Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Photo: Diva (Kamaria Ayaba), Rhodesian ridgeback (livernose), 22 months, 35 kg
By: Vanja Runje
It’s 05:51 in the morning and I’m wide awake. Davor Runje is giving speeches in Belarus, and I can’t sleep very well – with two of us (instead of three) the bed is too large, so everything seems strange. I sleep best while hanging on the edge, entangled in a quilt, with dog tail over my head, paws in my kidneys, and dog’s head resting on my ankle, breathing, salivating, snoring loudly and tickling me. Over my other ankle is Davor’s foot, hooked so I can’t move even for 5 mm. The main thing is that I lost a bet (and paid dinner) 5 minutes after a dog first entered into my house. I adamantly claimed that in my house a dog will never climb a couch, let alone the bed (what on earth was I thinking?).
Photo: When Davor is at home I barely fit into the bed.
Her name is Diva, which she is. Sometimes we also call her Piva (because that’s what people once misheard while we were yelling after her, and we thought it was cool), and besides Davor, she is the love of my life. Although my house was full of small pets since I was a kid, unlike Davor, I’ve never had a dog. And so one day I met Max – a beautiful Rhodesian ridgeback of my colleague Chris. We clicked on the first sight, so Chris hooked me up with Ayaba Kennel (warning: this is a commercial for Ayaba Kennel – our absolute recommendation – they have “godforbid” website, but don’t let that fool you, this is because they are always outside, in the field).
We waited for the litter for 4 months (to me it seemed like 4 years, but in the meantime I watched about 180 hours of dog training on YouTube), and when it came … my God those photos .. at the first sight of Diva I knew she was ours.
Photo: Diva at month-and-a-half, already 8 kg (and she was the smallest of the litter)
Then came several in-depth interviews to check what kind of “parents” we would be – by the wonderful Dusper family of Diva’s mom Mala (appropriately with superior food and premium wine – it’s difficult to compete with them), and by Ina, Lana, Tomislav (Ayaba Kennel) and their 6 ridgebacks. We passed the test – Diva was ours. With those 180 hours of dog training, full of confidence, I felt like a true professional. Davor, who has vast experience with dogs, just smirked and let me do my thing. Diva immediately decided to show me who’s boss in the house. She never made any damage, but she did make deliberate messes in protest – at that time very frequently.
Photo: Diva “home alone”: “Yes, I did this! On purpose! And I’m not sorry! I’m proud of it! And I’ll do it again!!”
I never gave her the satisfaction of showing even the least anger. I would just tidy all up and act as if nothing had happened. Soon she realized that her plan didn’t work – now the house (at least in this regard) is flawless. With Diva you know exactly whom she’s angry with, because she decides to move only the personal belongings of that person.
We went through countless hours of training with Tomislav. It took me quite a while to figure out that in fact it’s not Diva who is being trained, but me. Tomislav would usually “yell at me friendly” saying that I was too lenient, and that I would create a monster. You could hear the echo through the forest: “VANJAAAAAAAAA!!!” Diva is now an angel – 98.5% of the time, in the remaining 1.5% she chases pigs, ducks, chickens, cats – around the house or at out weekend place – she knows there will be penalties, but she somehow calculates “It pays off!” She is a dog after all – as a matter of fact, Rhodesian ridgeback are hounds for lion hunting. I’m absolutely delighted that I taught her to “give paw, hop, sit, lie down, let go, wait …”, to which Tomislav always comments “We’re not in the circus!” But the most important thing is that she knows (and she does) the meaning of “NO” and “Come!”
How much Diva runs our lives is evident from the fact that we bought a cottage (a small wooden house) with its own beach on river Kupa – as tailored for Diva. No old hags will chase away my dog from the beach! I’m usually very peaceful, but when someone goes against my Dive, Davor feels the chills, because he knows that I (not Diva) “bite” if they take it too far. Although, he’s also not a mouse when it comes to this.
Diva has the honor to go with Davor to DRAP every day, to work. They take a stroll on foot through Rokov Park and/or Tuškanac in the morning. Then she’s with colleagues all day – other numerous dogs, bickering all day at the office, and if someone really needs a “KitKat” moment, they take the whole bunch out for a walk. Then she goes with Davor to Njummy for lunch, and again after work they walk along Dubravka’s road. Diva has a busy day at work, so she almost faints from fatigue when she comes home.
Photo: Diva sleeping at work.
She’s not much of an eater, so we constantly hear complains that she is too thin, but what can I do when Diva doesn’t like to eat (in this she is completely unlike us). You have to ask her nicely for the little missy to even come to the bowl and eat something. You have to tell her “Here, enjoy your meal” and she drags herself, totally grudgingly, and that “something” beef soup with carrots cooked especially for her every day or at least every other day, because she “doesn’t get out of the bed” for anything else. Sometimes we also steal some of her soup, because we actually cook it for her. We’re too lazy to make it for ourselves.
Diva is a show dog. We had to promise that we would take her to shows, and so we collected enough for the Croatian Championship. Judging from her “enthusiasm” at shows, I doubt we will be going for additional titles. Usually I take her to the ring, and since we have no training for shows, Diva and I usually look like a total chaos. On one occasion, a very sympathetic judge hinted to me that I might need a showroom training (I can’t blame her, it’s true). Dogs run wild in various forms of little houses at exhibitions and howl, while Diva wanders around and you can see she’s thinking “Oh, come on already. Shut up!”
Photo: Diva and Vanja at a dog show
Ridgeback rarely bark. Usually only if they call for game or if they are guarding the immediate surroundings of their home / things on the beach and so on. Diva howls only when she’s tugging her “rubber chicken” toy, and no one understands why. She already decapitated several of those, but she’s kept this last one alive for months now.
One day Diva will also have pups, and Davor is making fun of me that I will not give a single one away – I’ll be a crazy lady with 15 dogs.
Tomislav (Ayaba Kennel) and Kate have a beautiful ranch with horses in Zabok. As ridgeback are welcome we also enrolled in riding school. It‘s simply marvelous – we ride on horses as dogs run along with us – it’s a total rebirth from the city noise.
Photo: Ranch Zabok – riding with ridgebacks
Of course, after all these outdoor activities my car looks like a pigsty, but Diva gives a good training against perfectionism and treats the mild cases of OCD, because you can polish up to infinity, every day several times, but in 5 minutes, thanks to Diva’s snout, the rear side windows will again look as if Davor and I had been having fun in some parking lot. After a while, I simply give up, and when I finally take my car for washing I’m doomed to blush in front of people.
Today I can no longer imagine life without Diva. Diva is our child. All the time I’m thinking: “Is she thirsty? Is she hungry? Is she hot / cold? Is she bored? I MISS HEEEEEER!” One day she woke up with an eye almost completely closed shut. Something had stabbed her. I immediately began to scream. “Davor, take her to the vet! Take her! Now, quickly! Hurry up!!!” He called me 15 minutes later: “Vanja, it’s 7 in the morning, I’m standing in front of the vet clinic, and it opens at 9.” Oops. Our life revolves around Diva. Where Diva is not welcome, is not a place for us. It’s a love without measure.
(Vanja Runje is the Client Service Director, Board Member of the agency Imago Ogilvy, and her husband Davor Runje is a CEO of agency Drap Zagreb)