In the summer and early fall of 2012, a few people got together to see what they could do to help all the German Shepherds they were seeing that were dying in southern California shelters. After talking for several weeks, they decided their best route would be to work with reputable rescues to move the dogs to places they could be adopted – where GSDs weren’t as common. Their idea was to navigate the complicated California shelter system FOR the rescue. Partner with the shelters, temp test the dogs, arrange with a rescue partner for the “pull”, arrange vet, board, and transport to the rescue – AND to raise the funds to do it. They wanted to do this – to deliver the dog to the rescue – without the rescues having to figure all this out – taking away from the important job of taking care of the dogs, and getting them adopted. Rescues already HAVE too much work to do! After months of planning, Miracle GSD Network was formed, and “pulled” their first dogs in October 2012 from the Coachella Valley Shelter in CA for Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue.
Miracle GSD Network only works with a select few rescues that they have thoroughly checked out, and have processes in place that employ good and transparent rescue practices. Since 2012 they have built a partnership with several rescues and shelters, and with many people on the “ground” assisting with temp tests, fostering, and transporting. They have earned the trust of so many people in rescue. This small group of people is spread out all over the country – Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Miracle GSD Network is PROUD to partner with the Thulani Program, to save Senior & Hospice German Shepherds – a cause near & dear to their hearts. Miracle GSD Network is an “informal” organization dedicated to helping rescues navigate the difficult shelter system by coordinating “pulls” of dogs in need. Visit (ask to join) our Facebook page – it is a HAPPY PLACE – where we post updates of all our “Miracle Dogs” – to date over 450 saved:
It was that close. Here is what happened.
Frank T. brought to the LA City East Valley Shelter as a stray
Scanned for microchip—none found
Frank could not stand or walk without collapsing
No owner came forward during stray hold
Frank T. still in bad shape, left rear leg non-weight-bearing.
***DECISION—Euthanize for medical-nonmanageable***
SCANNED ONCE MORE PRIOR TO EUTHANIZATION—FOUND A CHIP
Hold put on euthanization while owner contacted
No owner BUT Frank T. much better
Alert and moving around well. Left rear leg now weight-bearing.
Karen Barnes of the Thulani Program pulls Frank into the program.
A close shave but Frank T. is safely in the Thulani Program. He is 10 years old, alert, social, affectionate, and quite mobile. In fact, we are now working on him not pulling me all over the place when out on walks. He takes a ‘good’ walk, lots of sniffing and exploring, with an occasional check-back with me to make sure I am OK. He is very handsome, well proportioned, and nearly a show-quality German Shepherd. He is a bit aloof with people at the very beginning, but after just a few minutes, he shows his abundant social skills. He is fine with other dogs, but pretty much ignores them once he has met them. He has not shown much prey-drive, and actually may be cat workable. He is everything a well-balanced German Shepherd should be.
Suspected testicular cancer must have been a scrotal infection. He is fine—no cancer
Frank T. is part of the Thulani Program, and as such we are looking for a forever home that will care for him for the rest of his life, in warmth and love. He will come with a supply of food, a cushy pad if wanted, and other goodies such as toys. His medical expenses will be covered for the rest of his life by the Thulani Program. If you want to learn more about Frank T., or are possibly interested in providing him a home in which to spend his retirement, please contact Bob at email@example.com Frank T. is a level 2 dog.
Donating by check:
Make check payable to GSRNC/Thulani and send to:
PO Box 1930
Cupertino, CA 95015
Donating through PayPal
If one already has a PayPal account, there are 3 ways you can send money to GSRNC:
You can use the “Send Money” tab when you first log in to PayPal.
- Enter the email address to send money to as firstname.lastname@example.org This will insure the money is earmarked for the Thulani fund.
- Check the box that says “I am sending money to family or friends.” If the money is coming directly from your PayPal account, there are no fees deducted. The dogs get more money
- Note: Unfortunately there is no way to “Send Money” on an automatically recurring monthly basis.
You can go to the Donations Page of our website http://gsrnc.org/donate.asp and select the “Make a One Time Donation” button. Here you can make your donation either using your Pay account, or use a credit card. After you’ve entered the donation amount and account information, click the “Review Donation & Continue” button, then click on “Enter Tribute or Special Instructions”. In the text box that opens, enter the name of the dog you wish to sponsor or any other instructions to GSRNC, such as “for Thulani Fund.”
You can go to the Donations Page of our website http://gsrnc.org/donate.asp and select the “Monthly Recurring Donation” button and follow the instructions. To set up a recurring donation you must have or set up a PayPal account. With this option, there is no opportunity to add notes to GSRNC. So if you wish to designate where these funds are to be used, such as Thulani Fund, you will need to send us a separate email to that effect and I will add the notation to the report I send to our Donations Team with the periodic PayPal reports.
I hope this information helps you and I we thank you profusely for your continued and generous support of GSRNC and specifically the Thulani Program.
We are a 501 (c) 3 charity and all donations are tax deductible.
Sammy is a loveable, very slow-moving senior GSD who still has plenty of love and companionship to offer the right person or family. He clearly enjoys human company and will follow his person from place to place – if he is awake. Like most seniors, Sammy sleeps a lot, and he does have some special needs :
- Sammy requires pain medication (pill form) throughout the day, accompanied by small meals to help keep his stomach calm. Someone would need to be home to give him his mid-day meds/meal.
- With his very low activity level Sammy does not need, nor consume, a large amount of food. Generally 3 to 3-1/2 cups spread across the day with his meds is sufficient. Because his teeth are worn and aged, chewing hard kibble is not easy for this old boy. He should be fed a good quality (mild formula, such as: turkey, lamb, etc.) soft canned food (about 2 to 2-1/2 cans per day), or something like The Honest Kitchen’s KEEN formula, with the occasional addition of some cooked white rice or boiled ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken).
- Carpeted flooring is a must, as he cannot walk on slick surfaces without falling. He will try but too easily slips and falls, and then needs help to get back on his feet – none of it good for his arthritic joints. He currently walks across sections of laminate flooring by stepping on a pathway of non-skid rugs, and is blocked from accessing a larger room that has slick flooring.
- Steps and ramps are too much for him to navigate without assistance. He would do best in a home that has a direct across-the-threshold access to a patio or yard area where he can do his potty business or snooze in the shady grass.
- Sammy gets along fine with cats – he notices them but is not interested. His 17-year-old foster cat frequently approaches and rubs noses with him, and there has been no negative reaction at all.
- Older and/or calm dogs are also fine. Sammy is too old and arthritic to play with other dogs, but he is comfortable in their presence. But he does not like to be jostled or cornered – he is clearly not comfortable in close confines with other dogs – that may be due to his mobility issues and pain. Sammy will tell the other dogs they are too close, firmly but not aggressively. If the other dog(s) respects that and gives Sammy space there will be no problems.
- Sammy loves car rides (calm rides, not Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride), but needs to be lifted in and out of the vehicle; he does not use a crate (in the car or in the house), as it would be too difficult to get him in/out of one.
Although Sammy has special needs, they are not difficult to fulfill. His person just needs to be attentive to him, have a plan to give him is meds/meals on a reasonable schedule, be aware when he is moving about to assist him if he stumbles, and be willing to scratch his neck – frequently.
Sammy T. is part of the Thulani Hospice Program of German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. As such, all of his medical expenses will be covered by the Thulani Program for the rest of his life. For more information about Sammy T. or if you might consider providing him a home in which to live out his natural life, please contact Bob at email@example.com
Sammy will steal your heart before you know it. He is a kind and sweet senior gentleman whose keenest desire is to be within sight of or near his person. Friendly and loving with people, he ignores his foster home cat and is accepting of the dogs so long as they do not get in his face or get pushy with him. His arthritis and physical vulnerability may result in a mild vocal reaction if dogs run past and jostle him, but he’s just saying, “Hey, slow down – you almost knocked me over!”. Sammy has been in the company of older children (ages 9 to 15) who have grown up with small and large dogs and know how to behave around them, especially older and physically vulnerable dogs. While untested, Sammy may be fine around younger children but should be supervised at all times to avoid a being grabbed and hurt, potentially resulting in an undesirable response from Sammy.
Once acclimated to his environment, Sammy is trustworthy on his own in the house and has had free run of his temporary foster home to sleep where he chooses, day and night. He has also been left inside unsupervised up to 3 or 4 hours and behaved like an angel. Although he will follow you from room-to-room, or outdoors and back inside, he does not exhibit separation anxiety – he just wants to be near you. Sammy is fully housetrained and has had no potty accidents; given free access to go outside he will take care of his business on his own. However, if the outdoors is inaccessible and if he needs to go outside, he will stand by the door or, at night, he will come into your bedroom and give you a gentle nudge to let you know he needs to go out – one just needs to be attentive. He is not able to navigate through a dog door, and he currently comes and goes via a split screen in place of a patio screen door.
When up and moving, Sammy ambles along outside, exploring the yard, stopping for a rest break or to nap in a preferred spot
He has been able to slowly navigate up/down 2 to 3 steps from the house to the patio and back inside, but he needs the full width of the open door with nothing blocking his access. Inside, he will investigate other rooms, probably looking for that next perfect nap spot. Most of his days are spent napping in the shady grass or inside on the carpet. He has an orthopedic bed that is seldom used; because he is arthritic and mobility challenged it may be easier for him to push himself up from the carpet rather than from a dog bed. His physical stamina is very low, most likely because he has experienced pain for so long that he didn’t move unless he had to. Now, with pain medication and feeling better, Sammy is more inclined to get up and investigate his environment, but he does so in small spurts of energy with stops to rest or nap in between. He is not a dog that needs to be walked – but he does need opportunities to walk at his own pace and duration when he is able to.
Sammy has responded well to his pain management regimen, but must take his medication on schedule or he will suffer for the lack of it. He easily takes his pills stuffed in small meatballs of canned food, or in pieces of turkey hot dog. When giving Sammy his meatball meds, treats or any food by hand it should be offered on an open palm, as he is very food motivated and can be a bit grabby. His current weight is good: not fat and not skinny – just right, and he eats an amount of food appropriate to his activity level and weight maintenance. He has the usual set of other senior dog troubles, but is really in remarkably good health given his age. He loves to have his neck and ears rubbed, and calmly accepts gentle grooming. And he smiles a lot. Be ready to open your heart to him because he will steal it regardless…
Sammy T. is part of the Thulani Program, and as such we are looking for a forever home that will care for him for the rest of his life, in warmth and love. He will come with a supply of food, a cushy pad if wanted, and other goodies such as toys. His medical expenses will be covered for the rest of his life by The Thulani Program. If you want to learn more about Sammy T., or are possibly interested in providing him a home, please contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org Sammy T. is a level 1 dog, and he is fine with cats.
Gregory T. came to the Thulani Program when his companion and guardian, Bob Goodwin, passed away recently at the age of 89. Bob and Gregory T. had been inseparable for more than six years, a bond that grew out of an incredible story.
Bob Goodwin enlisted in the Army during WWII, at the age of 17, and was shipped to the Burma theater. He and his squad were engaged in nearly daily combat for long periods of time. At some point during the war, Bob acquired a Belgian Malinois that quickly became not only the squad mascot, but also a valuable security partner. This dog provided Bob with companionship and comfort during this very difficult period of his life. Tragically, the dog was killed shortly before Bob returned to the states.
Bob’s grandson Tom reports that roughly seven years ago “my grandfather went to the San Mateo SPCA to look for a dog to adopt. He specifically asked to see the dogs that weren’t up for adoption, and in his exact words (which I heard him say many times retelling the story), he asked them to ‘show me the dogs that nobody wants.’ He was immediately smitten by Gregory, as his features were very reminiscent of the Mal he had overseas, and who guarded and supported him during the most difficult time in his life. Gregory was like a son to him, and grandpa would take him absolutely everywhere he went, and Gregory, like the dog he had overseas, was his constant companion and provided him with much emotional support during the last several years of his life.”
I was asked to evaluate a senior German Shepherd that needed a new home. His name was Scooby and he was just short of 10 years old. Scooby had worked as a personal service dog since he was a puppy, had been trained to provide physical support and balance, alert to the onset of medical crises, open doors, pull a wheel chair, and many other tasks. But after more than 9 years of service, he found himself in a Humane Society with few options. He showed some signs of neglect, and was a bit weak in his hind-quarters, but was otherwise healthy and in good shape. And his personality and temperament were absolutely fantastic. He loved everyone and showed it, he was great with dogs and seemingly all other animals. He took enthusiastic walks and car rides. He was happy all the time. In short, he was as close to the perfect dog as I had come across in a long time.
But, unbelievably, the Humane Society would not put him up for adoption!
Although Scooby did not fit the strict profile for a Thulani dog (he was too young and too healthy), we simply could not stand by while he spent his last days in a shelter among strangers. So we made plans to bring him into the program. The prospect of him becoming a Thulani dog immediately injected a sense of excitement and high spirits into the next Thulani Program Steering Committee Meeting, which was spent planning Scooby’s ‘coming out’ party, complete with banner, balloons, a video, celebrities, and lots of cheers. We held the party (see a short video of it at http://youtu.be/00_kvuS9H5Y ) We humans had a ball, and Scooby took it all in stride.
Scooby is now looking for his forever home, and some incredibly lucky family will eventually welcome a new family member that will brighten their lives.
Tatum T had the ideal home for more than a year, and we all hoped it would be forever. Sadly, serious financial difficulties made it necessary for us to find her a new home. She is a wonderful dog that brighten anyplace she goes.
Tatum T. is a 2 year old, smaller sized, black and tan female. She has a very happy, confident, outgoing personality. She is sweet and loving and wants to be with her family, but she does this without being needy. Will play quietly outside by herself, doesn’t have any separation issues, but she will react to small creatures-birds, rabbits and squirrels. Tatum is house trained and crate trained and will sleep quietly in her crate at night or if crated for short periods during the day. Will sometimes counter surf but this is happening less frequently now that she is maturing. She loves to go for walks and behaves well on a leash. Her other favorite thing is to go for car rides. She knows basic commands but still needs work on her downs. She has great food drive but is soft mouthed when taking treats and toys. Tatum plays well with a 10 month old foster puppy she has helped raise but an older, less active male would be an ideal companion for her. She plays well with other dogs but will not allow other dogs to dominate her. She has not figured out why thunder, blasting and shotguns are so loud. She will bark at the noise but will stop if she is with her family. All said, she is one big bundle of love in a small package!
Tatum has a heart condition, moderate aortic stenosis. She is asymptomatic at this time, but does get ‘short of breath’ when playing too hard or running too much. She is self-moderating, in that she will lie down and rest when she gets short of breath. We expect her to live a relatively normal life, although the heart condition could shorten it some. She will live longer in a relatively quiet home, preferably with a male that is four years old or older.
Because of her heart condition, Tatum T. is part of the Thulani Program, and as such we are looking for a forever home that will care for her for the rest of his life, in warmth and love. She will come with a supply of food, a cushy pad if wanted, and other goodies such as toys. Her medical expenses will be covered for the rest of her life by The Thulani Program. If you want to learn more about Tatum, or are possibly interested in providing her a home, please contact Bob at email@example.com
Our precious Thunder crossed the Rainbow Bridge after his stomach twisted. He was quite the trooper. Thunder’s picture with the endearing head tilt just drew us in and made us want to welcome him into our home.
Shortly after he came to our home as a permanent Thulani foster dog, Thunder developed basal cell carcinoma and had the tumor successfully removed thanks to the generosity of many people to offset some of the cost.
The first thing Thunder did when he got home from the hospital was to again roll on the fresh, cool grass. As you can see http://youtu.be/lTrHyEVVsEU it doesn’t get any better than that.
Thunder’s grey muzzle made him look older, but when I walked him he had a strength and enthusiasm that made him seem much younger. He was so strong I practically had to run him on the walks or I thought he would pull me like a sled dog. He loved to chase me in the back yard. I played hide and seek with Thunder and he was determined to find me. Thunder had the vestibular disease typical in senior dogs that causes balance issues and when he chased me and turned too quickly he would often skid onto his side and get right up and keep chasing me. He was determined not to be stopped.
He lived with our three other dogs, but his passion was his people. Thunder wanted to be with his mom every waking moment and he pretty much was.
Words can’t express the sadness to losing Thunder and yet we know he filled many people’s lives with love and joy in the short time he exemplified the Thulani Program.
Thank you Thunder, we will always love you
It is a universally acknowledged fact that a DOG IS FUN. So it follows that two dogs must be TWICE AS MUCH FUN. Or perhaps in this case the ‘whole’ is greater than the sum of the parts, so——-. Well, we have just that very situation in the Thulani Program with Bear T. and Dakota T. They are longcoat German Shepherd mixes, they are brothers, they are characters, they are loveable, and they are FUN2.
They were both rescued from the Lancaster, CA shelter out in the Mojave Desert. Both were filthy, matted, and covered with foxtails, so shaving them was the only option. They are cleaner, cooler, and much happier today.
They get along great together, interacting at times, and doing their own thing at others. They love people contact and to be snuggled. When one has cornered a human and is getting attention, the other will run over immediately to push his way into the act. They are leaners, and with as large as they are, you know it when you get leaned on. I have not had one climb into my lap yet, thankfully. They both follow me around the yard as I go about my chores. They are absolutely wonderful companions.
Bear (the all black) loves to play ball—he will chase it, bring it to you, drop it in front of you , and step back, staring at it. If you do not pick it up quickly enough, he will pick it up, drop it closer to you, and again step back. He plays a very smart game of ball. Dakota, on the other hand, could care less about balls—as if to say “if you want to have someone chase a ball, go talk to my brother”. Both dogs love to go for walks, and to ride in cars. They have been totally at ease with other dogs they have met, and both ignored the horses I walked them by. But people, they will go up to immediately to see if they can extract some cuddles. They are both healthy with just some old-age stiffness.
Bear and Dakota are in our Thulani Program because of their age (about 10 years old). As such, we are looking for a forever home for them and we will pay all medical expenses for the rest of their lives. They are a bonded pair and we really want to place them together. However, if we cannot find a family who will take both, we will place them separately, although that is not our preferred outcome. Please consider providing a home for these wonderful boys. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org .