Thursday, January 7, 2010


What does kindness look like? When you think of someone who is kind, do you automatically think of the little old lady in her rocking chair telling stories to her grandchildren? Or perhaps, kindness might bring to your mind those who help out in the soup kitchens during the holidays. And yup, you’d be right on both counts. Both these types of people are ones you would automatically think are kind. But kindness is not only reserved for these “typical” types of people.

Having been in the German Shepherd Dog’s world for many years, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting or corresponding with some fantastic people in this breed. Not everyone that is kind wears a happy go lucky type of face on a daily basis. Sometimes those that you may think come across as gruff and tough can be the kindest types of people you may ever want to meet. The face that they wear and the one that the public sees may not be who they really are. Truly the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” would apply many more times than you may think.

There are a tremendous amount of people in the German Shepherd Dog community that are involved in the rescue efforts of our beloved breed. Many times it is the breeder that gets all the applause and “fan fare” for the beautiful animals that they produce. But what about those who go about helping and saving the many German Shepherd “victims” in the shelters? These are the true heroes of the breed and many more times than not, they never look for a reward or a pat on the back for all that they do. They do it because something in them drives them to help the breed that they love so much. They don’t think that they are any better than you or me. They’re doing something that comes so naturally to them. There are no rewards (blue ribbons or trophies) for them except the reward of knowing that they helped another dog live.

I remember a few short years ago, someone who is very active and responsible for the rescue of hundreds of dogs called me very down and depressed. I listened to her tell me that she was just about ready to give up in her efforts of trying to raise the much needed funds to try to save one more dog. I remember all of her pleas coming across some German Shepherd Dog lists asking for donations. I remember some of the responses that she received. Many were sympathetic to her requests, but then there were those others who were downright hostile and confrontational to her. I read the same letters that she did except those that she received in private. I remember some of them writing to her and accusing her of trying to make everyone feel quilty. They said they’ll donate to whoever they want to donate to and not because they are made to feel bad about. She felt downright defeated. I told her……”You keep on doing what you’re doing. Sooner or later, they will hear you. Sooner or later, they will start to support what you are doing. I told her you just “keep on keeping.” Well she kept on keeping even with her own personal illnesses and they finally did listen and they finally did help her cause. In fact they liked what she did so much that The German Shepherd Dog Club of America honored her with the “President’s Award” for her tireless and unselfish work for the rescue dogs. She’s a breeder of her own champions, a wife, a mother and grandmother, but she never forgot those who were forgotten about. Thank you Dawn Restuccia and your organization, Last Hope, Safe Haven for all you have done and continue to do.

Dawn is not alone in her efforts to help rescue the German Shepherd Dog from an untimely death. My goodness, far from it. I don’t know all the names of those who help, but there are many more. Just take a look at Pat who is starting up a sanctuary for our senior dogs. Look at all the people on the rescue list known as “Second Chance.” There’s Steve who has rescued many an unwanted dog. How about Joe? He has taken and given shelter to the oldest and sickly fellas and given them a new lease on life. Look at the German Shepherd Dog rescues in California. They still send me information about their organization. There’s Tari who has had much success in the conformation ring breeding many beautiful litters and yet she still finds the time to take in rescue dogs.

Then there are those who are the “silent” angels. These are the ones that you don’t hear too much about. They prefer to remain behind the lines sort of speak, but they do as much as the others I’ve already mentioned but you’ll never hear about them. Just as there are many different people who donate to the different rescues, there are those who help in other ways. Not everyone can donate money. Not everyone can take in a rescue dog. But for those who can’t do those things, there are other things they do. Some of these people transport some of these rescue dogs to their new homes. Some donate their time helping raise funds for these dogs. All of these people are needed in whatever way that they can help.

We are a fortunate group of people in the German Shepherd Dog community. Sometimes our “growling and barking” is a lot of show. These same people are the ones who come to the forefront when one of our German Shepherd Dog people are in the most of need. Just look at how many people came forward last year donating thousands of dollars for some people who couldn’t pay a mortgage or electric bill or buy their dogs a bag of food. When one our own is in need this is when we spring into action. How many times have we seen people write about losing a dog or someone has been put into the hospital? These people are so overwhelmed with the well wishes that are sent their way through e-mails or letters and telephone calls. We never let one of our own fall between the cracks.  Sometimes those who appear to be a “toughie” are really a “softie” when it comes to helping their fellow man or a German Shepherd.

You can find us all over the web. Whether you read this blog, belong to one or more German Shepherd lists, belong to the parent club, belong to a regional specialty club, gather on Facebook………we’re all over the map. When “push comes to shove,” most German Shepherd people spring into action and are there to help. Kind of like the breed that we all love so much……strong and helpful…….almost “Hero like!’

My rating: German Shepherd Dog rescues: (4)


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Thank you for your eloquent write up Barb! So many Rescues are drowning in debt; exhausted and suffering from PTSD. Having to walk the halls of a shelter and choose who comes with you and who does not takes a strong heart and enormous conviction.
    If our organization can relieve their financail burdens even a them some space to catch their breath..then we will have accomplished what we set out to do.