GSRNE #260

Dadamine came to us as an owner surrender, along with two other males, Cyrus and Blitz. Although the owner loved the dogs, especially Dadamine, and provided a huge fenced-in yard for them, he was overwhelmed with taking care of them. He wanted to insure that they would be well cared for and so GSRNE took “Dad” (and the others) into foster care where they did very well. Those of you who made it to the auction, met “Dad” when he made an appearance to make sure Lauralee was doing her auctioneering “job” right.

And now for the update from Dad’s new home!

Dadamine is liking it here in Plympton, but I thought he would when he fell asleep on the ride home from Dedham, where he was living as a foster dog.

We usually have breakfast, then go for our walk which is about a mile, then either go out for errands or go to work in the shop. He has learned that if we go out the front door we’re going for a ride, but if we go into the garage, we are going to the shop to work. He has toys in the shop that squeak and in the house as he doesn’t like them if they don’t squeak.

He has become a favorite “greeter” with my customers and loves them as they love him. He gets excited whenever somebody comes over but settles down when asked to.

Usually after lunch or after work I’ll bring him out back to run a bit. He has definitely adjusted well to life here and loves going to the club or to our trainer. Our trainer has been training for almost 20 years and he said, “Adam you have a good one.”

Adam Kling

Dozer (was Blitz)
GSRNE #255

We adopted our first dog, a female German Shepherd, in the spring of 2006. We found her on the website of a local animal shelter. She was a beautiful sable GSD, despite being far too thin. The shelter told us she was “very shy but warmed up quickly.” The best they could tell us about her former home life was that she was tied up outside all alone for most of the time. We filled out the adoption application for her even though we were told there were already two applications in for her. Then, just as we were saying goodbye, she rolled on her back and let me scratch her belly. Clearly she chose us, and an hour later we got a call saying that she was ours. We changed her name from “Princess” to Pixie and soon discovered that she was more than just a little shy. She was terrified of almost all new situations and had never been properly socialized with humans or other dogs. We started her off with a private dog training class so she wouldn’t be too overwhelmed with other dogs. Though it was difficult at first, she eventually did well and from there we moved on to a Level 2 group training class where we worked very hard with her on doggie socialization.

During that first year with Pixie as we were learning about GSDs, we came across the GSRNE’s website. We loved checking the website and seeing the dogs available for adoption and reading their stories. We decided to get involved in the foster program because we wanted to be able to help dogs who were in a similar situation to Pixie’s before we got her. We knew firsthand the effects that improper care had on her. Also, we thought it would be a good experience for Pixie to learn from and socialize with other dogs. Our first foster dog, Max, was wonderful and was just the calm, confident dog Pixie needed to be around. We went back and forth on whether or not to adopt him, but finally decided to let him go so that we could continue fostering. It was a hard decision, but we’ve since learned it was the right one. Our second foster dog, Xago, was a bit more challenging. Given his high energy level we had to introduce him to Pixie very slowly, but eventually they did very well together.

Finally we fostered Dozer (formerly Blitz). Dozer came to GSRNE as an owner surrender along with Cyrus and Dadamine. The owner was ill and couldn’t consistently care for the dogs. As a result they spent most of their time in the owner’s backyard. Dozer respected Pixie’s boundaries and had no interest at all in challenging her as the dominant dog. He just wanted to be part
of a family, and he has been officially part of our family since we adopted him in March of this year.

Dozer is friendly and playful and absolutely LOVES meeting humans and dogs alike. He is happy to have a home where he is involved in all the activities. We have taken him on trips to visit family where he is happy to greet everyone, especially children. My young niece and nephew (ages 6 and 8) loved playing fetch with him. He could not have been happier to get that kind of attention! Dozer’s favorite activity by far is going on walks and hikes. The second we get the leash out, he is bouncing around the house hardly able tocontain his excitement. He is a great walker on leash and proudly trots around the park as if he is showing off his new family. What we are most happy about is Dozer’s interaction with Pixie. He is such a nice boy that Pixie accepted him almost immediately. They are very playful with each other and sometimes even rowdy as they run around the house chasing each other at full speed. Often Dozer has a toy in his mouth, and as he’s running and bouncing around the house, the toy flies out of his mouth onto out-of-reach places. We have found toys on top of counters, bookshelves and even the refrigerator.

He LOVES his toys.

After a good play session Dozer and Pixie settle down for a nap together, often on the same doggie bed even though they each have their own.

Dozer also seems to look up to his older sister and has learned many of his obedience commands from her. He has already completed his Level 1 obedience and thoroughly impressed the instructor with what a quick learner he is. Lately he has been going to drop-in training classes along with Pixie as he gets ready for Level 2! What’s really great about Dozer is his balance between playfulness and calmness. Around the house he loves taking naps on one of the several dog beds we have for him and Pixie. Usually he will gather up three or four toys, take them to his bed and lie down. He’ll alternate between chewing each toy before he falls asleep, using one as a pillow. He has such great personality.

Though we were sad we could not foster anymore, we know we made the right decision and that Dozer was meant to be part of our family. Pixie strongly agrees! We have noticed changes in her since Dozer has been around. She used to bark nonstop and get upset when new people came into the house, but now that she sees Dozer greet new people and be friendly, she is much calmer. We are all happy to have Dozer in our life and grateful that he is part of our family.

Jonathan Scamman and Kelly Best

GSRNE #211
Adopted in October 2001 

Abby’s story, like many of GSRNE’s dogs, has a sad beginning. Abby lived her first seven years in a loving home, with four children and a male dog. When her owners got a divorce, her world was split in half; the two dogs stayed with the husband, and the children went with the wife. Abby had loved “her kids” and missed them, but she still had her canine buddy. The new arrangement was short-lived, however, because there was a bad fire in the home. Abby’s owner couldn’t live there any longer, and he turned to a friend, who owned Abby’s sister/littermate, and asked him to take Abby. This arrangement didn’t work out, because the sister was jealous and kept attacking Abby. The new owner was worried about her safety and tried keeping Abby in a crate, which she hated; she kept breaking out in order to be near him. He turned to GSRNE and asked that we find Abby a real home of her own.

Abby was about 20 pounds overweight when she came into GSRNE, and her foster parents helped her lose some of that weight by taking her for daily walks and keeping her from counter surfing to sneak treats. While in foster care, Abby was examined by a Veterinary Dermatologist to find the cause of the ear infection that caused the hematoma which resulted in one ear no longer being able to stand up.


Update from Abby’s family, Jennifer Jordan and Paul Jordan

Abby is incredibly happy in her new home. She was able to make the transition rather smoothly. Other than her getting into mischief, she is an amazing dog to have around the house. She has an outstanding personality! She is great company for my dad since I am away at college. She became immediately attached to my dad and now has learned his schedule and waits by the window for him to return every day.

My dad walks Abby at least three times a day, and this is by far Abby’s favorite pastime. When my dad goes to walk her, she runs to her leash and almost starts talking to my dad and yelling at him to hurry up and take her outside. She is a pretty good walker although she does sometimes chase small animals, such as squirrels and dogs. She also gets along very well with our other male shepherd named Jake. They are about the same age and similar in build. They do not fight at all and spend most days together lounging around and looking out the window. Abby will take his bone when he is chewing it, but he really doesn’t put up a fight because he is very passive. Also, she absolutely loves finding and fetching sticks. Abby found a huge stick in the woods and carried it all the way back to our house in her mouth and was so proud of herself. She still has that stick to this day. Abby also loves when my dad and I come home from work and throw her stick around for her in the backyard where she expends tons of energy.

When Abby is tired she has a few favorite spots to sleep. She actually rarely lies in her big red bed. She has taken over a couch that we have in our living room right by the window so she can look out and watch people and my dad in the yard. She loves sleeping there and is amazing because she always manages to take the pillows, fluff them up and put them under her head. However, her other favorite spot to sleep is with my dad in his bed. He has a giant king-size bed and every night when he goes up to watch television, she hops right up on her side of the bed, watches television with him and then goes to sleep. She is very cute and often will poke at him with her paw, which she uses as a way to get attention and say goodnight.

Abby has had such a rough life, I think at this point she deserves to be treated like the princess she is, so we really do not scold her for sleeping on the couch or in beds.

Health-wise, Abby is doing incredibly well. While she does not like the vet, she tolerates the visits. We take her for regular checkups with Jake, who helps calm her down when he is there. Her ear with the hematoma is doing great; my dad is very vigilant about giving her eardrops weekly. She is very greedy when it comes to wanting bones, but her weight has stayed the same. She is overall very healthy and happy, and we are very grateful to have such a beautiful dog!




GSRNE #233
Adopted on June 20, 2008 


Background by GSRNE: Back in March 2008, we got a call asking for help for Raven, a 5-year-old black female GSD. The current owner had her for only two weeks, but never meant to keep her. Raven had been given to another woman, who changed her mind and didn’t want the dog.

Raven originally came from a breeder that had 12 GSDs and Raven was at the bottom of the pack. We were told the dogs were all thin and the previous household was a noisy one with the owners arguing around the dogs all the time. In spite of her background, Raven was a pretty calm girl, though she did need some socialization. She was shy with men but was good with kids and had allowed a young boy to come right up to her and jump around her with no problem. When Raven came in, she was very skinny and had not been spayed. GSRNE took care of both of these, and her foster home worked to help her be more confident.

In June 2007, we lost our beloved GSD Katie to the terrible degenerative myelopathy at 11 yrs of age. We were mourning heavily for our loss, so in October we adopted Zeus, now known as Bronte (Shepherd/Pitbull mix) at 9-weeks-old from Ahisma Haven who also fosters animals.

After a few months, we wanted to have another GSD, so we applied for an adoption. When we went to meet Raven at her foster home, Bronte came along, of course, to see if they got along. He was so excited and wanted to play, but he was too much for Raven, and she put him in his place, which was a good thing. We knew it was going to work out because Bronte seemed to say, “Ok, I’ll leave you alone.” Even Jill was happy about that, so on June 20, 2008, we picked up our beautiful Raven.

We didn’t realize what a teacher she would be for Bronte. Ever since he was a puppy, he would never let us clean or touch his paws, even though we constantly tried from the very beginning. Then there was one day that it was raining, both came in, but Bronte knew what was coming. We decided to do Raven first, and being the good dog that she is, she let us wipe her paws. Of course we were saying, “What a good girl you are.” Bronte was watching this from under the table. It was so amazing because for the first time he let us wipe his paws and has been doing so ever since!

Raven has become such a part of our family; we feel that we’ve had her since she was a puppy. She is such a good companion and a very happy girl. She greets you with tail wagging and a nice nuzzle. When she is ready to play, she does a turning motion that makes us laugh. She constantly makes us smile. She and Bronte run throughout the house taking turns chasing each other. She loves chasing the squirrels in the yard, taking her walks with us and playing with all of the many balls she has. She is very attached to Bronte and will sleep by his crate (he is still crated at night and when we go out. Raven has her crate but doesn’t like the door closed). No matter what room we are in, she is there. She is great to groom and with her beautiful black coat, she shines.

Thank you so much GSRNE for putting her into our life. She is the best!

George & Laurie Wormwood

Raven before :(

Raven after! :)

GSRNE #240
Adopted in September 2007 

We have been members of German Shepherd Rescue for some years now in spite of the fact that we did not own a dog. We had a cat named Max who suffered from Diabetes and didn’t like dogs so we had to wait.

In September of 2007 the time was right and we submitted our application to adopt a senior GSD from GSRNE. We hoped that they would have a dog that we were right for, and who would be a good match for our family. We needed a dog with a low prey drive since we have a hamster, gerbils, degus and chinchillas.

We were told at the time that they did not have a dog that would be the right match for our home. So we thought that we would have to wait. That night we received an email asking us if we would be willing to foster a female German Shepherd dog that was now being boarded at a Vet office in CT and needed a foster home. It didn’t take us long to say yes we would. She needed a foster home, and we would have the opportunity to help her find her forever home. So we had to hit the ground running.

I went from thinking that I had time to prepare for our new adopted dog to having to run around preparing for our foster home visit and getting everything ready for Fila’s arrival. On September 12th, Milou and Karen arrived with Fila.

It didn’t take Fila long to make herself at home. Within a half an hour she was sound asleep on the family room floor. During our visit with Karen and Milou, we would learn about the life that Fila was living before GSRNE came to her rescue. Her family did not provide her with the medical care that she needed, resulting in the fact that her ears are no longer erect. They did not always have food for her and actually were heard hitting her. I learned later that there was even domestic violence in the home.

With all the things that she had obviously been through, she is sweet and always looking to please. She is happy just to be with her people and to go for walks, which we do three, four or even five times a day. Fila just loves all the people that she meets and all the smells that are there to be sniffed.

When Fila arrived at our home, she was a nine-year old female German Shepherd Dog, but deep down inside she had the heart of a puppy. She absolutely loves tennis balls; she will play with them in the house, and for some reason, it always has to be the right one. She will go from ball to ball and bite them a couple of times until she finds the right one. It may be the one that she bit at the beginning, but that is the ball that she has to have. If it goes under the sofa or TV, she will pace around until she can figure out how to reach it. If she cannot get it, she will bark until we come and retrieve it for her.

She even loves to play ball in the snow and will dig and dig until she finds it.

Everything was going well, but then the licking began. First the feet and then it moved on to chewing hot spots on her hip. GSRNE took her to a dermatologist to determine what was going on. Through testing we would learn that she is allergic to dust mites, trees, weeds and even my grass. It would not be easy. It took a really long time to get to a point where we had it somewhat under control, and I have to admit that through a lot of hard work, she is fully furred again. We still have to deal with periods when her allergies get really bad; but with medication, weekly baths and staying on top of the situation, we get through those times.

In August of 2008, we had been fostering Fila for almost a year and had dealt with all of her allergy issues. It was decided that with everything that Fila had been through, all the experiences that we had shared as a family and knowing just how comfortable Fila was in our home that we were the match for her, and so we happily adopted her.

Fila has settled into her forever home quite nicely and loves to spend time with Emily. Every morning she is happy to ride in the car that takes Emily to school and then back again to pick her up in the afternoon.

Janice Ritter has been helping us with training and Fila looks forward to each of her training sessions. Janice has been helping Fila with her basic commands and is now working with us on her separation anxiety. Fila just loves it when Aunty Janice comes to see her. It means fun, attention and treats, all the things that Fila loves.

Fila is not an easy dog; given the chance, she would be the boss. She keeps me on my toes, and Janice helps me to be the leader in our family. Fila deserves all the happiness that I can give her, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She just loves us to pieces.

She is such a special dog, and with the help of GSRNE and all its volunteers, Fila was rescued from being put to sleep. For this I thank you all.

Judi and Emily Poirier

GSRNE #230
Adopted in March 2008 

Reno was found wandering with a female dog in a state forest and was picked up by the animal control officer. Both appeared to be purebred GSDs, approximately 2 years old. He was kept by the ACO for a few months during which time they were unable to locate his owner. It was felt that they may have come from a breeding facility where they had escaped or just “let go” as dogs they didn’t want to breed further. The ACO named the male, Colonel and the female, Sergeant. A private home was found for the female and GSRNE took the male.

We first met Reno in March of 2008. Reno is our second adopted GSD after Tess who was with us for over 12 years before passing on. Just before Good Friday we got a call from GSRNE asking us if we would like to meet Reno. That weekend, Lisa and I drove up from CT to his foster home in Massachusetts. With his tail wagging, Reno met us at the gate, and we fell in love with him. In his yard, we played fetch and watched him play with another dog, after which we went inside to learn more about Reno. During the meeting Reno came in and fell asleep with his head on my lap. That was when we knew for sure that Reno was the one for us.

Over the next couple weeks, Reno got used to the routine at his new home. We introduced him to all of our friends and family and found him to be more sociable than our past shepherd. We have found that Reno is not afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks, lawnmowers or the vacuum cleaner, in fact he is a confident shepherd without many fears. He is well-mannered and is not food aggressive. Nail clippers though, are not his favorite thing, but he’s fine with a nail grinder and some treats. We no longer have to use the crate if we are going out, though it’s still available for him whenever he wants to go lie down. Reno is pretty quiet, he does not bark at the neighborhood kids who pass by daily going to school. However, Reno will do his big boy bark to alert if someone is at the door or in the driveway, or signals with a short bark if he needs to go out. We found out how bright he is when we came home one day to find he figured out how to undo the latch of the dry kibble bin and served himself. One thing Reno loves, are car rides; it doesn’t matter where or even if the car ever leaves the driveway. For walks, he really loves to go to the park. During the summer after a long hike he loves to run into the lake and go for a swim or to play with the hose in his pool. I’ve also noticed that he really likes to follow scents so I may have to look into tracking. At the parks he has met dogs, people, and wildlife. The first time he met a horse and rider he sat quietly and was complimented on how calm he was.

Soon after we got Reno we enrolled him in doggie day camp. We were worried if he would pass his initial evaluation and half-day stay. But he did fine and now we take him there to every so often. Talk about a tired dog when he comes home! We also enrolled him in basic obedience training
at which he did well and will continue on with his training. Most days, Reno keeps his mom company, and keeps the backyard free of cats and squirrels. In the afternoon he goes for a ride to the high school to pick up our son. In the evenings after a walk and play, he’s comfortable with a bone and some belly rubbing. Reno has bonded with his dad and everyday lets his mom know when it’s time for him to go out on the deck with his Cuz, to patiently wait for his dad to return home from work.

Thank you GSRNE for bringing us together; Reno gives us great joy, many smiles and lots of laughs each and every day!

Kaizur (was Niklas)
GSRNE #223

We were devastated after the death of our six month old Shepard Sheba. We were a bit apprehensive about getting another dog as our hearts were broken and we were not sure if we should perhaps wait. Our daughter Becca came across GSRNE while searching the internet. We spoke about it as a family and decided we were ready to try again. We soon heard from Laurie Keating and she started the process. We were very excited to learn about what a great organization GSRNE was and how much they really cared about the kind of home the dogs went to. A search was done to find us a dog that would be friendly with our three cats (this must have been quite a task). We were then notified that a potential dog was identified, the email included a few photos. As soon as we opened the pictures we knew this was the dog for us – we instantly fell in love and soon he was part of our family.

Kaizur is doing just great! He is a dog that loves routine. We take him for several walks each morning and evening with our other dog Sampson. He always has to have a stick to carry during our walks so part of the fun of the walk is Kaizur choosing the very best stick. We keep a stack of them at the beginning of a rail road trail that is behind our house for him to pick from. There are many trails adjacent to our property so he is never board and loves to explore. Just yesterday during our walk we met up with a pack of turkeys.

Kaizur is a very friendly dog and loving dog. His best kitty buddy is Symba. Symba was just a year old when Kaizur joined our family so they are growing up together. Every night after dinner they play, running through the house and “wrestling”. Kaizur is very gentle with him, it’s really cute to watch them together. The two of them like to cuddle up every now and then for naps
on Kaizur’s dog bed. They also like to watch the birds come to our feeder. The two of them will sit together by the window and watch the bird action.

Kaizur is very smart. Our daughter Becca is now teaching him how to bring slippers to her at night. I’m sure he’ll have this mastered very soon. He seems to really like learning new things as he is very curious and always thinking. Becca likes to watch shows like “It’s me or the Dog” or “Dog Whisperer” to find out new little tricks we can teach him.

Kaizur has been with us a little over a year now and we could not imagine life without him. He adds a bright spot to every day. Kaizur has brought a great deal of happiness to us and has made our home complete. We are so very grateful to GSRNE for finding us the perfect dog. We love him very much. Thank you to everyone!

GSRNE #224

It is true what they say about “love at first sight.” My husband David and I have now experienced it and we know it exists. Love at first sight was what we felt that Saturday morning when we first laid eyes on Delilah at the home of her foster father Danny Thompson. Watching her skip around Danny’s kitchen, nudging and chasing her foster brother Rocky, it was obvious that she was smart and curious and playful, but that she was also shy and timid and frightened, and that there was so much more to her. We were later told that Delilah had been surrendered when her family moved from their home and could not take her with them; they gave her to a family friend. A year later that family friend surrendered her as well, only this time to a shelter. Thus, Delilah was coping with two major losses in her life in a very short time, as well as struggling with having lived in a shelter.

Although she came to us healthy and strong, having been nurtured by Danny and Rocky, she frequently begged for attention and physical affection from David and me. She didn’t play with any other toys except the old tennis ball she came with, and she never barked. I mean, Delilah never barked. Not in the house, not outside in the yard, not when strangers came to the door or when the UPS man delivered a package, and not even when she got excited and chased the neighbor’s GSD in fun around our front yard. For the next few weeks after the adoption, the only occasions we saw Delilah excited and happy was when we took her for long walks on the many trails in the wooded areas behind our home in Marion. She would run ahead of us at the farthest extension of her leash and frequently stop and sniff the ground, reading it and taking it all in like a newspaper, learning about her new surroundings.

Even my efforts to entice her to play with toys often failed. In preparation of Delilah’s arrival, I had purchased a wide array of dog toys for her and arranged them all in a basket on the hearth of our fireplace. There were stuffy toys that squeaked, stuffy toys that didn’t squeak, numerous types and flavors of chew sticks, an assortment of bones, balls that squeaked, balls that bounced, and balls that rolled in a crooked line across the floor. But the only toy Delilah insisted on carrying around with her was her old tennis ball.

Happily though, over the course of the next several months, with our consistent love and attention, David and I slowly watched Delilah change. We saw her change her attachment from the tennis ball to “Green Bear,” which became her new favorite stuffed toy, and we listened as the house changed from a setting of tranquility to one of doggy chaos as Delilah confidently and joyfully found her voice (a very deep voice!) and began to increasingly alert and defend her new home.

The biggest moment came three months later, however, when we brought Delilah to the Sharon dog park to visit with Danny and Rocky again, and we watched with delight as she ran around the park with the other dogs, unafraid, chasing balls and sticks, and bumping and “hip checking” Rocky as they played together! She was no longer the shy, timid girl she once was; Delilah had come into her own, and it was clear that she was now a self-assured and secure GSD. All three of us stood there like proud parents. Proud to see Delilah’s true spirit and personality shine through, proud of her ability to transcend a past she never deserved, and proud that we had all been allowed to play a role in a journey that provided her with a real opportunity for a happy and contented life.

Yes, David and I believe in love at first sight. There’s absolutely no doubt in our minds. We fell in love with Delilah, and she in turn brought us love and made our home, now her forever home, complete.

The Daversa-Gulleys

GSRNE #195
Adopted in June 2007 

Takoda was found as a stray wandering the streets of Swansea, MA and ended up in the local shelter, who contacted GSRNE in November 2005 after efforts to find his owners proved fruitless. As with all of us who do foster or adopt, I would so very much love to know what his history had been prior to that. I choose to believe that he was loved by a woman somewhere, but got lost on a trip, or perhaps the husband didn’t care for him. His behavior with women (loves us) and men (scaaary folks) lead me to that conclusion. I hope that Glenn and I are doing a job that would make his original Mom happy – I think we are.

How did we end up with him? Glenn had a German shepherd, Heide that would take a whole article of her own to describe – a wonderful dog, and the one that hooked him on Shepherds for life. I had a Golden, Rusty, who was my “heart” dog. We care about and love all of our dogs, but a heart dog is special, the bond so extraordinary that when you lose them a piece of you is gone. A canine soul mate, if you will.

When Rusty died in December 2006, I thought that I could never look at another dog, but soon the hole in my life became unbearable. I couldn’t bear the thought of “replacing” him, so we decided to foster for GSRNE and help a dog go to his forever home. We thought, since we both had experience with training, that they’d send us a typical young surrender – you know, a 1-3 year-old whose owners had no idea what they were getting into with this breed. We’d work with it, train it to a little obedience, teach it some house manners, and off it would go, leaving both of us with a glow of pleasure at having helped a dog and me a little further away from the pain of Rusty’s passing. We went through the nerve-wracking interview process for becoming a foster home – would they think we were a suitable home? Would Heide’s behavior measure up? She had a history of dog aggression, but we’d worked very hard with her on it. When we were approved, it was clear they had a dog in mind for us, and we would get our foster task quickly. We did, but it couldn’t have been further from our expectations. We knew because of Heide’s alpha (read “bitchy”) behavior that it would be a male, as that’s what would have the best chance of being accepted by her, but that’s where the similarity to our foster dream ended. Takoda was a very large, somewhat overweight gentleman aged about 10 who had been brought back into the foster program after having been adopted out for nearly a year. After first being brought under the GSRNE umbrella from his beginnings wandering in Swansea, he’d been fostered for nearly a year. A diagnosis of Lyme disease that required treatment before he could be adopted was followed by a seizure, which required more treatment and observation over time so that a prospective adopter would know what they were getting into. Finally an adoptive home was found that was willing to take on the age of this dog and the possibility of seizures. After a move by the family to a city, and an incident of growling at someone in the household, the family sadly surrendered him back to GSRNE. After nine months they loved Takoda very much, but their circumstances made a possible bite too much of a risk to take. Takoda is sound sensitive, hates bustle and confusion, and turned out to have contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever, as well as testing positive for Lyme again. No wonder he was a bit crabby! Apparently he’d gotten both diseases in the country, and then moved to a big city with all its stresses. When we came onboard for fostering in January 2007, he was in a kennel being treated for both, and not flourishing in a kennel environment, as most GSDs do not.

He was so sad; it was as though he just didn’t believe anything good could ever happen, not permanently at least. Despite the best efforts of the girls at the kennel to walk him when they could, the muscles in his hind end were not in good shape. Glenn said we probably wouldn’t have to worry if he ever got loose – Glenn could catch him pretty easily at the rate of speed Takoda could work up. Heide seemed to know that this dog needed us and that she had to accept him into the house. She did, but that’s as far as it ever went. They never really warmed up to each other, just learned to live politely together like two dissimilar strangers in a rooming house. Tolerated but not loved. Takoda was so confused, by everything it seemed. We’d take the dogs someplace in the car and when we arrived back at our house he’d get up, peek out the back of the Jeep, sigh, and go back in it and lie down again. ”Nope, this isn’t the right place,” he seemed to be saying. Or maybe it was, “This isn’t where I thought I was going.” He did not acknowledge his name by as much as a twitched whisker when called. If you wanted him you had to go get a leash, clip it on, and gently tug to get him started along with you, whether it was out of the Jeep, out of the house, or back into the house. Nothing was good enough to get him excited, not even food, although he certainly ate well enough at meals.

After a while of this monotone living we looked into taking him off the Phenobarbital. Since he had never had a second seizure, our veterinarian agreed it wasn’t necessary, and it might be contributing to his lack of emotion. He’d also finished his treatment for Lyme and Rocky Mountain and seemed a bit better physically, but perhaps that was just because he and Heide were taken on a couple of pretty good walks each day, and he’d slowly begun to build that muscle tissue back up. At first he needed a boost into the Jeep, but then began to hop up by himself, which was heartening. Under our vet’s supervision we slowly weaned him off the barbiturate, but it only helped a little. He seemed less confused but no happier. Takoda still didn’t believe good things would ever happen to the likes of him.

Strangely, I never really worked with him in obedience in any way. Every animal I have ever had a relationship with, part of that relationship has been the excitement and give and take of training. Koda, well, he just never seemed interested, so I didn’t push it. He learned house manners of course, to wait for an invitation before going through doors, to sit for dinner and the like, but nothing further. He still would not respond to his name, happy noises, toys, etc. He did seem to want to be with me whenever he could, at least to be in the same room. Glenn still seemed to be a little scary despite working carefully with him. We loved Takoda, but we didn’t really understand him. At one point, while socializing him, we took both dogs to a small local flea market. Although undemonstrative up to this point with us or anyone else (although perfectly sweet), Takoda suddenly showed the first signs of animation we’d seen. He spotted a woman 50 feet away, and his head came up, his tail lifted in joy and actually WAGGED, and he pulled on the leash tugging to get to her. I allowed him to move towards her, but when we got within about 10 feet, it all disappeared again. He positively slumped. It was clear to me that he’d thought he recognized this person, and when we got closer her scent tipped him off that it wasn’t who he thought it was. He was very sad, and my heart went out to him. I would have given nearly anything to be able to reunite him with the person he thought he’d found again, but the shelter hadn’t succeeded, and the trail would be pretty cold after so much time.

In April 2007 we went to GSRNE’s silent auction, and brought the dogs to leave in the car as the weather was cloudy and cool. Takoda had a lot of fans since he’d been in the GSRNE system unusually long, and we knew they’d want to see him. He spent the day with folks coming out to the car with us, he and Heide hopping out to be petted and admired, and hopping back in. He was kind of getting to like all the attention and pets, and the cookies didn’t hurt, either. We ran into his previous foster mom, who had loved him very much and would probably have adopted him if her personal circumstances had allowed it. She burst into tears at hearing that he was doing well and was actually right outside in the car, and that she could visit with him. Out we went to the car, and Koda saw us coming, sitting (illegally) in the driver’s seat and sticking his paws across to lean into the passenger’s seat ready to greet the guests – when he suddenly recognized his former mom, and drew back into the driver’s side, refusing to come out of the car. After a few moments and some coaxing from both of us, he got out. He really was happy to see her, but after a moment leaning up against her, which had been their means of exchanging love, he got up, wagged while looking at her, and came over to me and sat at my side. Another clear communication from Koda – “ I love you, other mom, but I really just want to not get passed around anymore.” We didn’t realize what we had done until then. Poor Koda wasn’t stupid. What happens when you are a rescue GSD and you spend some time with people, then go someplace in a car where lots of people look at you? Well, you go home with another set of folks in another car, don’t you? And maybe you never see the last set again? Right then and there, amidst the tears of both me and the first foster mom, and if the truth be told, Glenn’s too, we committed to adopt this dog. I promised him right then he would NEVER go anyplace without us again.

We officially adopted him at the member’s picnic in June. And we’ve kept our word. We only vacation where dogs are welcome; he’s spent every night since then with one or both of us.

Glenn and I bought 75 acres in Maine on January 4, 2008. He and Heide pretty much moved up there right away, and Takoda and the cats and I stayed in Revere while I continued to work until mid May. Takoda developed some digestive issues during this time and had to either go to day care – which stressed him out and made his diarrhea and vomiting worse – or had to stay in the car so I could take him out several times a day. It was thought that he had Irritable Bowel Disease, one of the auto-immune problems that affect our breed, but since he’s been in pretty good shape for several months now, we think he may well have been surreptitiously eating the top layer of cement around the pool in Revere. Did I mention that whenever he is upset, he licks the floor or ground, crunching up dirt, gravel, ice, snow, or things that I simply don’t want to know about? And he was upset at the pack breaking up.

Once I moved up here full time, his life got good again: long walks in the woods, sometimes with Heide and Glenn, sometimes just me and Koda. It’s so rural here he doesn’t need to be leashed – he may still not acknowledge his name, but he won’t go out of sight of me voluntarily. We spend a lot of time together, and he is happy to help me with anything – he helps cook in the kitchen, assisting with bowl cleaning and taste testing. He helps me relax and read, keeping the couch warm. He likes to mark trails around the woods, and if we occasionally flush a woodcock, he is happy to quietly observe their flight from on the path. Since Heide passed away in August, it was lonely for a little while. It was clear that he missed her, and we were distraught as well. Glenn said the only thing to do would be foster another one. In October we got Ysa (eeh-sah) to work with. Here’s the dog we thought we were getting the first time we fostered! She is just over a year old and full of beans. At first she and Takoda were not certain they wanted to be friends – she is a high energy, faster than a speeding bullet, rowdy little girl, and Takoda is a non-interactive geriatric with degenerative myelopathy that makes it hard for him to walk at times. Well, they may be unlikely friends but friends they have become. Ysa has taught Koda how to play – at least how to chase her, that’s the only one he’s picked up although she keeps trying to get other concepts across. She’d love to play keep away, and roughhouse, and bite-your-butt-and-run – oh wait, she does play that, that’s why he chases her! It’s wonderful to see. We say she has “youthened” him. He is happy to get up in the morning, goes out the door at a jog, and chases her all over creation, doing his best to keep up. He has developed a funny little running bunny hop to keep up as much as possible, and although his rear end fairly frequently goes out from under him on turns, he just levers himself back up to continue the chase. Glenn says wisdom and guile out do youth and speed – Koda fakes her and manages to bite her butt every now and then. I wonder what he’ll think when she finds her forever home? Maybe we’ll have to get another foster for him.

We walk and visit neighbors all together, and the dogs even got invited to part of a New Year’s Eve celebration, where they were very well behaved. At least Ysa was, at one point Koda was found to be cruising for ice cubes in the champagne ice buckets.

I often wonder why I never did any obedience training with Takoda – he still doesn’t always acknowledge his name, and his only trained behaviors are to sit, give his paw, and wait till he’s released to dive into dinner. I think I know the answer – he was sent to us to live out his golden years happily, enjoying every day, knowing he will never get in a car that doesn’t come back to us. Little did I know that in return, he would find his way into my heart, and make me enjoy every single day a little more than I otherwise would have. He’s taught me that you don’t always have to have a reason to have a friend, or a specific task or interest to share with them – sometimes it’s ok just to be friends.

Carol and Glenn Visser

Riley II
GSRNE #220

Riley is a grand guy….He settled in quite fast, met friends and a few of their dogs without any real problems. He has his bed in our bedroom and a blanket in the living room…seems he loves the warmth from the wood stove last winter.

Riley stays with me in the yard, but does sneak off now and then through the wood about 150 feet to the neighbors house to play with Jack their black lab, then they both come back ….wanting cookies!

His first camping trip was interesting. The first day it was a lot of looking and smelling around, meeting people and other dogs on the walking tour. However, he didn’t like the idea of other dogs walking by HIS campsite. By the next day he would only bark if the dogs walked next to his site and not on the roads further away, but on the third day it was just too much work (he was on vacation after all) and just forgot about the barking and enjoyed the grass and the sun.

We had both our dogs out on our old Chris craft “yachting” on the lake. He was a bit nervous the first 10 minutes or so, then he settled down, laid out on the forward seat with me and watched everything going on–happy as a clam.

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