himself a refreshment, stretched his legs and then dreamt on on the back seat. From now on he took every hurdle with bravado, he let pass the noisy bus and the frightening dustcart very soon, ran over awkward bars and impressing moving staircase into the noisy underground. Soon he didn't glance at the rolling trunks and the crying baby carriages, gave not more than just a boring look, barked at the dark umbrellas and threatening people with mysterious hood-shaped caps a little longer, but all of this is over.

Kashem's passion was aimed at other dogs from the beginning. As he runs in the Grunewald (Berliners will know him, some dogowners are even afraid of him) without a lead, he meets many more dogs than somewhere else, also without a lead. Small dogs, young, old, light, dark dogs, Kashem doesn't care. Every one is properly greeted and invited for playing. We people hardly had a chance at first. How much greedy as he is, no gingerbread, no tasty turkey-sausage, no date in the world could convince him to return to us, for his dog-friends were so exciting. And there was also a sweet little dog with his smooth brown eyes and his droop ears! What an idyllic picture, how he was running clumsily and cheerfully behind us, as it seemed like we had disappeared! It warmed the cockles of my heart, when he on his blanket, and as soon as he could struggle onto his sofa, he softly breathed and in his dream sometimes wittily jerked and whined, and then soon he slackened in a deep sigh.

But such a transfigured look shouldn't obscure the sleepless nights, when I didn't know what to do with a coughing whelp. To the emergency service? Or the following morning to the veterinary? How long is he to get chicken and rice, if gets diarrhoea? When should he get antibiotica? On the fifth day? Or on the seventh? Was there a serious illness which should have been treated at once? Surely I couldn't imagine Kashem would whine so loudly and miserably at a little fall, so that I would petrify, as if all his bones were crushed. Read a thousand books, the whole Internet googled through, talked to every human when walking, but I wasn't prepared enough for grief, fear and worry.

Is he growing too fast? Too slowly? Was he only running too much? Don't his joints suffer if he romps around so wildly? And last but not least the despair and helplessness that I sometimes felt with the breeding, so I accepted every imaginable advice.

Wuff, Kashem announces his presence in the background. Yes, you are right my dog, now you have been with us for one year, and you are the one, who showed me the best way how to take care of you in the last 12 months, what's important for you and what is not (Howl as loudly as you want, you comedian, et least one third of it is for the cat!). You have shown me, how to teach you something, so you will (mostly) have fun doing it. We walk in the woods with pleasure even if it takes a little time, till you run back to me with your flying ears, hanging tongue and an overjoyed look. We stroll along the Kurfürstendamm happily. You sit with us in the beer-garden, you come with us to frien and you choose the softest carpet there, if you are not allowed to climbe on to the couch. You go with us for walking in the Harz and skiing in Switzerland where the romping in the deep snow makes you forget the hour in the cargo-room of the aircraft quickly.You acompany us as an esteemed Copilot on tour and sleep to voices from Capverdia in the Backstage, you are always by us, in the hot Andalusia, in the monastery on Mallorca, and it seems like we have not lived together for 12 months but 12 years.

For the following - at least - 12 years with you, I am looking forward enormously!


On tour (photo: Sasson) In Gstaad (Suisse) (photo: Sasson)
Swimming in Mallorca (photo: Sasson) I'Kashem with 5 weeks (photo: Eberhardt))


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