Peppe and Malou now enjoy the good life with Linda Vester and her family.


A TRUE LOWCHEN GUARDIAN: LINDA VESTER

~Compiled and written by Linda Laidlaw Pringle
 

Linda Vester, proud pet owner and protector, lives in a remote area of northern Denmark. This Lowchen Guardian’s family includes half-siblings, Peppe and Malou, Lowchen that have been granted happier and healthier lives...
A late Sunday afternoon visit to Facebook reveals a delightful deluge of conformation show results. Photos of beautifully presented Lowchen and happy handlers fill the screen. There is little inclination to reflect upon the fate of their littermates or potential offspring. Then!!! A new FB friend, Linda Vester, pops up! Her albums reveal a shy woman, warmly cuddling anything from a sweet Lowchen to a young pig.

As FB pages are explored, the absence of conformation event “brags,” kennel name and website pique curiosity. Eyes do an abrupt halt on a Danish newspaper clipping, complete with photos of canine oral surgery! A private message enquiring about Linda’s life with Lowchen reveals a story which evolves slowly, over weeks and months. It simply begs to be shared with you...

It is apparent that interest in animal welfare runs deep with Linda. In addition to being a supporter of The World Society for the Protection of Animals, she specialized in farm agriculture at Asmildkloster, a college located in Viborg, Denmark.  For years, Linda worked in farm related endeavours, but was forced to leave the field for health reasons. At this point, a search began in earnest for a small, active pet: “I destroyed my joints working on farms. For selfish reasons, I wanted an animal that I’d have to take for a walk several times a day. Because of my joints, I couldn’t have a big dog, so I made a study on the internet to find a dog that suited my needs...That’s how I fell in love with Lowchen!”

Eventually, a nearby Lowchen breeder was contacted and Linda and her family met their first wee lion.  “We went there and this little creature jumped into my lap, and then peed on my sleeve. The breeder said ‘you don’t want him...he has a cleft palate.’ But as usual, I fell for the weakest in the pack! All animals in my life have been poor creatures...mistreated, starved, beaten and born with mistakes. ...not only dogs, but kittens, birds, hedgehogs, etc. I’m used to sitting up nights feeding those too weak to eat.”

Both Linda’s veterinarian and breeder insisted that this pet should not be bred. Linda readily agreed, and her Lowchen, now named Peppe by her daughter, was neutered at an appropriate time. The veterinarian, as well as the breeder, assured Linda that Peppe’s cleft palate would never be a cause for concern. However as Peppe grew, “he showed signs of discomfort while eating.” Food became trapped in his nasal passages. Linda made special food for Peppe until he was 10 months old, and then surgery took place. By the time he was fully grown, Peppe had two major surgeries, as the first one still left a gap.

Linda Vester with her first Lowchen, Peppe.

 

Once Peppe became healthy and strong, their veterinarian requested permission to include Peppe’s surgery details in his monthly column. The message conveyed in this newspaper article was that you CAN save a pet and get a good dog, as a result...IF... you’re willing to pay the price!

Indeed, once surgery and medication fees are tallied, it becomes apparent that Linda could have purchased a Lowchen with a world class pedigree. Even with surgery, a good outcome can’t be assured. As for the impact on the family’s household budget: “I don’t care. I saved my dog. But remember he is not the Perfect Lion. His crooked nose gives him the cutest appearance. It means he will never be a champion... in my heart, he is perfect!”  What an anticipated response from a caring lady who quietly tells me that “papers are not the way to my heart.”

Malou heads to her new life as a much loved family member and “couch potato.”


 
A few months ago, friends notified Linda that Peppe’s half-sibling, Malou, was living in reduced circumstances; this Löwchen’s family had little desire to keep her. Together with Peppe, a meeting was arranged with Malou. Both Lowchen accepted each other readily, and plans were made to have Malou join her brother the following week.

Peppe’s half-sibling, Malou, has quickly bonded with her new mom, Linda.

 
Today, the former skinny girl with matted hair and overgrown toenails is no longer an ignored outside animal. To Linda’s credit, Malou thrives in her new position as an adored family member and couch potato! No longer does she devour her food and then become ill. Linda states that Malou “now eats food in a more normal way. She is slowly learning to play with toys. Together, Malou and Peppe love to run and jump through a tunnel made for dogs...and like several long walks each day, followed by quiet time on the couch!”

Malou now has a new winter coat.

 
When asked if there are plans to breed Malou, Linda states: “I am a lioness mom and I am not sure that anybody can treat my babies in the way I want them to. And that’s why I’m NOT sure I’ll ever breed her.” From our vantage point, “Lioness Mom,” Linda Vester is a True Lowchen Guardian!