A report by Renate Brünggel on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the kennel
In 1995, friends living near Nürnberg who already had an elderly Kuvasz bitch decided to buy a puppy. Visiting their place we discussed the idea and their decision fell for a Kuvasz puppy from the kennel "Vom Quecksilber".
Nadiza joined them the same year. Our friends and family Hellinger got on well with each other immediately and became friends. Of course, family Hellinger, their dogs and their way of dog keeping were a recurring subject, when we met or phoned. Their ears must have been burning, because all of a sudden Marina told me that I was invited to a "Kesselgulasch" dinner by family Hellinger.
One day I would go there, I decided. 1997 was a turbulent year (we opened our bookshop) and holidays were not an option. Still I wanted to take at least a few days off. So my friends from Nürnberg, my girl-friend Anita and me planned to meet in October in the "Eifel", at Hellinger's place. The plan worked out.
All excited we looked out for their house in Dünfus. An old rebuilt half-timbered farmhouse ("Fachwerkbauernhaus") with a closed courtyard in the midth of the village. The sound of the doorbell was answered by loud barks coming from several dogs. When Mrs. Hellinger opened the gate, three Kuvaszok first controlled, then welcomed us. At that time Hellingers were living with eight dogs (four males and four bitches). I had never seen anything like that before.
The former stable has been rebuilt to real rooms, including a kitchen to prepare the dog food. Each dog has its own basket (blue with a red vetbed). Each room has a door either going to the courtyard or to the garden. In the garden, leading around the walnuttree, there was a sand path, joint- and paw-friendly and inviting to chases. As large as comfortable, the kennel facilities were really exquisite. I was overwhelmed. And in spite of the generous facilities, the dogs are allowed to come into the house. They live together with the family.
We spent a long and pleasant evening. The next day, we went on a shopping tour in "Hellinger's Dog Shop", buying loads of stuff for our dogs. On our way home Anita and me agreed that such a commitment and attitude was extraordinary. This was an ideal place for puppies. From then on I kept the contact, phoning or writing letters. One day my girl friend and me (my husband had to work) went to Nürnberg for some days. In the evening we called Mariette for a chat. Since Dojan was always slightly troubled by the fireworks on the 1st of August and because Hellingers had a litter at that time, Mariette spontaneously invited us to come and visit them for some days in August. We happily agreed to come.
In Juni 1998, Dojan died unexpectedly. Having got over the the first shock I called Mariette, explained my situation and asked for a puppy. In Juli the day had come. We drove there and chose Pamir. From that day on, Hellingers called him "Mister Grüezi" (the Swiss expression for hello). Visiting them when there were puppies running around (a litter of seven puppies) was even nicer. The puppies behaviour was trusting and open.
I still don't understand why the two kennels have doors. They were always open and the puppies could move in and out as they wish. In absence of the mother dog, an uncle or an aunt took care of them. Because of the pet food shop there's a lot of coming and going, providing many chances for social contacts. Still each litter is taken out into the country side in the car. Early in their life the puppies learn that the world doesn't end at the garden gate. Stephan and Mariette Hellinger's commitment to the Kuvasz is enormous and each of their eight dogs has a very special place in the family.
Since 1982, Renate Brünggel, KAH Vice President (KAH, Klub ausländischer Hirtenhunde, Switzerland) and breeding commissioner ("Zuchtwartin"), is training dogs using non-violent state-of-the-art methods (for example the Ekard Lind way of training dogs).