They were considered a remedy against loneliness during the pandemic: dogs.
In Germany, where Stefan lives and works as a freelance journalist, breeders didn’t know how to satisfy the increased request for months. And since extreme conditions require extreme means, Stefan made the effort and went the extra mile to get his Schnoodle Nathan a.k.a. Mr Nathan Browne. What he found was happiness – and a friend for life
How did you meet?
As it often happens these days, Nathan and I met online. With the pandemic going on, the breeder had about 800 requests per month for his dogs. So he established an obligatory Zoom meeting with a 10 Euro fee. In fact, this way he cut the number of applicants in half. He presented himself with four months old Nathan on his lap and the puppy immediately blew my mind away. If love at first sight exists, this was it.
Three days later I drove 600 km from Berlin to Cologne where Nathan was waiting for me. He was trembling when the breeder put him into my arms. To be honest, me too. A couple of moments later he he had gotten super calm and chilled. I had tears in my eyes for how excited I was, deeply touched in an extraordinary way by a little puppy that looked like Fuchur the luckdragon from the “Neverending Story”…
Also his name, Nathan, caught my sins. My favourite uncle Nathan from NYC had passed away a couple of years ago. Wasn’t it a lovely thought that Nathan could be his reincarnation? And he looked so incredibly cute, like taken right from a toy shelf, so sweet and somewhat unreal was he.
What’s so amazing about your dog?
If I could have dream baked my perfect dog, the result wouldn’t have gotten even close to who Nathan is for me. He is the most wonderful soul! Wherever he shows up, he creates instant smiles on the faces of everyone he meets. He’s loving and friendly with everyone, on two or four paws. Always playful and in the best mood. He loves kids and is extremely careful with them. He laughs a lot! And he is incredibly smart.
How would you describe your relationship?
Nathan and I are together every day of the week, at (almost) every hour. If I’ve got a business meeting I immediately miss him and start longing for him from the very minute we get separated. I’m quite sure our connection was made in heaven. It’s a match for life! One thing I underestimated: You know there’s the saying that a cute dog is the perfect wing man to pick up girls. Taking Nathan on walkies it works differently: The girls only have eyes for him. They seem to not even notice that there’s a human on the other side of the lead…
If your dog was a person – who would he be?
Probably a mix of Ghandi, young Brad Pitt and Gianluigi Buffon (because he is unbeatable when it comes to catching the ball!)
Why do you love him?
Because of all the above. And so much more. It is impossible not to love him.
What did he teach you that nobody else would?
To focus on the relevant things and to ignore everything else. Furthermore: There is no reason to start the day in a bad mood.
Is there anything that annoys you about him?
His capability to sleep anywhere, sometimes even with his eyes open. Makes me so jealous! And: his very selective hearing abilities.
What are your favourite things to do with him?
I wouldn’t be able to tell. We do almost everything together! Maybe the best thing is waking up with him sleeping in my arm, his nose in my armpit and joyfully sighing.
Is your dog part of the family 100 %?
We live in quite a big apartment. So he has room to roam. It took him no time to conquer all the sofas and couches. It is all his! For the first few days the bed was a no-go. But one Sunday he jumped up and there he was. Now every day is a Sunday.
Any advice you would like to give to someone who wants to get a dog but can’t decide?
Life without a dog is possible but pointless. I never met anyone who regretted getting a dog. A dog will change your life dramatically but in a good way.
PS: More about the journalist’s life and his big love Nathan on his Instagram account @stefanlemle