Dog Days: My Memories of a German Shepherd

Brett ~ 1986-August 2002. This Photo is of Brett in middle age at about 9 or 10 years old.
Brett ~ 1986-August 2002. This Photo is of Brett in middle age at about 9 or 10 years old. | Source

First Meetings


Dogs have been a large part of my life for over twenty years. Since August 1988 I have owned three dogs, all three have been German Shepherds and all three very special.


I took ownership of Suki, my first on 12th August, 1988. She was from a rescue pound in Warrington, England. About one year old at the time. Later that same afternoon, Brett came into both of our lives. He was owned by a nearby family and came to introduce himself to the new pretty German Shepherd on the block.


His whole demeanor was confident, "Hi beautiful. Where have I been all your life?"


That was it Suki fell for him straight away. Brett became a companion on our walks and often when I came home in the evening, I would find him waiting on my front yard. Waiting for Suki and I to go for our evening walk.


On one occasion Brett did not appear as usual. Suki and I had settled infront of the television after our walk. At about 9pm, there was a loud knock on the door knocker. Suki rushed behind the door and sniffed hard. Another hard rattling knock. I held Suki's collar as I opened the door. There was no one there, then the sound of a grumbling whine. Looking down, there was Brett. Pushing his nose around the door. He had stood on his hind legs to rattle the door knocker. Suki nipped at his nose as if to tell him she was angry at his earlier non appearance. Brett's ears fell back and he mumbled a throaty growl as he backed away.


We didn't see him again for a few days.


It seemed to me that my dogs were almost a couple. They appeared to be having a lover's tiff

.

"Can we go out now?"


"No, I was waiting half the night and you were late and didn't call. Goodnight!"

December 1989


On December 9, 1989. I had recently returned from visiting Prague, then Czechoslovakia. The news was full of rising tensions and the "Velvet Revolution" was in full swing.


I was about to take Suki for our evening walk when I saw Brett and his owner coming to the door.


Brett was his usual bouncy self. His owner deep in thought.


We met at the front door. "I've decided to let Brett go." his owner said. "You can keep him, I'll be back in thirty minutes. If you don't want him he goes to the vet tonight."

I did not really need the thirty minutes. I knew even without those final words, that I wanted Brett to stay. Brett joined us on that walk without a care in the world that night. I cried quietly at the thought of giving him up to his fate and no-one was going to take him away that night.


Brett was going to get a new home.

About an hour later, Brett's former owner came back. His eyes were burning with tears. I told him I would keep Brett. He could come back to see him if he wished. I could not force them to sever their bond completely. The big soft neck of Brett roughed against his old masters cheek as they said goodbye. Then Brett trotted into our house and Suki pulled him around the house as if to show him around. Then both stretched out in front of the fire, paws to paws and closed their eyes.

Walks in Delamere Forest.


A big treat for bothe dogs were walks in Delamere Forest. A large forestry plantation a short car drive from home.

Suki was the leader of the two, a short haired, black and tan German Shepherd. Brett was larger but a golden light brown with black highlights. Suki's favorite playground in the forest was in the many drainage ditches. They were always full of thick, black, pine stinking tea. OOzing mud and probably the blackest water anyone has seen. She loved them. often only the very top of her head would show her brown fur on a visit to Delamere Forest.


Brett often ran after her along the edges of the ditches, whimpering and calling.

Anyone who has spent any time with a German Shepherd will know how vocal a dog they are. They may not always bark, but issue a series of low grumbles and groans as well as high whimpers. Watch the movie K-9 with James Belushi, the sound effects for the back chat given by the GSD Jerry Lee are spot on as any GSD owner can tell you.


Well Brett would almost always follow Suki along the top, then one day he slipped and slid into the ditch.

There was a shocked squeal and then he vanished the only part of his body visible was his tail. Raised high like a periscope. His grumbles and whines still clearly audible he ran up and down the drain splashing and half swimming.

Brett hated to get a wet tail. When he finally reappeared, both he and Suki where the darkest black. But he was evidently very pleased with himself trotting back and forth. Black mud dripping from his sides. But his golden brown tail still clean and bright swung out behind him like a flag in a parade.

That afternoon we made a slow walk back to the car, where both dogs climbed into the back, and were fast asleep before we even got out of the car park.

To be Continued


This part of the story covers the first few years of my life with Brett and Suki.


Sadly Suki took ill suddenly in January 1995. Within hours she died, unknown to anyone she had had a aggressive Liver Cancer. Brett would walk over to Suki's bed every evening and look around to see if she was there.

For a week we both mourned our loss. Then I decided to take on the job of raising a German Shepherd puppy. That is when Hariska Intrigue, aka Polly, the dog in my profile picture made a disruptive and whirlwind appearance in both our lives.

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Comments 19 comments

Mr Grimwig profile image

Mr Grimwig 5 years ago from California

Aww. . . Very good hub; I'm sorry that you lost Suki so suddenly. Up & beautiful.


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Thank you Mr Grimwig. Thank you for your comment and votes.

It is sad that sometimes we do have to say goodbye to our dogs, much sooner than we would like. But as we will see later, (spoiler ALERT) Brett was about sixteen and Polly too.


SuzanLynn 5 years ago

Words cannot express to you how much I feel for you. I, have had pets all my life and I know your hurt.


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello SuzanLynn. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

I have been happy to share a large part of my life with this fascinating brreed of dog. Each one has been a pure individual. Each a unique personality and good friend.

Thanks.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

We lost Zoe, our yellow lab and family clown last year, and now our black lab is also very ill, but hanging on. As long as he has the will to live, we'll clean up after his vomiting. The vet says he probably has cancer.

Sweet Hub. We love our dogs, don't we?


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello WillStarr, thank you for sharing.

Yes our dogs mean a lot to us. I am sorry for your loss and you and your black lab, will be in my prayers.


timorous profile image

timorous 5 years ago from Me to You

I also had the pleasure of caring for a wonderful German Shepherd. We were best buddies. Unfortunately, we had to have him put down a couple of months ago. You can read my tribute to him in one of my hub articles.


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello timerous, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

I will definitely read your hub.


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

What a wonderful story Bret. I recently wrote a hub about my "Buttons." Animals are so special and it's heartbreaking when it is their time to move on. Look forward to reading the next part. Take care,

Sharyn


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello Sharyn, thanks for your comment. Yes, Brett and Suki were a pair of characters. It was like they wre a team, Brett was the muscle and Suki the real brains of the outfit. LOL


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Awesome Hub! When our dogs finally do go it is so heartbreaking - I'm a complete wimp when it comes to animals anyway! But I always remind myself that the heartbreak may be hard, but just to remember the years of sheer joy your pet gave you while they were here. I can't wait to read about the next installment of the pup!


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello seeker7, thanks for the comment. I am a complete wimp when it comes to dog stories. I can sit through any so called weepie movie like "Love Story" and yawn, but put a dog in a scene and have it hurt, the tears flow. I still can't watch "Old Yella" or "Where the Red Fern Grows." :)

The Brett and Polly (pup) follow up should be ready in a couple of weeks. I am at present preparing for a surprise job interview so a little less time on my hands for the next week.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this was a lovely story, I was so engrossed in it, I was really sorry when I got to the end! its so sad when we lose our dogs, I had a german shephard cross labrador, called Sheba, and when she died I cried buckets or about a week! I still miss her sometimes, thanks for sharing, nell


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello Nell Rose, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

I bet Sheba was a lovely dog. Yes I still miss Suki after 16 years and Brett died nine years ago next week. Each dog is unique. They are all special .


nikhil 5 years ago

hey Bretsuki,

i know your pain, i used to have a GSD named Jackie, and he was one of the most wonderful dogs i have ever seen, he was a great family dog, he was great with the kids too, my 3 daughters loved him to no end, especially the youngest.

He was a show dog too, and won 7 blue ribbons through out his life. Unfortunately, we made the STUPID decision of taking him to a breeder, and he died suddenly overnight, we discovered that the dam had parvo, and it transferred over to our beloved jackie, we miss him terribly. I felt terribly guilty about it and i was in a mourning period for about 2 months, he was my first dog, and no 1 can replace the first....

Jackie, see you in heaven when i get there .

great hub tho


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA Author

Hello nikhill. I am very sorry for your loss of Jackie. Very true about the loss of a first dog. Not that the loss of any dog is easy. They always remain special in our hearts. I am sure we will all meet our fur friends again someday.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Beautifully written story about your furry friends. You have my deepest condolences on the loss of Suki. You told her story well. Our Cookie (GSMix)has survived the loss of three companions and grieved with us through it all. So glad that you took in Brett. Smiles.


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 4 years ago from California USA Author

Thank you Peg, sorry it is taking a while to actually finish up this story of my three dogs. I hope to finish soon, when life allows me to catch up with all my plans. :)


steve ste[hens 4 years ago

I really liked your site here. My name is Steve Stephens, and I wrote a book about German

Shepherds called "German Shepherd Dog Training & Behavior Book" I would love it if you

posted a picture of the book on your site here, so your other viewers can see it also.

Thank you very much, Steve.

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