Great excitement at Wolfgang in Austria: The blind composer and musician has great hopes for puppy Falco. In the future, the white German shepherd should accompany him every step of his life – just as his predecessor Amadeus once did. “Dog Pro” Martin Rutter is skeptical at first.
When a puppy moves in, it’s always a very special moment. In the current episode of “Martin Rutter – The Puppies are Coming” (Sundays, 5 p.m., on RTL), the arrival of puppy Falco at Wolfgang Niegelhell’s home in Austria is particularly emotional, however, because: The 56-year-old went blind within a very short time 30 years ago after an eye attack. “For me, a world collapsed at that moment”, Wolfgang remembers “but I have a great, exciting life today, I am a musician and composer by profession”. The white German shepherd puppy Falco is to support him as a guide dog for the blind in everyday life and give him more independence again.
“Dog professional” Martin Rutter knows how responsible this task is – for dog and owner: “To lead a dog as a blind person is an insane challenge”, he says, “I’m totally impressed every time how well it runs.” But the experienced dog trainer also points out that a guide dog should have certain character requirements: “We can use anything but a hectic person, explains Rutter.
The little Falco belongs to the breed Berger Blanc Suisse, a white shepherd dog. “These are great dogs, but they can be brutally alert and territorial. You can’t use all that with a guide dog at all”, says Martin Rutter “I hope that the right puppy has been chosen.” But Wolfgang has already had the best experience with the breed: “I had Amadeus as a guide dog for the blind before”, says the musician and composer “we were soul mates. Unfortunately, he is not even nine years old. He had a malignant cancer and had to be euthanized within 36 hours.” Now Falco is to follow in Amadeus’ footsteps.
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Training guide dogs is expensive
Arrived at the breeder Wolfgang sits down with the puppy on the meadow. Falco curiously approaches his future master and licks his face. “He is relatively lively and makes a safe impression”, Martin Rutter is pleased. Wolfgang is very happy: “Falco feels like a fluffy stuffed animal that you just have to take with you. I could kiss and hug the whole world!”, he says.
Unlike in Germany, the high training costs for guide dogs in Austria (between 30 and 50 percent) are not paid for.000 and 42.000 euros) are not usually covered by health insurance. But Wolfgang has a close confidant at his side in veterinarian and guide dog trainer Cornelia, who has already trained dog Amadeus.
“That’s an unusual way to go,”, marvels the “dog professional. Often the puppies are already trained as guide dogs, sometimes in foster families, and only when they are fully trained, they are accustomed to their humans. I think it’s good that it’s done differently here, but of course we have a huge problem if it doesn’t work, so: the pressure is enormous.”
Falco first poops in the recording studio
For Wolfgang, however, the anticipation prevails: “Falco will make me mobile again, independent and able to live a self-determined life”, says the 56-year-old. Activities such as spontaneous walks in the woods become possible again: “I can simply say to the dog ‘Lead me home!'”
On the way to his new home Falco whimpers, everything is unusual. He is impatient at the front door: “I hope it won’t be such a squawker”, Martin Rutter comments on the pictures. Inside, the puppy’s first stop is the urn of predecessor Amadeus. Wolfgang is convinced that his old dog helped choose little Falco: “He sent me to you”, he says.
Then the proud master sits down at the piano and sings a few bars of a song that he has written especially for Falco. Martin Rutter has to smile: “That’s already a bit much everything”, he says. Even vet Carolin notices that the puppy seems slightly overwhelmed: “We’d best put him down now”, she suggests.
“We will conquer the world again as a team!”
It soon becomes clear that this is also urgently needed: Falco first puts a pile in his new home. Wolfgang grins: “Now he has arrived. He wanted to show that this is his new territory”, he guesses. Martin Rutter corrects: “This has nothing to do with marking territory. This is a baby, he just wants to get rid of his pile”, he says. Other than Wolfgang is the “dog professional” You’re still a little skeptical about Falco’s suitability for his demanding job: “Today I found him quite loud and restless,” he says. I hope that this is only due to the long drive”, he fears.
But after one week Falco has already settled in well, Carolin and Wolfgang are already training diligently with the puppy, who participates with motivation. For Wolfgang he is already indispensable: “We will conquer the world again as a team!”, he says.