Archive for May, 2013

Tricia T.: Another Dog Saved by Cindy Harms

Tricia with her favorite rope toy

Tricia with her favorite rope toy

Tricia T. is a sweet, gentle and friendly 6-7 year old female GSD that was dumped in Orange Cove, and rescued by a good Samaritan.  This lady kept her for three weeks, cared for her, looked for her owners, and finally let her join our Thulani Program (against the advice of some of her neighbors who suggested that she take Tricia next door and shoot her)

Tricia T. likes women, men, teenagers (no accounting for taste), other dogs, and CATS.  She loves to play ball and to interact with her people.  She likes to run with the rest of my pack when they chase the vultures flying overhead.

Tricia has some impaired vision resulting from congenital cataracts, a condition that she likely has had since birth.  Although visually impaired, her condition will not get any worse, so she will just bump into a few things as she walks around.  Interestingly, her distance vision seems to be better than her near-field vision.  Other than that, and the need for some dental work which we will take care of, she is in good physical shape.  She does have the onset of a mild arthritis, but don’t we all.  No meds needed.

Tricia and Gretzky

Tricia and Gretzky

Tricia T. was brought into our Thulani Program, but with her good medical evaluation, she likely will be put up for adoption through our regular adoption program  If you are interested in learning more about Tricia T. please contact Bob at


Thulani Get-together in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Thulani Gathering 2013

Thulani Gathering 2013

Last Sunday, dogs and volunteers of the Thulani Program gathered at Joan Hoover and Jim Rabjohn’s fantastic home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Current and former Thulani dogs Angel de San Martin, Red Max, Katsu, Baby, Stella, Traylor (now Sherman), Mr Magoo, Halo, Martino, and Avalanche along with more than 20 Thulani Program fosterers, volunteers, and supporters were hosted by Thulani dog Holly for an afternoon of simulating conversation, wonderful company, great food and drink, and relaxation under the trees.  And all of this was embedded in a Rescue Reunion that highlighted what seemed like more than 50 German Shepherds and German Shepherd wannabes all romping and interacting freely.  You really have to be there to appreciate what a remarkable scene this is.


My personal dog Kobuk came home physically and mentally exhausted.  When his brother tried to engage him in the usual evening rough-house, Kobuk just ambled away, seemingly saying—“come see me tomorrow”.


Thank you Joan and Jim for a fantastic afternoon

Oh Baby, Baby T.

Baby T.

Baby T.

Baby a shy, affectionate, overweight female German Shepherd that we rescued from the LA Co Downey Shelter.  She is a bit cautious on first meeting, but when hooked to a leash, she is ready to take a really good walk.  She is good with people and with other dogs.

Baby is old but does not seem to have any other obvious medical issues.  She walks well is is very interested in her surroundings.  She readily comes up to people when she is out for a walk, and solicits love.

Baby_T_00097Baby T. is a Thulani Program dog (see and is looking for a forever foster home.  Being a Thulani Program dog, the program will cover all costs for the rest of her life.  If you are interested in providing Baby T. her final home, please contact Bob at

Shout Out For Our Southern California Thulani Dogs


Buddy D–Must Play Ball


By Elaine Webster

I met my husband, Blake Webster, in 1973 and he had almost as much hair, mustache, and beard as his German Shepherd puppy, Déjà vu—same reddish brown color too. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with both of them. For our honeymoon the three of us traveled the United States and Canada in Blake’s sixty-six Chevy camping van. Since Déjà, we hadn’t had another German Shepherd, that is until Buddy D came into our lives last year with a romp and gallop.



It was hard to conceive that a twelve-year-old dog could be so vibrant.  And those feet—look at those feet. If separated from their owner, you would guess that a bear was missing some toes. Bob had two dogs, at the time, that were ready for foster care. At first, we thought that Euripides, would come to live with us, until Bob took a look at Google Maps and realized that we had a yard with Buddy’s name written all over it. A flat, grassy area, with a six-foot fence was perfect for the dog that “Must Play Ball.” Bob sent us pictures, which Buddy’s former owner, Sharon took of Buddy placing tennis balls in a ball machine.  Once dropped, he stared intensely, until the ball shot out of the tube and the game was on. High flies, and grounders, he caught them all, and refilled his personal ball hopper for the next inning. You can understand why, Sharon, when she knew she was dying of cancer, wanted just the right placement for her outfielder.

be_the_ball1-1We knew Sharon and Buddy were close. She sent a slew of toys, balls, beds, and treats along with her beloved friend. She called us regularly as she weakened. And one night, Buddy awoke with a start, as if someone was in our bedroom—tail wagging—soft sniffling—and a search of the room. It was several days before Bob told us of Sharon’s passing. Apparently it was the same night. We believe she stopped by for one last kiss before she passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

As writers, we often host literary salons, and Buddy became our resident greeter. What could be better than a group of twenty or more ball tossers all gathered around to keep a boy happy? It didn’t hurt that food tidbits were tossed as well, along with an ear rub. Blake works at home, and his clients come over to see Buddy as much as to conduct business. Talk about the perfect advertising campaign with an ideal pitch-man (pun intended).

buddy_backyard_1000_2Buddy’s hearing and eyesight have never been good. One eye had been treated for years due to a cataract-like thickening of the cornea. Up to last week, Buddy did okay compensating with his good eye for his lack of senses. However, one morning (yes it was that fast) it was obvious that Buddy could no longer see. The first few days were tough—walking into walls, stumbling over steps and scraping his nose on the stone flowerbeds. But worse than that, Buddy could no longer play ball.—depression set in fairly quickly.

buddy_beach_010113_3We took Buddy to the vet last Saturday and of course, the office fell in love. A wellness blood test came up fairly normal, with low thyroid levels, but not much else. A trip to the Ophthalmologist, confirmed that Buddy will never see again. Retinal degeneration can be sudden and irreversible. The guess is that there may be an underlying cancer, but without a series of expensive tests, the cause isn’t certain. Blake and I have been through the process with other pets of spending endlessly on a diagnosis and treatment, only to be told that the end is near. So, along with Bob we decided to treat the obvious symptoms of diarrhea and anxiety with medications, to keep Buddy comfortable. Surprisingly, with the help of a few new toys, that squeak and ring, Buddy has figured out some simple ball maneuvers. Then just yesterday, I looked out the kitchen window to see him rolling on his back and kicking his feet in the air. His voice is scratchy, but he still manages to announce his presence as he gingerly descends the back steps. Then its search and rescue time, until that ball is secured and dropped on a lap for a game of “snatch it if you can.”

We don’t know how much longer we’ll have Buddy. Yet, he has brought so much joy to our home.  There’s something special about Thulani fosterers—how we can love and let go—because we are the ones that are blessed by these kind and caring dogs.

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