Dakota T.: The Other Desert Longcoat
Dakota T. is a large bicolor, longcoat German Shepherd and one of the softest GSDs I have ever met. He patiently waits to find out what you want him to do, unlike his brother Bear T. who will push to get by you and do what he wants to do. He walks well on the lead, although he will often lean up against you or stick his head between your legs, and just stand there. Dakota badly needed a bath when I got him so I stripped down and took him into the shower with me. For most dogs, this maneuver usually ends up as a WWF heavyweight match, but Dakota simply walked into the shower with me and stood quietly while I wetted him down. He continued to stand quietly with his head in my lap as I lathered him all over, touching and manipulating ever part of his anatomy. For the rinse, he eventually just lay down on the floor of the shower. At the end, he strolled in a stately manner out of the shower to the front yard, where he proceeded to drench everything within 50 feet of him. Then he came up and leaned on me for attention.
Dakota T. and his likely littermate Bear T. (another longcoat) came from the Lancaster Shelter out in the Mojave Desert. Two weeks ago, they were longcoats, but today they look like newly shorn sheep. Both dogs looked like they had never been brushed or groomed, and had deeply and pervasively matted coats filled with unbelievable loads of foxtails. The groomers gave up trying to groom them and just ended up shaving them almost completely. Since both have droopy ears, they now look more like Afghans than GSDs.
But through it all, Dakota has been an absolute love, one that will make someone a fantastic gentle companion—a very large fantastic gentle companion.