To be honest, I kind of jumped on the bandwagon! My teammate, Jara Pencova and her boyfriend got a dog, then another teammate, Elies Goos and her boyfriend got a dog, and now my boyfriend Rob Schramm and I are the 3rd couple on our team to do it! We had both wanted a dog for a really long time and after watching 2 other couples do it we saw firsthand that it was possible. But still, we really thought long and hard for a few months about it and decided, ok, we don’t know if we’re going to be lucky enough to play in the same city again next year so if we get a puppy it needs to be now for more than one reason…first and most importantly, it takes two people to raise a puppy in this pro volleyball lifestyle. With demands like practice twice a day, games, late night film sessions, and traveling, there is absolutely no way I could do this alone. When our pup gets older and she’s more housebroken then that’s a different story, she’ll be able to hold her pee while I’m doing volleyball related stuff for a few hours at a time. But for now, it’d be nearly impossible to do alone! And it wouldn’t be fair for our girl.
Second, Rob plays on our men’s team so we share the same game arena. When he has a home game I have an away game and vice versa. That means at least one of us is always home for our puppy when the other has to travel. When she’s older and more mature I’ll be able to take her to a kennel for away trips and she can socialize with other dogs and be away from mom for a couple days no problem. But for now she’s too young to be left alone and doesn’t have enough shots or immunity for that.
Lastly, Rob and I decided to get some insight from people we knew had dogs and traveled with them overseas. First I asked Brett and Brook Billings for their insight. They have a pug named Hercules who is famous on Volleywood haha. They said Herc is totally a member of the family and even though times can get difficult, having him had been absolutely worth it. Brook also mentioned how it’s been easier for him because Brett is always there to help out. So then I asked Keao Burdine because she has a chihuahua named Peanut and she doesn’t have someone to help out when she’s overseas and I needed to know what that’s like since that could be a possibility for me in the future. Keao also said it can be tough but absolutely worth it and that when she’s played in places that are more difficult than others it’s so nice coming home to Peanut and having him there. So after those two testimonies Rob and I were sold!
Where did you get it/how did you find it?
Germany has to be the most dog friendly country in the world. I see dogs everywhere and I mean everywhere. Not just parks or on sidewalks. They’re in malls, restaurant patios, on the tram, in public buildings. And I kid you not, every dog is perfectly behaved. The thing is, in Germany to own a dog you have to have a dog license, pay dog taxes, get your dog registered, attend dog school, and if they’re over a certain size you even have to pass a test after attending dog school to prove you can handle being the owner of a big dog. So with all of that it would make sense that dogs are welcome everywhere, they’re too well trained not to be! So…back to the question…since dogs are so common in Germany it wasn’t took hard to find her. We found her on a German website dedicated solely to buying puppies/dogs. Rob and I have always loved/wanted a big dog. A Great Dane or lab would be awesome for us but in this lifestyle it’s not really feasible. We wanted to get a short haired dog that didn’t shed too much, was smart, and small enough that we could travel with in the cabin of a plane instead of the cargo hold. Low and behold…the french bulldog :).
Differences of having a pet vs. not having a pet overseas? What does it do for your quality of life overseas?
It’s been a lot of work because she’s a puppy and all puppies regardless of where you are and what your schedule is require lots of patience and attention, but she’s been one of the biggest blessings. Recently I tore my ACL and that’s been a pretty tough pill to swallow. Even when I’m really sad about it she’s right now to cuddle with when Rob is at practice and seeing her little smushed, wrinkled face makes me chuckle inside.
Plus Rob has been above and beyond with helping, especially now that I’m injured. He agreed before we even got her that if we got separated next year by playing for different teams then he absolutely would want me to have her. I was even crying when we first brought her home because I thought how horrible would that be that he helped raise her and wouldn’t see her so much!! But he’s my best friend on top of being my boyfriend and he wouldn’t have it. He insisted. And we can always Skype him if necessary!
Any cute stories you’d like to share about the pup?
All french bulldogs have funny ears that stand up and Ora is no different. Even more special though is that her left ear won’t stand completely up. It’s larger than her right and it has stayed flopped over. Rob and I were thinking of names and he said, “how do you say ear in french since she’s a french bulldog?” What an amazing idea! In french, ear is “oreille”. Plus Ora has a rare red fawn coat that makes her look orange. So Ora is her name because it’s short for ear in french and orange.
She has no idea how small she is. She loves playing with any dog even big dogs and she can usually win when they wrestling because she’s small enough to climb on their heads!!
Her favorite place to lay is under the shoe rack. The only problem is after she eats her belly is so big that she’ll crawl under the shoe rack and then get stuck! Haha only mom and dad can get her out with such a big belly!