News of our dogs
Hawkeye Sr. is a 13-year old retired drug-sniffing dog whose owner’s medical difficulties made it impossible for him to continue to care for Hawkeye. This aging GSD is still an incredible dog; he loves people, gets along well with other dogs, is very social, and is fixated on his ball or kong. Hawkeye Sr. is partially blind but is also very spry for his age and is still quite athletic.
To quote his foster mom “Hawk is the epitome of ‘young at heart’. He loves to go for walks and take a swim. He is often seen around the house carrying his favorite kong or a toy that he has de-stuffed. He appreciates having free access to the outdoors during the day and has a knack for finding comfy shaded spots in which to take a snooze. Hawk gets along nicely with other dogs and is living nicely with two dog savvy cats. His eyesight isn’t what it used to be so care has to be taken when playing with toys or when carrying objects that look like toys because hands can easily get caught in the way.
Hawk loves all people and is very happy to pal around with just about anyone, though he has a particular fondness for men. Hawkeye Sr. had a great working life, giving his all to society. Now it is our chance to give back to him, by making the rest of his life everything a dog could dream of.
Ol’ Red was showcased in our last Thulani Program newsletter. To refresh your memory, Ol’ Red was rescued during an animal cruelty raid on a farm in north Texas.Twenty-five dogs were rescued and all were placed in homes, except Ol’ Red. Red had a huge oral melanoma tumor and a heavy heartworm load and the vet recommended euthanasia. Red’s defenders would not hear of it, found a vet to remove the tumor, and arranged for transport out to German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California’s Thulani Program. Red was given two months to live.
Thirteen months later, Ol’ Red is living the good life in Napa, showing no signs that he realizes he is sick. He has learned how to play with other dogs, has learned what toys are for, has melded into a very special loving household, and has struck an alliance with the five resident cats to raise havoc (by tipping over the garbage and spreading it all over) whenever unsupervised. Red is finally living the life he always deserved and loving every minute of it.
Our shelter evaluators sometimes find German Shepherds in shelters that are in danger of immediate euthanasia, their only sin being that they are very old or terminally ill, with a projected life expectancy of only months to perhaps a year. These dogs are basically unadoptable through the shelters, and most Rescues will not take them either.
The reasons that they are in the shelters are varied, ranging from perhaps understandable to completely incomprehensible. We have dealt with a few cases that are truly tragic, with the families falling into financial difficulties so severe that they could not keep the dogs. And occasionally the dogs outlive their owners, or witness the owners moving into permanent care facilities that do not permit dogs.
But the majority of cases just make our blood boil. Some have been dumped by the side of the road and left to fend for themselves, and some picked up as strays and not claimed. Some have been surrendered to the shelter with a request to euthanize, and others have been dumped in the night-boxes.
We brought one into the program that had been thrown into a drainage ditch, too weak to climb out, and had to be brought into the shelter on a stretcher.
We took in another that was 13 years old and had begun to dribble slightly. The grandmother and the mother, both well off financially, decided that she was just too much trouble, and were taking her to the vet to be put down. It was only the teenage daughter that simply would not let this happen, and she eventually contacted us.
These special German Shepherds include both young and old. And their ‘sins’ include cancer, heart disease, severe degenerative myelopathy, severe hip displasia, near blindness, and simple old age. All are tragic, but the seniors are the ones that really get to us–these dogs have been someone’s loyal companion for years, and are now just tossed out.
Whatever the reasons for the Thulani Dogs being in the shelters, the result is the same. These dogs are at extremely high risk for immediate euthanasia, even though many have some quality life left to them. A year might not seem very long, but it is nearly 10% of the average German Shepherd’s natural life. And for many of these dogs, any quality life for however long will likely be among the best periods they have ever experienced. If you don’t think that these dogs appreciate our care, just look at the comments by some of our fosterers (foster).