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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com .
Tito T. was dumped at the shelter by his owners because they said “he had a stroke two days ago” and requested he be PTS. They better hope that when they get sick, whoever is looking out for them is more savvy than they were about Tito.
Because, as it turns out, he did not have a stroke, he had a bout of old dog vestibular disease–an episode that looks awful, with the dog unable to get up, rolling its eyes, head tilting, etc. Typically, four days later, with no treatment except quiet, the dog is mostly back to normal–in Tito’s case, he was still a bit wobbly on his feet at first, and he has a slight head tilt. Most dogs live a perfectly normal life following one of these episodes–one of ours lived for 2.5 more years even though she was already 12 when it happened.
So Tito lucked out because the Miracle GSD Network recognized his plight and came to his rescue. They bailed him out of the shelter, tended to his medical needs, fostered him, and took care of him until he could be passed along to the Thulani Program of German Shepherd Recue of Northern California.
Being the terrific dog that he is, he was snapped up very quickly by Morris and Jackie, who brought him into their home and pack, and introduced him to a fantastic life, the likes of which I am sure he never before experienced.
He lives in the Sierran foothills with his two fur sibs, that is of course when he is not out exploring the wonders of the beautiful western US. He now knows about camping (wahoo!!!), Clear Lake, the beach, long hikes in the woods, the companionship of his fur pack, and the loving attention of his human family.
Enjoy the pictures of his adventures.
Niurka is happy, happy, happy. She is also waggy, waggy waggy. And because she weighs 107 lbs, when she is happy, it feels like a genuine California earthquake. Niurka is Russian for mink, although I hope I never meet a mink her size.
Niurka T. is another longcoat German Shepherd rescued from the same Lancaster shelter that longcoats Bear T. and Dakota T. came from. The three of them coming out of the shelter looked like a stampeding herd of wooly mammoths—not something you might expect to see in the Mojave Desert. But there they were. Fortunately, Niurka was well groomed and had been well taken care of (except for being over-fed which I’m sure was done out of love), unlike the other two mammoths.
Niurka loves to go for walks, and loves to be with her people. She has been great with every person she has met and she is fine with some dogs (see pic of her and Dakota T) but can be snarky with some other dogs. Although she is 10.5 years old, she will make someone a wonderful walking companion.
Dakota T. is a large bicolor, longcoat German Shepherd and one of the softest GSDs I have ever met. He patiently waits to find out what you want him to do, unlike his brother Bear T. who will push to get by you and do what he wants to do. He walks well on the lead, although he will often lean up against you or stick his head between your legs, and just stand there. Dakota badly needed a bath when I got him so I stripped down and took him into the shower with me. For most dogs, this maneuver usually ends up as a WWF heavyweight match, but Dakota simply walked into the shower with me and stood quietly while I wetted him down. He continued to stand quietly with his head in my lap as I lathered him all over, touching and manipulating ever part of his anatomy. For the rinse, he eventually just lay down on the floor of the shower. At the end, he strolled in a stately manner out of the shower to the front yard, where he proceeded to drench everything within 50 feet of him. Then he came up and leaned on me for attention.
Dakota T. and his likely littermate Bear T. (another longcoat) came from the Lancaster Shelter out in the Mojave Desert. Two weeks ago, they were longcoats, but today they look like newly shorn sheep. Both dogs looked like they had never been brushed or groomed, and had deeply and pervasively matted coats filled with unbelievable loads of foxtails. The groomers gave up trying to groom them and just ended up shaving them almost completely. Since both have droopy ears, they now look more like Afghans than GSDs.
But through it all, Dakota has been an absolute love, one that will make someone a fantastic gentle companion—a very large fantastic gentle companion.
Bear T. loves to play ball—and he does it in a very smart fashion. If you throw a ball for him, he will chase after it, pick it up, run back to you, and drop it just in front of you. He then backs up a step or two and stares at the ball, waiting for something good to happen (like when you pick up the ball and throw it again).
Bear T. and his likely littermate Dakota T. (another longcoat) came from the Lancaster Shelter out in the Mojave Desert. Two weeks ago, they were longcoats, but today they look like newly shorn sheep. Both dogs looked like they had never been brushed or groomed, and had deeply and pervasively matted coats filled with unbelievable loads of foxtails. The groomers gave up trying to groom them and just ended up shaving them almost completely. Since both have droopy ears, they now look more like Afghans than GSDs.
Turning one's dog in to the shelter because "it got too old" is appalling enough but letting your senior dog wander the streets to fend for himself, to not even look for him at the pound is repulsive. Nate, a frail older dog, was found by Animal Control stumbling down the streets of Los Angeles, alone, hungry, and with many medical problems. The shelter did what they could. Thulani stepped in, a nurturing foster mom opened her home to him where he was given home cooked meals, trips to the doggie park, stuffed animals, and, of course, more love than he had ever known. He relished the attention and faced his obstacles with courage and determination in true German Shepherd fashion. Sadly, Nate, our beautiful hero, passed, cradled in the loving arms of his foster mom. He made his journey over the Rainbow Bridge where he is undoubtedly running fast and free.
We wanted to let you know that Jack is doing superbly. He maneuvers around the house and now also the yard with the greatest of ease. Because of his severe arthritis, Robert put up a 6-foot ramp (with a minimal grade) on the brick walk going to the wooden deck, so now Jack doesn't have to use the two front steps. This gives him a more relaxed ability to come and go from the house to the outside. And because of his blindness, we draped quilts around the coffee tables and the pool table, so if and when he does bump his nose or head, it's not going to hurt as much now that it's padded. The other day while we were sitting in the living room with the windows open, he heard our next door neighbor making noise near the fence so he lifted his head and woofed at her. It was a quiet, non-threatening subdued woof, but both Robert and I looked at each other to see the other's reaction, because this was the first time we'd heard him and we started to laugh just like new parents hearing their baby saying "Dada" or "Mama" for the first time. Yes, we are being silly, but we are having so much fun with Jack and proud of his efforts to acclimate into our home. He sleeps thru the night, he's eating well, he shows us he is happy and has been no trouble at all.
We took Jack to our daughter's home in Martinez last weekend to visit and meet the family. They have an 11 year old dog too, and her name is Daisy. The two dogs truly enjoyed each other's company, and it was at their house that we discovered just how much Jack preferred the Nutro Diet Dogfood for Seniors, because he was eating Daisy's dogfood. At first we thought he was doing it to piss off Daisy, so when we got home we served him some of the Nutro Diet Dogfood that we had leftover from our previous dog, and Jack really does like it. He likes it so much so he eats this brand of dogfood without it requiring doctoring up with chicken broth. He's still getting his special chicken bits that I cook up for him, and we still give him the broth mixed with the Kirkland Dry Dogfood for breakfast. Yes, we are spoiling him, but he gives us so much love and joy, we can't help ourselves. THANK YOU FOR GIVING US THE LOVING OPPORTUNITY TO OPEN OUR HOME TO ANOTHER SPECIAL DOG. Barb & Robert McLeod