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Elsa - Cool DogIt’s apparent to anyone who’s taken a look at the images on this website that Ridgebacks come in all shapes and sizes. Elsa – our ridgeless Ridgeback, who we rescued through the club back in August 2009 - is lean and leggy and (as it transpires from our walks in the park) a real head-turner. I’ve lost count of the number of people, even people without dogs, who’ve stopped to ask me what sort of dog she is or commented how beautiful she is. Even a gang of hoody-wearing teenagers mumbled ‘cool dog’ when we passed them one day!

Elsa - ScalextricAnd she is a cool dog or as my 5 yr old son once said, ‘the bestest, nicest dog in the whole wide world’.


I remember the day my son and I went to the kennels in Stoke on Trent to collect her – it was a warm sunny day at the end of August. We arrived home and Elsa confidently trotted around her new home, sniffing at everything to case the joint. We went up to the top of the garden to get a ball from the toy shed and Tom went running down the garden calling the dog, ball in hand with a goofy and excited Elsa in hot pursuit (at 15 months of age then she had the goofy running style of a puppy, all legs and paws). The next thing I heard were Tom’s shrieks and tears as 37 kilos of over excited Ridgeback had jumped up and flattened Tom to the ground.

Elsa - Three in a bed

The first few days were tough. Elsa evidently loved the kids - we have a three year old as well - but so much so she thought she was one of them and wanted to be with them or play with them the whole time. Every time the kids ran outside or ran around the house Elsa, with a Ridgeback’s honed chase instinct, was always there in hot pursuit, wagging her tail like crazy but trying to nip them as well. The swing in particular was a clear novelty that would also send Elsa into over-excitable madness, not to mention the Scalectrix track. I wondered what we’d done and my husband and I one night commented that we’d basically gone and had a third child without realising it (and without the 9 months of pregnancy to prepare ourselves!)

But things have settled down, and six months on, I’m pleased to say that Elsa is a fully signed up, if not entirely sensible member of our family. The kids cannot imagine life without her and in truth - though I complain about the endless muddy footprints, the holes she’s digging in the lawn, the dog toys that I’ve tripped over and the number of times I’ve had to pick up the dog saliva-covered shrapnel remains of whatever Elsa has decided to chew (to date we’re talking about 3 dog beds, 4 pairs of shoes, numerous children’s toys, one favourite doll, 3 CDs, one Blockbuster DVD rental, several logs from the log basket and one TV remote control) - I can’t imagine life without her either. At least she’s teaching us all a valuable lesson about the importance of not leaving things lying around!







Katherine Rouendaal
February 2010






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