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adventures of Manni the wonderdog

Another Life

All the posts before this one just had a way of wanting to be written, of trying to find their way into words. This one, however, seems to be coy so you may have to bear with me a little while I struggle to pull it together.

I did not fall off the face of the earth although I do believe I saw the edge of it on occasion. I am sorry if I let some people down in the last few months, I promise to be in touch in a little while -you know who you are.

The picture you see here describes my life in a nutshell.

There is a big hole inside of me with Manni’s name still on it but a little soul is trying very hard to fill it. The little soul’s name is Thilo (pronounced Tee-low). He is from the streets, or rather, the woods of Portugal where he was caught by good folks who took care of his mange and his infected eyes.

To try and make a long story short: I ended up taking Thilo in as a temporary foster. After he had had been found climbing the 6-feet fence of the shelter they were looking for somebody to keep him for a week before he would go to his more permanent foster home and I felt it was a good opportunity for me to see how it would feel to have a different dog in Manni’s home. I figured it was really a win-win situation: if it hurt too much, a week was survivable, if it felt good, well, maybe he would get to stay.

I picked him up at the airport and when he came out of his box he was even smaller than he’d looked in the pictures. 14 pounds of crooked legs and a wiener back. Considering he’d been living in a forest, not knowing what a home was he did amazing: while he was scared of doors, had to learn how to handle stairs and how to eat out of a bowl, he apparently simply decided to look to me for guidance. The first walks I took him on he stayed close to my legs but never once did he refuse to go anywhere or even so much as tug his tail. He literally just followed my lead.

When you go out to take a walk around your house you are bound to end up on the same routes that you used to take. When I found myself on the paths I would always take Manni on I had all these pictures flooding my head. I cried. A lot. I wanted to rewind the clock, turn back time and bury my nose in Manni’s thick fur.

Instead I kept on walking. Now with a little lost soul to accompany mine.

I came to find out quickly that I am better with a dog. I am more with a dog. So now, I am a little more again because Thilo got to stay. I don’t think my goal was to replace Manni, since really nothing or no one can but I do believe that since I have the right circumstances to give another shelter dog a home I should.

I do compare Manni and Thilo in that I find them to be as different as night and day. Manni was always independent as can be, strong-willed as anything, his own personality dancing to his own tune and I was lucky to be able to share some of his time. Thilo is actually thankful and adoring. He thinks the world of me and he’s been trying his hardest to never let me down. His only issue really is a certain separation anxiety, apart from that he takes everything in stride and takes on each new challenge as long as I am by his side.

That, however, is as far as I go in my comparisons. Thilo does not have to live up to any great expectations or fill Manni’s shoes. That would be utterly impossible and unfair so I don’t even think along those lines. I compartmentalize completely. I can cry for Manni on my walks and yet simultaneously enjoy Thilo’s adoration and exuberance. One has not a thing to do with the other.

You can call me a foster failure I suppose but my head had at least as much to do with the decision as my heart. I saw in Thilo early on that he had potential to do well in an office, maybe because of his age, and that he was still fit and agile enough -and brave enough- to keep up with my crazy life. I would never have kept either a puppy or a fearful dog.

However, Thilo is estimated to be around 10 – which leaves him only a few months younger than Manni was when I had to let him go. I did hesitate in my decision because of that factor but really only briefly: for one, I am hoping that such a small dog will be around for a few years more than a bigger one and also because Thilo deserves it, plain and simple. Every day he gets to have a home, a home with me, is one day more than he ever had so even if he ends up not getting all that many more days it will have been worth it. For both of us.

Apart from my life having been crazy for the last months, with new jobs, living in Berlin 4 out of 7 days a week and commuting with the dog by train twice a week, I still have a hard time coming here. I can’t explain it and I am trying to get over it because I want to and because I owe so many of you. Many of you spent most of the two hardest years of my life with me, celebrated Manni with me and grieved with me and I miss you guys. So I will try and get over this. Watch this space.

I’ll leave you with a few select pictures of Thilo (for the enlightened: I think Dobby would have been a good name, too…) and my promise to try harder.

Train(ed) dog

Missing a few of his teeth and some of his eyesight doesn’t stop him being cute




  1. valkyle

    Thilo is adorable!

  2. Super Stu!

    Tina, it is so lovely to see you and absalutely brilliant to meet Thilo (Dobby;)
    No need to promise to try harder to stay in touch, you and Manni will always be a part of our lives, because of our connection to Tripawds!!
    I think i can can speak for all of us when i say that we are THRILLED that Thilo aka Dobby came into your life! I can also assuredly say that Manni the Wonderdog is super pleased that his Mum is able to share her beautiful heart with another ‘found” soul!!
    The last picture that you have of Thilo looking over to the sun brings tears to my eyes… can you see Manni’s light shining down!! Thilo sees it too!!!
    I believe that no matter how many more years that you have with Thilo, you are his Angel Tina… Manni is showing you his guiding light and telling you that Thilo was meant to be in your life, he is your therapy… Every tear that you shed for Manni, Thilo is there to catch them and he is telling you that he will Always Be By Your Side!!!
    Thank you for touching base with us sweetheart! It was lovely to read through this post and know that you are doing… you are doing what is best for you and if it means a ‘failed foster’ is going to bring you closer to happiness, then know that Manni has played a huge part in this!!!
    Just remember that when we Whisper Manni’s name, He will ALWAYS REMAIN!!!
    Love to you Tina and many sloppy kissed to your new Pal Dobby!! Welcome Home Thilo!!!
    Sloppy kisses from Stewie and his Gazzilion Hedgies (we say Hi to Manni every time Stewie plays with his Angel Hedgie! 😉 and ear rubs from Spitfire Spikey, Chester Pester, Miss Prissy Lily and Talkative Ted and of course your furever friend Petra!
    See you when you are up to it my darling!

  3. Super Stu!

    By the way… i think the Puppy Shelter needs to read
    “MANNI ♥️ THILO”
    Just a thought… 😉 😘

  4. dobemom

    Hey friend, good to see you here! I’ve been blessed to have caught a glimpse of your life since Thilo came to stay, and I’m so glad you were ready to share this sweet thing with the rest of your “family”. No apologies needed, for anything….the best thing about this family is the no-judgement zone. Petra hit the nail on the head about that last picture – that IS Manni looking down at Thilo. I know you don’t believe in such things, but as I told you before, I believe enough for the both of us. Take care – until we meet again!

    Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

  5. jerry

    Tina, it is wonderful to see you announce Thilo’s arrival here, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity. We are deeply touched. Please, never ever ever apologise for not being here, we all understand how difficult it can be to return and we would never hold that against you. We are just happy that you and Thilo found each other and are making your way together in this world. What a great pair you seem to be. I hope some day you can pack him in that bag and fly back to the states with him so we can all meet.

    Much love to you, with Manni forever in our hearts….xoxoxoxo

  6. David

    Congrats! You have no idea how lucky you are. All of the rough days you likely endured are now long in the past. You absolutely found the best mom and will have the best life you could possibly have from here on out.

    This warms my heart. I’m so glad you were able to open your heart again for Thilo. It’s difficult. I know. I still struggle with it some days with Baxter. Most days, if I’m being honest. I’ve never expected Baxter to “replace” Rocky. That’s impossible, just as it is with Manni. But I’ve learned to appreciate Baxter for who he is, and I’ve learned that I got pretty damn lucky again with Baxter. I hope the same for you with Thilo.

  7. Rocky's dad

    Congrats! You have no idea how lucky you are. All of the rough days you likely endured are now long in the past. You absolutely found the best mom and will have the best life you could possibly have from here on out.

    This warms my heart. I’m so glad you were able to open your heart again for Thilo. It’s difficult. I know. I still struggle with it some days with Baxter. Most days, if I’m being honest. I’ve never expected Baxter to “replace” Rocky. That’s impossible, just as it is with Manni. But I’ve learned to appreciate Baxter for who he is, and I’ve learned that I got pretty damn lucky again with Baxter. I hope the same for you with Thilo.

  8. Purrkins

    Tina, you have been on my mind so happy to see that paw show up!

    No apology EVER! We all get it!! Not the place any of us wish to join or hang out but know you & Manni are always remembered and thought of! I asked Clare if she heard from you moons ago and she told me about your adopting Thilo that was all I needed to know you would be ok!! We are happy for you!

    Never replacing but adding room in your heart for more love. Thilo is learning what love, a home and the best Mom a dog could ask for are about! Lucky Dawg! All those differences are what you Tina needed I believe. Manfred was all over sending Thilo to you!!

    DITTO TO PETRA “The last picture that you have of Thilo looking over to the sun brings tears to my eyes… can you see Manni’s light shining down!! Thilo sees it too!!!”

    “MANNI ♥️ THILO ”
    I was thinking the same on the sign get your pain out!

    I adore him he is so darn cute. Smooch his nose for us!
    Manni immer in unseren Herzen nie vergessen

    Big hugs !!
    Holly & Purrkins (who just had x-rays with no sedation & did great FYI- Unremarkable;)

  9. Michelle

    Never ever apologize. It is hard to come back. Some never do. I am glad that you posted about Thilo. We miss you and hope that you eventually can come back when things settle down some for you.

    Crying is apart of the grief and no one can ever tell you when to stop and in some ways we never do. That hole is always going to be there. I think Manni is looking out for you though.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  10. Anonymous

    Tina, yet again you have expressed the feelings of your heart so beautifully and with such honesty. Your thoughts are so rich with wisdom…..the kind of wisdom that comes from Soul’s growth lessons. And yes, Manni is your teacher and Thilo is his assistant! That picture of Manni’s light shining down on Thilo to guide him… guide you both, speaks volumes.

    Yes, two lost Souls who needed each other. 😎 You showed Thilo a mercy and an understanding he could only get from you. You ARE better (if that’s even possible!)with a dog in your life… are able to be true to your Soul and be “you”! Your heart is so huge and you have so much kindess and compassion to give, it seems incomprehensible to me that you could ever be without a dog. There’s no way you could deny that part of who you are.😊

    I know it took a lot for you to share where you’ve been with where you are now.. Moving forward with Thilo is not moving away from Manni and all the treasures time the two ofn you shared. I love that you are able to compartmentalize your feelings.😎 That’s such a gift. To enjoy a walk with Thilo and let him have his own experience with you, yet recognizing that joy and sadness can exist side by side, without eroding the other, Well done!

    And no dear Tina. It’s not about the number of times you show up here “(quantity”), but it is about the “quality ” of what you share when you do show up! 😉😉 What you write is always profound and always enlightens us all! And posts like these take awhile to formulate from your heart into words ❤

    To Thilo: Thilo, I sooooo loved the letter you wrote me and I am terribly embarrassed that I have yet to get back to you! It was so brilliantly written and I clung to every single word you wrote with glee!! And I had many, many a laugh too 😂🤣 Like your Mom, I wanted to write when I was “in the flow” so to speak…when I could really respond in a way deserving of the time and the heart you put in to your letter. And I also wanted to “mimic” the way you were talking after you had all those teef pulled as a way to,pay tribute to you so kindly writing me, even wif no teef!! It truly, truly was a brilliantly written letter that Injave saved in my emails. I shall always cherish it…and you……and your Mom!

    And I looooove the pictures of you!!! .You are sooooo cute with the bit pf frost on that mug! Quite adorable! Can’t wait for more!😁

    Lots and lots of love. So appreciative of you and your Mom, AND Manni, sharing so much of yourselves with is today and where you are on your journey together. So much fun getting to know you and all your uniqueness 😎

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  11. Anonymous

    WT…….Anonymous?????? Tis us….

  12. teri

    Tina! I was just thinking about you a couple of days ago, wondering how you are. So happy to see you ‘fess up about Thilo here. I know exactly what you mean about being more and better with a dog. The first time I picked up Roxy’s leash, I felt better, more me. We are all better humans with dogs in our lives – they bring out the good in us. And no, Thilo will never replace Manni. Manni was one in a million and will never be forgotten, I can promise that. Thilo will make his own mark on our hearts – that much is clear from one look at that happy little face.
    I do like the others’ suggestion of adding Thilo to the puppy shelter’s sign. Thilo, I hope you know how stinkin’ lucky you got – best mom ever. And you have the cutest little face I’ve ever seen! I hope someday I can cuddle you live and in person!
    I’m not on the site much myself, or if I am I lurk. and I’ve (finally) gotten over the guilt of that. Sort of. Well a work in progress. You can only do what you can.
    hugs and hugs and hugs to both of you!
    Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

  13. mom2shelby

    Oh Tina !!! So lovely to come here today (where I have been gone for months as well) and to see a blog post from you!

    It feels like I could have written this story about my early days with little Jasper Lily… and much like you (and many others here) I am simply a better version of me WITH a dog. Jasper, also eager to please (for the most part), adores me, looks sad when I leave … unlike miss Shelby who was fiercely independent yet loved me passionately but also knew she was the true alpha in our home.

    What a gift for Thilo to live out his life with you … in an office, on a train, side by side!

    Never apologize for being away… sometimes it is hard to come back, sometimes space is needed, sometimes life happens. True family. True friends. True love never judges … we will always be here for you (and the others) without judgement. That is what makes this place so special. You can simply always come home!

    XO my dear friend!
    Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart (and little Jasper Lily)

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