Be the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

My doggy girl, Wilma, was the love of my life. She did not only believe in me, but she was also the one being on the planet within my lifetime who believed in me the most. She gave me everything she had and more. Because that’s what she wanted, just give me everything to make me feel good.

I am tearing up as I write these words. I haven’t been able to talk about it for a very long time, and it’s still difficult for me now.

She died on August 31, 2012, aged 12, full of cancer. That was the worst day of my entire life. And the deep sorrow for her never left me. It’s not as present as it used to be, but it hasn’t gone away at all. I have regular moments when this sadness overruns me like a steamroller.

I miss her terribly, every damn day.

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  • Wilma

In your dog’s eyes, the sun revolves around you, you are the center of the universe, everything depends on you. There is nothing you can do wrong, for your dog you are the absolute perfection and the benchmark for everything. Even abused dogs “love” their owners … even if they mostly fear them. Subordinate wolves in packs do this too.

I wasn’t always the perfect dog dad, but she forgave me for every mistake. She has always adapted her few, simple needs to my many, complicated needs. And no, food wasn’t her first priority. The biggest thing for her was spending time with me, being outside with me, spending time in nature, playing and frolicking.

I saved Wilma and she saved me. In fact, she has saved me more times than I have saved her. I saved her once; she saved me countless times. She asked me to keep going every time I wanted to end it all. The responsibility I felt towards her kept me from doing so. She also taught me humility and gratitude, and she made me grow up. She has made me more cautious, smarter, more responsible and less vain. In short, she made me a better person. Would that have happened without her? No, not to this extent.

I wasn’t the perfect human being that she saw in me, but I always wanted to be. I’m not that good with people, to be honest, because I can’t trust people. People have disappointed me too many times from my earliest childhood. “Performing” in company is very difficult for me and costs me a lot of energy. I’ve learned to go through the world with a mask so that nobody notices how I’m really doing, but I would prefer a world with far fewer people and more animals.

I’ll never forget the day when I stood in front of the first kennel at the shelter, and this pitch-black ball with these weird glasses — she had no hair around the eyes because of zinc deficiency — looked at me. We fell in love in milliseconds. I knew: this dog or none. Now! An hour later — she fit in my hand — she was lying on my chest, that little black ball someone had simply thrown away and nobody wanted because she was black and supposed to become rather big. A potential “problem dog”.

To me she was perfect, and she proved to be an absolutely exceptional dog as she grew. Sure, every dog owner says that about their dog … but really: anyone who knew Wilma knows what I’m talking about. She was VERY special, friendly, beautiful looking, had a very own character, incredibly intelligent to a point where she was scary, at times. Very human-like. And everyone loved her because she was a happy dog that loved humans, although she has been treated like shit by humans when she was a baby.

I finally wrote this down, more than 10 years after her death, and it’s still all very difficult for me. I think it’s good, maybe it eases my heart. There are 2 new dogs in my life recently, for whom I am also a hero, and they also make me a better Ingo every day … but Wilma is everywhere. I see, smell and feel her everywhere, she is omnipresent.

And when the two new heartthrobs look at me, she looks at me through them, telling me to keep on going and become better every day.

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Cleo, a Great Dane. Patient, good-natured, playful, likes harmony and is very filigree despite her immense size, somehow.
Max and me
Max, a spanish-everything-mix, found abandoned and rescued. He’s very attached to me and quite vocal and expressive. An emotional and outgoing type.

Why I Abandoned Social Media

When social media became “the new thing” and every artist was recommended to join the hype, I was very skeptical at first. I came late to the party of the two top dogs, Twitter in 2007, Facebook only in 2009, after the pressure on me from all sides grew too great. At least that’s how it felt to me at the time, or what I told myself… but there’s a good chance I just had the same need for recognition as everyone else and was afraid of missing out and not being recognized appropriately. As you grow older, fortunately that disappears.

Instagram was about photography once

I thought Instagram was pretty good at first… the filters looked cool and it was more about the photos than anything else. Until Facebook took over and turned it into a drug for people with an inferiority complex.

Anti-Social Media

I’ve never really felt comfortable with anti-social media, and I’ve also struggled to generate huge followings. There were decent numbers lately, but not enormous. That may have something to do with the fact that my audience has a rather limited affinity for social media. Something like that always has a direct connection with the kind of music you make.

In all these years, I have experienced everything on social media that internet experts and psychologists are now warning of: abuse, hate, completely pointless and unnecessary discussions, exposing the private to the public (something I don’t like at all) and a very stupid thing: living out conflicts in public, in front of people you don’t really know.

Necessary for artists?

For a long time, I myself succumbed to the belief that as an artist you have to be present on social media in order to be and remain relevant. A few years ago, I severely restricted my activity there. And what happened? You guess it:

Nothing. People consumed my music the same as before. All of a sudden, I had more time for what really mattered and less headaches from some poor souls annoying me online.

At the time, people were already asking me to post more and “stick with it”. I shouldn’t leave the field to “them”. I stopped believing early in life that I could make the world a better place by trying to convert people, so I didn’t comply with those requests. People tend to believe what makes them feel good, not what is closest to the truth. That’s why public discussion is really not my world. I’m too much of a realist, and I don’t like having a lot of people around me either in real life or virtually.

When blogging was a thing

Before I jumped on the social media bandwagon, I was a relatively avid blogger. I’ve always been a political person and liked to write about social criticism, of course music-related and generally about my random thoughts. Because of social media, actual blogging made no sense to me anymore, so I stopped.

It wasn’t always about the public discussion; I felt the need to share my thoughts. Today I only have this need very slightly, and if I have to get rid of my thoughts, then in my private environment or of course in and with my music.

What now?

But there are things I want to tell you every now and then. I definitely still have thoughts for which music is not the right means of communication. I would like to use this website exclusively for this purpose in the future. If you’re interested, you can stop by here, subscribe to the feed, or have posts delivered to your inbox.

I’ll be 50 years old in a few weeks. The time for bullshit is long gone. When you’re young, it’s totally okay, understandable, and normal to engage in bullshit. I did that extensively and learned a lot from it. I don’t blame anyone for hanging out and being active on social media. Everyone does what they think they have to do.

My time has come to only take care of myself, my loved ones, my music and my affairs. I live a meaningful life with a lot of things in it that deserve and need my attention. And none of this has anything to do with social media or networks of this kind. 

Good-bye bullshit

I turned my back on social media because it brings out the worst in people. It’s antisocial media. And now an egomaniac who poses as if he wants to save the world or humanity has bought Twitter. The hand puppet Zuckerberg was enough, now that?

I had more than enough reasons to delete my profiles altogether. No more “social” networks. Anyone who is interested in me is welcome here on this website.

I've stripped my entire digital life down to the bare essentials. No unnecessary apps on my smartphone or computer. I'm no longer afraid of missing out. I experienced and saw most of what I wanted to experience and see. And for everything that is still there, I still have enough time.

I may have gotten a bit older and gray, maybe gained some weight, lost hair, but I’m still fit and have a never-ending bucket list. I spend most of my free time outdoors in nature, with my partner and the dogs, hiking, adventures, enjoying the beauty of nature, shooting photos and videos. My artistic soul still pours itself into music as well. I’ll let you know here on this website if there’s anything new.

I have many good reasons to be happy. I’m not always that, but there are still good reasons for it. I have everything I need and more. You too.

I don’t need social media. Neither do you. But it’s up to you to determine that. I will be here waiting for you. 😉