The entrepreneur and vintage cars lover Roland Hötzinger, 61, from Munich, used to never be very much into dogs. Until a friend, or better: ex girlfriend, convinced him to adopt Hilde. The kindest dog in the world, as he remembers, especially for a “beginner” as he was. Then Hilde died in an accident and Roland had to find a way to be happy again. No wonder it has – THEY have! – fur
You lost one dog and got two to overcome the pain. How did that come about?
That’s true. To cut a long story short: I lost my beloved dog Hilde in an accident and felt very guilty afterwards. And even though I’m sure she’s living a better life now – because she deserves it – I had to rescue another dog, at least one. I kind of owed it to her since she changed my life. It had to be a „special dog“ with very little hope to get adopted. This way I wanted to make peace with my loss. Searching the internet and asking around I came about an organization near Munich that was collaborating with a spanish shelter. On their homepage I found a small black mixed breed, very shy, but I fell in love immediately. How scared she was! No one was allowed to touch her. And it took me weeks to convince the organization to give it a try.
I was sure I’d be able to handle her. That was when Helga came into my life. I took her home from the station and first thing she does is bite my finger. Nothing much changed in the following weeks and even though I started to feed her from my hands she needed months to actually build trust. She has been with me for 12 years now and still has her moments. But: She loves travelling by car, jumps in as soon as a door opens. And her favourite thing is sitting in a bar and watching the people passing by. Knowing that earlier, everything would have been a lot easier!
Yet you weren’t put off enough to take in another dog?
Well no. I was actually very grateful how everything had turned out. So I offered myself to foster another stray dog from Spain. The fostering makes it easier for the organizations to find a “final” family for the dog beacause it’s already used to certain things, educated a bit, so much easier to visit. That’s how Wilma joined us. As a guest, we said, it wouldn’t be forever. But: Wilma liked us so much that she denied to try anyone else. She simply ignored all those who made an effort getting to know her, she wouldn’t go out for a walks, refused to accept treats etc. So I surrendered and ended up with two dogs. Helga, called “Maeusi” (“topolina”) is now 15, Wilma 12 years old.
What’s so amazing about your dogs?
Helga is still shy, she doesn’t like to be touched by other people, but is very curious. And she is smart! I´m sure if had found her as a puppy, she would be one of those dogs who are doing the childrens´ homework and then driving them to their friends (lol). Wilma is not shy, but not very interested in other people. She may not be the most intelligent dog in the world but she is very loyal. Simple things make her happy, just being in the same room with me can be enough. We used to walk a lot, but getting older she gets tired more easily.
How would you describe your relationship?
Very different with both of them, but they have one thing in common: Big love. It’s as simple as that.
Do you know about their secret passions?
Helga? Sitting in a bar and watching people around her. In those moments she is totally at ease with herself and the world.
Wilma? Sleeping in my bed, preferably on my pillow!
What makes them pay attention to you no matter what?
The sound of a fridge door opening.
If your dogs were humans – who would they be?
Helga? Princess Diana.
Wilma: Rambo. Very robust but with a good heart.
Do your dogs ever bring you closer to other people?
Helga does. Everybody seems to love her when they see her lying on her blanket in a bar and looking like the boss in charge.
Any dreams you’d like to come true with your dog?
A long life and many more years with them!
So a big Yes to life with dogs?
Yes, because they change your life for the better! You’ll have to give up on a couple of things you used to like, for sure. But you’ll get so many things in return! You will find dogs’ hair in the most unbelievable places and you’ll have to organize everything around them. But: Living with dogs means a completely different, a more beautiful, more intense life. Small things become more important, you’ll cherish the little moments more. No other animal connects so closely with us humans.