Katsu is an amazing German Shepherd, by any standard you choose to invoke.  He is stunningly handsome, he is amazingly well and thoroughly trained, he fits into any situation with people and dogs with a degree of ease and comfort that is a pleasure to behold, and he is affectionate in a way that only a GSD can be.

Which is all the more amazing given the ghastly conditions under which he came to us.  Karen Barnes from LA found him and pried him out of a stagnant system while we could still help.  Below is the message Karen sent to Ginger Lev, our Thulani volunteer who is fostering Katsu.  I could not say it better, so I won’t.  But expect to hear more about this very special dog.



Ginger – first, thank you for taking Katsu into your life.  He is ultra special to me for several reasons.  When we took him out to the yard at the shelter, he could barely walk; his legs trembled; he could only stand for a few minutes before collapsing from weakness.  When I called him to me, he had to lean against me for support.  Then he had to sit down.  But, in true GS fashion, he tried his hardest to hold his head up and sit in that regal position.  I promised him I would get him out, come hell or high water.

Katsu in the shelter

In usual fashion, the County would not release him to me b/c he was part of a criminal case.  Some creep turned in 14 bully breed dogs, all in horrendous condition.  They would not release Katsu until the court case was over.  His medical tests showed that he was anemic and had a heart murmur so I stretched the truth and told them that he would die without a blood transfusion.  Still nothing.  They would rather him die in the run.  So I went to the big boss and got my way.  (Bob calls me relentless).  “Come pick up your dog Karen.  We’ll even open up early for you.”

Free at last

So, after a few days at my vet who got him on the right path, he has gained 15 lbs.  I had him at my house for about a week and after a short while he made a total transformation into a happy, content dog.  He even started showing some spunk when he jumped in the air to bite the water from the hose.  He got lots of loving from my nephews who were visiting from Sonoma.  Katsu let them roll him over, play with his lips, and hug him to pieces.  My one nephew said, “Auntie Karen, this is a solid dog.”  So cute.

I can’t disclose the facts of the case right now but I can tell you that Katsu lived a miserable life in horrendous conditions; was treated cruelly in an attempt to make him mean and was probably used as a stud.  Now he is paying, quite possibly with his life, with a swollen prostate that could be cancerous.

In spite of all this, he has made it through and still believes that life can be good.  I have never seen a transformation like this. That’s why I named him “Katsu” which means in Japanese “one who has overcome obstacles.”

So, you’ll have to bear with me.  This dog took a big chunk of my heart.  I fought hard for him – he knew it so he fought hard back and is hopefully going to be healthy for a while.

I hope you enjoy him – he has a funny personality.

Katsu in his foster home

Thank you, Bob and Ginger. This poor, long suffering soul will be loved because of you.  Without you, he would have had nowhere to go, except to the back room.  He would have lived for 12 years without feeling grass under his paws.  This is truly an amazing Thulani story.