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Marlena and her Trees!

Updated on January 15, 2016

Meet Marlena!

Marlena is a one of a very rare dog breed. A beautiful 'rescued' German Tree Climbing Shepherd! Her mission in life is to catch a squirrel and this special breed has developed special skills in pintpointing suitable trees that will get them closer to their quarry. I've seen videos of some small dogs that climb trees but not many this big so she may be the only one of her kind!


This tree was over 6ft high at the bend and we never saw her get up there.

Dogs and me

or why I like hairy clothes

Living in New Zealand I always had a dog, but usually small short coated dogs like Dachshunds, Boston Terriers, English Toy Terriers (or Toy Manchesters as they are known in the States) but I have a sister who is blind and her first dog was a German Shepherd and as a kid growing up I loved that dog and took her for long walks along the beaches and estuaries when she was not being a Guide dog, so I've always loved the breed. Before coming to the USA I spent many years in my spare time riding horses often with a dog at the horses heels. Here in Wisconsin I've got involved in German Shepherd Rescue and have fostered 11 dogs in 4 years and although I miss them when they go, i get great pleasure in finding them good homes and hearing from their adopters a couple of times a year. BUT I'VE NEVER HAD A TREE CLIMBER BEFORE!!

Marlena enters our lives

or how to be a foster failure (keep instead)

We picked Marlena up at the Sauk County Humane Society in Baraboo, Wisconsin on December 23rd 2008. We act as foster parents, transport drivers and home evaluators for the German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin (GSRAW). The plan was to get her out of there so she wouldn't be there over Christmas when there would be few staff. We had just had our last 'high energy' dog adopted after having her for 5 months and we needed a break so we were adamant - someone else had to have her in the New Year. But fate stepped in..... and we fell in love with this girl.

We explore extensively off trail the back parts of Devils Lake and surrounding areas and over the course of this time, Marlena has developed into a very fit dog with a quest to catch a squirrel and because of that she's developed a talent and determination for clinbing trees believing that one day she she will get high enough to catch one of the little blighters!

Always pays to look up - Missing a dog? Then look up!

How did we come up with the name?

We often change the names of the dogs. We go for walks, sound out a few names and somewhere before getting home, something will sound just right and of course being 'German' Marlena Dietrich came to mind

What are your favorite things to do with Marlena?

Mostly whatever Marlena wants! Play ball - wait there's a squirrel; Go for a nice quiet walk - wait there's a squirrel, go for a swim - wait there's a squirrel..... eat some food - who cares about squirrels!

Photos of Marlena - Edit this to add photos of your pet

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Using those fabulous colors as a frameLooking out over her worldQueen of the WoodsFirst day at home after being picked up from the shelterLook Mom  no wet feet!
Using those fabulous colors as a frame
Using those fabulous colors as a frame
Looking out over her world
Looking out over her world
Queen of the Woods
Queen of the Woods
First day at home after being picked up from the shelter
First day at home after being picked up from the shelter
Look Mom  no wet feet!
Look Mom no wet feet!


Okay so Marlena does have some serious competition out there!

Marlena Rocks!

We love Marlena because of her enthusiasm for life - keeps us young!

A message of hope - and a tribute to those who care

You probably all know about this case. The books traces bringing Vick to court but it is essentially an inspiring story of the dogs themshelves. Only a few were hardened fighters, the rest were friendly and desperate for some human kindness and attention. Most of the dogs are now in living homes and some actually work as therapy dogs.

Become a volunteer for a dog rescue or breed rescue.

There are many forms of dog rescue and most breeds have a specific rescue. If you can't adopt consider becoming a foster parent. If you can't do that consider doing home evaluations. Most rescues require a potential adopter to have a home inspection to make sure their application matches their home surroundings and attitudes. If you can't do that , consider helping out with dog transport in your area, Most people only get asked about once a month and it usually involves picking up a dog and transporting them 50-70 miles along a route helping them get to their final destination. If you can't do that, help out with newsletter, promotions, administration etc, If you can't do that consider a monthly donation or helping out with vet bills etc. It all helps. If you are in the Wisconsin area the German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin would love to hear from you. GSRAW


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    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      What a fun lens! Such lovely pictures - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 6 years ago

      Your photos are gorgeous so the lens was beautiful. Loved reading about Marlena!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 6 years ago

      Marlena is indeed a remarkable dog. She would leave my poor greyhounds gasping in wonder, standing waaaaay down on the ground. :)

    • Karicor profile image

      Karicor 6 years ago

      I have yet to see a large dog climb a tree. This is an amazing dog, and a great story!

    • tiff0315 profile image

      tiff0315 7 years ago

      How awesome to have a tree-climbing dog! She's so cute too!

    • Health-Gal profile image

      Health-Gal 7 years ago

      great lens, beautiful pictures of Marlena! I am all for having rescue dogs, there seems to be something so special about them, ;) Happy new year!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      That is amazing to own a German Tree Climbing Shepherd. That is a rare breed :)

      A neighbor of my husband's had a mutt that could do that and even had his bit of fame in the newspaper. Pretty cool to see your German Shepherd doing this.

    • profile image

      jgelien 7 years ago

      This is incredible. I have never heard of, much less seen, a dog that climbs trees! What a fun addition to your family, that Marlena. Very beautiful dog and lovely lens.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Oh, it's a very good thing my dog can't climb trees. The squirrels would be VERY unhappy. But that is one cool canine you've got there!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      What wonderful owners you are, my daughter loves all dog kinds. She laughed when she saw the photos of Marlina climbing the tree!:) she keeps begging me to leave a note " Marlina is so funny and adorably cute I jut kept going awwww when I saw her" well done great lens

    • profile image

      shermsen7420 7 years ago

      What wonderful owners you are, you see an ability in a dog and allow the dog to enhance a natural talent. You rock!!!!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      What a gorgeous dog! of course I'm German so partial to this breed...lovely lens and a great dog with an wonderful ability...hey I live in Janesville, WI.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 7 years ago from Vancouver

      Love your pictures and learning about Marlena's amazing ability to climb trees!

    • Christene-S profile image

      Christene-S 7 years ago

      What a cool dog! Beautiful photos too. :)

    • jenms lm profile image

      jenms lm 7 years ago

      How cute! I never heard of a dog that could climb a tree! That's a smart dog!


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