Dog Days: My Memories of a German Shepherd
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!"
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.
German Shepherd Stories
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.
Some other sites that may be of interest.
- The German Shepherd - Books Dog Training and Care
The German Shepherd Amazon Store. Find all things German Shepherd here, Books on training and care of your dog, toys, gifts and movies starring one of the world's most popular dog breeds
- William Elliott's Contributor Profile - Yahoo! Contributor Network - contributor.yahoo.com
William Elliott's Contributor Profile - Yahoo! Contributor Network