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A Tribute to Ebby
by Terry Minda
Today would have been Ebby's sixth birthday, her joyful essence taken away from us far too soon. But on the occasion of her birthday, we will celebrate her life by reminiscing the happy times. First you need to know her story.
Margret Meier fell in love with Bouviers in her homeland Germany, and the affair started with her very special love Boris. When he died Margret thought she could never go through the pain of his loss again. It was six years and another country before Margret realized how empty her life without a Bouvier had become. She contacted Boris's kennel, flew to Germany and brought back her puppy Rambo.
Margret owned a very lucrative mattress company at the time, and since she brought Rambo to the warehouse/office every day, some of her friend sand employees fell in love with the breed too. Rambo was about a year old, and Margret decided it was time to get him a companion so she called his breeder again, they had three female litter mates, and she decided to bring them to the USA one for her, and the other two girls for friends who worked with her company.
Margret kept a little female she named Kiki. A friend who was a dog trainer took one of the three black pups and named her Ebony, and the third went to an employee, and he named her Maggie.
It had been quite awhile since Margret had seen Ebony (almost a year), and when she did, she was shocked by her poor condition, she was so thin, she looked emaciated, and Margret gave the man absolutely no choice, she TOOK Ebony back.
Margaret's daughter Vanessa saw the delightful, bouncy movements of this poor girl, and immediately fell in love with her, and kept her for her own. They were inseparable companions. Vanessa had grown up with her guardian Boris when she was a very little girl in Germany and now she had her own best friend and protector as a young woman.
The three Bouvier girls were reaching sexual maturity, and more friends wanted Bouvier puppies having watched Rambo, Kiki and Maggie grow up, so Margret decided to breed Rambo to Kiki. The vet said unfortunately the union did not take, but around the same time Ebony who was now Ebby had gone into heat, and an unplanned mating took place.
The vet said again unfortunately the mating did not take. The last hope was Maggie who belonged to John who worked in the company, and once again the vet said the attempt failed.
However, on December 2, 1998 Vanessa called her mother worried that something was happening to Ebby. By the time Margret arrived, Ebby had produced her first puppy. Within the month of December, three litters of puppies were born. Margret and Vanessa's surprise Christmas present -- 25 Bouvier puppies born to the three German Bouvier girls.
Margret's entire warehouse staff was involved in feeding and caring for the puppies. They had to shave the pups heads and use white out numbers to make sure every puppy was fed, massaged, and cleaned properly, quite a production line.
23 puppies survived. Margret placed some of the puppies on her own to the people she had that wanted them, but had no idea she would have so many puppies. She placed the remaining pups through ABRL (American Bouvier Rescue League).
Margret kept her pick of the litter, who she named Donna. One sickly pup, named Wutzi, was adopted by Vanessa's best friend, Angelika who came to the USA with her and Margret.
That's when I started to dread posts on the Pet Bouvier list from this crazy German woman who had six Bouviers. I thought anyone with that many Bouviers had to be crazy. Little did I know it would be a contagious condition. We had two Bouviers of our own for years, and Pug Valentino & a Boston Terrier (Ms.) Murphy joined our family after my Mom passed away, June 6,1998.
Since we were about 30 miles apart, Margret and I decided we should meet. She visited with her puppy Maxwell who had been returned earlier because he cried all the time. I fell in love with him at first sight. On her next visit, she brought Maxwell and Donna who met our Baldor & Holly.
Margret liked my dogs immediately, but wasn't sure about me, and I still thought anybody with that many Bouviers was crazy (some times your first impression is right!) She talked about Rambo watching "Animal Planet", and how her six Bouviers loved to swim in the family pool. Margret, who had been an Olympic swimmer in Germany, swam with them every day. She invited us to her home and it was the first time we met all six of her Bouviers.
It was an impressive and scary sight to behold-- six big dark Bouviers with very BIG white teeth, accompanied by ferocious growling & barking! Margret introduced Rambo to us after we were in place, sitting down. Then Maxwell and Donna came in. At Margret's house in Miami, there was a mother-in-law quarters where Vanessa and Ebby lived. Also Angelika & Wutzi & their friend, Sasha, who had sort of adopted Kiki. Kiki & Wutzi (mother & daughter) were not too friendly at the time.
It was also my first introduction to working Bouvier lines. Our Baldor came from show lines. Margret's Bouvs were tough, prey- driven animals, and Margret allowed them to be so. She chose this kennel in Germany cause they were known for "strong" lines. Margret always laughs and says the girls' grandmother was the toughest Bouvier she had ever met. She even scared Margret, so you had to have a healthy respect for her dogs.
They proved their courage and bravery thwarting an intruder trying to steal Sasha's van, chasing the perpetrator up a tree until the police arrived and Margret was very proud she could call them off.
With a tragic turn of events, our beloved Baldor was diagnosed with cancer and Margret and I had developed a strong friendship. She said when the time came, she wanted us to have Maxwell. Even more cruel, Holly was diagnosed with cancer shortly after, so we faced loosing our two best friends. Baldor remained with us another year, and Holly almost two.
But when the time did come, Margret did the hardest thing she had ever done--bringing Maxwell to join our family. Soon Holly loved Maxwell, and some happiness came to our home again.
Then Margret had a little rescue dog she had placed that the adopter wanted to return. While Margret lived in Miami, and the adopter lived near us, King Charles was dropped off at our house & within minutes, this 12 pound Shih Tzu- Maltese mix took over the house. So what's the difference between having four dogs or five, which is when Charlie joined our family but five is definitely enough.
A few months later Vanessa, Sasha and Angelika started a business, and were working 14-15 hour days, seven days a week getting it off the ground. They felt their Bouviers were suffering by their absence and decided it would be best for them to have a home where they had more human companionship. It was an act of love.
Margret took Kiki and Wutzi with her, and Vanessa gave Ebby to us. We had grown to love them both very much over the years, and were delighted to have Ebby as part of our family, So what's the difference between five and six dogs any way -- just more to love.
Ebby adjusted to her family immediately, and she and Maxwell were back together again. They were inseparable friends and Ebby always waited for Maxwell to come out the door to pounce on him "Let's PLAY!"
I adored Ebby because she was so kind and respectful to Holly, who was getting crippled with her cancer but was still the alpha queen of our home. Ebby never once challenged or hurt her. Ebby had the most beautiful, happy, joyful movement you've ever seen. Although she was a stocky, smallish girl, she was so graceful, and beautiful to watch. Rich called her the cannon ball when she came charging toward you! Not only was she graceful, but she was very protective of her family.
Shortly after she joined our family I was taking her for a walk & someone was coming out of their house, walking towards us. Ebby positioned herself in front of me, in a most impressive protective move. Margret would always say, "Ebby would kill any one who would try to hurt you", and I believe she would!
With our growing family, we agreed we needed a bigger house, with more space for our canine kids. We moved to Loxahatchee and bought a house with two acres, and it was all because of Ebby.
Holly made the move with us, and enjoyed her new home for three months before leaving us, just two days before she left, she hobbled around chasing Ebby and Maxwell, who were being too rambunctious youngsters for her taste.
With Holly gone, Ebby became queen of our home. Two more needy rescues joined our home: Daisy (2000) & Zac (2002) and Ebby accepted them into her pack graciously.
Ebby took great pleasure in life, everything was fun for her--and because of her early days of being malnourished by her first owner -- was always appreciative of good food. Her "little" friend Charlie will only eat his dinner in the bedroom, served on a green & white- checked linen napkin (he has seizures & has special privileges) and every night we played the "Ebby find it game".
Charlie ALWAYS saved some of his dinner for his best girl friend, Ebby, We would hide it on the bed. I would open the door, and say "Ebby find It' and she always had so much fun doing this every evening at dinner time. In the morning, she was the first one in the kitchen with Daddy Rich, helping him make his breakfast, and getting a special treat just for her.
When I went out, she would enjoy the Bouvier picnic -- a hot dog treat in the bedroom with Maxwell and you could always see the verticals moving from the bathroom window -- Ebby's favorite look out spot.
I called her my Ebalina Pupalina, and her song was "Hey Eba-lina, pup-a-lina-lina-lina sung to the music of the Macarena.
Yesterday I picked up her ashes--a sad white box with a blue ribbon. I wanted her home for her birthday. She always loved a ride, I was tempted to drive through Wendy's but just couldn't ! I talked to her all the way home -- told her how much I missed & loved her.
She is with us again, to guard over us. I feel safe with her again.
I didn't know how I would feel when I picked her ashes up, Vanessa and Margret talked me into it as I was a little queasy about it but I feel comfortable now. I have her birthday crown from last year sitting on the table.
It will be sad she is not here
with us but I will do something special today with her pack to
celebrate her time with us. Although the time was short, it was sweet and though the pain is unbelievably heart- wrenching, it is worth the pain to have had the privilege of having her in our lives.
"May the road come up to greet you, may the sun ever be warm on your back, and may God hold you in the palm of His hand, 'til we meet again (at rainbow bridge)!"
We love you Ebby!
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