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 .
Blanche T. is an energetic, petite German Shepherd mix that the shelter says is more than 13 years old. She does not look that old, and she definitely does not act that old. Blanche has a great smile that she uses often and to good effect. She appears to be housetrained. She rides well in the car. She was dumped at a southern California shelter, presumably because she was too old.
Blanche is a bit confused in her attitude toward people. When you approach her kennel run, she happily bounces around, plays with her food bowl, wags her tail furiously, and barks excitedly. But when you get within about ten feet of her, she sometimes dashes to the back of the run. She is doing that less and less as she settles in. She seems to be a bit more wary of men than women, but again, she is getting better with time.
One of our volunteers who is very good with ‘worried’ dogs spent some tine with her and here is what she had to say:
Did you ever meet a dog and instantly know that inside what appeared to be a much less than perfect dog was a diamond in the rough?
Well I had the honor to meet a diamond today. Her name is Blanche. Blanche can be described by some as a “fraidy dog”, but Blanche is perfect.
At first Blanche seems happy to see you approach, but then as you get closer she backs up and seems afraid.
I spent time with Blanche in her kennel and within an hour she was leaning on me, soaking up ear rubs and neck skritches and allowing gentle back massages.
So Blanche needs just the right home.
Blanche needs a quiet home with a gentle energy so this diamond in the rough can truly show all her sparkling facets.
Gordie T. came to the Thulani Program because of the dedication and hard work of Karyn Sabin who saves German Shepherd Dogs from Shelters in the San Joaquin Valley. With Gordie, she was helped by the Kings County Animal Services staff at the Hanford shelter. Lucky, lucky Gordie.
Gordie is a fine old gentleman, but old he is. The shelter estimated him to be 13 years old, which is a ripe old age for a GSD. Now that we have gotten to know him, it is quite apparent that a big factor in Gordie living this long is that he is the sweetest guy you will ever meet. He moves kind of slowly, and he scrapes his feet as he walks. But his tail readily wags at the sound of a happy greeting, and he will lean against you for people contact as well as any dog I have ever met. He is arthritic, especially in his elbows (but then who among us isn’t at his age), but seems to do well on a daily dose of carprofen. He has a great appetite, and a willing attitude when it comes to short walks. He is house trained, and comes and goes easily through a dog door. As with the rest of us old codgers, he likes to take naps during the day, and he knows when it is time to turn in for the night.
Gordie is one of those dogs that will brighten up any house he lives in, but in a very quiet and unassuming way. He is super with other dogs, and we bet he would do fine with a cat.
Welcome to the rest of your life, Gordie. We promise to make it as good as we can.
Roxy T. had the misfortune of ending up in a southern California animal shelter from which very dogs get adopted. But Roxy was a lucky one. She was noticed by east coast volunteers from the Miracle GSD Network and they swung into action. At their urging, their colleagues in southern California evaluated Roxy, tested her with dogs and a cat, and found a wonderful, gentle, affectionate German Shepherd that just wants to be snuggled and taken for some interesting walks. The southern California volunteers, even took videos of her and sent them to us at the Thulani Program. We were really excited by what we saw and were told, and agreed to bring her into the Thulani Program. At which point, money was raised for her medical needs and temporary boarding while we worked out a way to get her to the Bay area.
When she arrived safely in Aromas, here is what we found. Roxy T. is a small female German Shepherd that was picked up as a stray. The shelter estimated her age at 14 years, but she does not look like she is that old, and she definitely does not act that old. We guess her at 10-11 years. She is an easy-going dog that loves her walks. She is good with dogs, big and small, and even ignored a cat that strolled by her in the shelter. She is very affectionate with people, loving pets and contact. She appears to be house-trained and knows how to use a dog door.
So thanks to dedicated people all over the country, Roxy T. has a new lease on life, and will live out her days in love, warmth, and comfort. Thanks Miracle GSD Network—you do good work.
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.