“I’ve never laughed as much!”

Sabine, her husband Michael and their little Cockapoo Julie drove all the way from Germany to Puglia this summer. South Tyrol, Tuscany, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Matera – in no less than four weeks. Stopping and staying in the nicest and, most of all, animal friendly places on the way. Which, sadly enough, wasn’t always easy, since dogs aren’t welcome everywhere. We ran into each other at Masseria Torre Coccaro, where the couple told me about their journey. And where Julie, who adores the water, could finally relax have a lovely swim

How nice to see you after so many years, Sabine! Would you mind telling our readers a bit about you?  
Sure, I’m Sabine Motschmann, I’m living in Munich with my husband Michael and our son Marlon, who currently lives London, where he has been studying for a week. I used to be the art buyer and booker for the german women’s magazine Madame. When my son Marlon was born I started to work freelance as a booker. Our dog Julie is a Cockapoo, she is 2.5 years old. 

Why a dog?
Our son Marlon came up with the idea and tried to convince us for weeks. His main argument was that, being 18 at the time, he would soon be moving out and we would be all alone. A dog could be the perfect solution for everyone. I gave in because I’m an animal lover. My husband, reluctant at first, was outvoted 2 to 1. 

How did you connect?
Finding a dog during Covid restrictions was the most difficult thing! Due to the pandemic one could only leave his house to walk the dog or to go grocery shopping. As a result, the demand for dogs was extremely high and there were hardly any available. We knew we wanted a puppy and it had to be a poodle or a poodle mix because I suffer from an allergy to animal hair. So I spread the word: told a friend, who told her dog trainer, who knew a breeder who had just had six puppies. To cut a long story short: That was a sign! We had to decide quickly and blind, because of the contact restrictions. But when we showed up in front of the breeder’s home and he came out to put Julie into my hands (this is how tiny she was!) we were overwhelmed.  

How do you understand each other?
Julie seems to understand everything, really. “Sit”, “down” and “stay” are easy for her, always have been. Then she knows how to distinguish all her toys: there’s toy, there’s rat, there’s beetle or ball. She knows them all and runs looking for them until she finds them. Funny how she behaves like a “real” hunting dog, following a scent. Maybe all dogs do it this way, I actually don’t know. 

Who likes her most?
My relationship with her is particularly close because I’m always there to feed her, go for walkies etc., while my husband and son work or study. Julie is always by my side or lying next to my feet, sleeping. She understands if I just get something to drink or if I’ll leave the house from how I get up from the sofa.

What is her greatest passion?
Julie loves to play, especially when you throw a ball. She is a poodle/cocker spaniel mix, both of which are hunting dogs, as we learned. Julie, too, loves to hunt and chase a ball. A situation that quickly gets out of hand because with a ball involved she’ll ignore everything else, someone has to throw it continously  for hours etc. That’s why we prefer playing other things with her. 

What are the funniest things she does?
When she sees squirrels on our terrace she almost goes mad. If the door is open she runs out and barks like hell. She also understands the word “squirrel”. Whoever says it in whatever situation, she’d look up, run around like crazy and and bark wildly. And she almost caught a rooster in Mallorca once! She probably chased him for 400 meters and didn’t listen to any signals from my side. Luckily the rooster managed to escape on a roof closeby. 

When your’re travelling, who looks after her?
When I travel alone, my husband or my son look after Julie. My husband, funny enough, loves Julie madly now. He was the one who couldn’t convince himself to get a dog at first. When they’re home alone he’d always send me photos and videos of her, telling me about her latest adventures.  

My favorite thing to do with Julie?

Anything annoying?
Well, she growls at my husband or son when she’s lying next to me. She is very territorial and always seems to be trying to protect me. Sometimes she also growls when she is tired. That really just means “leave me alone.” Something to get used to, nothing else.

Anything you’d like to share?
If I had known how enriching a dog is for our lives, we would have welcomed one into our family sooner. A dog is always there for you, no matter how you feel. Dogs sense when you are not feeling well and love you unconditionally. They make your life better in so many ways. I’ve never laughed as much!


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