Friday, December 31, 2010


Barbara J. Galasso

I am the king of all dogs; therefore you shall not have other dogs before me!

You shall not have any pictures, statues, magazines, videos of any other breed of dog besides that of the German Shepherd Dog. I am a jealous breed and no other breed shall share this house with me.

You shall not call me bad names or curse at me when you get mad. You shall respect me at all times for I am a German Shepherd Dog after all.

You shall not enter me in any dog shows or working trials on a Sunday as this is my day of rest. Train me, teach me, show me six days a week if you like, but the seventh day is mine to do what I want, lay around all I want, and eat and play all day as I want. Don’t expect me to work on Sundays!

Honor my mother and father if you own them by not over breeding them. Give them a
break once in awhile.

I shall not kill thy neighbors one and a half pounds of yippy pain in the hind end, sorry excuse for a dog……..(well that is when anyone is looking anyway)!

You should not breed me to more than one stud dog or brood bitch in my lifetime. So choose wisely because one mate for life is my new motto and there’s not room for discussion!

I shall not steal my kennel mates bones, toys, food or bed or my master’s affections!

I shall not let the cat take the scolding for stealing the food that was left out on the counter. Nor shall I let him be blamed for the mess of shredded toilet tissue on the floor no matter how much I want him to!

I shall not desire better food, a softer bed, a bigger house, a bigger car, a better dog handler like the dogs in the kennel down the street from me. I must learn to accept my humble upbringing and ignore my selfish desires.

And on my death bed, please call a German Shepherd judge of extreme integrity so I can make my last confession before I leave this earth......I confess it was me that ruined the carpet and not the cat. It was me that trampled all over the flower garden and not the stray dog. It was me that bit Billy Ray and not the Doberman Pinscher that lives next door. It was me that stole the new baby’s stuffed toy and not his sister Lilly Mae. It was me that threw up in the back seat of the car and not the puppy sitting next to me.

If I live by these rules as my way of life, then I am assured a place in doggy Heaven. If not I’ll be thrown in the fires of hell with all sorts of alley cats or yippy dogs to torment me through eternity....and no German Shepherd Dog should ever have to endure that!

My rating: Even a dog needs rules to live be: (4)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I heard this sentence on a program the other day, “We’re the only species that worries!” Animals, birds, insects and all other living creatures never worry. They just go about their business each and every day never carrying the burdens of the world on their shoulders. They leave that “good stuff” to us humans.

We worry and fret and worry some more and most of what we worry about never happens anyway. We prepare for a show, and many of us are a nervous wreck. Some of us can’t eat, some of us spend half of the day in the bathroom and then there are those of us that snaps at the first person that says good morning to us. The dog isn’t worrying. He doesn’t care if he wins or loses. He’s not up all night the evening before the show. He’s passed out on the rug while you’re walking around the house talking to yourself.

The dog is not worried about what kind of food you’re going to be feeding him today. He just wants his dinner, plain and simple. He doesn’t care if it’s a holistic brand or a store bought brand. The only time it matters to him is if you have given him a choice. That’s when he may become fussy, but he’s not worrying about it all day. Oh sure he knows when its time for him to be fed, but he’s not worried about if he’s going to be fed all day long. He just assumes that he is!

If you groomed your dog with a shampoo you bought at the dollar store, it wouldn’t matter to him. He’s accepting of everything that comes his way. Only the human owner frets that it’s not an all natural product, or it doesn’t have the specific fragrance that the human prefers. The dog doesn’t care if he smells like fresh coconut or French vanilla.

So one can see if they are really honest with themselves that we do things for our dog not because the dog will like it, but because we like it. It’s pleasing to us……not necessarily the dog.

The dog is not worried about whether or not it’s going to be too hot or cold outside for him to go in the backyard. We worry about the temperatures. Of course, he’ll complain if the weather does bother him by howling, barking or holding an icy paw up off the ground. But he’s never worried about it ahead of time. He’s just reacting to his circumstances.

If worrying hasn’t changed the fact that we can’t afford a more expensive handler, a holistic dog food, a fragrant shampoo, a bigger van to hold more dog crates, why do we do it? Wouldn’t we enjoy the dog shows better, accept what we can afford and sleep a heck of a lot better if we didn’t worry so much? I don’t know anyone that worries all the time that is a happy person. They may be a sicker person, but not a happier person!

We worry if our new litter will produce a new “star.” We worry about our dog’s health problems. We worry that we’re not doing enough for them. We worry about them getting older. Some of us do not feel “normal” unless we’re worrying about something.

If we have financial problems or health problems, then truly this would give most people something to worry about. But truth be told, all the worrying in the world doesn’t change anything. It is totally out of our hands whether or not a judge is going to put up our dog. It’s out of our hands whether or not a puppy will amount to anything great. It’s out of our hands whether someone is going to buy a dog from us or not. It’s out of our hands if our dog gets sick. We can only do our best to take care of something that comes our way, but we can’t do anything about it by worrying. We need to take action and give worry a back

Just think if we didn’t worry, we could laugh off our losses to an inferior dog. We could shrug our shoulders when we hire a third rate handler that trips and falls over our dog thereby leaving our animal limping and costing him the class win. We could feed our dog’s bag after bag of “road kill” and never give it a second thought. We could wish a potential puppy buyer that didn’t buy our puppy best wishes when he buys someone else’s puppy. Yes being worry free would mean we could take our losses with a smile on our faces, empty wallets and a fellow competitor patting us on the back saying “Better luck next time old fella!” Yes, worry free……that’s the way for me!

From the book: "THE MINDFULNESS AND ACCEPTANCE WORKBOOK FOR ANXIETY"....Anxiety happens. It's not a choice. And attempts to manage your thoughts or get rid of worry, fear, and panic can leave you feeling frustrated and powerless. But you can take back your life from anxiety without controlling anxious thoughts and feelings. You can stop avoiding anxiety and start showing up to your life. The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety will get you started, using a revolutionary new approach called acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT.
The book has one purpose: to help you live better, more fully, more richly. Your life is calling on you to make that choice, and the skills in this workbook can help you make it happen. Find out how your mind can trap you, keeping you stuck and struggling in anxiety and fear. Learn to nurture your capacity for acceptance, mindfulness, kindness, and compassion. Use these qualities to shift your focus away from anxiety and onto what you really want your life to be about. As you do, your life will get bigger as your anxious suffering gets smaller. No matter what kind of anxiety problem you're struggling with, this workbook can guide you toward a more vibrant and purposeful life. Includes a CD with bonus worksheets, self-assessments, and guided mindfulness meditations.

My rating: Worrying: (1)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I’ve read a few times that the German Shepherd Dog has the intelligence equal to a seven year old child. Taking that one step further, I’ve also read that we humans learn the most we ever learn in the first five years of our lives. If that last sentence is true, then just think of what the German Shepherd Dog could be capable of learning! Very few of us…….no I take that back…….none of us can ever learn all there is to ever know. We could never hope to teach the German Shepherd Dog everything that a seven year old child knows. I dare say that most of this breeds intelligence level is never, ever realized to even half of that equation.

Thinking how intelligent this breed is it would be a little scary if they really knew all there was to know that a seven year old child knows. Without ever teaching them anything, their quest to know what’s going on at all times is never satisfied. I only own three dogs (all bitches) and they’re all smart just because they’re a German Shepherd, but one of them is the nosiest of the nosy! I could have a box the size that holds a ring and I could put it somewhere that she’d never see it, but she’d know it was there. Her nose is always up in the air sniffing around to see what her nose can lead her to.

I also think that once you train this breed to learn something, they never forget it. They might be a little rusty, but they don’t forget. Now that says something for their intelligence. My house dog Amber (see the above picture – yes that’s her reading a literary masterpiece of her own choice) has been trained by me to do certain easy tasks. She also knows hand signals for those tasks. Now I don’t always ask her to do these tricks all the time. In fact besides the command of “sit”, she pretty much does as she pleases. Today I gave her a few commands and then did hand signals with her and her recall was excellent. She was an easy learner and eager to please when I trained her. Her daughters are another story waiting to be written!

Training dogs is hard work and takes a dedication on the owner’s part to train their dogs. But oh the rewards are worth any time that you put in them. There is nothing nicer than a well trained animal. They’re easier to live with and easier to go places with. Besides the general public will thank you for the time that you’ve put into your dog. No one enjoys being jumped on or mauled to death (in a friendly way)!

So Amber and I chose a “Seasons Greetings” and most sincere wishes for you, your family and loved ones. Oh yeah, and all those intelligent German Shepherds that you share your life with. This is really not a poem geared towards Christmas but the words can be enjoyed and lived with all through the year. I can’t take credit for the construction of the “words of wisdom” and I can’t give credit where credit is due as it says the author is unknown. That said………………HAPPY EVERYTHING……EVERYONE!

The most destructive habit..............................Worry

The greatest Joy.................................................Giving

The greatest loss........................Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work....................Helping others

The ugliest personality trait....................Selfishness

The most endangered species........Dedicated leaders

Our greatest natural resource....................Our youth

The greatest "shot in the arm"...........Encouragement

The greatest problem to overcome........................Fear

The most effective sleeping pill.............Peace of mind

The most crippling failure disease....................Excuses

The most powerful force in life..............................Love

The most dangerous pariah.............................A gossiper

The world's most incredible computer..........The brain

The worst thing to be without................................ Hope

The deadliest weapon.......................................The tongue

The two most power-filled words......................."I Can"

The greatest asset......................................................Faith

The most worthless emotion................................Self-pity

The most beautiful attire.....................................SMILE!

The most prized possession.............................. Integrity

The most powerful channel of communication.....Prayer

The most contagious spirit..............................Enthusiasm

Written By: © Author Unknown

My rating: Training the German Shepherd Dog: (4), Living with a well trained dog: (4)

Monday, December 20, 2010


What does the average person in America think a German Shepherd Dog looks like? Now clearly I’m not talking about a breeder or a show person. I’m talking about “John Doe” that lives down the street from you. How would he describe the German Shepherd Dog? What would he say he looks like? What would he say about the disposition of this breed of dog? Are we the breeders representing the German Shepherd Dog the way most people think of them? Or have we designed a dog that most people wouldn’t identify as the “average” German Shepherd?

If “John Doe” came to a dog show or if he looked up kennels on the internet, I dare say he would be faced with many different types of German Shepherd Dogs being represented. Just take a look on Facebook at all the breeders and the pictures of their dogs on there. I have never seen such a variety of German Shepherds in one place.

What does the general public think a German Shepherd Dog looks like? I bet if you asked them, a majority of them would probably describe a black and silver or black and light tan dog to you. They would probably describe an ordinary looking dog with a protective type of personality.

I was disappointed the other night when I was watching “The Dog Whisperer” and a poll was taken asking the general public which dogs were the most aggressive breed. I knew that the Pit Bull would be the first dog people would name. However, the German Shepherd was rated as being the most aggressive right under them and then followed by the Rottweiler! It doesn’t look like our breed has such a great reputation! I’d rather them be listed as a protection breed for their family and loved ones rather than an aggressive breed. It really is two different things, in my opinion.

If a person “Googled” the words German Shepherd in the search window, thousands of breeder’s names and kennels would come up. Now if you went on those web sites, many times you would see a dog that looks different from other people’s dogs on their websites. Oh sure you’d see the same noble looking head with his ears standing up straight on his head that most people would associate with this breed. But many times this is where the similarity would end. You’d see many different colors of the German Shepherd Dog’s coat. You’d see short coats and you’d see long coats. You’d see average sized dogs and monster bone sized dogs. You’d see American style German Shepherds and you’d see German style German Shepherds. You’d see light pigment. You’d see deep, dark Mahoney red pigment. They’d be straight backs and there would be roach back dogs. You’d see short backs and long backs. Some would stand straight and look boxy and others would be slopping with their rears close to the ground. This could all be very confusing to "John Doe" for he wouldn't know what the standard for our breed is. All he would know is that they all looked so different.

When one talks about one of “those” designer breeds, are we too not designers of our breed the German Shepherd Dog? If you were to look at the first picture of a German Shepherd when this breed first became recognized and look at it now, you would think that it is a different breed. So indeed, we as breeders have designed the German Shepherd Dog and how it looks today! We changed the whole look to the dog. In many ways for the better, I believe. But we have designed him to look a certain way and not the original way at all. I wonder what the breed will look like in another twenty years or so. Should we be changing the looks of the breed so much? We have a standard, but I see very few dogs look like what the standard calls for. Because a breeder is a designer of sorts, he will have bred for a certain style of dogs. Many kennels have generations of their lines in their breeding program and one only has to look at their dogs to know that this is from their kennel.

Are we all heading in the same direction with the same goal to breed the best representative of the German Shepherd that we can? Or are we all doing our own thing and designing a dog that doesn’t really fit to the standard at all? Take a look at the dogs on some people’s websites or on Facebook. Have we created a designer dog or do they look like the standard set for our breed? You decide!

My rating: Breeding to the standard: (4)

Friday, December 17, 2010


I feel so sorry for my dogs this time of the year. They have to suffer listening to the strained vocal chords of their owner when Christmas time is here. I love listening to some of the Holiday music and especially ones that I can “sing” with. So, alright I’m not the singer in the family, but good golly I’m going to give it everything I’ve got anyway. I look at it this way, if I feel good, then that must mean that my dogs feel good too, right? Well when I hear them shift around in their crates when I’m reaching for that high note, I just know that there must be someplace that they would rather be right about then. But I just can’t help myself; I’ve got to sing along with some of the songs. Now I know better than try to reach the high notes of “Oh Holy Night” my most favorite song. My throat would be sore for days after that one. But how about this John Lennon classic, “So this is Christmas”……another one of my favorites? I can sing along to this one without ruining it too much……I think!

People are busy decorating their homes. The tree is decorated. The menu is planned. Invitations have been extended. Christmas cards have been sent. Are your dogs feeling the excitement in the air? Their noses don’t miss a trick. I’m sorry Aunt Gertrude if your package is smudged with my dog’s nose and mouth impressions. They want to be a part of everything that is going on. They just love the smell of the tree and are most inquisitive with packages with big fancy bows and ribbons adorning them. Baking holiday cookies affords them special treats. Oh I don’t mean that they are sharing my sugar loaded cookies with me, but I do keep “their” dog biscuits handy so they feel that they are getting special treatment as well. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we are not giving our dogs the same treatment that they are usually accustomed to all year round.

I know better than to wrap up a big bone and put it under the Christmas tree. That wrapping isn’t fooling my dogs. They’d be tearing that fancy wrapping paper into shreds hoping to get an early Christmas present. Why put temptation in front of them? So nope, their gifts don’t go under the tree right away.

So what holiday traditions do you share with your dogs? Do you make them a part of your celebration activities? Do you buy or make them special gifts? Do they get any leftovers from your holiday table? Are the holidays special for them too or is it like any other day for them?

I’m including the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas songs because not only do I enjoy the lively beat of the song, but I really like the lyrics to it as well.


John Lennon

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over
If you want it
War is over

From "LENNON LEGEND: THE VERY BEST OF JOHN LENNON"......Imagine a place where the personal, political, and emotional elements of John Lennon's music converge together seamlessly in one cohesive production. An assortment of his finest solo work, Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon is of great interest to anyone who's ever been a fan of the Beatles, the Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono, or simply the genius himself. Ranging from a rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" to the sounds of the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir on "Happy Xmas" and the classic anti-war anthem "Give Peace A Chance", the recordings assembled here stand as a testament to one of rock's most complex and influential musical talents. If you believe that Lennon's greatest period of creativity came to an end with the Beatles, you owe yourself a listen to this album.

My rating: Sharing the holidays with your dogs: (4)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I picked up the telephone to give you a call this morning. You know how we’ve been doing this for years. I started pressing the same familiar numbers that I’ve always pressed. I know them by heart. The telephone begins to ring……one time, two times and three. Then I caught my breath and realized that you wouldn’t be picking up the telephone to answer my call today, nor tomorrow or the day after either. Nobodies home!

I just read on one of the lists yesterday of a few German Shepherd Dog people that were seriously ill and have been in the hospital. Glad to hear that one of them came home already. It made me stop to think especially in this season of family and loved ones gathered together to celebrate the holidays. Sometimes we get so busy rushing around here and there, buying gifts, planning the holiday menu and getting the house decorated that we don’t have time to reach out to others like we normally do.

During this holiday season, during this time in history, very few families are celebrating a time of “plenty.” Some families are lucky if they have a “little” to put on the table or under the tree. But if they have good health and one another, then they are truly blessed.

The years slip by so quickly. We take for granted that we have another day to extend good will and cheer to someone else. We meant to call Gertrude the lonely spinster in the next town. We meant to check up on Woodrow to see if he had enough heat in his house. Old Mr. Peterson asked us if we could join him for a little holiday cheer next time we were in his neighborhood. We passed his house several times promising ourselves the next time we are in this neck of the woods; we would take him up on his offer. Before we know it, another day, another year has passed us by. Then suddenly you remember old Mr. Peterson. We dial the telephone and are greeted by a recording saying “The number you have reached is no longer in service. No forwarding number is available.” Nobodies home!

How many people in our German Shepherd Dog community will be spending the holidays alone this year? Perhaps they no longer have a family left or their family has moved away. Will they have enough to put on their table this holiday? Will they have enough to feed their dogs? What is their health like? How are they doing mentally and physically? When’s the last time we picked up the phone to call someone to wish them well? Showing someone you care by reaching out to them can be the best gift that you can give to them. Maybe they need to hear a kind word or two and knowing you thought of them may just put the smile on their face that will make their day! You may be poor yourself and can’t afford to help someone financially, but a phone call will cost you nothing and the gift of your friendly voice to the receiver of that call will be well worth the few minutes it takes you to do it!

The holiday season normally finds some of us giving to charities like the Salvation Army volunteers that one can usually see and hear ringing their bells as you exit from your favorite grocery store. Maybe we could look at those in need in our own German Shepherd Dog community. Maybe you can bring a dish from your holiday table to a poor soul in need. How are their dogs doing? Are they out of the cold? Do they have a bowl of food to eat and a clean bowl of water to drink? Because of some people’s depression around this time of year and especially when money is scarce, they forget some of the very basic needs of their animals when their own needs are being sacrificed!

Funny how time slips away and all of a sudden the people that you expect to see or talk to are no longer there. It happens. It happens when we are so wrapped up in our own daily lives that we forget to pick up the telephone and say, “Hi, I was just thinking of you and wanted you to know that.” It happens until one day you finally decide “Alright, today is the day I give so and so a call.” But today, you dial the telephone and nobodies home!

From the book: "RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS BY ANIMALS".....Peaceful Kingdom chronicles amazing true stories of devotion and bravery from the animal world. Included are both well-publicized cases, such as the gorilla who tenderly carried an injured child to safety, and the more obscure--the German shepherd who visited the grave of his deceased owner every day at the same hour. Even ants are caught in heroic acts: they're observed pulling a thorn from an injured comrade. The animals in this book are viewed as compassionate, thinking creatures that experience real emotions--hardly news to animal lovers. Peaceful Kingdom also reflects human acts of kindness to animals. Edward Lear, the famous author of "The Owl and the Pussycat," built his new house as an exact replica of his old one to keep from traumatizing his beloved cat. Peaceful Kingdom is an intriguing and heartwarming journey into the lives of some astonishing animals.

From the book: "SAYING GOODBYE"...........Saying Goodbye is a collection of true stories about saying goodbye to the people, places and things in our lives. This is a powerful book that includes a number of sad stories, as well as some very funny ones. Taken together, the stories serve as amazing examples of people saying heartfelt goodbyes with grace, dignity, and good humor. Saying Goodbye includes stories contributed by thirty-one authors from the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. These stories show that there is sadness in goodbyes, but there is also irony and humor. It s perfect for book groups that want stimulating conversations about saying goodbye a topic that touches us all in one way or another.

My rating: Showing kindness to one another not just during the holidays: (4)

Monday, December 13, 2010


I confess that the title of this article wasn’t the brain child of myself, but came from a program I was listening to over the week-end. It got me to thinking of how it applies to us and our dogs.

One of the great things about the German Shepherd Dog is that he is so versatile. If you don’t want to show him in conformation shows any longer, you can train him for obedience trials. If you don’t want to do that, you can just enjoy him as your family pet. He wasn’t born for just one thing. Take him for hikes, take him camping, boating, fishing, jogging or even for rides in the car. He’s not picky. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing; the German Shepherd Dog enjoys doing it with you. There probably isn’t a better companion dog than this breed! Truly this dog’s happiness comes from his interaction with his owner!

How much of your dog’s brain is being utilized? Do you provide him with the stimulation that he needs to develop his fullest potential? How many of these dogs die never knowing what it is to come out of a kennel and go for a walk with their owners? How many fetch a ball? In fact how many of them even know what a ball is and what to do with it?

If your dog was hooked up to one of those brain monitors in the hospital, would a straight line appear all across the screen indicating that he’s brain dead? Or would there be a lively zig zag running across the screen indicating that this dog’s brain is well and very much alive because his owner recognized the need for stimulation in this dog’s life?

Do we owe our dogs anything more than food, water and shelter? Does our responsibility to them extend further than the heat in their kennels in the winter and the air-conditioner in the summer? Is that enough? Do we owe them more than this or are we of the mind set that their basic needs are being met and they’re only a dog and some of us put too much time into “humanizing” them?

So what does that mean…….humanizing them? It would seem to some beyond the three essentials (food, water and shelter) anything more would give the dog a more human nature than that of an animal. So does he need more than the essentials to live? No he could and many do exist just on the essentials. Day in and day out, the same old/same old! After all some would argue, he’s an animal and his basic needs are being met so what more could he want?

To agree with this mind set would be to ignore the very nature of the dog and that is foremost and above all else the reason for his existence in the first place. That is to be a companion to man. Very simple. Very basic. He wants and needs to be with his owner. Once his basic needs are met, his primary goal is to be with his master. Now if one owns a kennel full of dogs, that’s not going to happen too often for most or them or even a few of them.

I’ve read that the brain of a German Shepherd is equal to the brain of a seven year old child. Gee, considering that most of what we learn, we learn in the first five years of life, means that this breed of dog has the capacity to learn so very much. How many of them are being taught all that they can learn? How much stimulation do they receive lying on the floor of a kennel? Very little.

We now know that the dog is capable of more than having an intelligent, teachable brain. We now know that he is also very capable of emotions and feelings. He’s sad when he loses one of his own kind and sad if he should lose his owner. He mourns losses just like we do. He rejoices in companionship with his kind and our kind.

When’s the last time you looked into your dog’s eyes and seen that there is a whole lot more going on behind those “Hershey Browns” then just a dumb dog looking for a treat from his owner? Get close to a dog and he anticipates your every motion. He responses to your every mood. Sometimes it’s as if he knows you’re going to do something before you do! They have this uncanny ability to read us better than we read ourselves.

When you have a “love affair” with your dog…..that is letting him participate in your life, the enrichment that he brings to it would never have been fully realized without him having your permission to truly live his life. In this writer’s opinion a dog that lives his life ONLY in a kennel has never truly lived, rather he’s existed in a small fenced in area in a great big world because his owner didn’t invest the time it would take to realize his dog’s potential. Just imagine what that would be like only being able to walk back and forth, day in and day out and you had the intelligence of a seven year old kid? Now that’s called sad…..

From the book: "HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE"....Kaufman, director of the Option Institute and author of A Land Beyond Tears ( LJ 4/1/82), contends that if you change a belief or attitude you can change your life. A decision to pursue happiness, he claims, can improve relations with others: "We can engineer our own responses, choosing love over hate, peace over conflict and happiness over depression." The first five sections relate Kaufman's philosophy and offer stories of clients' successful changes while in therapy. Section six has short chapters detailing shortcuts to happiness. The book has a four-page bibliography and two pages of additional readings. A cut above most self-help books; recommended.

My rating: Teaching and training the GSD: (4)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Several months back I wrote about the different ways that one has to advertise their dogs for sale or stud services. Long gone are the months that we wait to see our ad in “The German Shepherd Dog Review.” We live in an “instant gratification” generation. Patience might be a word that finds itself used less and less. “We want something and we want it now” seems to be the motto of many people today! Oh sure there are those that are happy to remain the way that they always have been, but the majority of people are looking for the “quick fix.”

In today’s economy this probably makes total sense. Waiting and holding back puppies is something that many can no longer afford to do. Ad after ad of puppies, adult dogs and stud dogs are being put up for consideration on Facebook almost every hour it seems. Some people (and by the looks of it on Facebook) see this as another way to advertise their dogs where people will see them immediately. Other people think it can attract the wrong kind of people that inquire about your dogs. The jury is out on this yet.

Whether you believe it’s a good thing or a bad thing to advertise your dogs and puppies on Facebook, it isn’t going away anytime soon. Heck, I even have friends that have said to me in the past that Facebook is not for them, and now are singing a different tune. I never realized just how many people are breeding and looking for good homes for their animals. I must admit I’ve seen some magnificent looking animals that I may have never had the opportunity of seeing if it weren’t for the fabulous pictures that people are posting on Facebook.

Is Facebook a good way of introducing new people to the breed, do you think? Well I don’t know about that, but I can say this much, not too many people that I know of are not on Facebook in one means or another. I for one joined because it’s a great way to network and I love looking at everyone’s beautiful dogs. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see what lines are producing. I get to “meet” people that I would never have met if I didn’t sign up on this social network. I didn’t think I would be on Facebook very much when I first joined. I sat back and watched and wondered what all the hullabaloo was about. Now I get it and I look forward each day to see the different breeder’s quality of dogs that they have produced.

Facebook is not just a place to advertise and look at pictures of peoples dogs. It’s fun to see the dialog that people engage in with one another. Some are on here more than others I admit, but where else would I be able to “travel” with Jeff Pyle through the snowy highways and byways as he makes his way to the New England Shows? He’s quite the social butterfly! How else would I know how much he loves playing volleyball with his friends……….and lots of friends he has! Some of his pictures are a riot.

I’ve seen people on here that I haven’t seen since my high school days and in some cases, glad that I haven’t! But in most cases it affords one an opportunity to re-connect with people that were only a distant memory to you until you get a message asking if you would like to be a friend with “so and so!” Is it all fun and games being on Facebook? It can be a very educational experience but in my opinion I would advise those thinking of coming on Facebook, not to join too many different groups and invitations. I’ve heard of talk about viruses being obtained from this network. But like in anything else that you may receive in an e-mail, don’t open up everything you get. The same precautions that you would use normally can be extended to your use with any social network.

I admit that I’m not the most “with it” when it comes to technology. I periodically get instant messages sent to me when I’m on Facebook and I write back to them and you would think I would know how to send it to the other person. NOT! So I’m not ignoring you. I’m just showing you that I’m still a little “wet behind the ears” when it comes to some of this modern way of doing things. Oh you’ll hear back from me alright, but maybe not for another month or two. I’m still trying to figure it all out!

Many of us (myself included sometimes) like to keep the “same old, same old” just that way. We hesitate to change things that have been the same way for so long. But sometimes we have to move out of our comfort zone and see what it’s all about. We might not like it and we might not stay, but it seems that the majority of people are willing and admitting, it just may be time to move on.

Who among us gingerly got involved at first with all the German Shepherd e-mail lists when they were first introduced? Many sat back and waited, but eventually they got involved and now it’s one of the first things they look at when they are sipping their first cup of coffee in the morning. Sometimes there are days that I see less and less chatter on the e-mail lists. Where did everyone go to? Yup, it looks like Facebook has cut into some of us list owners bragging rights as well. It doesn’t help to fight it. One can either join in or sit back and listen to other people talking about it. I don’t see it going away anytime soon and if you are looking for where the German Shepherd Dog community went, you might just take a peek and discover that Facebook has been keeping them company!

From the book: "DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME".....It's rare for a book's title to say so clearly what the book is about. In the case of Rupert Sheldrake's latest work, the controversial content is right on the front cover. Pet owners will see it and smile in recognition; skeptical scientists will shake their heads and mutter about "maverick scholars." We all know of cases of dogs (and cats) who know when their owners are coming home, who go to wait at the door or window 10 minutes or more before their human arrives. Conditioned by the tight rigor of contemporary scientific thinking, we either look for rational explanations or we file the phenomenon away in our minds as "unexplained" and are careful not to talk about it with our scientist friends. Sheldrake believes that the "telepathy" between pets and humans, or between flocks of birds or schools of fish that move as a single organism, can be explained this theory. Sheldrake is less persuaded by anecdotes that suggest animal clairvoyance--warning of something in the near future--but refuses to disallow the possibility.

My rating: Facebook: (3 - 4)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


There has been unrest in the German Shepherd Dog community for quite some time now. I suppose it’s not unlike the unrest in the rest of the country. But I feel it deep down in my bones. It’s like there is something in the air that we breathe. A general state of unhappiness perforates that air. You can’t touch it. You can’t smell it. But nevertheless it’s there.

Like most of you I have access to communicating with the rest of the German Shepherd Dog community through e-mail lists, Facebook, and the good old fashioned way of on the telephone or in person. People are not as enthusiastic or excited about a new litter or a show coming up like they once were. Negativity has replaced hopefulness and the anticipation of a “new star” that is born. Some breeders are closing shop or at least cutting way back. The days of the big show dog kennels are becoming a thing of the past. More and more breeders are devoting their time and effort into helping with the rescue efforts. Some people just enjoy their dogs by training them for obedience work and then others still are just enjoying them as their devoted and loving pets.

When Specialty clubs close their doors and it becomes harder and harder to find a major pointed show, many people have become discouraged and don’t want to put in the extra work looking for a major. It’s almost like the German Shepherd community has taken a nap. Will they wake up and prosper and shine again? Or will they find other things to take up their time? Oh their love for the breed will never waver, but perhaps they have discovered that there are other ways to enjoy their dogs that they never did before.

Well known kennels tell me that they don’t want to show anymore and I laugh looking at their success record questioning their decision. But the last laugh is on me. They’re serious. When they tell me that they can’t even sell their top show puppies because there isn’t any show homes, then I realize that they are very much serious. What’s the sense in putting thousands of dollars into a breeding and you don’t have the show homes to sell them to? For some of these people they are now using local stud dogs or the ones that they have in their own kennels. It’s become a thing of economics and it’s forced some breeders to rethink their breeding programs.

Baby Boomers are now hitting their senior years and in some cases it has forced some to look at their priorities a little bit more. Let’s face it, housing and feeding a kennel full of dogs is expensive. And let’s not forget the wear and tear on our aging bodies. Even if we do age well, we’re still not like when we were in our twenties. And if you are not breeding these dogs like you used to, then you are spending lots of money to keep them comfortable for the rest of their lives. Many wisely decide to find loving, forever homes for their dogs rather than have them waste away in a kennel all day long. It has brought some people to their knees making the decision to let some of these wonderful animals go, but economics helps make that decision a little easier for them.

I have a few personal friends that have changed their view on breeding and showing dogs. All have been successful in their own ways……some in very big ways and others in smaller ways, but successful nevertheless. When I hear the words like, “It’s no longer any fun” or “Nothing excites me anymore” I immediately think that this is just a phase that they are going through. They’ll lay low for awhile and come the spring, “show dog fever” will hit them once again. Hey maybe that’s it. It’s the winter time and some people do tend to become a little more melancholy during the long, cold winter days. But I’m assured by them that no it’s not a seasonal blue period in their lives. It’s almost as if they are looking for greener pastures to explore. Some of them are all “showed out!”

The other thing I hear an awful lot of is the lack of support from the established breeders and exhibitors towards the “younger version” of themselves. Without a welcoming community for new people to come into, I’m afraid a hostile environment will only leave them cold and leave them never walking back into a show ring again. The days of noses up in the air, “I’m better than you,” has died a slow death and right along with it the very community of the future of the show dog. It can’t exist without the people needed to support it.

Will my friends and those others that are leaving the breeding and showing of the German Shepherd Dog behind “come to their senses” again or will their common sense prevail? Will they buy that little red sports car and vacation on Paradise Island spending their senior years sipping on Pina Coladas and partaking of tropical delicacies? Probably not. Will we still have things to talk about now that dogs are no longer a major focus of their lives? I hope so.

Our love for the German Shepherd Dog brought us together and a friendship was formed because of our shared interest and love for the breed. Hopefully that friendship will endure because we truly care about one another. They’ll probably still be German Shepherds in our lives even if it’s one of the “oldsters’ lying by our rocking chair, or just the memories that reach out to us from the pages of our photo albums. The dust might collect on the show win pictures hanging on our wall, but it will still be a reminder. We will remember because it was a good time to be in dogs and although the applause has come to a halt, the memories of it still linger in our mind and we remember it was the best time!

From the book "MY SO-CALLED FREELANCE LIFE"...."Since we’re all sh**ing our pants over the current economic situation, this book couldn’t come at a better time. My So-Called Freelance Life saunters its way through the ins and outs of becoming a successful solo professional, whether you’re a newly graduated 20-something trapped in a monotonous cubicle job or a new mom looking for flexible hours. Having accumulated a great deal of experience on the topic, Michelle Goodman (author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide) leaves no paperweight unturned, explaining how to get started, maintain a budget and schedule, gather/weed out clientele, and legally cover your a**. Goodman includes a bevy of relevant links, contacts, organizations, and advice on everything from negotiating your hourly rate to when to quit working for the Man. While her book thoroughly covers every fundamental career intricacy you can imagine, wit and hilarity are also seated firmly within. (She even quotes Peter Gallagher on The OC, thus actualizing the poetry of my heart.) Not only is this book an incredible guide on how to get started, but it’s also inspiring and oddly comforting. “You can’t hitch your entire creative career on one big break—or one fat failure,” Goodman writes, “you have to keep moving forward, reaching for bigger and better.” It’s a book you will feel compelled to keep in your personal library (probably between your college dictionary and your religious tome of choice), or you can be like me and sleep with it in your arms."

My rating: Retiring from dogs: (1 - 4), Developing other interests: (4)

Monday, November 29, 2010


Hey everyone, I’m sorry I haven’t been writing on my blog this past week, but as some of you know that belong to my e-mail list, my computer caught a virus! In all the years that I have had a computer and internet service, I was one of the lucky ones. I never got a virus. I read about everyone else around me getting them, but not me! That is until Thanksgiving evening!

I got a pop up from my tool bar on the bottom of my screen and it said it was from Windows and said that my computer had been infected with multiple viruses. Yikes, more than one? So I clicked on the message and it told me to click on it again and it would scan my computer to locate where the viruses was. Little did I know that my computer was not infected until I clicked for them to run the scanner. The so called scanner was not deleting any virus, IT WAS ADDING THE VIRUS! From then on in, I couldn’t get on the internet or retrieve or read my e-mails. Instead I kept getting pop ups and pornography sent to me and it would ask if I wanted to get rid of this virus to pay with a credit card for the software that would get rid of “my problem.”

By this time, I alerted my brother who does trouble shooting with computer problems for a living. He told me not to respond to these pop ups. He told me to run my virus program already on my computer to see if that could help get rid of the virus. All this did was go through everything on my computer and locate the many viruses that were now sitting on my computer. There were many Trojans installed, but they couldn’t remove them. So my brother took my computer home with him and had it back to me in two days. I was so thankful!

What was life like without my computer? Well for one thing, I couldn’t write this blog. I couldn’t get onto my e-mail list. For that fact, I couldn’t get on anyone’s e-mail list! No more Facebook, no more researching, no more connecting with people that I normally wouldn’t connect with if it weren’t for the computer. It’s a sad fact how we’ve become so used to the internet for so many things. It makes one wonder how we got along without it.

Anyway, I just wanted to touch base with you all. I hope to have another blog up in a couple of days. I have some other pressing things that I need to get to that I wasn’t able to do without my computer. So once that gets done, I’ll be back writing on here again.

Watch out for those viruses. When you least expect it……there it is. It can come from anywhere and like my brother said the people (lowlifes) that do this kind of stuff are becoming more and more advanced. They have you believing what they send to you is legitimate. It’s not. So beware my friends. Have a great day everyone!

From the book: "THE ART OF COMPUTER VIRUS RESEARCH AND DEFENSE"....."Of all the computer-related books I've read recently, this one influenced my thoughts about security the most. There is very little trustworthy information about computer viruses. Peter Szor is one of the best virus analysts in the world and has the perfect credentials to write this book."

Monday, November 22, 2010


Thank you to those of you who played along with my little quiz that I posted here on Friday. You put your thinking caps on and sent me your answers. Some of them you got right and of course, the others you got wrong. Someone got 99% of the answers correct. Everyone got one of the questions wrong. That was the question about who wrote the memorial for LaMar Kuhns and her husband read it at the Arizona National Specialty show. Many of you thought it was Connie Beckhardt. See the correct answer below. So here are the answers to my little quiz.

The handler that said “I can finish anything” was Jimmy Moses. Someone wrote to tell me that Jerry Guzman says this as well. Come to think of it, probably many handlers would say this to someone when asked if they could finish their dog.

The handler that said, “Give me a spooky dog to show. They always move, was LaMar Kuhns. I don’t know how well he’d do with a dog like this today as the judges are not as tolerant of spooky temperament in their ring.

The two litter sisters that were Grand Victrix was Anton’s Jenny and Anton’s Jessie. Everyone got that right.

The person that wrote the memorial tribute for LaMar Kuhns was Jane Dove and her husband Sylvan Dove read it at the 1984 National Specialty show in Arizona.

There were two writers of “This is the German Shepherd” book and they were Ernest Hart and William Goldbecker.

The editor of the GSD Review in 1985 was Lois Fryslin.

If a dog produces his phenotype, this means he produces himself……what he looks like.

The GSD Specialty club that Ed Barritt still belongs to and still stewards at most years but no longer lives in that state is the Mohawk Hudson Club in New York.

If your dog is diagnosed as having SIBO, those letters stand for “Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.”

The first ROM import since 1967 was Ch Jim v Fiemereck ROM

The people that used to advertise in the GSD Review and put on the bottom of their ads, “Records live, opinions die” were Ralph and Mary Roberts.

The Grand Victor whose father was a Grand Victor and he himself produced two Grand Victors and one Grand Victrix who lost one of his Grand Victor sons to bloat was GV Ch Mannix of Fran-Jo ROM.

The person that writes “Inside the German Shepherd Dog’s World” is me!

The person that writes the National Specialty show blogs is Evan Ginsberg

The German Shepherd Dog family of handlers are the Dancosses……Henry, Sandy and Leslie.

“Rex the wonder dog” was owned by breeder/exhibitor/judge, Joe Bihari.

If a dog is said to have the initials EPI then this means he has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

The white German Shepherd Dog is the dog that is disqualified if he was in the ring. (Note: I said excused…..should be disqualified, but most of you knew what I was talking about).

All of these dogs would be disqualified: nose not predominately black, down with an undershot jaw, dog with hanging ears and the dog that tried to bite the judge.

That’s it for today, so once again, thanks for joining in.

My rating: refreshing your memory on trivia about the German Shepherd Dog: (4)

Friday, November 19, 2010


So you think you know the German Shepherd dog and the people associated with them. Put your thinking cap on. Here you go. Just for fun!

What handler said: "I can finish anything?"

What handler said: "Give me a spooky dog to show. They always move."

What two litter sisters went Grand Victrix?

Who wrote the memorial tribute for LaMar Kuhns and her husband read it at the 1984 National Specialty Show in Arizona?

Who wrote the book "This is the German Shepherd?"

Who was the editor of the GSD Review in 1985?

If a dog is advertised as producing his phenotype, what does that mean?

What GSD Specialty club does Ed Barritt still belong to and most years still stewards at but he no longer lives in that state?

If your dog is diagnosed as having SIBO, what do those letters stand for?

I was the first ROM import since 1967, who am I?

Who used to advertise in the Review and put on the bottom of their ads: "Records live, opinions die?"

I came from a famous kennel. I was a Grand Victor. My father was a Grand Victor and I produced two Grand Victor sons and a Grand Victrix daughter. I had one good hip and one that was a little off. Me and my father before me lived long healthy lives but one of my Grand Victor sons was not as lucky. He bloated and died. Who am I?

I write “Inside the German Shepherd Dog’s World.” Who am I?

I write a blog from the German Shepherd Dog Club National Specialty shows these last several years. Who am I?

What are the names of the German Shepherd Dog family of handlers that consisted of father, mother and child that dominated the show ring back in the 1980’s and the child still handles today?

What well known breeder/exhibitor/judge owned “Rex the wonder dog?”

With some of today's dog's you might see attached many different awards or titles at the end of his name, for hips, health and obedience titles that he may have earned. You'll see them identified with a gazillion initials. If you hear the initials EPI associated with a certain dog, is that a good thing and what does it stand for?

At a specialty show, a judge has standing before her five German Shepherd Dogs. Which dog has to be excused? The roach backed Shepherd, the long coated Shepherd, the white Shepherd, the dog with four missing molars, the overshot mouth Shepherd?

The following day at the next specialty show, the judge has the following dogs in her ring. Which dog has to be excused? The dog that has a nose that is not predominantly black, the dog with the undershot jaw, the dog with hanging ears or the dog that tries to bite the judge?

So how do you think that you did? Do you think you got them all right? Share your answers with us and see how many of them you got right. Let's see who the first one is to get them all right, then on Monday I'll post the answers here to these questions.

My rating: German Shepherd trivia: (4)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I would say that I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of quotations and little sayings. I just love discovering some profound “words of wisdom” in a sentence or two or even a short paragraph. It’s always nice to see credit given to the original author of these quotations but sometimes the author is unknown but not any less worthy of having his thoughts shared with those who care to keep him company. So here’s a piece that I ran across recently and how I’ve added my own “words of wisdom” to include my thoughts about the German Shepherd Dog and his people!

The most destructive habit..............................Worry

We breeders have a tendency to worry about if a puppy is going to grow up and realize the potential that we saw in him from the time he took his first step. Sometimes we need to sit back and let the youngster grow up even if it takes him a few years to do it. No one says he has to become a champion from the puppy glasses. Practice patience!

The greatest Joy.................................................Giving

There is nothing more rewarding than giving to those that are on the receiving end of ones generosity. Nowhere is this more evident than with those that help the German Shepherds that are discarded and thrown away like garbage. Rescue is another word for “Giving!”

The greatest loss........................Loss of self-respect

When we see some people doing whatever it is that they feel they need to do to win whether it’s dying a dog’s coat, cosmetically changing a dog’s appearance, using drugs to enhance a dog’s attitude in the ring or buying a judge with favors then it’s time to re-evaluate why you are showing in the first place. When one resorts to underhanded politics to win or get ahead, then not only do they lose people’s interest in their dogs but lose their self-respect among their peers. Once they’re found out, people avoid them like the plague. Selling out to the devil is never a winning proposition!

The most satisfying work....................Helping others

We too often hear of all the bad things other people are doing and unfortunately not enough of all the good things people are doing in this breed. When’s the last time we thanked the rescue workers for all that they do? How about all the many, many volunteers that make up the Parent Club, The German Shepherd Dog Club of America? Thank you….just two little words that mean so very much!

The ugliest personality trait....................Selfishness

When those few in the breed are only concerned about what’s in it for me than the whole breed suffers because many people will believe that this is what the people in our breed are all about. When the needs of certain people become before the needs of the breed than we are viewed as people that don’t really care and only want what we want.

The most endangered species........Dedicated leaders

Oh my goodness nowhere is there truer in our breed than right now. The Parent Club of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America is in need of strong, dedicated leaders that can lead us out of the darkness of “behind closed door” meetings and bring the club of the greatest breed of dog on this earth to the membership where it belongs!

Our greatest natural resource....................Our youth

We need to remember that our youth are the leaders of tomorrow and the guardianship of the German Shepherd Dog and its clubs and dog shows. Treat our youth kindly, guide our youth and help make them the type of people that can take the responsibility of this great breed to future generations to flourish and grow.

The greatest "shot in the arm"...........Encouragement

Encourage and help the new person so they will look forward to carry on the tradition of responsible German Shepherd Dog ownership.

The greatest problem to overcome........................Fear

Do not fear something that hasn’t even happened because 99% of the time it won’t happen anyway. So do that breeding. Show that dog. Volunteer for that committee!

The most effective sleeping pill.............Peace of mind

I love this one. When you are honest about your breeding program, about your showing ethics, about your involvement in this breed, then you know you’ve done it the right way and indeed sleep will come easily.

The most crippling failure disease....................Excuses

He tried to bite the judge because he had an upset stomach that morning. He didn’t win because the judge is a crook instead of really; truly looking at and evaluating your dog……he’s just not that good!

The most powerful force in life..............................Love

If you don’t know what love is after owning one of these fabulous dogs then you better go out and buy yourself a marble statue which has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever no less capable of giving you any love!

The most dangerous pariah.............................A gossiper

Do you want to know what a gossiper is? Come follow me, let me introduce you to some of the worlds best……welcome to the world of dog people!

The world's most incredible computer..........The brain

Put your brain to good use and you’ll own a good dog. Put your dog’s brain to good use and you’ll own an incredible dog!

The worst thing to be without................................ Hope

If you don’t come into this breed with hope in your heart, then you’re surely get what you’re expecting……nothing!

The deadliest weapon.......................................The tongue

See gossiper……some lives have been destroyed by a vicious tongue!

The two most power-filled words......................."I Can"

You’ll do in this breed (and life) what you believe “you can!”

The greatest asset......................................................Faith

Believe it can be done and it will be!

The most worthless emotion................................Self-pity

“Oh if only my dog was bred by so and so. If only my dog had better bitches bred to him. If only I was friends with the judge, then my dog would win.” Cry me a river!!

The most beautiful attire.....................................SMILE!

Be more friendly, being more approachable. Smile when you don’t even really feel like it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. People like happy people.
The most prized possession.............................. Integrity

Never sell yourself short to win a dog show or breed to a dog because everyone else is doing it. Be true to yourself!

The most powerful channel of communication.....Prayer

Yes it takes a good dog to win, but sometimes it takes a little bit of luck and a whole lot of prayers!

The most contagious spirit..............................Enthusiasm

Everybody loves a winner is not necessarily true in the show ring, but even when there are those that are not happy for your win, show your enthusiasm for the breed anyway. Who knows, they just might hate you a little bit more!!!

From the book: "THE BOOK OF POSITIVE QUOTATIONS"....This book is the best I've seen....on positive quotes and inspirational ones....If you're into inspirational quotes and want them broken down by category, this is your book.

My rating: Raising, breeding & showing dogs with integrity: (4)

Monday, November 15, 2010


Today I’d like to thank Liza (with a “Z”) Minnelli for today’s topic! You see I’m a big fan of “You Tube” and all the many entertaining videos of song and movies. So I was pulling up some of my all time favorite “Oldies but Goodies” songs of my youth. Anyway when you listen to one song, there are many other entertainers that sing their own version of the song. So this is how I came across some of the videos of this phenomenal entertainer.

Liza and I go back many years. You see when I was first married and I got my first German Shepherd puppy, we lived in a ground level apartment. She was a little coated bitch with the most marvelous temperament and had a zest for life. We had a neighbor that lived upstairs that liked to vacuum her apartment around eleven o’clock every night. None of my requests for her to turn her music down made a hill of beans to her. She also had a teenager son who liked to bang on his drums from morning to night. I was very young at the time and a lot more tolerant of annoying loud noises than I am today. So one day I went out and bought a newly released album (yes that’s what they had then… CD’s) of Liza Minnelli’s called “Liza with a Z”…….I must have heard a positive review about it on the television because I was not really familiar with her music. I was too busy listening to rock and roll.

Anyway I bought the album and became an immediate fan of hers because of her powerhouse voice (truly a daughter of her mother Judy Garland)and the way she interprets a song. And truth be told, I needed her “pipes” to drown out the rude people that lived upstairs. So that’s how I became familiar and very much appreciative of Liza’s music. I liked her so much, that I went and seen her in concert twice. Talk about star power. She “owned” the stage. She gave me goose bumps listening to her!

So my first German Shepherd was either enduring the loud drum practice of a teenage “not so good drum player” or the vocal pipes of an electrifying singer. As I said, she had excellent temperament and was very tolerant of anything that came her way. So where is this topic leading me to anyway?

There are times in our lives that literally give us goose bumps. How many of those goose bump moments have been related to the German Shepherd dog? When was the last time that you watched the National Specials class and one of those dogs took your breath away? Was it the Grand Victor or was it another Select dog that you liked a whole lot better but the judge had a different opinion? Or maybe you were crazy about the Grand Victor that had been chosen and watching him crowned gave you goose bumps.

Anyone that was at the 1985 National Specialty show surely can agree with me that that year’s Grand Victrix Ch Lynrik’s Kristal gave all the spectators a “goose bump” moment. She was handled by a very young and talented Leslie Dancosse. Kristal’s leash was dropped when Leslie took a minor misstep and the bitch continued to gait around the ring as if Leslie was still attached to the end of her lead. I’ll never forget it or the roar of the audience at watching this little bitch perform her little heart out. She was indeed what a Grand Victrix should be.

What about when you have a new litter and they start to gait across your backyard. One stands out from the rest. One begs you to “look at me”……”keep me, you’re not going to regret it.” She stops and sets herself up without any training to do so. She takes your breathe away. You run to the phone and call the stud dog owner and tell him, you have a future Grand Victrix in your kennel!

Perhaps you’ve entered one of your dogs in a performance arena and he got a perfect score. All your hard work and training paid off and you were beaming with pride at the athletic abilities of your dog being realized. He looks up into your eyes as if to say, “We did good mom!” And indeed, he has!

Maybe you are one of the hard working, unselfish rescue workers that are called upon time and time again to help the “unfortunates” of our beloved breed. You could write a book about all that you have witnessed. You are not in it for any rewards or blue ribbons. You’re in it for the most simplest of reasons. You just plain old “give a damn!” Your reward is seeing another German Shepherd rescued and placed into his “forever” home. When a dog is down to his last day in the shelter before he’s getting ready to meet his maker and you walk and sometimes literally run into the shelter just in time, well damn if that isn’t a “goose bump” moment, I don’t know what is!

Your child loves dogs and he would love to become more involved with them so he helps groom them, he helps train them and then he asks you, “Mom can I show Duke myself in the ring? Can I please Mom?” Well your chest swells with pride at your child’s request and sure you’ll give him the chance to show his own dog. When he takes his feet into the ring for the very first time and he looks in your direction and sees you clapping for him, his eyes light up and a smile escapes his lips, you just know that you’re watching a “handler in the making!” You bet it’s a goose bump moment!

Having a senior dog that can barely walk because he’s crippled with arthritis respond to a medicine or supplement that puts a new spring in his step, gives you hope for your old guys later years and this too is a "goose bump" moment.

The pride of German Shepherd ownership or any dog for that matter brings along with it some very special ‘goose bump’ moments. From the wet, sloppy kiss planted on the new baby in the house, to the guardianship of that baby, to looking out the window for little “Johnny” getting off the bus……..all “goose bump: moments. It is not after all, just about the show wins, it’s about truly living each day with these exceptional dogs. To miss a moment with them means you may have deprived yourself of one of those “goose bump” moments. All you need to do is pay attention……its coming!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I woke up this morning and the sun is shining here in New York.  It’s a crisp 52 degrees and the weather is comfortable for the dogs that are lying on my back porch.  I poured myself a cup of coffee and turned the computer on to see what was happening with my Shepherd friends.  Some people are still talking about club business, others talking about litters or shows that they’ve been to.  Some I read, some I delete.  Same old, same old I say to myself.  Then I open the letter with the subject line saying “Wednesday Morning” because I see it’s from my friend Dawn. 

I start to read the e-mail and the first line I read is about this little sable ball of fur.  I knew it was going to be downhill from there.  Dawn’s beautiful “Kizzy” had passed away.  She knew it was just a matter of time.  She had been ill for a little while now and everyday she was here was a blessing for her loving owner.  I won’t elaborate anymore here about the beautiful “Kizzy.”  I’ve asked Dawn when she’s up to it, to write her story for I knew that I would not be able to do her justice.  I would only be able to skip around the perimeters of this wonderful dog’s life.  I know of no one that could do her more justice than her owner who she shared her life with. 
People that are not “in the know” question us who love our dogs like they are part of the family……..they think we have a tendency to “humanize” them too much.  How can they even question or comment about the relationship that man has with his dog when they have never known this special “unlike any other love” that we dog owners are privileged to share?  They are right in one way.  Dogs are not human.  And that in itself makes them so special.  They have truly been blessed with having the biggest of hearts filled with an undying love for his master.  They love blindly, unselfishly, and with the purest of all loves that man could ever hope to have.  Truly not to know what it feels like to have the love from a dog, man is depriving himself of the most perfect love that God has sent to us! 

The dog says so much without ever uttering a word.  I once read somewhere that love is a verb… action.  And so indeed with the dog it truly is.  For he cannot tell us how he feels like some empty words a person may whisper in your ear while deceiving you behind your back.  He is constantly showing us how he feels.  He can’t tell you “I love you” so he must show you that he loves you.  He must be demonstrative in order for him to convey that his love is true.  So truly the old saying, “actions speak louder than words” was indeed written for the dog because his actions are his unspoken words!

Sharing your life with a dog can only enrich it.  There is so much to learn from these marvelous animals.  They are only here for a short time and have only been sent to us for one reason and that I believe is to teach us how to love.  Every single one of them is a gift and if we never open that gift because we left him in a kennel or tied him up to a tree, then I believe we have insulted the sender of that package of fur.  How many of us are wealthy enough to throw away love?  It is there for our taking if we open up our hearts for it.
Dogs know how to make a fool of themselves and never make an apology for it.  They know how to have fun and play without asking our permission to do it.  They know how to enjoy life.  They are ever playful no matter what age they are.  They invite us to be a kid again!  They truly have a “forget your troubles, come on get happy” type of attitude.  They truly don’t take life too seriously.  Aren’t they lucky that they don’t know how to worry?  They are sent to us to be a distraction from worry.  They remind us it’s alright to let our inhibitions down and to let loose once in awhile. 

Every time that an animal is destroyed in a shelter, every time an animal dies at the hands of his abuser, every time he is left to starve, we have prevented love from being on this earth.  The more we destroy love, the more the doors are open for hate, evil and injustice.  No time in recent history is this earth in need of more love.  Will owning a dog change the world?  Maybe not over night, but I bet that a dog can soften some of the hardest of hearts.  Not all can be reached, but some just need to know what it feels like receiving the purest form of love with no expectations.  I may be philosophical here, but love is really the most basic of needs that man has besides food, water and shelter.   Not everyone will meet that love of their life, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t experience what it feels like to know love.  Dog’s primary purpose on this earth is to be with man.  If man keeps destroying the very thing that he most needs in a corrupt world, then pretty soon there won’t be anymore love to go around.  Dogs are love! 

Want to know what love is?  Go get yourself a puppy and experience some puppy breath and kisses laid upon you.  Adopt a senior dog that has the wisdom of his short life in those big brown eyes of his and go share your secrets with him.  All he asks for is a gentle stroke of your hand upon his head letting him know that he stills has a purpose here on earth. 

Dogs know how to forgive and let go.  They don’t know the first thing about what a grudge is.  If you give them the second best of everything and keep the best for yourself, he won’t remind you of it at a later time.  He’s just happy you thought enough of him to give him anything at all. 

If we live in a chaotic confused world, it’s because we have made it that way.  Want a stress reliever?  Next time you reach for the Xanax, put a leash around your dog’s neck and take him for a walk instead.  You’ll both sleep better.

From the book:  "LOVE:  WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT"......This book is about love. What it is and what it isn't. It is about you--and about everybody who has ever reached out to touch the heart of another. Among many other lessons of the heart, Leo Buscaglia reminds us: Love is open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.

My rating:   Living your life with and being loved by a dog:  (4)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


You’ve been preparing to show your newest little superstar before he was even born. You planned his breeding; you socialized him, trained him, and groomed him getting him ready for his first introduction into the show ring. You’ve made preparations to hire the best handler that money can afford. You “talked” him up to your friends and family. You even showed a picture or two of him on some of the show dog lists. You did a real good job of selling him to the show dog public. People now are starting to talk about him and anticipating seeing a real “head turner” when he walks into the ring.

The big day arrives. In trots your much “hyped” up superstar. You see people starting to whisper and you accept this as an acceptance of his star power. You smile to yourself knowing they haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait until they see your guy move around that ring. Off he goes and he’s charging around the ring. You’re beaming with pride about his great showmanship and attitude. People are whispering even more now. The judge calls his handler out to the center of the ring for a loose lead temperament test. Your dog is bucking and jumping pulling the handler in the opposite direction. Finally the handler gets him to the center of the ring. The dog blows his mind when the judge tries to examine him. Oh he doesn’t try to bite the judge; he’s too scared for that. So the judge sends him to the back of the line and that is where he stays as the winners are handed their ribbons and you’re handed back your dog.

Now the whispers grow louder and you can’t help but overhear some of the snide remarks made as you and your dog walk by. “Even if he didn’t blow his mind, he’s not that much better than a pet dog” someone says a little too loudly. “That’s not movement. He was running because he was afraid of his handler” another voice says.

Showing dogs is not just about getting a dog ready and prepared for the show ring. You better learn to be pretty tough skinned when you are showing dogs. Naturally the above scenario is in the extreme. But sometimes even the best of dogs can have an off day and they may be a little unruly in the show ring. People will talk if a dog looks at them the wrong way. Some people can be down right cruel when it comes to showing dogs. It is a competition and some are out to win no matter which way they can do it. Step aside if you are faint of heart because you may get run over.

There is a whole psychology in the showing of dogs. No one likes to lose, but if you don’t learn how to lose well, then you’re going to carry it from show to show. And an angry competitor is not a very nice person to be around. The dog picks up on it. Ring side picks up on it and the other exhibitors pick up on it. All and all it doesn’t make for a very enjoyable show experience. Showing should be fun. If it isn’t, then what are you doing it for? I can think of a lot of other ways to spend one’s time than doing something that turns your insides upside down.

If you don’t psychologically prepare yourself to show dogs then you may be in for a big shock. All the preparation in the world of getting your dog ready to be shown will not take the sting out of losing with this dog that you have placed so much hope in. If you have a good dog, common sense will tell you that sooner or later, he will be rewarded as being such. To lose control of yourself because one or two judges don’t agree with you is silly. Even the best of dogs will lose throughout their show careers. It’s to be expected in any sport. It’s the nature of the beast if you will. You win some and you lose some. Everybody likes to win. No one likes to lose. But lose you will and if you don’t know how to lose, you can make yourself sick about it!

Oh sure there will be some times that you lose and your dog lost to a better dog that day. Come on admit it now…….the other dog was better on this day. And then there will be those days that you lose to an inferior dog and you want to scream! Go ahead and do it if you have to, but try to do it away from the ring so the judge doesn’t feel like you’re going to jump the rope and strangle her! Probably the worst loss would be when you feel like you walked into a set up situation. You know the ones that I mean. The winning dog/bitch was determined before he even set foot in the ring! And before you die hard “believe that all judges are honest” fans shout that never happens…………..OH YES IT DOES! In this case, if you feel like jumping the rope to strangle the judge, ask your friends to hold you back so you don’t lose your AKC privileges and you can still show your dog under honest judges in the future!

Let me tell you, if you are reading this and have never shown a dog before it can be very nerve wracking. Headaches are throbbing temples, tempers are at their most unattractive stage, stomachs are doing cartwheels, intestines are in knots and exhibitors are fighting for the next free bathroom seat in the nearest restroom! I kid you not. I know I’ve been there before.

Talk about catty people……my goodness gracious just walk around ringside and eaves drop if you must and listen and watch the tongues……….they’re wagging faster than your dog’s tail. This is where people come to observe, to compare, to learn and yes to gossip. It’s alright I guess if you are one that is partaking of the sometimes unsavory conversations, but what about if you’re on the opposite side of this equation and you’re the one that they are gossiping about? It can be pretty painful stuff………if you let it get to you. If you go to the show knowing that sometimes your feelings will get hurt because people may not like your dog and are talking negatively about him, then you may be better prepared to deal with it. If on the other hand you go to the show and EXPECT that everyone will love your dog, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Showing dogs can be some of the most thrilling times of your life and some of the most positive as well. You must bring along with you the right attitude. If you do, your losses will not overcome you. You’re smart enough to know it just comes with the territory. Tomorrow is another day and another judge!

Go to the show knowing you love your dog and hope that others will as well. If they don’t, don’t take it personally. Remember you are competition the moment you step foot on the show ground. Not everyone will like your dog and so what. Take him home and love him anyway. Have fun and don’t let the psychological warfare of showing dogs get to you. If it does, then maybe this is not the sport that you should be in. If you’re not having fun, then do something else with your dog where you are having fun! The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent of breeds. If you’re not enjoying yourself and are tense and upset, he knows and feels it. You can’t expect him to perform his best if you are not willing to accept the consequences of his performance on that day!

From the DVD: "CAUTION: SHOW DOGS!"......Behind all the glamour and excitement lies the never-ending hard work, enormous amounts of love and an all-consuming dedication that is difficult to imagine. Get to know four top breeders, and their dogs, while sharing the years of knowledge and experience required to produce consistent champions. In fact, the full-length movie CAUTION: SHOW DOGS! puts you behind-the-scenes so you can share the excitement and exhilaration of the world of SHOW DOGS!

My rating: showing dogs: (3 -4)

Friday, November 5, 2010


Ever think that sometimes people come into your life for a reason? How about a dog? Have you ever wondered why certain dogs come into your life? Ever wonder why you hold onto a certain dog that you had no intention of doing so? I believe every person and every animal comes into our lives for a reason…….good and bad. I look at it as a learning experience. I have known some down right, no good for nothing, evil so and so’s but then again I know some outstanding people that I’m proud to be called one of their friends. Sometimes you’re not even looking for someone to come into your life, but in they march or sometimes tiptoe in and your life is forever changed. Some things and some people and some dogs are just meant to be together like the man and dog in this story.

This is a review about a story about a dog and a man that were “put” together or meant to be together. The book is called “ONE GOOD DOG.” From the cover of the book, it says…..”A wonderful novel: a moving, tender, and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters – one a man – one a dog hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other.

It is a story about a man that was a real snob and that had it all, the big job, the big money, the big houses and cars. On his constant on going climb to having it all; he commits an act that has legal, moral and financial consequences. Ultimately, he falls from grace and loses everything including family, friends and job. He ends up working in a homeless shelter where at the same time he ends up adopting a dog. Although the dog isn’t a German Shepherd, it doesn’t matter as it could have been any dog. His dog like him is also a cast out of society because he was a Pit Bull mix that had been raised for fighting. This is a story of how these two “down on their luck” characters find one another. Call it “karma” if you will, but they were brought together by their circumstances in life. It’s a story about resolutions and the bond that grows that opens the door for a better life for the man and his dog because of it.

It is a story about redemption and how a man and his homely dog that no one else wanted find beauty and love in their friendship. Although the man presents himself as a brave and powerfully tough person, he is emotionally damaged and scarred whereas, the dog also has the physical attributes of the man, he too is damaged by what has happened to him in his life as well as physically scarred.

Dog rescue people or those that have worked in shelters will love this book as well as all dog lovers. It shows one what really matters in the dog/human relationship. The rescue or shelter workers know all too well that a dog like the dog in this book is the one that most people will have had put to sleep without even given it another thought. It is this dog, this “societies reject” that takes an egotistical man and makes him understand what life is truly about. It is through his relationship with this dog that he discovers himself.

The emotionally and physically scared dog and the emotionally damaged man learn lessons that only they could have taught one another. Some dogs were just meant to be in your life even if you didn't understand why they were there to start with. Maybe it was to help teach us something that we needed to learn. This story is a “tug at your heart” emotional ride, but it’s one that you wish wouldn’t end!

From the book: "ONE GOOD DOG" - Fans of Marley and Me will find a new dog to cheer for in Wilson's (Beauty) insightful heart-tugger about Adam March, a Boston man recovering from the shame of a foolish crime, and Chance, a scrappy pit bull mix trying to escape the illegal dogfight circuit. Adam, 46, is a ruthless self-made millionaire married to an icy socialite living a picture-perfect existence that includes a teen princess daughter. Then he loses his job for slapping his assistant, Sophie, full across the face after she gives him a message that reads: Your sister called. Forty years ago, Adam's sister, Veronica, ran away leaving Adam with their widowed dad, who subsequently placed Adam into foster care. For his violent act, Adam is sentenced to perform community service at a homeless men's shelter where the adorable Chance teaches Adam about survival and what matters. Chance tells his story in his own words, which makes his mistreatment and return to the fighting pit powerfully disturbing. Combined with Wilson's unflinching portrayal of Adam's struggle to overcome his past, Old Yeller's got nothing on this very good man and his dog story.

My rating: "One Good Dog" - (4)