WE THOUGHT WE WERE GETTING A HORRIBLY INJURED DOG TO REHAB, BUT….
Mackenzie is anything but. On his way to Thulani Central, he stopped at the Lady S Ranch, popped out of the car to say hello to a big male shepherd, then grabbed a toy, well three toys actually. He found a ball—game on!! He is a ball nut that knows that humans are part of a good game—chases the ball, retrieves it, then drops it at the human’s feet and stares, waiting for something good to happen.
Welcome to Thulani, Mackenzie, but did we get the right dog? What happened to that dog with the skull fracture and the bone chip in his head? To quote one of our followers “Thulani Happened!!!!”
Foster or Adopt–Mackenzie would love to live with someone who will dote on him, and enjoy a moderate level ball game on occasion. Oh, and take him for walks of, course.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Today, out of habit, I moved some food away from the edge of the kitchen counter so that the tallest dog nose in the house wouldn’t be able to tug it down to the floor. Suddenly I remembered the tallest dog nose in the house has been gone for two days already.
“Rudy T.” came into our lives on August 23rd, 2014. He had been picked up by Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control the month before. My husband Lindsay and I took our three small breed dogs to the home of Bob Jachens to meet Rudy and brought him home that same day.
Rudy came into the Thulani Program as “Dakota”. He had spondylosis, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy and infected skin from embedded foxtails. His body had been shaved so his coat was coarse but his face was silky soft.
Rudy vocally notified us that he couldn’t stand being separated from us even by just a screen door. He loved snoozing on the lawn and supervised every step of food preparation in the kitchen. His best friend was “Dottie” a seven-pound Chihuahua mix. He loved grooming her which really just produced a slimey, spit-covered tiny dog.
Earlier this year Rudy developed a cough which was diagnosed as megaesophagus with secondary aspiration pneumonia. Mornings involved the whirring of a blender to make his meals and medications into a slurry. I often wondered if the neighbors thought we had a heck of a daiquiri habit at 4 AM.
This past week Rudy stopped eating and water would not make it to his stomach any longer. On Friday, April 3 I took him to the vet and held his beautiful head in my hands and kissed his nose until he stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating.
Later that day my husband said, “I can see there’s a breeze but it feels still.” We hugged and cried missing our big furry breeze.
Christine Hitchner and Lindsay Thompson
When my 12 year old GSD passed away a week before Thanksgiving last year, I was filled with such incredible sadness. He had been with me his entire life. The holiday season was here and I was all alone. Rather than wait, I decided to get another GSD right away. I walked into the Northern California GSD adoption event in San Jose hoping to find a middle-aged sweetheart whom I could provide a loving home. And then I saw her.
Named Niurka T. at the time, she looked at me with her big fluffy smiling face. I recognized her from the website and remembered her being much older than middle-aged. In fact, she was a proud member of the Thulani program. My head told me that she was very senior, not middle-aged and that I needed to find a GSD that was a bit younger. But I looked at her again and my heart was telling me something entirely different! After spending about 20 minutes with her, I knew in my heart that there was absolutely no way I could allow her to spend her remaining days without a forever home. I already loved her.
I named her Greta. She filled my home and my heart with love from the very first day. I had to make a few adjustments at home to ensure Greta was happy and safe. Her legs couldn't support climbing 2 flights of stairs up to the bedrooms, so I put a bed in my family room. I didn't care how funny it looked. I just couldn't fathom being away at work for 10 hours and then retreat upstairs for bed at night. That would be too much time all by herself! Her memory foam dog bed sat comfortably near the dog door and more importantly, near me. I also purchased 70 cinder blocks and built an ad hoc barrier around my pool because I feared her unsteady legs might lead to a fall. They did the trick and she was safe. And she was happy.
Yes, I rescued Greta and gave her a loving home. But the truth is.....she rescued me. She took away my sorrow and she filled my heart with love. But sadly, Greta was in my life for only 3 months and 22 days. Not nearly long enough! Her legs would no longer allow her to stand, and combined with her other health conditions, I had to make the toughest decision of my life. I desperately needed more time with her. I wasn't ready to let her go so soon. But I also couldn't let her continue to live when her quality of life became so poor. Losing Greta has hit me harder than anything else in my entire life. It's been just over 2 weeks and I still cry everyday. Her dog bed is still in its place, as are her food dishes. Only now, her ashes rest atop my fireplace. But she is still in my heart. In such a short period of time, she touched my heart like no other. Greta was special in so very many ways and every time I close my eyes, I see her big fluffy face smiling down at me. Many thanks to Bob Jachens and Brigitte Donner for allowing me the privilege and honor of caring for Greta. She was truly an angel, and she will never leave my heart.
…sometimes the stars need to align to bring about the happy ending we wish for every senior German Shepherd. In the case of this sweet, 10-ish year old red sable lady, her village came in the form of big-hearted doctors and staff at VCA Arden Animal Hospital in Glendale, CA, where, in September 2014, she was brought in as a stray in desperate need of medical care. She was emaciated, deaf, sick with infection and open Pyometra, mammary tumors, and very arthritic. Her prospects were looking dim.
Undeterred, the kind vets at VCA Arden treated her infection, spayed her and, discovering she was micro-chipped, notified the owner of record that she was at their clinic. But no one came to claim her. As weeks stretched into months, she was lovingly cared for by the staff, walked several times a day, doted on, and given a new name: Amelia Faith Shepherd. Despite their efforts, the clinic was unable to find a new home for Amelia, and everyone realized that living in a hospital kennel was not the quality of life she deserved. Everyone wondered what would become of Amelia.
Then, several weeks ago, the stars began to twinkle for Amelia Faith Shepherd, when one of the vet techs shared Amelia’s story with her Nose Work instructor, who also happened to be a Thulani volunteer! Soon, Elaine B. met Amelia and – twinkle, twinkle – the stars moved into alignment. Amelia’s evaluation and circumstances were reviewed and she was accepted into the Thulani Program and was listed for transport as soon as a spot opened up for her. Until then, the kind folk at VCA Arden agreed to keep Amelia in the only home she had known for months. Two weeks later, Amelia’s Amazing Adventure began with a drive up to ‘Thulani central’ where she is now enjoying life in a loving foster home!
Our appreciation for the doctors and staff at VCA Arden Animal Hospital in Glendale, CA knows no bounds. Everyone at VCA Arden truly loved this sweet old lady. Not only did they provide Amelia a safe haven, food and medical care for 6 months, they did so without compensation. And it didn’t stop there; they also sent Amelia off to her new life with a generous care package of food and medication to keep her comfortable as she transitions to her new life. To say they went above and beyond the call of duty is an understatement! You can leave a kind word of thanks to VCA Arden Animal Hospital for their care of Amelia on their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/VCAArdenAnimalHospital?fref=ts
Amelia Faith Shepherd is one lucky girl, and there are many other seniors out there who need a bit of her luck, too. You can help us save more senior GSDs by becoming a foster or adoptive home. http://thulanidogs.org/donate-support/foster/
Jacco was rescued last Saturday and is now safely in the Thulani Program (thulanidogs.org), but unfortunately his ordeal is not over. He went through a terrible time recently, and probably even before that. He was turned into the shelter severely malnourished and emaciated. He probably had been neglected for a considerable time. And then he was held in a shelter run for two months, on an evidence hold. Concrete floors, limited exercise, and limited human company—just a horrible situation for a German Shepherd. Today his muscles have atrophied, his hips are arthritic, he can barely walk short distances without dragging his hind feet and eventually falling.
Thulani is going to help him get there in any way we can. We don’t know how much of his mobility issues were caused by the shelter stay, but we are going to try to reverse the damage with good food, gentle care, and physical therapy. As you well know, PT can be expensive and time consuming, so if anyone can help us fund the PT, we would be very appreciative.
Below is a video clip of Joey before he started his physical therapy. Good Luck Joey!
Fortunately, unlike her namesake, our Giselle (T) did not die of a broken heart. In fact, she did not die of anything, although she seemed bound and determined to scare us with the possibilities.
Our Giselle is a 13 year old senior that was dumped at a shelter—not a great way to have your like expectancy enhanced (she did not yet need The Wills to bring her back). And there they discovered a huge foreign abdominal mass, one so large that they could not feel her various organs. Not looking promising.
Trying to prevent a need for the services of The Wills, the Facebook posse rode out on her behalf, saturating the blogosphere with hundreds of pleas to help her. What an uprising!
Better yet, Karen Barnes and the Thulani Program stepped up to rescue her and immediately took her over to the Pet Care Veterinary Care Center in Los Angeles for surgery. There they found not one, but TWO huge, grapefruit-sized ovarian tumors, and what looked like the remains of half a plastic food bowl in her stomach (don’t look at these pictures unless you have a strong stomach). At this point, things were looking pretty grim, but that was the low point.
The surgery was successful, Giselle is recovering nicely, and—drum roll—THE TUMORS WERE BENIGN. Giselle is presently getting into mischief at her foster home and enjoying every moment of it.
We may yet turn The Wills loose on the jerks that dumped her at the shelter, but for now, Giselle could care less. Please help us find a retirement home for her—all medical expenses will be paid for the rest of her life.
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.