Bright and early on Saturday 5th May, 2012, Martin (my OH), Toby (my younger son who is 19) and I set off to Tamworth Services to collect Hugo who was due to arrive at 10am. We arrived in plenty of time and had not been there long when I received a text from Mark, his current owner, to say he was there in a high top silver transit van. We spotted the van and eagerly rushed over trying to get our first glimpse of our new furry friend. Mark opened the back of the van and pulled Hugo out.
Having being used to the size of Sid, Hugo seemed quite small in comparison but was lovely and clean looking with beautifully white teeth. He was very frightened and immediately started weeing everywhere so Toby took him over to the patch of grass on the side of the service area and ran him up and down while I got Mark to complete the paperwork. He seemed to take to us all straight away and, when the paperwork was done, I led Hugo away whilst Mark drove off - Hugo did not even look at him as he went.
We lifted Hugo in to the back of our car and settled him in. Toby was in the back and dropped down the seats alongside him so Hugo could be in contact with him. For most of the journey he stood on Toby's lap looking out of the windows. He seemed to enjoy watching all the cars and we suspect he had never had this stimulation before, especially if he was only ever confined to the back of the transit van with no windows. We don't know whether it was excitement or nerves but, boy, did he suffer from wind!!
To break the journey on the way home we stopped off at my parents in Pedmore and spent an hour there. Hugo was as good as gold and took to my mum right away - perhaps the biscuits had something to do with it! He lay down quite happily and seemed pleased to be with people.
After we had had our break we set off for home and arrived back in Ebley at about 1pm. Hugo seemed a bit scared at going into the house (more weeing) but eventually went in and straight out to the garden. The pictures here are all taken whilst he was exploring the garden. (Yes, the lawn does need cutting and those are stinging nettles by the pond - they are to attract the butterflies - cough, cough!)
Hugo took to the garden straight away and quickly found an old football and a tennis ball lurking in the borders - we were amazed to find that he could dribble a football quite nicely and actually would fetch a tennis ball back to us. This is most un-Akita-like as they normally look at you as if you are stupid when you keep throwing the ball away and almost say "If you want it, you go and get it!" They are far too intelligent for this game!
Hugo was into everything and was soon exploring every nook and cranny, in to flowerpots and in the pond. Of course, just like Sid, he quickly discovered the water in the pond tasted far nicer than any we could provide in a bowl and it had the added attraction of little gold coloured creatures darting in and out of the water lilies. Unlike Sid, though he did not stand at the edge and lean in for a drink, no, he had to stand with all four feet balanced on one of the Cotswold stone boulders round the edge and we had visions of him plunging head first into the water at any moment! He also seemed to quite enjoy the strings of blanket weed he sucked up - oh, yes he seemed quite at home already.
Hugo was very hungry and ate all the food we put down for him quite quickly. He did feel a little on the skinny side and you could feel all his ribs and back bone which worried me a little. We did think that perhaps he hadn't had enough meals each day because of the long hours his previous owners had worked. If you work 16 hours a day you can't possibly fit in the recommended three meals a day that a dog of Hugo's age would need, unless you got up in the middle of the night of course!
Because Hugo had not been vaccinated he should not really be allowed out to mix with other dogs - the pads of his feet were very soft so he had obviously not been walked to any extend on anything other than grass, although he seemed to accept a collar and lead without any fuss at all. Martin did take him for a quick walk around the block but he did not do anything when out and waited until he was home.
We were quite amused to find that Hugo still wees like a girl! He just stands there (or, very often, keeps walking) and lets go. Funny because as Sid got older he found it too much of an effort to cock his leg and did exactly the same.
By now, our older son, Daniel (who is 25) and his girlfriend, Remie had come back so Hugo had new 'toys' to play with. He seem to readily take to the idea of giving a paw and sitting down on command so we feel he could be quite easy to train. He is also very keen on food, particularly ours which might be used as an incentive.
Bed time came and Hugo seemed quite happy to stay downstairs so Martin and I left in him on his blanket. However, both boys had gone out and arrived home at separate times, in the early hours of the morning and this obviously disturbed him. Early on Sunday morning, before 6am, I heard him move around and knowing he was used to an early start I went down to let him out. He was overjoyed to see me and kept cuddling in to me for a fuss, although he seemed a bit timid and I soon discovered why. Unfortunately, he had had a couple of accidents so I quickly cleared up without making any comments and we then we went out in to the early morning sun to have a refreshing game of fetch and catch. The boys are now under strict instructions to always let Hugo out in the garden when they come in late.
He feels like part of the family already!