From street dog to Vacansoleil dog
There was once a dog. He was white and copper brown and lay curled up in a park in Spain sleeping. A Dutch girl who happened to live there saw the dog and spent 3 months trying to catch him so she could take care of him. The dog had been mistreated and did not trust humans at all. Not even her. Eventually an old hunter aged 76 years old caught him and brought him to her. Sanne was allowed to keep him if she promised to take good care of him.
She did. So hello Benno!
Benno was a challenging project. Sanne had a lot of experience in training dogs, but training a dog that’s scared is really hard. It took 6 years before Benno really felt comfortable around people. Her tactic was to disapprove of scared behaviour and to do lots of fun and challenging activities.
The training method followed that of de Hulphond organization. Closing the fridge, picking up stuff, closing cupboards and draws and turning lights switches on & off. When this all went well, Benno stilled felt shy, but secretly also a little proud.
He went along with Sanne to the Manor Farm campsite as Vacansoleil dog. Colleagues from the other tour operators such as Canvas and Eurocamp soon fell in love with him and he made a lot of friends with Vacansoleil guests. Benno is now so fond of the guests that I sometimes find him on someone’s veranda. He even jumped into a guests car when they were checking out and almost ended up in Poland.
He’s also big mates with the area manager. Tamara sometimes looks after him when she’s working here and he loves to ride in her bus. I have to watch out that he doesn’t secretly travel the region with her, because he loves touring and loves Tamara.
Sanne Schouwenburg, Host Manor Farm 2019