Thunder T.

Thunder T.

Thunder T.

Thunder T. is an elderly sweetheart that lived his life in a farming community south of Salinas. He is healthy, playful, affectionate, and inquisitive. He readily comes up to meet people, and he is totally at ease with other dogs. He will try to get them to play.

He seems to have been an outside dog, not being familiar with dog doors or inside accommodations. He loves walks, but pulls a bit.  He gets excited about car rides, and will sometimes try to help you drive if he is not constrained.

Thunder_0225Thunder T. is a Thulani Program dog. As such, he will go to a forever foster home to live out his life, with the Thulani Program picking up the expenses.  If you are possibly interested in having Thunder join your family and spice up your life, please contact Bob at

Caesar T–Doing Well

Caesar at home

Caesar at home

Many of you have asked about Caesar T., especially now that he no longer is shown on the website.  Some of you clearly feared the worst.  Well, you can all relax–Caesar T. has found his forever home.  After integrating him into our household in order to learn who he is, my wife and I learned that he is our next family dog.  He is living happily and peacefully with us and our pack of three males and a female.  He has earned unrestricted house privileges, is actually more mobile than he was when he arrived (despite the DM), still has an opinion about a lot of things, and is incredibly tolerant and blasé about the antics of the rest of the dogs.

Caesar_12-18-13-10736As you may remember, Caesar T. was rescued from intolerable conditions and a miserable existence, and brought into the Thulani Program (see   He was in poor shape and came with the message that he did not get along with male dogs.  Baloney!!!

Caesar_fireplace20391Caesar has his choice of 10 pads on which to take his frequent siestas,  including his favorite pad by the fireplace (when I wanted to get the pictures for this post, Caesar was asleep in the other room.  So I turned on the fireplace, and Caesar appeared in two minutes to assume his favorite position).

A particularly engaging ritual for us now is dinner-time.  As soon as the bowls start to rattle, Caesar comes into the kitchen to proclaim LOUDLY that we have waited much too long and that he is starving.  I am sure if he had his own smart phone, he would be calling the SPCA to report us.  Then, to reinforce the point, he starts running circles around the ‘island’ in the kitchen (remember, this is an advanced DM dog).  And of course, the rest of our pack, not be outdone, starts a chorus of their own.

Caesar is a lovely addition to our family, and has a home for as long as he wants one.


Rocky T. (Now Marty T.) Has Friends All Over The Country


Just when your spirits are down and you have lost faith in your fellow humans because of the way some treat their dogs, especially the seniors, along comes a story like this to restore your faith in at least part of the human race.

Ah, northern California

Ah, northern California

Rocky T. (we are renaming him Marty T.!) is a senior German Shepherd whose owner died and whose family did not want to be bothered with him so they took him to a shelter from which very few GSDs, even young and beautiful ones, get adopted.  Marty’s prospects were about as grim as they could be.  But because of an incredible group of humans with a wonderful collective mission, Marty’s story will not have the usual ending.

The Thulani Program was contacted by someone in another state asking whether we might consider taking Marty T. into our hospice program.  The woman described the small group she worked with to save GSDs (often seniors) in many parts of the country, and explained that there was a dog in a southern California shelter that needed a hospice home.   She described the shelter as one with a caring staff, but one that did not get a lot of exposure for their dogs.

Marty_T20356To put this into context, I get 5-10 contacts a day from all over the country, wanting the Thulani Program to help deserving German Shepherds, mostly from cross-posters about dogs thousands of miles from us, who don’t know where we are.

But this was very different.  This group had a plan for saving Marty.  They asked me what I needed to know about him and what sort of tests they might do to help with my decision, they notified the shelter staff that they had a possible placement, and got videos of temperament testing and aggression testing, they offered to pull him and place him in a boarding kennel until I could arrange to get him, and they offered to generate donations for covering his medical and other costs.  When I explained what I needed, they immediately got busy, and within a couple of days had produced everything I had asked for.  I was stunned.

The simple ending is that Marty T. is in the Thulani Program where he will live out his natural life in a loving foster home, with the Thulani Program and a whole bunch of wonderful people spread all over the country coming to his aid.

Marty_T20371Please give a shout-out for the members in the Miracle GSD Network (from all over the country!), volunteers in southern California, dedicated shelter staff and volunteers from the Moreno Valley Shelter who spent their own free time helping this boy, and for generous people all over the country who donated money to help Marty T. on his way.  The Thulani Program is in a certain level of euphoric shock that so many people have stepped forward to help this wonderful boy, and we will do our part to make sure that the rest of Marty T’s life is as good as it can be.

In The Game Of Chance: We Have A Winner


In games of chance, one occasionally will encounter long, uninterrupted strings of good or bad luck.  It is even rarer to encounter a long string of bad luck, followed by a long string of good luck.  But with Thulani dog Chance T., we may just have such a case.



We don’t know for sure what Chance’s earlier life was like, but we are sure he went for a long time under very difficult circumstances.  He was found on the streets of LA, living next to a taco truck, sleeping on a plastic garbage bag, and scrabbling for whatever food he could find to keep himself alive.  He was underweight, had an open abscess on his cheek, and had a severe ear infection that likely was directly connected to the abscess.  When found, he was so frightened that he refused to walk and had to be carried. He was in bad shape and miserable.

Chance after the shelter staff and volunteers worked wonders

Chance after the shelter staff and volunteers worked wonders

But his string of bad luck came to an end when he was brought to the West LA City Shelter.  There the staff and volunteers went to extraordinary lengths to compensate for his physical neglect and mental trauma.  They started a quality and intensive medical intervention, while lavishing him with warmth and TLC.  They continued this for nearly a month, gradually restoring his faith in people and making progress on his ear infection and abscess.  And he put on weight.

ChanceShelterFlyer-pg1ChanceShelterFlyer-pg2When he was far enough along the road to recovery, they began a creative campaign to find him the loving home he deserves.  Check out the incredible flyers they put up for him.

The publicity about Chance caught Karen Barnes’ attention and we checked him out as a possible candidate for our Thulani Program (  And he was!!  So Karen pulled him from the shelter and housed him in LA.  Which then brought us to the next task—how to get him up to the San Francisco Bay region where we could continue his rehabilitation, and begin the search for his forever home.

Chance and Karen at Van Nuys Airport

Chance and Karen at Van Nuys Airport

Chance’s winning streak continued when Bill Sutherland offered to help us transport GSDs in his private plane.  When approached, Bill was excited about being able to transport Chance and so the plans were set.  But at the last moment, Bill’s wife who was going to fly with Bill and entertain Chance on the flight, came down with a bug.


Welcome to San Jose

Welcome to San Jose

Had Chance’s string of good luck ended?  Not so.  Volunteer Maureen O’Neil stepped forward to be the flight attendant, and the doggie charter flight from Van Nuys to San Jose went off on schedule without a hitch.  In fact, Chance took the flight completely in stride and he and the crew were met in San Jose by an adoring welcoming committee.

Ahhhh grass

Ahhhh grass

Chance is now safely in the Bay area, getting the last of his medical issues taken care of, putting on weight, and enjoying the snuggling of his new but temporary family.  But that will not last long—he already has two serious suitors that are anxious to provide him his forever home.

So Chance’s good luck streak is uninterrupted, and the Thulani Program will make sure that it continues for the rest of his life.  Chance T. is a BIG winner, but so are all the people who helped him along the way.  Definitely a winning team in a game of Chance.



Image Map

Chance And The Vols: They Rock



Chance was not doing well—living on the street, scrambling for enough food to stay alive.  People and cars streamed by not even acknowledging his pitiful existence.  This was at the end of 2013, and little did Chance know that it was about to become a truly Happy New Year.   Life started to get better when Chance was picked up and brought to the West LA Shelter, so scared that he had to be carried.

The shelter staff and volunteers immediately began to tend to his needs—ear infection, abscess, malnutrition, fear.  His personality made him a shelter favorite, and everyone began to work to insure a wonderful future for him.

ChanceShelterFlyer-pg1ChanceShelterFlyer-pg2He really brought out the creative juices of his friends—take a look at the fantastic flyer his friends created.

1026191_10202499816130031_937915879_oThe publicity effort caught the attention of Karen, the Thulani Program volunteer in the LA basin, and Chance was welcomed into our program.  He will be coming north shortly, and we will find him a forever home in which he can live out his natural life in warmth and comfort, never again having worry about what to eat or where to sleep.  All because of a rock (ing) group—Chance and the Vols.

Rosie Lynn T.: Safely in Her New Forever Home

OK--This is my spot

OK–This is my spot

Rosie Lynn T. (AKA Dr Ruth) joined us just a few days ago, and already she is happily ensconced in her new home in San Francisco.   This little girl from rural roots is learning about the Big City from a great teacher–Kathleen G.  From day one, Rosie Lynn T. was a focused dog, but now she is not only focussing on her new home, but on a very specific part of her new home–THE KITCHEN.


Dr Ruth loves the kitchen

Dr Ruth loves the kitchen

Greetings from food-central--They have it all in this room!

Greetings from food-central–They have it all in this room!

Enjoy the ‘settling in’ pictures from her new mom, along with the very focussed captions.

What I love about you--your refrigerator is really fine.

What I love about you–your refrigerator is really fine.

Thanks to the Sac-Yolo Team that leaped into instantaneous action when Rosie was in danger, but pulled her in the nick of time, fostered her so we got to know who she is, and then passed her on to her new and forever life.

Old Dogs Rule


Old age and treachery will trump youth and exuberance every time.  Check out 15 year old Thulani dog Sherman T. and his young whipper-snapper brother Woody.


Miss Frances T: A Very Special Doggie Dawg


Frances T. epitomized all the good things and all the bittersweet things that characterize the Thulani Program.  Frances came into the program following mammary surgery, although the cancer had already spread.  She came in determined to make the most of the extra time Thulani was giving her.  She came in with energy, attitude, and ready to live life on her terms.  Her personality was a beautiful match for her foster mom, Kathleen.  This dynamic duo made history all over San Francisco.

Inevitably, Frances T. lost her fight with mammary cancer this week.  But she took advantage of every minute of quality life Kathleen offered her.  This is what the Thulani Program exists for.

Please read below about some of the adventures of Kathleen and Frances T. (Doggie Dawg).



OK, let's go!

OK, let’s go!

Doggie Dawg, AKA Frances T., agenda was  “Let’s go.” The consummate escape artist, she never would leave my side except for sighting  of  CAT. She knew how to open doors, drive cars, fly planes, take buses to find CAT.

The first time I left Frances T (Doggie Dawg) loose home alone — minutes after I left the house, The neighbors calledScared.
 “A big German shepherd hanging half out your window barking non stop,” was the report.
“we are afraid she might jump out the window and attack us”.
She was asking everyone who walked by for directions on how to get me back.
“Where is that lady with the kibble, she drove my mobile den away!” over and over again in a determined staccato mezzo bark.
It worked. I came right back. 


Smart dog.  She did look super cute when I pulled up– Her front paws on the bay window with the now busted wooden blinds behind her a backdrop .  The jagged edges added  soupcon of dangerous excitement  to the scene.  Clearly not her first time at the Rodeo. 

 And I did not have to lock the front door of my home any longer. Mission accomplished.  Good dog!
dog and tree_cropWe spent our mornings smelling trees on Strawberry Hill , at Stowe Lake. There we met a nice German woman told us after the Berlin wall went up most GSD’s in East Germany looked very much like Doggie Dawg.
The consummate escape artist, she wiggled her ways out of locked crates. SUVS, locked dog kennels with roofs,  my tiny car and several houses.
 She may have been a wheel man before she got me. Where she hid those tiny keys I’ll never know.

Frances-wondering_cropAn all too brief affair with a sneaky stealthy snoopy dog who hijacked my heart.

What a whirlwind.  Must get more gorilla glue. 

Tatum T; Valley Girl Learns About Snow And Loves It

Just an update on Scappy Tatum.  This California girl loves the snow and keeps trying her best to get our old girls to play.  Sometimes she is persistent enough and the game is on!

Tatum to Willow--This is snow

Tatum to Willow–This is snow

Tatum to Willow--Wanna play?

Tatum to Willow–Wanna play?

Tatum to Willow--Let's go!!

Tatum to Willow–Let’s go!!

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