I had always wanted a German Shepherd Dog. When I was nine or ten, I’d watched a movie about a German Shepherd. I don’t remember much about the movie other than the ending was so sad, I cried for a while after. My poor mother wanted to run away I’m sure, but my love affair with the German Shepherd Dog had begun.
We’d lost our small dog the October before. She’d been with us for eleven years. With husband gone so much due to the Army, she’d been my constant companion through three PCS moves, two pregnancies, numerous field problems and two deployments. When she passed away, it broke my heart. I had dogs growing up, but I’d never had one who wanted to be with me constantly like she did. I thought I’d never be that close to another dog, but I was wrong. I just hadn’t met Dakota yet…
Husband found an ad in a neighboring town’s online paper for German Shepherd puppies. He called and set up a time for us to visit. The problem was, she only had three pups left and they were all males. I’ve always preferred female dogs. Husband said we should go look anyway, so we did. When we arrived, Mom and Dad were in a pen outside. The Dad was HUGE and made it known it was his yard.
The lady selling the pups met us outside and talked to us about the parents and then went and brought out the puppies. I bent down to pet one of the puppies when I felt a tug on my boot. I looked and there was this chubby puppy with these huge feet biting the laces on my boot. He looked up at me with the most beautiful brown eyes, shoe lace still in his mouth and just sat down. I put out my hand and he dropped the shoe lace to smell my hand and then proceeded to lick me. I picked him up and he licked my face – all the while grumbling like most German Shepherds are known to do. I knew he was the one the minute he looked up at me. I know there are things you’re suppose to do in order to find a pup with a good temperament, but I admit I did none of them. Once I had this special little guy in my arms, there was no way in hell I was ever going to let him go.
The three years Dakota has been with us have been hard years. Having him with me sure made some of the hard times easier though. He was so much company those fifteen months husband was deployed. Like Chelsea Dog, Dakota wants to be where I am. If I’m in the kitchen cooking, he’s either laying on a rug or sitting close to me in hopes I’ll drop him a bite of whatever I’m making. When I go up to get my shower or put on my makeup, he has to come along. If I’m sitting on the front porch watching the babies ride their bikes, Dakota sits keeping a watch on everything through the glass storm door. When I’m surfing the internet on my laptop, he’ll sleep in front of my chair with his head on my fuzzy slippers. And when we go to bed, he sleeps on the floor next to my side of the bed. If husband is snoring and I end up on the couch, he follows me down and sleeps on the floor next to the couch. Even when I go to the bathroom, he has to follow. He’ll stand at the door and wait for me and then follows me back to lay by my chair. Yep, he’s my constant companion.I’d sent this picture to my Dad and he emailed back asking why Rin Tin Tin was showing his teeth. Dad always calls him Rin Tin Tin. I let him know he wasn’t really showing his teeth. He either hates having his picture taken or the sound the camera makes – but either way, any time I get the camera out and try to get a picture of him, he has to do his howl/bark. This time, I caught the very beginning of the howl lol. He wasn’t showing his teeth at anyone or any thing and I’ve never seen him show his teeth come to think of it.
He is very protective though. Son started wrestling this winter. Sometimes husband and son will be on the living room floor so husband can show him this or that to go over what son learned at practice. This makes Dakota nervous apparently. He barks and sticks his nose in between them lol. Son will sometimes aggravate his sister and try to do a wrestling move on her. Big sister will then hold down little brother and commence to tickle him until he screams in between laughing. Again, my pup gets nervous, grumbles and sticks himself into the situation licking faces until they both give up and resort to, “Ughh, Dakota! Dog breath!!!! On!! My!!! FACE!!!” heh heh.And, he even tolerates our kitties. At the beginning of October, one of daughter’s friends found a kitten near her home. The baby couldn’t have been three weeks old since he still had blue eyes. The friend called daughter and told her about the kitten and said her parents weren’t going to let her keep it. Daughter found out her friend was trying to feed it wet bread and immediately came to her Dad and I begging for us to take her over to her friend’s house so she could save it. We already have two inside cats, but husband is a sucker and told daughter not to worry. We’d take her over so she could get the kitten and that’s the reason we now have THREE inside cats.
Frank, the kitten, is growing like a weed. He’s not scared of anything – including a German Shepherd. Dakota is pretty patient with the little guy…allowing him to play with his favorite bone, sniff his food and share his water bowl. When the cats get to running in the house, Dakota has to really try hard to fight his urge to chase them though.German Shepherd Dogs are wonderful companions. Like any large dog though, (actually, any dog in my opinion) educating yourself about the breed prior to welcoming one into your home is a must. Each breed has positives and negatives and in order to be a responsible pet owner, you should educate yourself prior to even considering going to look at puppies. Too many dogs end up in shelters due to the fault of the moron who purchased the dog, not because of the dog.
German Shepherd Dogs shed…they shed all year long. If you don’t want to have to vacuum every day, this dog is probably not for you. They are also extremely vocal. If you’ve ever seen the movie K-9 with Jim Belushi, you have an idea of how vocal most GSDs are. Our Dakota is no different. Although I think a GSD would do fine in an apartment as long as regular exercise was part of the dog’s life, their vocal nature might make apartment life difficult with your neighbors. If I had to move into an apartment, I don’t know what I’d do about my baby. He barks for five straight minutes if we all leave the house. Yep, I’m sure it’s separation anxiety and I’m sure I need the Dog Whisperer to come Whisper us lol. The point though, is know the breed, know your living conditions and take some time to really compare your life and living conditions to the breed you’re interested in prior to bringing home any puppy or dog.
Dakota is a loving, loyal, smart and energetic friend and we’re extremely lucky to have him in our lives. Last Thursday morning, I was catching the news before taking our babies to school when the story of Lizzie, a Memphis TN German Shepherd Dog came on. She apparently foiled a burglary at her home while her human person was at work heh heh. The criminal seems to have left a significant amount of blood behind and the police will try to match the blood to the burglar. The link above also has a link to video and I couldn’t get over how much Lizzie and Dakota look so much alike. To me, Lizzie looks to be around two years old… She’s pretty narrow through the chest and Dakota was long and lanky looking until he was closer to three. This past fall, he started adding more weight to his 90 lb body. He’s really filling out and is now easily over 100 pounds. He’ll go in July for his yearly checkup and vaccinations and I’ll find out then how much weight he’s put on in the last year.
Well, this turned out much longer than I had planned. Guess that’s what happens when it takes three days to write an entry because of all the interruptions and distractions. Ughh. So, even if you didn’t make it through the entire blog-book entry, hope you at least enjoyed the pictures.