Archive for May, 2014
Jack T. had the perfect life for a dog. He was adopted as a puppy by a wonderful couple, and he lived a loving life with them until he was about 11 years old. They adored him and gave him everything he could want. But then, tragically, both of them died within about five months of each other. Jack was left adrift until a friend of his loving companions stepped in to make sure Jack could live out his life in another good home—it wouldn’t be with his long-time companions but in its own way, this new home should be almost as good.
So we in the Thulani Program stepped up and brought him into our care. And what a treasure he is.
Jack is one of the most loving dogs we have ever brought into the program. He revels in human contact, and he is absolutely wonderful with other dogs. He lived with a poodle that he was very tolerant of (much more so than I would have been) and since coming to us, he has met six dogs of various flavors, and not only did well with them, but solicited their attention and company. When left alone, Jack will occasionally let out a low soulful howl that will grab your heartstrings and tug on them. Jack is a bit stiff in his rear end, but is very mobile, able to negotiate a flight of about 10 stairs without assistance (see this video to observe Jack in action http://youtu.be/Gv9nDUnrwgg )
Jack’s main limitation (although he will be quick to deny it is a limitation) is that he is almost blind. But like most of the blind German Shepherds I have interacted with, in a new situation, he quickly draws a mental map, and moves around confidently, only occasionally running into narrow vertical objects, or stumbling over small objects near the ground. Look at the video again if you need to see how well he functions. I suspect his hesitancy in starting up the stairs might have been due to his rear end, not his blindness. To compensate for his vision problems, perhaps, Jack’s hearing seems to be extremely good. Also to compensate, when being walked on lead in a new area, he likes to walk on your right, and often will move over to rub up against your leg. But by the time he has walked the same route a couple of times, he will move confidently out in front of you.
Jack’s ideal home would be one with his person/people around most of the time (although he is fine being left alone for periods of time) and likely with an older dog for a constant companion. We have not tested him with cats, but given the rest of his behavior, my guess would be that he would live peacefully with cats.
Jack deserves a super home and The Thulani Program will do everything in our power to make sure he finds the right one. Because he is in the Thulani Program, we will cover his medical costs for the rest of his natural life. If you are interested in learning more about Jack, or are possibly interested in providing him with his forever home, please contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samantha (Sam) came into Rescue through the hotline. Her very elderly owner had to be hospitalized and fortunately, the dedicated caregiver was quite determined to save Sam and called us rather than drop her off at the shelter.
In the last few years the owner was unable to exercise Sam much and Sam put on quite a bit of weight. However, Sam was well taken care of with regular vet checkups. She has quite a few, hopefully treatable, medical issues. She is a bit weak in the rear end, not unexpected given her weight.
Sam is a very friendly girl both with people and other dogs. She rides well in the car.
Luckee T. is reported to be 17.5 (yes, I said SEVENTEEN AND A HALF YEARS OLD) by her former owners who could no longer keep her (for reasons we do not understand). She is a plush coat/long coat black and silver German Shepherd mix who denies vehemently that she is that old. And to prove it, she runs around and demands to go for walks.
Luckee came to us looking like she had not been brushed or groomed in a very long time–mats, tangles, burrs, and stickers. She definitely was not the beautiful dog she could be so we sent her to the groomer, from which she returned festooned with bows, ribbons, and a scarf. What a difference! Not only that, the groomers fell in love with her, gave us a discount for saving her, and then posted her picture and story up on their public bulletin board.
Her stunning looks and great personality caught the attention of Carol who had adopted another Thulani dog named Sipote T. some months earlier. She asked if Luckee T. (now Lucy T.) could come live with her, Sipote, and their cat. Well, of course we said yes, and as they say, the rest is history.
Hi–yes I am a German Shepherd mix–I’ve got the shepherd part nailed. And my lineage can be traced to a German colony in Australia. So that gives me some points, right? And I love German Shepherds so much that I had my hair-dresser color me like a bicolor GSD–including the painted toes. So that should answer all questions. Right?
I am 10 years old and my owner had to move in with his family into their apartment and could not take me. So they contacted German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California, Thulani Program, and they were delighted to take me in.
I love people and am great with dogs. I also tolerate cats, although I hesitate to admit it. I have been an outside dog most of my life, but i am starting to really like being in the house at my foster home.
So this wonderful, laid-back man come by and is interested in having me as his ‘go-everywhere’ companion. He has this funky van that is just made for a dog like me–none of this prissy stuff. And we go everywhere together, with me riding ‘shotgun’ in the front seat. What could be better?
I was a very lucky dog. I lived my life with a family who loved me and kept me warm and safe. I had reached retirement age and had everything I wanted. Life was very good.
But then I began to notice that my people did not seem to be happy most of the time. They seemed worried but I could not tell why. So I just watched. One day soon after I noticed their distress, we went for a car ride to the local dog park. But instead of going in to play with the other dogs, they took me over to a man named Bob who was standing in an empty play yard. After a bit of talk, Bob took my leash and my family left. I was very confused and unhappy, even though Bob was very nice to me. I kept looking for my family but could not see them. Then Bob started touching me all over, offering me toys and treats (I was so upset, I really did not want them) and finally offered me a lunch of cat food—now that I could get into. I then met Bob’s dog Kobuk, who was very friendly and who I got along with instantaneously.
Finally my family came back, and they and Bob talked for a bit, then they hugged me, kissed me, started crying, and they left. I was devastated. I did not understand, but was afraid of what was happening. Bob took me to his car, and we drove off. I can’t remember ever being that scared and confused before.
We got to Bob’s house, and Kobuk showed me all the neat things to sniff and investigate. But I really wasn’t into it—I was so sad and confused. After a few more days, Bob took me for another car ride, and we stopped at a beautiful place way out in the country. I could only see one house—there were no others in sight. I got out and a wonderful, friendly woman named Suzanne came up to meet me. She was lovely, and I loved her right from the start. Bob and Suzanne talked for a bit while I lay at their feet, then Suzanne’s young son Brian come out to meet me—he was nice to me and did not get pushy—I really appreciated that. THEN 3 NEW DOGS came out—wow!! But they were all nice to me, and I liked them. We all hung out together while Bob and Suzanne talked. I was starting to relax and really enjoy myself.
But then it happened again. Bob left without taking me along. Again, my world was falling apart. Why was this happening to me? I was feeling terrible but Suzanne and her family of Brian and the dogs tried to calm my nerves. I must confess that they were doing a pretty good job. In my previous home, my name was Gulu, but Suzanne started calling me Goofy Girl, not in a nasty, hurtful way, but in a tender, loving way—I can get used to that.
As the days passed, I realized that this was my new home, and while it was not my former home, in its own way Suzanne’s home was very nice. And I slowly realized that I was feeling very comfortable and starting a new, and very fulfilling life. I was coming out of retirement because I was needed for some very important jobs. This was very exciting to realize that I was not only loved, but was NEEDED. Now that is what retirement should be all about.
Second, I needed to teach these younger dogs manners and how to behave in a respectful way—whew what a job that is, but I am up to it.
Third, because Suzanne and Brian and the dogs spend most of their time alone, with Jim, Suzanne’s husband working during the week in San Jose, I needed to be the ‘GSD presence’ to keep everyone feeling safe, and in reality safe. I can do that because I am a big, courageous German Shepherd.
So looking back, I still miss my old family, but I now am settled in with Suzanne and her family, and have a very important role to play in their lives. This is what retirement should be like—live in a warm and loving home, with an important job to do. I am living the second half of my life and loving it.
She Said: Halo T As far as I am concerned, the world started two winters ago when I arrived home. Wait. Actually, I remember it started when I was placed in this cage:
I remember, barely, that I did not have enough food or energy such that I could not get up and lots of me itched. I knew I was older and there must have been a world before this, but I guess it was unremarkable and slipped my mind. Then, this wonderful woman people called Karen Barnes came and took me away from that world and gave me food…daily. I mean, like every day. It was wonderful! Not only did she feed me, but gave me love and affection. I did not know what to do with that but I really wanted to thank her for what she did. She then put me in a truck with nice people who took me on a long ride where I was left with a man whose muzzle was whiter than mine. People called him Bob (yeah, just Bob as if he had no last name…even I had a last name…T). This guy was ALSO nice! He, too, fed me every day and took me on walks and introduced me to other people and dogs and a whole new world. One day, he took me to this big social with dogs and people (lots of people who came and went while all of us dogs stayed put) and he introduced me to this couple who already had two dogs…BIG dogs. They all seemed really nice, though I was a little intimidated by the two BIG dogs. But they left. A short time later, Bob brought me to this really cool field and, guess what; those folks with the two dogs were there! I was allowed to really meet the two dogs and found out they weren’t so bad or frightening at all. I liked them and the people. They, however, left, again. A few weeks later, Bob took me on one more ride and we stopped at this strange house I had never seen and, low and behold, those people and the two dogs lived there. This time, Bob left and I stayed with this new family. It took awhile, but I soon figured out this was my forever home. It was GREAT!! The food was awesome and came twice daily, walks with the whole pack every day, and toys…holy cow…toys everywhere and they were all mine. I even had like a gazillion bones all to myself. I shared with my new brother and sister because that is part of being the fantastic dog I am. At first, the really BIG dog, Brody, pretended not to like me. He growled when I came close and such. But, really, how could he not dig me?? I was right and he stopped pretending in short order (except for his equally big bone which he clearly owns and I don’t want because I could not fit it in my mouth if I tried (and I did when he wasn’t looking) though I pretend to want it so he can prance with it). My sister Mesa, however, started our relationship in a very weird way. I could tell she liked me and loved to play with me, but if I did not follow these unwritten rules, she would attack me. I let her win (because she is bigger and stronger). I could not figure out the rules so adopted my own and she stopped suddenly. I guess she finally saw how awesome a sister I was and am. Did I mention my parents? Mom is cool…she lets us all get away with murder but then gets mad when we don’t listen. Dad is the bomb. The best part of my day/world is when dad either wakes up or comes home. I just feel like screaming I get so excited. It feels like he is leaving forever and, even though I know he is coming back, the anxiety kills me and then…boom…there he is. Phew.
Last winter, my parents decided three was not enough and added another dog named Niko. Now, this is a peculiar dog. First, he is orange. That’s right, orange. What self-respecting German Shepherd is orange? How embarrassing! Then there is this issue he has where his back end is not synchronized with his front end and he walks funny. He is such a dork. I like him and he, naturally, loves me.
Very recently, Dad decided I was superb and is teaching me this thing he calls agility. I call it jumping on cool stuff, sitting, and then prancing because I sat well. He loves it so I love it. It is pretty cool. So, all in all,…wait…I hear a car…wait…is it?…yes it IS…DAD IS HOME!!! What a WONDERFUL world!!!! He Said: Niko T What is the world? It is much more ethereal than just people and dogs. I have had time to contemplate and realize that to be or not to be is not the question. The question is can we truly revise our perspective and honestly call it the world just because that fits our emotional tribulations best? I think not and yet the parts of my world before I came to the Dogs’ Breath Inn are on the side closer to damning such that it strikes me you, the reader, would feel less for reading about it.
Therefore, I will, as your humble narrator, delve only into my world since being anointed a charter member of said Inn (with great appreciation to a certain Ms K Barnes). My new world has a big brother and two sisters. My brother is big, but only physically…I am older and have seen more of the world than he but strength wins this battle (so I don’t fight). My sisters both think they run the show respectively and I don’t fight (especially not the ladies) so they win. My parents gesture a lot and, at first, I thought they were mute. Then I saw my new siblings barking and realized…heck, I cannot hear a darned thing anymore. No wonder my sleeping has been sooooo deep and wonderful!
What defines me in my world? I am simple and have simple needs. The human touch, a toy to play with, food, water, a bone on occasion; these are the pleasures in my life. Did I mention human touch? I listed that first for good reason…I need it A LOT!!!! As an older gentleman, I have the usual issues of poor sight, lousy smell, bad nerves such that I cannot always control or feel my hind quarters (although when Dad massages those muscles…OUCH…I feel that!). All the same, I still have some game and keep up on walks (portions of them), play games with Dad, and pretend to want Halo’s things. I have recently started playing more with Mesa, my other sister as she prefers what I like to call flirtatious rough housing (even though we both know the first part goes nowhere). My world is now happy and I like to remind anyone in ear shot of that every morning and evening. To be or not to be? TO BE!!!! The Proprietorship of the Dogs’ Breath Inn: