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Black Master's Henna-Eole ("Henna")

Henna was born on 27 Febuary 2004 in Vantaa, Finland at kennel Black Master's as one of eight puppies. There were four males and four females in this litter.

What precisely happend to her after that I do not know.

I first met Henna when she was already a grown lady and quite a personality! In June 2006 she was two years and four months old and I was looking for a dog and she was looking for a home. It seemed to be a perfect match!

I spend many hours in her breeders garden talking and meeting the dogs. When I went home after this sunny afternoon, this young lady had somehow krept into my heart. So she came home to live with us - the first few days just 'on trial' - on 11 June 2006. She has lived with me ever since and when I went back to Germany she - naturally - came with me.

Henna is a very dominant dog and occasionally acts before thinking, but she is not a "bad" dog with uncontrollable behaviour. She is also a very confident pack leader but does not accept another dominant female in the family. She can make do with females if they are not dominant and will accept her as leader and generally likes males. She cannot make good sense of spayed or neutered dogs though. I always feel she thinks they are all "some kind of puppy". 

In general she is a very proud and tough dog. While she is mostly open and friendly towards people she is nevertheless reserved in a way. She does not love all people just because they exist and would not follow a stranger unless explicitly told to do so. And she does not obey anyone just because they will like her for it. She would also never obey a person she considers a "weak" or "insecure" personality. Fortunately (for me) our veterinarians have so far met with her approval, so she has been a model patient, even when left alone at the vets for some reason. She obeys because she respects a person and chooses to obey, and respect can only be gained by being a relatively "strong" person to her mind. She is not a dog who needs the security of a strong person within the family - she would then take on the role of "family boss" and assume all people are her subordinates. A situation I would generally not recommend (for the people's sake).

Her general set of mind can also been seen in walks on the beach. She thinks nothing of running ahead a kilometre or two to check out the shore there. There might be some birds that need to be chased. You never know, after all! I think uncertainty that she can handle any situation she may face on her own is just not something that would ever even cross her mind. 

The truly amazing thing about her is that while she is not generally fond of anyone annoying her (like people who think it is nice to pull on her ears repeatedly because she is such soft fur there "just like a teddy bear") she seems to understand that elderly people, handicapped people and children mostly do not annoy her on purpose but because they do not understand that they annoy her. So she puts up with that with the dignity of the gracious, aging lady she is. Generally she does not like children though. Why? I have no idea. 

Henna has enourmous will to work, but when she came to live with me she had so many deficits and I was so inexperienced, that she never could live up to her potential. She will work for food, but is best motivated by a toy. Her absolute favourite toy of all is a ball or a "jumper" (ball with string). She also loves "fighting" games such a playing tug. I suppose she might have been quite good for some basic protection sports in a different life and a different home.

She is a keen search dog who will not ever give up and sometimes has to be leashed and taken away when she feels she has not completed the task! When told to search for something in the forrest she will look for it for hours if need be, only taking breaks to drink something on hot days. She is not a particularly good search dog since she can work by sight only. Her sense of smell is severely impaired. But that won't stop her from trying, even though it often enough makes succeeding a lot more difficult. I remember having to buy a bright orange obedience dumbell, because when training on sandy ground she was unable to find the one made of simple, untreated wood. On grass it is not a problem, but on sand she would look absolutely everywhere for the dumbell and be unable to find an retrieve it. The orange one did the trick!

In personality she is not a dog who would kindly greet any burglar like a long lost friend. She has a keen instinct to guard and protect and does so in a typical Henna way: vigorously! She would not bite anyone without a very good reason though (and in fact has never bitten any person in all the years she lives with me - nor any dog). She will even tolerate post man and parcel services with no problems, even though they tend to be a bit suspicious of her.

Most importantly, nowadays she is my loyal friend, the dog who assists me in everyday living with the things that have become increasingly difficult for me. I think I need her to pick up things for me and fetch things for me when told to, but at the same time she needs this "task", because having no "job" would definately not be for her. Without a "job" she will become cranky and find herself something to do. Henna being Henna that usually means she will find herself something to do I would rather she does not do (like building a "nest" from jackets she has pulled off the coat hooks, stealing food from the kitchen cupboards, trying to pick a fight with Laika or vigourosly guarding the home against things like birds and cars if no person is around).

When Laika died she took it with grace and also with the ease she seems to take most things. I showed her the dead Laika and she sniffed her, looked at me and went outside. After all someone might walk past who needed being barked at. I htink with the instinct dogs seem to have Henna knew Laika was dead. She never looked for her, never waited for her, never showed any signs of searching for her. I am not sure she ever griefed for her in any clearly discernable way. She most certainly does miss the dog company though. When she met her nephew Dujoidevie Jerommeke "Romsie" she was so happy she was giddy with joy and completely out of her mind with energy and happiness. Her brother Black Master's Hex-Hot Lover "Heksa" whom she met a few days later at their tenth birthday party near Kuopio, Finland got so annoyed by her wanting to play the two had a little disagreement (nothing serious though, just two dogs not having the same goal in mind). 

That day in Kuopio three msot wonderful dogs (Henna, her brother Heksa and sister Hille) celerbrated their birthday in the company of good friends, amongst them a juvenile rascal names Kitzi who is Heksa's daughter and Henna's and Hille's niece. 

Henna is the sister of my soul in many ways and I am forever grateful to her breeder, that she allowed me to share my life with this amazing dog. 

Henna is aging gracefully, with the wisdom of age but without loosing the vigour of youth so far. At almost eleven years she is always up to do just about anything I ask of her at any time of the night or day. She will often pass for many, many years younger than what she actually is. A vet assistant remarked that she has 'the strength of a dinosaur - is nothing but skin and muscle'. So far spaying her did not change that. Nor has it made her prone for weightgain.  She is a free spirit. In many ways. I think that is the best description of her.

Henna has also been my introduction to this breed and through her I made many friends I would otherwise never had met. She will forever have a special place in my heart. Henna is the most wonderful companion with a very "hard" shell but a very soft and gentle soul somewhere deep down.

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