Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mekka: From Whence She Came

Mekka kisses 2009

I met Waltraut Zieher in 2003 while working at the vet clinic in Levelland. She and Doc had formed a friendship when they had worked together at the Lubbock Emergency Clinic some years ago. Wal trusted Doc and so she drove the 45 minutes from her home to our clinic just to see her. I had grown up with Labs and thought my dog, Jasmine, to be decent sized. Jas was at work with me that first day I saw Wal’s dogs and they made her look like a pocket pet. She brought one adult female, Iblis (Ee-bliss), and two six month old pups, Nugget and Nockerl. The pups were gangly with youth but Iblis was beautiful. She was a giant dog yet still very elegant. Her coat was long, straight and soft and the color of mature wheat, except for her face, which looked as though it had been dipped in the darkest of chocolates. The hair along her ruff was also black tipped as was the very point of her long tail. Her eyes were her best feature though. They were almond shaped, lined in black and were a warm mahogany brown. They were soulful eyes that spoke of an innate kindness. Jasmine had the same kind of eyes and she was by far the best dog I had ever had.

Waltraut was from Germany as were the dogs. They were called Leonbergers and she had been one of the first to import them into the US sometime in the eighties. She bred one litter a year and for the eight weeks that litter was with her they were given all the love, care and attention one would give a human child. They were weighed, fed, and cosseted, exposed to sights and sounds, different people and animals, and housetrained all within the safety of Waltraut’s puppy house and yard. She had a waiting list of prospective puppy buyers and she was very picky about who ended up with one of her dogs.

Over time I got to know Waltraut well. I dog sat for her several times and helped her with the O, P, Q, and S litters. My parents got two puppies from the first litter I helped with, Ondra Omyto and Osea Me. I was in college and living in an apartment at that time and didn’t get my first Leo until the P litter. I met my Perfect Mekka von Stutensee before she was 24 hours old. My dad gave me a hard time about the Perfect part but she was. She was absolutely perfect for me.

Jasmine, my black Lab, and Sidney

Waltraut and two of her Leo girls

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