You can contribute directly to the MO-BEAR MEMORIAL FUND. This fund was conceived of in the fall of 1996, and was established in early 1997 as a resource to help GSRNE aid German Shepherd Dogs rescued from puppy mill raids, backyard breeder shut-downs, and abusive situations, before it is too late for the dogs, and to help educate people about the breed and its requirements, before they get one.
Mo-Bear was a young female German Shepherd Dog who started life in a backyard breeder’s kennel. That is where she lived, in a kennel run, until she was around 12 months old. At that point, she was sold to a person who called himself a “trainer.” As it turns out, her stay with her new owner was not only not pleasant, but was downright abusive. And Mo-Bear began a long, spiraling trip down a road to hell, from which she couldn’t return. Mo-Bear’s fate changed one day when her “trainer”/owner became so enraged at Mo-Bear for not lying down quickly enough on command that he beat her…, and he beat her some more and then some more. He beat her until he broke her ribs and lacerated her body, while she was helpless to fight back.
Luckily for Mo-Bear, a witness actually saw this abuse and on the spur of the moment and in a rush of emotion, this witness bought Mo-Bear from her “trainer” for $50. Mo-Bear’s new owner had the dog treated at an emergency veterinary hospital, and then he took her home…as a surprise for his wife. The new owner’s wife; however, did not want a German Shepherd Dog! So the new owner, who was somewhat trusting and naive, gave her a couple of weeks to recover from her injuries, but then sadly, quickly sold Mo-Bear to a couple who maintained that they represented a dog placement service. The man who saved her from the “trainer” felt relieved that the dog was going to a placement service and happily gave the couple Mo-Bear’s AKC papers along with the dog. Mo-Bear was not spayed at the time – and the witness owner recalled that this new couple was delighted that Mo-Bear was still intact.
Sadly, they were delighted for reasons that were not in Mo Bear’s best interest. This couple did not run a placement service. They actually ran a puppy mill, right here in New England. Mo-Bear was kept in a filthy kennel run and a crate again, and was bred every heat, twice a year, until she was 3 yrs old. This is VERY hard on a dog. And yes, this is where those little pet shop puppies come from, from miserably kept parent dogs like Mo-Bear. She was not loved and petted as a pet, she was not given veterinary care, and she heard no kind words, only the barking of other dogs and a “Shut Up!’ yelled out from time to time. Every litter of puppies she had was taken away from her at 4-5 weeks of age, to be sold to brokers who then sell these pups to pet stores. Four to five weeks old is much, much too early to leave a mother, but that’s what happens to those cute puppies you see in pet shops. And that is what happens to their mothers.
Little Mo-Bear wasn’t able to have puppies after contracting an infection and receiving no medical care for it so she was sold, with this illness, to a couple who lived in an apartment in a dangerous area of a MA city. They wanted some protection from people who were breaking into their apartment but were also kind people. They were horrified with how Mo-Bear and the other dogs were being kept at the “breeding establishment,” and decided that even though they had very little money they couldn’t leave Mo-Bear there. They bought her for $100. As it turned out, now Mo-Bear was full of worms, had an internal infection and looked like she had a flea allergy. She was a mess of a creature. She was depressed and she was worn out. She’d been in four “homes” already, at 3 yrs of age.
Mo-Bear lived with the new couple and their gentle teenage son for 6 relatively happy months. The owners couldn’t afford much veterinary care beyond worming her and treating her infection some but Mo-Bear didn’t seem to care as long as she was loved. She warded off thieves at the apartment with her fear-aggression, as she was basically afraid of the people trying to break in, and so did her part. She was nice with her family, but not others – so they avoided confrontations or situations where Mo-Bear could be afraid and lash out at people. Things went okay for awhile for them.
Unfortunately, the couple’s landlord changed the rules on the tenants, allowing only small dogs in the building. And Mo-Bear, being afraid of most men, barked and growled at the landlord, too. Suddenly, when it was time to renew their lease the landlord told the couple about the new “small dogs only” policy. The couple had to find Mo-Bear a new home, ASAP. They put an ad in the paper, but the owners had gotten “adoption” calls only from people wanting junkyard dogs or “mean” dogs. They called us and begged us to help as the last resort was to take her to a shelter. This is when GSRNE took Mo-Bear into our program. She was so-so with the evaluators then, a bit nervous about being handled and had a concerned look on her face sometimes that we heeded with a little caution as well. We felt we needed a longer term evaluation to see if Mo-Bear could do better with some up front work by the owners, but the owners needed us to take her, regardless of what we decided should be done. These people knew that they wouldn’t be able to place the dog in a decent home before their landlord evicted them. They really cared about Mo-Bear but they were destitute and could not move to a new home or more expensive apartment. Mo-Bear’s life had been so awful for almost her whole life that we couldn’t say no.
So, we took her. She had a pretty pink collar and she looked so nice. We clung to hopes that she would turn out okay with the right kind of care and some understanding. Sometimes dogs do but sometimes they don’t ever quite learn to trust enough to be safe with people. She started to learn to trust one person…. and then began to *maybe* trust two… but it was slow work and wasn’t always safe. Her trust was in women only. Time went by but progress was not being made.
While she was in our care, GSRNE treated her mild allergies and her low-grade infections and we tracked down her story. It was horrifying when we learned all of the particulars and we wanted so much for her to be okay and learn that most humans were truly decent. Some volunteers (one of whom was me) petted, played with, brushed and loved her, all the while evaluating her for hopes that we could save her. She was intelligent and playful when relaxed and quite a loving creature with gentle, slow handling.
But Mo-Bear’s abusive past just wouldn’t allow her to trust many people. Unfortunately the fears and demons from her past haunted her and we couldn’t get her past that. She seemed to be able to trust only 2 GSRNE people to the point where she could behave normally and safely. When she felt threatened or insecure, like when new people approached too quickly, raised their hands, moved quickly or surprised her/startled her, she’d show sudden, very severe aggression, especially inside of buildings and small enclosed areas. We tried to work out these problems with her but she’d had too many beatings, too many broken bones, and too much abuse and neglect in her short 3 years to trust most people.
Her fears had been founded on the horrible truth of abuse. Her fears were too deeply ingrained to repair and that made for a miserable existence for her most of the time when the only 2 people she trusted weren’t around at any time. We worried about placing her in a pet home. What if a friend walked in and jovially said, “Hello!” We knew that would set her off, as would strangers reaching for her to pet her suddenly. We saw the writing on the wall, even though we didn’t want to believe it. But when Mo-Bear panicked one day and lunged in full attack and fear at a nice man who just lifted his hand up to wave to us, we knew what we had to do. The poor dog’s fears ruled her life most of the time and her response was to use aggression to keep people away.
On a brisk, sunny day in the fall of 1996, I played with Mo-Bear for the last time. We ran side-by-side, cavorting through the leaves, for around half an hour. She leapt and played by my side, I swear almost flying on invisible angel wings, as the leaves blew around us in little whirlwinds. She was so vibrant and alive, her darker side not showing up at all when she was alone with me. But I knew what that day was going to bring. I tried so hard not to let her know that I was already sobbing for her inside – I did not want her to panic and feel the presence of her old familiar enemy, Fear, in her last moments. She was having so much fun with me, alone, she didn’t seem to notice my angst. She felt momentarily safe.
As we drove to the veterinary hospital, I continued to try to maintain my composure for her. We had to wait in the waiting room for 5 minutes – it seemed an eternity. She sat by my side quietly for those minutes but when the vet walked over to softly tell us it was time, Mo-Bear startled and she lunged at the vet in fear. I asked for a minute to calm Mo-Bear, which I did.
And we walked into the exam room. I held her in my arms, telling her what a good girl she really was as the attending veterinarian euthanized her.
We euthanized my little Mo-Bear, a young healthy 3 yr. old female German Shepherd Dog who had seen the dark side of life on a daily basis for just too long, to the point where she could not fit into society at all, no matter what we tried. A dog who could have been a wonderful companion for somebody, given even just a decent upbringing and some love. She was an innocent dog, created for Society’s pleasure, but upon whom Society heaped its contempt and apathy and greed and then kicked aside in pursuit of other amusements.
I have no pictures of her, my precious girl, nothing left of her except my memories of her love of flying through the autumn leaves. And I have her pink collar.
I hope my Mo-Bear is cavorting and flying in the autumn leaves somewhere safer now, and can forgive me for what I had to do.
Thoughts of Mo-Bear flying in the leaves by my side, with her pink collar on still haunt me. I vowed that I would not allow the rage and pain I felt about her death that day to go for naught, however. I planted a pink lilac bush in my yard for her, but it wasn’t enough. The idea for the Mo-Bear Memorial Fund was born soon after Mo-Bear died in my arms.
The Mo-Bear Memorial Fund will go towards rescuing German Shepherd Dogs out of situations where illness, neglect, and/or mistreatment of a German Shepherd like Mo-Bear are happening or are potentially happening. We want to get to these dogs out of these situations before they lose their trust in humans, before the point of no return, before they reach the point Mo-Bear did.
We would also like to use these funds to educate people on what owning a large dog should be about, and what owning a German Shepherd Dog specifically should entail, and what it should NOT entail.
We want to prevent cases like little Mo-Bear. Because no animal should have to suffer like she did. Because just like all our beloved German Shepherds, she could fly.
I have contributed the first seed money towards this special fund in her name. I hope you’ll join me by making your own donation to the Mo-Bear Memorial Fund and help GSRNE help stem the tide of neglect and abuse towards German Shepherd Dogs everywhere. We can do it through education and through intervention. And while we can’t save them all, we can make a difference in the lives of many.
Janice Ritter, Former GSRNE President and Co-Founder
To contribute to the Mo-Bear Memorial Fund, make your check out to GSRNE, Inc. and note on the check that the donation is to be ear-marked for the Mo-Bear Memorial Fund.
Send donations to:
The Mo-Bear Memorial Fund
Wayland, MA 01778
Thank you for caring about my Mo-Bear girl.
Please note that it is for the Mo-Bear Memorial Fund