OUR GERMAN SHEPHERD DOGS

We've had one or more German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) in our household and family almost continuously for the past 45+ years. Admittedly, they are not the breed for everyone and I'll not go into the merits of the GS Dog, but we love them ... and our love is reciprocated. Many people who have never been around dogs much don't realize that, like people, every dog is different and has its own personality.

On this web page, we show off our friends and buddies -- and share some of our experiences. The web page was originally started in 1999 and shows our pals from around that date and on. One of my regrets is not taking the time to take good pictures of Hobo beyond his puppy years. I hope to remedy that as time goes on -- while he is still with us.

UPDATE - September 5, 2012 Today I had the sad duty to bring Hobo on his last ride -- this time to the vet. It is always a very difficult and emotional decision to end a dog's life. In the case with Hobo, I had put it off way too long and the time had come. May he rest in peace! I miss him terribly. He was almost 14 years old and the longest I've ever had my German Shepherds live. His pictures and story remains here as a tribute to his memory.

ENJOY!

Early April 1999 Pictures of Hobo

(Age: 3-1/2 months)

These pictures were taken in the first few days after we brought him home. I can recall the first full day he spent with us at home...he explored around the flower beds and yard that I was raking, apparently sampling various tidbits as he went. That evening his stomach started making all sorts of growling noises and I ended up sleeping on the bedroom floor next to him, all the time somewhat worried over the non-stop intestinal noises coming from this puppy. All was well next day, but as a precaution he made his first vet visit with us for a good checkup.

Another interesting thing: from his experience with the breeder, he apparently had no stairs to climb there, and didn't know how when he first encountered them around our house. That lasted only a day.

Where did we get the name "Hobo"? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Littlest_Hobo. Although our Hobo is not a wanderer, I was touched by the TV series -- the few I saw way back many decades ago.

Early June 1999 Pictures of Hobo

(Age: 5-1/2 months)

February 2000 Pictures of Hobo

(Age: 14 months)

Update: 2006

Hobo is now 7 years old. How time flies! I'll have to get some more recent pictures of him on the website here. He's developed into the most intelligent (sometimes too much for his own good!) German Shepherd Dog we've ever owned ... and we've had many over the past 40 years. It was interesting that he never cared too much for toys (except tennis balls) when he was a puppy, but developed a liking to them when around 3 years old. As with most German Shepherds, he seems to never tire of playing with a tennis ball, his other toys, and a favorite squeaky little football. He seems to go through a tennis ball every week or two; the football has held up over a year although my last visit to our Tractor Supply store netted a spare one.

I've been asked by others about GSDs (German Shepherd Dogs) ... we got Hobo from a breeder a little east of Des Moines, Iowa. We picked this breeder for several reasons: temperament (of the dog!) was quite high on our list along with a German bloodline background. You see, the Germans are quite picky about such things as hip dysplasia and maintaining the breed. So Hobo's back and rear end is not "angulated" or sloping like the typical American breed, which incidentally has been fighting hip problems for generations. His daddy was a 115 pounder who often went to various children's schools for demonstrations, etc. and had a very good temperament.

Fortunately, Hobo has turned out to be a very healthy dog. And a very loving dog -- who says a male dog cannot be affectionate? Yet, he is quite protective of our household.

Update: 2009

Hobo is now 10 years old ... 11 in a few months from now in December. This summer, he has been showing his age a little more by sleeping a larger proportion of the day, and he is also showing some stiffness when getting up from these naps. His solo trips down to our creek has shortened from his younger days. When I go with him to our creek flowing from our large spring, he still splashes and wades through the water, dipping his head well under water to grab a rock in him mouth. He then takes the rock up on shore and drops it in the grass. Fortunately, we have enough rocks in the creek so his dredging operation has little effect.

Walking back up the path to the house (fairly steep), I've slowed down considerably over the years, and he still patiently waits for me up the trail. Hobo still loves to have the tennis ball or other favorite throw toys thrown for him. He's really good in placing them in your hand -- even if you are trying to catch a nap in the recliner chair.

Hobo developed an ability to toss the ball back to you when he was a pup. Carol used to play with him on the floor with a tennis ball, gently throwing or rolling it to him; he would then take it in his mouth and actually toss or roll it back to her. He still does this. We're talking about a 6 foot or so distance. It's fun to watch him do this.

The Newcomer! Meet "Luger"

We're all excited, just like expectant parents! We're getting a new puppy. At this writing (September 20, 2009), it will be exactly 5 weeks from now that we bring home Luger on October 25 if all goes well. He was born August 27 and is just over 3 weeks old right now. We saw him for the first time yesterday, held him, petted him, talked to him, sang to him, and reluctantly gave him back to the breeders to nurture for the next 5 weeks. You can be sure there will be more to say about him (and after he meets Hobo for the first time) and lots of pictures.

His name is pronounced as "Loo Grrrr" (just like the German gun).

Here are some photos that have been taken by Staci Hobby, the co-breeder, and kindly sent to us. The "whole gang" at grand old age of 3 days:

Here's Luger at age of 16 days (he hadn't been picked out yet at this time):

On September 19, we visited the kennels and picked out the pup we wanted. Luger is 3 weeks and 2 days old in these pictures (23 days old). He'll grow and change in coloring and appearance a lot in the next 5 weeks before we bring him home.

Any in this group of photos may be viewed in a larger size by clicking on the miniature.

Now for some pictures after our visit on Sept. 19 (and again thanks to Staci for sending them) -- he's growing fast and starting to get "cute". Staci reports "He follows his mother to the feed and water bowl and almost looks like he is mocking her. He drinks water by himself and licks on the treats that we give Bella. He is a very handsome boy.. He will definitely know his name when you come to get him. He is really starting to explore and loves being around us." He is one day short of 4 weeks old here (27 days):

Pictures from Staci taken at 5 weeks of age:

...and more from Staci taken at 6 weeks of age:

Here are Luger's parents, photos courtesy Hobby's Purebred Pets (http://www.hobbysbigcedarpurebredpets.com/)
On the left, sire is "Luke" who is described on their website as "Baron Luker Von Vollenden Haus - AKC - Full German and World Champion bloodlines. Grandsire won World Champion title in 1993. VA1 & 2, SCHH3,FH1, WUSV 4 x. Black and Tan - Male"
On the right is "Bella" and described on Hobby's website as "Hobby's Liberty Bell - AKC - German Bloodlines Black and Tan - Female": (click on pictures for larger view)

Oct. 25 - Luger Comes Home!

Right on schedule! It was a long trip for little Luger at age 8 weeks plus 3 days (and me too!). Goodbyes were said around 12:40 p.m. as we started on the 140 mile journey. Before half-way on the hilly and curvey Missouri highway, carsickness took its toll. I never knew a small puppy could hold so much! Then another 20 miles down the road, another stop to clean the old airline carrier crate again. Fortunately I had a good supply of paper towels and garbage bags -- but I forgot the air freshener! About 20 miles before reaching home, he informed me he wanted to stop -- which I did and let him "go" again away from the highway. Hmmm ... hope this was a sign he was going to be easy to housetrain.

We reached home about 4:20 p.m. with my wife Carol and visiting daughter Kris alerted a few minutes before arrival via cell phone. Kris was all ready with her camera to document the event (thanks Kris!). The meeting with Hobo for the first time went very smoothly as expected. Click on small photo to get full size.

A trip to our vet the next day was smooth and uneventful. Luger fell asleep on the exam table while we were waiting for the vet to come in the room. No carsickness for the 44 mile round trip either.

November 2, 2009 photos (9-1/2 weeks old)...

Reserved Hobo, Playful Luger

Luger's vet visit on November 17 again went well -- except for the traveling itself. This time he rode in the backseat of our Blazer and managed to upchuck both ways. Seems riding on Carol's lap in front seat is fine, riding in back is not in ALL cases so far. Despite losing his breakfast (a large amount), he weighed in at 20.8 pounds. It appears he is going to be a large German Shepherd when fully grown. He goes back to vet again in early December.

It has been an interesting experience watching Luger and Hobo interact. Negotiations are still going on as to who is boss, but it appears that Hobo has been getting more assertive in his efforts while Luger has become a tiny bit more submissive. Typically Hobo will assert dominance and then back away, leading the feisty and brassy little Luger to then attack big Hobo with his loud and shrill high pitched puppy bark -- pouncing toward him and often retreating rapidly. Hobo has for the most part been rather reserved and noble, but more recently is becoming a little more playful with Luger. I've never seen a puppy play as hard as Luger does -- and his persistence and energy in the dominance battle is prolonging it.

When I talk about Luger's hard play -- typically you see him with a tennis ball in his mouth and "herding" a second ball or other toy across the floor! He tries so hard to keep both in his mouth, an obvious impossibility. Thank God, Luger finally tires out and naps once in a while. There's been times when all four of us have napped at the same time in the afternoon.

Luger has his favorite places to go, rest, hide, etc. One he started a couple weeks ago was to go behind our wood stove (our main source of heat) and lay down. A couple of the photos to follow show this. Even when we had to light the stove, he still stayed pretty near it.

It is always fun trying to capture pictures at the right time. One picture I didn't get was when he found the end of the toilet paper roll in our bathroom. I was too busy chasing him and restraining him while Carol rewound the 12 to 15 feet he managed to run with. As you can see in the following photos, he is growing up fast. (Remember, click on photo for larger image.)

Mid-November Pictures...

November 23, 2009 photos...

Luger Weighs In - December 2009 (revised Dec. 30)

Any guesses on how big a dog Luger will become? He no longer can walk under Hobo. Things have gone well the past weeks with his training of us. Few and far between "accidents" in the house when he drinks too much water and then plays rough with Hobo for a while. Speaking of the two playing, one watching them for the first time might think they were fighting -- with Luger biting at Hobo's tail, neck and the loose part of his cheek, and Hobo retaliating by mouthing Luger on the scruff of his neck or sometimes pushing him over. Only rarely do we hear any yelps. They've also moved more to tug of wars with any toy and especially those knotted ropes. Fortunately, Luger has now tempered his tendancy to bite everything (our hands included) with his sharp puppy teeth and is becoming more enjoyable. My hands have almost healed completely!

December 8 - weight: 32.8 pounds. He received more puppy shots, rabies shot and was started on Heartgard. Our vet continues to express amazement at his growth, good health, and looks. Luger has a standing invitation to come visit the vet's office any time we're in the vicinity.

December 22 - weight: 37.2 pounds.

December 29 - weight: 40.6 pounds. Last puppy shot.

His very soft and fuzzy puppy hair (similar to lambs wool) has disappeared and his more permanent coat on his back has come it -- beautiful shiny black hair, slightly wavy. It appears he has inherited his coloring and coat from his father; and his size from his mother. This month he finally conquered our outside steps. Prior to that, he managed to find a pathway under our wooden deck to bypass the steps. This is the way down to our creeks -- but so far, I've kept Hobo from trotting down to the creek while Luger was outside. The time will come soon when Luger follows Hobo to the water, but I want to be there on his first flowing stream visit. We'll try to muster enough energy to make the round trip soon. He loves, just as Hobo does, to walk with me through our rugged woods.

Luger does have one problem: carsickness. Only the very first time to the vet did he not throw up. Every time since then he has vomited in the car. I thought at first it was due to riding in the back, but the last few times riding on Carol's lap in the front seat did not help. On Dec. 22 we made a trip to the vet's office just to drop in and weigh him -- and did this earlier in the day without feeding him anything that morning. About 9 miles away from returning home, he blessed both Carol and me with what seemed like 10 gallons of stomach contents -- mostly smelly liquid. After that, I'd prefer he had eaten dog food! Our vet said to try half a Dramamine tablet on empty stomach. We did that on our Dec. 29 vet trip and this time we got within 6 miles of home before he threw up much less. I guess next time we try the full tablet. We're also instituting a procedure of taking him and Hobo in the Blazer to get our mail each day. This is a 2.4 mile round trip and maybe will let him get used to riding with a good experience, and with Hobo's companionship. Hobo just loves to ride and races to the car. I have to "round up" Luger each time we want to take him in the car.

As the year ends, our old companion and our growing boy have settled in, keeping warm not far from our wood stove. They both love the snow (we got a little on Christmas morning) and the cold weather outside, but don't hestitate to come in to join us in the warm house.

1st Quarter 2010

Where has time gone? Our rather hard winter hit us in January with lots of snow (for this area) and very below average temperatures. Hobo and Luger did not mind! They both had such a fun time in the snow. I just wish we could have captured pictures of them with a little pile of snow on their noses.

Luger contined to grow. Oh, did he grow! We managed to take him into our vet's office for weighing only on February 19, and the scale settled on 65.6 pounds! He is approaching the size of Hobo and we need to often look twice to see which dog is which. As of this writing (March 13), we hope to take him for weighing again next week. We will also see about neutering too as he is approaching that age.

I've started to work with Luger on the leash. Usually there is no need to have him on the leash around here, so we definitely need to emphasize this more -- it was apparent he needs training from our February 19 vet office visit as that big a dog becomes uncontrollable otherwise. Since I've trained quite a few of our German Shepherd dogs over the decades, I have confidence that Luger will train fairly easy. He seems to want to please and that is important. He also seems to pick up an understanding of what we are saying easier than most dogs we've had.

June 2011

Lots of things have happened since the last update over a year ago -- mostly diverting attention from picture taking to taking care of our own medical problems. Hobo at age 12-1/2 years is still doing well. At one point this spring, we thought he was on his last days with us, but a trip to vet, some prescription antibiotics, and nearly daily dose of Bufferin, he has bounced back. In fact, while our daughter and family were visiting us, we hadn't seen him as active and vibrant then since years ago.

Luger, now about 1-3/4 years old, has grown (weighed in at 110 pounds last December) and has developed into a really intelligent "lover boy". Sometimes, before it is time to get up, he'll jump up on the bed and lay beside me until I wake up. Unless he really wants "out", he's considerate and does not disturb me. He has the habit of resting his chin on the chair cushion, looking at you with his big brown eyes. Who could resist that?

Here are a couple of quick snapshots I made yesterday showing full-grown Luger:

Remember, click on the photo to see larger size.

October 2012 - Goodbye Hobo and Carol

As mentioned in the introduction to this page, we lost Hobo on September 5, 2012 at age about 13-3/4 years old. Eventually the daily meds failed to work adequately and even though he was still alert and loving, he no longer played and pretty well lost control of all his bowel movements. As always, it was a very difficult decision to make.

I have not updated these pages for a very long time or even taken photos due to my wife's Alzheimer's condition worsening as time went on. It is with sadness that I report Carol passed away peacefully on October 12. In revising this website today, I look back on the photos of her holding tiny Luger when we first chose him from the litter. Before deciding to get a new puppy, I deliberated a long time, trying to figure out if it would be a good thing for someone with mid-stage Alzheimer's. I decided to go ahead and HAVE NEVER REGRETTED the decision. It was the right one! Even a few days before her death, she still loved to pet Luger and he continued to come up to her.

After Hobo left us, Luger for several days laid inside looking at the door, probably expecting Hobo to come inside. Outside, I saw him several times standing and looking up hill to the road where Hobo liked to wander sometimes. And now, he had another family member disappear on him. Recently, he has been following me more that usual around the house and outside, more like a little puppy does. We'll both recover!

Luger has now grown into a very large 3 year old. Last visit two weeks ago to the vet, he weighed in at 122 pounds. I suspect he has been eating a little less since Hobo left us. He's made the past couple trips to the vet (about 22 miles one way) with no upchucks, so maybe he's outgrown the car sickness problems. He still drools a lot while riding, indicating nervousness, so the vet says.


Meet Meeka!

On October 19, 2012, I adopted Meeka. She was a pound rescue and is estimated to be around 6 years old, mostly white (a little very light tan down the middle of her back), spayed female who is just a real sweetie who wants to be loved and petted nearly all the time. According to the paperwork received with her, she last weighed in at 85 pounds. She is almost as tall as Luger and a big girl. This photo was taken by person unknown and appeared on some web pages to advertise her availability (I'll be glad to give proper credit if the photographer becomes known).

The first week with Meeka and Luger was one where apparently the alpha dog was being determined. About the first full day together, Luger came out on the short end with a small bleeding cut under his eye. It healed fast. From what I can see, Luger is the alpha dog as Meeka has been in a submissive "down" position several times lately. The second week saw both of them playing rough together, just as Hobo and Luger used to play. They've now settled down pretty well and appear to enjoy each other. More a little later. This was written on November 9 and Meeka has been here 3 weeks now.


The above pictures were taken during the month of December, 2012 and shows how relaxed Meeka is and how she takes over my recliner when I'm not using it. Today (Jan. 3, 2013) she decided to follow Luger's lead in eating some of the ice and snow left on our deck from the Christmas day snowstorm. Every time I stoke up the wood stove (our winter heat source), she is right there by my side and would probably help if she could. Best dog I've ever had in coming (running very fast!) when called. I'm still working on getting her to sit on command, something she now does about half the time. Her tail almost never ceases to wag, sometimes to the detriment of nearby objects. In late December, she weighed in at a whopping 96.4 pounds at the vet's office where her routine first visit and checkup went quite well -- no problems. She is a big gal for a German Shepherd!


And Then There Was One

It is with great sadness that once again I must write of the demise of one of my canine friends. On the morning of February 24, 2014 around 9:30 a.m. I let Luger and Meeka outside for a few minutes. Normally they both come back in together within 5 minutes. When about 5 minutes were up, I poked my head out the door (to call them), but this time I saw Luger laying over on his side in the parking area just off my wood deck.

I rushed out to his side to hear his last wimper or moan. He was dead. His brown eyes still open, his ears erect, his tongue partly out of a semi-open mouth. He ceased breathing.

As you might imagine, this was a real shock to me. I couldn't believe it. Three days short of 4-1/2 years old! He had been running around and active. The next minute, dead. The only indications of any problem previously was a possible seizure the week before when I found him laying just outside my front door. At that time, he was conscious, but not moving and not responding at all to my call or talking to him. His eyes were open, but he seemed to been in a daze. This lasted only a minute or two and then he was active and normal again. One previous time, inside the house he was laying on the carpet with his front legs sort of sprawled outward in an unusual position, again sort of non-responsive for a minute or two. I was told these were symptoms of a seizure and that last Monday morning of his life I was preparing to make a vet appointment for him.

Sadly, I phoned a neighbor instead to help me with his burial.

So now, after some days of grief, I just have very fond memories of the close friend, the little pup I had brought home over 4 years before, of the guy who just loved to play with tennis balls and even bringing them back to me and dropping them in my hand to throw again and again. Fortunately, I have Meeka, who is closer to me than ever now, and also grieving over her missing friend. She finally started eating a little after three days.

Whether or not I'll get another dog is still not determined right now. If I do, most likely I'll get another rescue like I did with Meeka. One of the best rescue groups I've found has been MOGS, the Missouri German Shepherd Rescue group, centered around the Kansas City area. Their fine website usually featuring over 30 dogs for adoption is found at http://mogsrescue.rescuegroups.org/info/index and if any readers of this page would like to donate a few bucks to this struggling small group in Luger's name, it would go a long way in helping them assist cast off and hurting dogs.


More photos as time permits...

May I invite you to...

view some pictures and read about our 40 acres in the "middle of no-where" in the northern Arksans Ozarks (most are old but still meaningful). Here's the present link: http://azark.com/area/index.html (It will most likely change once I get around to revising my websites)


Copyright © 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Don L. Jackson - Last Modified on 2014-Feb-28

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