Friday, October 29, 2010


A couple of days ago over on my list (The GSD Showcase) we touched briefly on the subject of German Shepherd/Wolf breeding or the hybrid. I wanted to write a little about this subject as I found it to be interesting and disturbing at the same time. A couple of people had written that they at one time had owned this type of dog.

I became interested in this subject when I was watching a program last week on Animal Planet called “Fatal Attraction.” It is an excellent program in my opinion that shows how some people become involved out of the kindness of their hearts with wild animals. The program can be very graphic but I think it needs to be to show how serious this subject is.

I think it’s safe to say that most people that read my blog or belong to my list or other lists are animal lovers or at least German Shepherd dog lovers. Many of us have big hearts when it comes to animals. Many of us treat our dogs like they’re part of our families and some like they’re our child. It is this love for animals that can extend to wild life as well. We feed the birds, the squirrels, and even a wild cat or two. Because eating is one of the strongest needs an animal has, he will return time and time again to its food source. And if its food source is being generously handed out by a human, then the wildlife grows more tolerant of human beings and before you know it, they are standing at your back door. And the bigger the animal you’re feeding, the more brazen some of them can get to where they’re not just standing at your back door, but they’re scratching at it and even trying to break through it.

It’s tempting to feed a wild animal. You’re doing it because you love animals and you don’t see the harm in it. But feeding wild animals can have deadly consequences for both the human that’s doing it and ultimately the animal that we’re trying to help survive. We are putting ourselves and the animal in real danger. It’s dangerous for the human who may find himself the wild animal’s supper and then for the animal that will be hunted and killed. That’s why feeding wildlife in national parks and refuges is illegal. In many states, feeding certain wild animals is punishable by fines and /or imprisonment.

On one of these “Fatal Attraction” shows last week, there was a program about Wolfs and Wolf hybrids where the wolf and German Shepherd Dog were mixed. It showed a story of a woman who raised these Wolfs and hybrids. She truly loved her animals and they were like her children. It showed pictures of her and her companions up on the sofa laying there like any other “dog” would. They were beautiful animals. The videos showed some of the animals outside in a fenced in enclosure. Although they were “domesticated” by this woman, one could still see how restless and wild they still were. They played rough with the woman and the dominate alpha personality of the Wolf was very evident.

I wonder why man felt the need to breed the Wolf with the German Shepherd and what he was hoping to accomplish. I realize that dogs come from Wolfs but if man bred away from some of those negative characteristics of the Wolf, why would they want to reintroduce it in the bloodlines again? There are actually breeders who breed these two animals together and are selling their puppies to the public. Although the German Shepherd looks probably the most like a Wolf, he most certainly doesn’t have some of the characteristics of the animal. Although the German Shepherd has a strong character and you must be the “pack leader”, he is very happy to allow you to be so once you establish that rank from the time he is a puppy. The Wolf on the other hand, is extremely dominate and it’s much harder to take the “alpha” out of him. He will challenge you time and time again. Sometimes the German Shepherd will challenge you as well, but the Wolf is a predator and one should always be aware of this if you think owning a Wolf or a hybrid is the thing to do.

Most of the pictures that I’ve seen of the Wolf/German Shepherd cross look more like the Wolf than the dog. One of the main differences is in the shape of the eye of the two animals. The Wolf has a very slanted eye whereas the German Shepherd’s eye is almond shaped. Also the Wolf’s eye is very cold and has a staring look to his face. The German Shepherd’s eye is usually friendlier looking. If you have the hybrid, most of the time he has a colder stare which really makes him look like a wild animal rather than a domesticated dog.

Also the hybrid can be more skittish in temperament. They can be easily spooked by fast motion or loud noises. They can learn to love their people, but at the same time can be extremely aggressive towards strangers. This would not be one that I would invite into the house when I had company. Who wants an animal that you can’t trust? We must never lose the fact that these mixed bred animals have the characteristics of both the wolf and the dog. Because they have the characteristics of a wolf, one never knows when the wolf side of him will show up.

Much patience is needed when you train this animal. They need consistent and firm training and lots of room to roam. From what I’ve read, the Wolf Hybrid will start to show the Wolf side of his DNA when he’s about 18 months old. Prior to this, they are playful and adapt more easily to their surroundings. They are easier to train and even bond with other dogs. As they mature and their hormonal system reaches maturity, this is when you will see them begin to exhibit all of the typical behaviors of the Wolf.

I think we’ve come a long way from the Wolf in our domestication of the dog and the German Shepherd in general. With our breed, one can see the beauty of the Wolf without the aggressive predator showing it’s dominate face. The German Shepherd may look like a Wolf and may even be considered the “King of dogs” but he’s come a long way from the plains and forests of the land to be a companion, protector and unlimited source of love and affection to his master. As much I as I love the wild animals and enjoy immensely watching them on television, I’ve always said, let the wild animals alone. Let them remain wild. I hate them locked in cages in carnivals or zoos. I hate them used to entertain at a circus jumping from one platform to another or sitting up on command! There is just something so wrong seeing a wild animal caged panting and pacing back and forth for our viewing enjoyment. NOT!

From the book: "THE WOLF: THE ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF AN ENDANGERED SPECIES" - Since the dawn of history, no other living thing (save, possibly, the snake) has been as reviled by humankind as the wolf. Still, wolves and people have been drawn to each other since the beginning. Canis lupus bounds through our folklore, howls in our dreams, and--occasionally--competes with us on the hunt. As one zoologist imagines it: "Through the cold of winter the wolf made music in the mysterious darkness and sometimes, in curiosity, sat just beyond the dwindling circle of firelight and watched." The curiosity was mutual; this is the feared animal, ironically, that gave rise to man's best friend. Yet only recently has science begun to understand these complex social mammals. Enter biologist L. David Mech. Years of research during the 1960s in Michigan's Isle Royale National Park provided Mech with a level of firsthand knowledge shared by few in the field. In 1970 he compiled his findings (updated in 1980) into the preeminent document of its kind. Thomas McNamee, author of The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone, calls the book the "best single source of information on wolf biology," and refers to its author as "the undisputed king of wolf research." When government officials in the early 1990s decided to embark on an ambitious project to reintroduce wolves into their former range of Yellowstone National Park, they called on Mech's expertise. All this is to say that, if you want to learn about wolves, you cannot ignore this seminal work or its author. Chapters cover wolf evolution, range, and physiology; society and pack behavior; reproduction; hunting and predator-prey relationships; and the species' uncertain future. Like any self-respecting scientist, Mech includes all the hard data, but he presents his work in an engaging manner that is accessible to a broader audience, drawing heavily on anecdotes and personal experience. "Many people strongly dislike the wolf," Mech writes, "others rush to its defense. But no one denies that the animal is strong, powerful, intelligent, keen, and dynamic." While persecution by man has severely restricted its current status, the tide is turning, thanks to education and conservation efforts. After all, a night without a howl echoing somewhere across the landscape would surely be a colder, less alive night. --Langdon Cook

My rating: German Shepherd Dog: (4), Wolf: (4), German Shepherd/Wolf hybrid: (1)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Probably one of the hardest things to do when you have a litter of puppies is to find them the best homes that you can. We are all hoping that we can get our puppies into loving “forever” homes. Many people will promise you the world when they come to your house seeking to buy one of your puppies. Most of the time, we are satisfied with the homes that we get our pups into. But there are those other times that can become a nightmare for us. If I had a dollar for every time that one of my breeder friends tells me the horror stories that she goes through dealing with puppy buyers, I’d probably be wealthy by now. Dealing with the public can stretch your nerves to its limits sometimes.

I was probably one of those few people that didn’t have too many problems with the puppy buying market. First of all, I didn’t breed many litters so therefore, thankfully didn’t have to deal with the public all that much. But when I did, I grilled the people ahead of time on the telephone so they sort of knew what to expect when they came to my house. Then the grilling continued when they came to visit me and my dogs. I wasn’t mean to anyone, but if I didn’t think they were the kind of home that was suited for my puppies then I would politely refuse to sell them one. I figured I brought these babies into the world and it was my responsibility to get them into the best homes that I could find for them. Even when I did find the good homes, many times I’d act the fool when the little guys were walking out the door with their new owners. Yup, sometimes my eyes would well up with tears and the people almost felt guilty taking the puppy with them. Every one of my puppies meant something to me!

They are certain types of people that shouldn’t own a dog no less a German Shepherd. Unfortunately when someone comes to your house, they can promise you the world and many times you can still be fooled. There’s no way of knowing 100% if someone is going to be good to your puppy. Most of the times we’ve got to go with our gut feelings about someone. As I said, this is the hardest part of breeding dogs is selling them into the right homes. Sometimes the “right” home turns out to be the worst home.

In certain parts of the country now, there has been more crime being reported than ever before. Someone called me last night to tell me that there has been many break ins in her neighborhood and other towns in the area. People are being robbed, beaten or raped and she has become very frightened by this new criminal activity in her own backyard. She told me that she’s thinking of getting a dog for protection purposes. She readily admitted to me that she’s not a dog person and even though she’s had a couple in the past, after she’s had them for a few years, she ended up giving them away. I told her I didn’t’ think it was a very good idea for her to get a dog. First of all, she has already admitted not to being a dog person. Secondly, she is very fussy in her house. Everything has to be just so. She hates dirt of any kind especially if it’s in her house. Dog hair? Oh my goodness this is a given when you own a dog. She has a son and he already told her if she gets a big dog that he’s not picking up after him. He wants a small dog. I can just see it now. After a very short period of time, I’ll ask her how the dog is doing, and I won’t be surprised to hear her say, she found him a new home.

I’ve had people come to my house and tell me that they want a German Shepherd to be used as their guard dog at their business. I love it when people are honest with me like this because then I tell them that I don’t have the type of dog that they’re looking for. It’s those that tell you that the puppy will be part of their family and you find out its been tied up in their back yard most of their lives that you loose sleep over. No one wants to be fooled especially when it comes to a dog that you’ve bred.

A friend of mine recently told me a heartbreaking story of a gorgeous male puppy that she sold into what she considered to be an excellent home. The puppy had a marvelous temperament and one could tell that he was well taken care of. So my friend sold the puppy to a couple who claimed to love the dog so much. After having him for a few months, he ate something and he became ill. They took him to their vet who did an x-ray and he located the object and said he’d have to perform an operation on him to remove the object. The husband and wife talked it over and they both decided to have the youngster put to sleep rather than have him go through the operation. The vet assured them that the puppy should be fine, but no they decided to have him put to sleep instead. Did they call my friend to let her know? No they called her after the dog was put to sleep. My friend who truly loves each and every one of her dogs like children was hysterical. The puppy was never given a chance. His life was decided for him. He got himself into a little trouble and the people that CLAIMED to love him; decided it wasn’t worth it to try to save the little guy. And the breeder thought she sold him into a loving forever home… was forever as long as there wasn’t any problems!

So I tell people before you get yourself a dog, make sure you want a dog for the right reason. Just to get a dog for protection isn’t the right reason. You’re not doing yourself any favors or the dog. Before you know it, the dog will probably be out the door after a short amount of time. A dog is a lifetime commitment……or should be. This means that adjustments to your lifestyle will need to be made. If you are not willing to change the way you live when you welcome a dog into your home, then in my opinion, you are not ready for a dog. Bring a dog into your life because you would love to have a dog. The dog is so much more than a growling, barking protection dog. If you don’t have your heart to give him, then have a heart not to bring him home in the first place because his heart will become attached to you whether you want him to or not.

Do you find yourself strapped for money? Do you have some puppies that are just not selling? Is the expense of holding onto puppies getting harder and harder for you? Are you considering selling one of your puppies to that guy that came by last week wanting your dog to guard his car dealership? In my opinion if you don’t have homes for your puppies when you decide to breed another litter or have deposits on most of them, then why are you breeding in a deflated economy? More and more people are buying things out of necessity rather then just because they want something. Many times buying puppies is an impulse type of purchase. Sometimes those puppies are returned. If you’re not prepared to hold onto puppies that don’t sell right away, then maybe right now is not the best time to breed your bitch. I have some friends in the breed that tell me that they have puppies that are six months to a year old that they can’t find homes for. Maybe the economy is trying to tell us something.

From the book: "LIVING WITH DOGS" - Man's relationship with the world of dogs is not only universal, but also frequently all-encompassing, influencing how we live, what we collect, and how we spend our leisure time. Living with Dogs explores the multitude of ways that dog owners share their lives with their pets. In 26 delightfully written stories, a witty, admiring text, and 400 full-color photographs, the authors of The Sporting Life and A Passion for Golf capture the experiences of dogs and people--at home, in the country, in the city, and even at work, with a special focus on the nostalgic memorabilia that remind people of their devotion to their pets. The authors visit passionate owners, breeders, trainers, and collectors across the country and offer a look into their dog-filled lives. Profiles include an interior designer who has amassed a lifetime of canine art; a collector with a house full of four-legged porcelain figurines; a bibliophile with an outstanding assortment of dog-literature first editions; an artist who specializes in dog portraits; and a veterinarian who proudly displays antique tools of his trade. The authors also focus on other aspects of dog devotion, including the Philadelphia All-Terrier Show; a hotel decorated with canine appointments; a New England camp exclusively for dogs; a boutique devoted to canine accessories; the American Kennel Club; and a Manhattan gallery specializing in 19th-century dog art. Whether they are devoted to a particular breed or have simply fallen in love with dogs in general, the people featured here have succumbed to the "Slipcover School of Dog Management, allowing their dogs the complete run of their lives as well as their hearts. With an extensive resource list that includes dog art galleries, dog shows, kennel clubs, breeders, supply houses, and more, Living with Dogs is the ultimate tribute to canine companions. In 26 stories and 400 full-color photographs of homes, collections, galleries, meets, shows, kennels, and camps, Living with Dogs celebrates the devotion and passion of the millions of Americans for whom a life without dogs is not worth

My rating: breeding dogs: (4), finding the right homes for puppies: (1 - 4)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I like interviewing people for my blog that are not just the big name kennels and breeders but also the smaller breeders and exhibitors that have made their own contributions to the breed. Today my interview is with John and Nancy Vaught of Masstana’s kennels in Richfield, Connecticut.

I have been friends with John and Nancy Vaught for many years…..probably going all the way back in the mid-late 70’s. We belonged to the same club (The German Shepherd Dog Club of Greater New Haven), we showed our dogs together often sitting together at the shows. We had supper at one another's homes and had some great times together at “Dog Show” parties. Probably my most fond memories is those times that I spent with Nancy when she and I would get together a few times a week and exercised our dogs by taking them to this huge reservation. It was good for the dogs and it was good for us. Sadly those days are behind as. I’ve moved from their area, but when I think of the time I’ve spent in this breed, these two people will always hold a special spot in my “memory bank” and heart. Thank you John and Nancy for taking the time to do this interview with me.

1) When did you two become involved in the German Shepherd breed and why did you choose this breed to own?

Nancy and I loved Rin Tin and Bullet (Roy Rodgers dog) so when it came time to get a dog, this is the direction we went. We got our first German Shepherd (a 4 month old white male puppy) the same year that we got married in 1964. We did not know anything about whipworm or hookworm so our apartment was quite a mess at the time. Because we both were working, it did not take long to realize that having a young puppy was a big mistake so we placed him on a farm in Pennsylvania. Our real involvement in the breed began in 1968 when we bought our first house. By then we had our first child and Nancy was a stay at home mom so getting a puppy was the first thing we bought when we moved in. We bought Nikroc’s Nikki, a Halmark’s Tanto’s of Cosalta daughter at 8 weeks of age. She turned out to be a beautiful dog and folks would walk up to us and make nice comments about her. We decided to breed her in 1971 and enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to learn more about the breed and the AKC Standard.

Pictured above:  BOSM Ch Masstana's Mercede (3rd generation Masstana)

2) How did you discover there was a sport known as showing dogs? Whose idea was it to show dogs?

We discovered the idea of showing because a number of folks would say something like "You should show her" (Nikki). When we looked at puppies in the area we were exposed to many champions and Shepherd enthusiasts so the concept of showing was there early on. We both decided to try it. We entered the Framingham KC show and John showed Nikki. The judge was a nice person who overlooked John's attire (shorts and tee shirt) and placed Nikki 4th out of 7 in the novice bitch class. We were thrilled! That basically "hooked" us.

3) Did you have any mentors that helped you when you first became involved in the breed?

Around 1972 or so we met Edie and Bob Trocki and Edie became our first mentor and best friend. In fact Edie arranged for us to get our first show bitch, Eva of Anton, a Ch Asslan of Robinsway daughter from Alice Zygmont. Eva had already won her futurity class but Alice was keeping her sister, so Eva was available. We bred Eva to a Ch Reno son that Edie had bred and got our first real competitive show dog, Masstana's Ferris of Anton. Ferris never finished his championship but he was always competitive. That is when we met Jimmy Moses who showed Ferris for us in a few shows. Through Jimmy we met Ed Barritt and they both took an interest in mentoring us. After Jim told us that he probably wouldn't be able to finish Ferris we met Lamar and he showed Ferris a couple of times. In fact in the first show Lamar showed Ferris it was a huge 5 pointer and he took him into the open class of 22 dogs and won the class! Everybody was congratulating us, but then we had to go back in and unfortunately we lost to an American Bred dog that Jimmy showed. It was a good dog though, (soon to be GV!) Kismet's Impulse of Bismark. We went reserve that day. The next day the exact same thing happened again. We stopped showing him after that weekend. During those early years we would have to say that Edie, Jim, Ed and Lamar were our mentors.

4) When did you breed your first litter and do you remember what stud
dog you used?

Our first litter was out of Nikki in 1972 and we bred her to an Italian import named Yago Di Casa Gatto. The dog was owned by a fellow named Romie Yagmenis (Sp) in Bridgewater Mass. We got some nice pets but no apparent show dogs.

Pictured above:  BOSF Ch Masstana's Brix (5th generation Masstana)

5) Your kennel name is MASSTANA. How did you come up with that name?

John was from Montana and we were living in Massachusetts so it seemed a natural. It was either that or Montachusetts. There were already a number of GSD kennels using John and Nancy in their names so we went with Masstana.

6) When choosing breeding partners for your bitches, what are some of the things you are looking for in the stud dog?

We both like strong backs, good color, harmonious movement and sound temperaments. We both will choose a dog that has proven that he can produce what we need for our bitch. The overall dog is important to both of us. Looks ("type"), temperament, health, show attitude, beautiful correct outline, and balanced extended movement are more important to both of us over extremes at either end. We have no interest in dogs with weak backs, light pigment or faulty rear action no matter how good they might be from the side.

7) What differences (if any) do you see with the breed from the time you first started until now?

We feel that overall; there is better temperament and stronger ligamentation now. Back when we started, hip dysplasia was much more prevalent and heart problems, ear problems and dippy backs were more common. We still have bad backs but not as many as the old days. Unfortunately we (the breed) have lost some of the great male heads we used to see.

8) You've both been involved in The German Shepherd Dog Club of Greater New Haven for many years. What changes are you seeing in the clubs? Many clubs are folding due to lack of membership, funding, participation, etc. Where do you find the problems lie? Any ideas for a solution?

We think the reduction in the number of conformation breeders everywhere has impacted the conformation aspect of many of the regional clubs. It is difficult to get new people involved in conformation and breeding. It seems that, for many, there is just too much time involved to become successful. There are more folks who are interested in Schutzhund work and other performance oriented aspects of showing than there are those interested in breeding the "perfect" dog. So if a club still wants to be a breed club rather than a training club they might be in trouble. We are lucky in that our club still has a number of folks who are still breeding and showing dogs who they hope will meet the AKC or even the German Standard. It is also very apparent that parents of young children today have little time for things that are not related to raising their kids. Also the expense of showing a dog is a major factor to young people. We also feel that PETA has had an effect on the social aspects of breeding/owning pure bred dogs. We have no "silver bullets" to solve these problems.

9) You’re both partners in this sport. Do you work side by side or is one more responsible for something and the other for something else (planning, breeding, conditioning, showing, etc.)? Nancy does everything. I handle some of the pups and help train the dogs. Generally we agree on the breedings.

Pictured above:  Ch Masstana's Karli (7th generation Masstana)

 10) What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out in the breed?

If we had known that we were going to go into showing to the extent that we have, we probably would have made a more concerted effort to get the best bitch available. But with two growing children and other demands on our time, showing was just something that happened without a lot of planning.

11) What are some of your concerns in the breed right now?

We both believe it is most difficult to breed a male who can move like we want and still have the great head piece and bone to go with it. Also we like a dog (or bitch) who is motivated to move (i.e.: ATTITUDE). A show dog should love to show. We believe that even a "great dog" needs to perform to show his/her structural attributes properly. There are too many dogs that do not "cover the maximum amount of ground with the minimum number of steps" because they simply can't. But they can win under some judges (many of whom have no knowledge of how to judge movement) because of the handlers on the other end of the leash or the owners of the dogs. While we don't condone racing around the ring, we feel the breed loses something if we see a dog plodding around not having any fun and certainly not showing how he/she is built. But the racing around is not a problem with the dog anyhow. It is with the judges who allow flat out racing. We believe that at some point the judge should be able to see the dogs move on a loose leash. That doesn't mean go slow. We believe that those people in the breed who make the most noise about dogs moving with alacrity own dogs with no attitude or showmanship. They would like to see the breed move like their dogs. We sincerely hope that doesn't happen while we are showing. We believe that, while we need to bring some more diversity into the breed now, what we see from Germany is not what we want our dogs to look like. Back in the old days the better German dogs had a lot to offer. Now, other than red and black color and nice head pieces, what are you getting?

12) Do you see more health problems now than when you first started breeding?

It's become very difficult to find a stud dog that does not produce ME and EPI. There's nothing worse than to have to put a sweet little puppy to sleep because he had a bad case of ME. We realize it takes two to tango, but stud dog owners have to be honest about what their stud dogs produce. We will never breed to a dog if we think the owner doesn't want to honestly answer our health questions regarding what his/her dog is producing. We realize that any dog that is bred a lot is eventually going to produce every problem in the book. We simply want to know how often it happens with the dog we are interested in. We have seen fewer heart problems now than in the past and better hips for sure.

13) After all these years of being involved in breeding, raising and showing dogs, what makes you continue?

It is something we do together and we love our doggy friends that we have met over the years. Our dogs are our therapy! We truly enjoy raising puppies and finding loving families for them. Also, through showing dogs, we've made friends all over the country that we would otherwise have never had the good fortune to meet. And we enjoy the challenge of trying to breed the "perfect" dog.

14) You two go to many National Specialty shows. What do you consider are some of the biggest differences in the dogs that you see come from all parts of the United States?

In the old days, it appeared to us that many of the really great movers came from the East. The most beautiful dogs came from the West. Now it appears that the Midwest is producing some of the best moving dogs in the country. Time will tell but we think the rising expense of shipping a bitch to a stud will adversely impact the dispersion of bloodlines throughout the country.

15) Are there any things that you would like to see change in the parent club (The GSD Club of America)?

Probably to recognize that change (i.e.: significantly smaller National entries) is upon us and maybe cut down the number of days (to reduce the expense) of the National. We love the German Shepherd Dog Review so hope that is not where the cuts come from. Also we should consider again a realignment of the Fut/Mat system. We love these shows but find such small entries that one has to wonder if there is a better way.

16) When picking your top puppies, what are some of the things that you are looking for? In you opinion, what makes a puppy a star?

We love a good top line in a young puppy followed by a curvy rear and playful attitude. We like to pick a puppy that is good looking and has good balanced movement with a showy attitude. We recognize that puppies go through stages. Thankfully, most of our good ones grow pretty steadily, but they still go through some changes in top line and angulation. You have to be patient and know what stages to expect at different ages from your bloodlines. A "star" is a puppy who demonstrates effortless movement, that "look at me" attitude and a beautiful outline. It is easy to tell if you have a "star" when you go to a match or show and everyone comes up and asks "who is that?" However, unfortunately, we have learned that not all "stars" turn out.

17) Up to this point, what has been your most proud moment in the breed?

There have been many. We feel very proud when we win a Futurity/Maturity (11 of them so far) or when some of the big "names" in the breed inquire to buy one of our dogs. Our Ch Masstana's Mercedes was probably the best dog we ever produced, but our Ch Masstana's Brix (her grandson) brought about the largest buy offer. Mercedes is behind Ch Oscar so it is nice to see that he is a top producer. She is also behind one of the Fasano's ROM bitches who is the dam of MV Sel Ch. Woody Bearelson. Another of our males was GV Tacoma's grand sire. Our bitch, BIF, Sel Masstana's Vivacious of Farmil, won the 9 to 12 class at one national under Dan Dwier, American Bred at the 2nd National under Helen Gleason and went Select at the 3rd national under David Rinke. She certainly made us proud. The fact that one of our current champion bitches represents 7 generations of our breeding also makes us feel proud.

18) If you had to do it over again, would there be anything that you would change?

Probably not. We consider the mistakes we made along the way were lessons for the future.

19) What would you like to be remembered for in this breed?

We would like to be remembered for producing dogs that are good representatives of the breed in every way. The kind of dog that anyone could be proud to walk downtown and have people come over to pet them, but will be there as a protector if needed. From a show standpoint we would be pleased to be remembered for having dogs that had good balanced movement, good temperaments, strong backs, nice top lines and great show attitude. And of course we would like to be remembered as being nice, honest and reasonably knowledgeable breeders of German Shepherds.

Thanks for letting us tell you about Masstana German Shepherds. John and Nancy Vaught

My rating:  Furminator deShedding Tool:  (4)

Monday, October 25, 2010


If you breed long enough, sooner or later you may breed a litter that has genetic health problems like mega, EPI, SIBO, etc. Many times you are very surprised by this because you were unaware of the bloodlines that you were breeding carried these problems. Truth be told many bloodlines carry some health problems. There is not a perfect bloodline free from any and all health problems. The trick is to find a bloodline that has as few of these problems as possible. Without honesty among breeders and especially stud dog owners, then “surprise” litters like this will pop up more and more.

Why do I say especially among stud dog owners? Well because most of the time a breeder should know (if she’s done her homework) the faults of her bitches line. When she chooses a stud dog, she is looking to correct those faults or stay away from them altogether! She’s not looking to double up on them. She should be able to go to the stud dog owner and ask him if his dog carries these health problems in his line. Sadly, many (not all) stud dog owners will say, “Not my dog!” Without this honest communication among the breeders, the bloodlines get corrupted and may take generations to weed out the genetic health problems.

This is the purpose of this article today. Most good breeders if they have a puppy or two in a litter that has mega esophagus for example, will not keep a brother or a sister that doesn’t have it and use them for their breeding program. They’re smart enough to know that although this puppy doesn’t have the fault, that the potential for him to carry it is great. So perhaps if they bred their unaffected puppy, her pups could be affected with this terrible health problem.

Now what I want to know is does the same thing hold true with the temperament of a litter? If you had a potential “star” in a litter, but a couple of his litter mates had bad temperament, would you keep or sell the star knowing that although he has wonderful temperament, the potential for him to produce bad temperament is there?

So your new litter seems to be healthy and strong with no obvious genetic health problems. BUT………a couple of the puppies don’t have ideal temperament. You know your bitch has a good temperament and the stud dog appears to have a good temperament as well. How much do you know about the temperament behind the two dogs you bred?

Why is it that breeders will keep a puppy from a litter that didn’t have 100% of the puppies with the ideal German Shepherd Dog temperament? How is this any different from keeping a puppy where litter mates had health problems? Is one more serious and important than the other? Should we not be as conscientious when it comes to keeping a puppy that comes from a litter that has bad temperament in it although he himself is fine?

I remember one time a litter that had two champion males. One of the males had the ideal temperament and the other one did not. Both of these dogs were utilized by breeders in their breeding program. I remember talking to breeders that had bred to the dog that had a good temperament. A few of these people told me that they were disappointed in the temperaments that they got from this dog even though he himself was fine. On the other hand the bad tempered male produced some dogs that had good temperament.

So do we do a disservice to the future genetics of the breed by including dogs that come from litters that are not 100% sound of mind? Would you, should you be breeding dogs that come from litters of unsound temperament? Are we fooling ourselves by thinking that because we kept the good tempered puppy that we don’t have to worry about bad temperament in our future litters? We should not treat temperament problems in a litter with any less seriousness than we do a health problem.

From the book - "CONTROL OF CANINE GENETIC DISEASES" - If you breed dogs for any reason, you must own this book. Genetic diseases are among the most serious hazards on the landscape of modern dog breeding and one of the most vexing challenges facing today's dog breeders. Is it appropriate to open the gene pool to unwanted conditions in the pursuit of physical perfection, or must breeding to the Standard take a back seat to producing healthy animals?

In Control of Canine Genetic Diseases, renowned authority George A. Padgett, DVM, provides an expert road map to help dog breeders everywhere avoid the pitfalls they are almost destined to encounter. For anyone whose goal is to produce healthy, functional and beautiful dogs, this is the book they need. Dr. Padgett provides clear explanations of modes of inheritance, how to conduct and analyze test matings and how to lower the chances of producing affected animals. Numerous tables, diagrams and graphs further enhance the text to facilitate the breeder's understanding.

My rating: Genetic faults: (1)

Friday, October 22, 2010


Are you like me that sometimes you’re just amazed at how some dogs that have been terribly abused can still lick the hand of his abuser? Or take this same abused dog and put him with another owner and he loves him unconditionally? Are you amazed at how you can yell at a dog after having a bad day and if you look in his direction he’ll gladly come to you and lay some affection on you? Then there are other dogs if you gave them the same abusive treatment, they are never the same again. They may fear man for the rest of their live. They may shake and run in a corner and if you were to go over to him to pet him, he may relieve himself on your shoe. So what makes some dogs recover and lead a healthy, happy life whereas others end up being skittish and fearful of man for the rest of his life?

I believe it’s all about the dog’s nervous system. I believe that some dogs are more sensitive than other dogs. They may have both been born with a lovely and trustful nature, but one’s nervous system may be more delicate then his litter mates. Is this genetic? Can a puppy that you bred be born with a good temperament and you sell him and his new owners are calling you after a couple of weeks telling you that the puppy has a bad temperament? How did this happy, friendly, out going puppy become a shaking, fearful wimp?

I had a five week old puppy that was in a big medical facility having procedures and tests done on her. When I left her there and was waiting for further instructions, I heard this most pitiful scream that made me jump out of my seat. I asked the girl at the desk was that my puppy? She said yes she was screaming because they were trying to get a tube down her throat. She was there for three days. She went in a happy, “wagging her tail” little bundle of fur. She came out never trusting strangers again. From then on in, every stranger she met, she greeted with a growl!

This can happen with an older youngster as well. I have a friend who once told me that she had a young male that she raised that had a good temperament. He never showed any signs of having a bad disposition. The dog was a show quality animal so she sent him to a well known trainer to prepare him for the show ring. She told me when she got him back, he was a different dog. Her once friendly happy dog no longer could be shown. He became a spook and backed away from the judge rather than standing confidently for his examination. How could this be?

So what makes a good dog go bad? Perhaps some dogs can be rough housed and have it never affect them. Their nerves are steady and nothing seems to bother them. On the other hand some dogs don’t take to being overly handled. They are truly aloof and if they allow you to pet them a couple of times then that’s enough for them. These are not the type of dogs that like anything forced on them.

Just like humans, some of us can tolerate more stress than others. Some people you could drop a bomb in front of them and maybe you’d get a yawn out of them. Others all the way on the other side of the nervous system spectrum would be put in the mental institution. That’s why some people end up with all sorts of nervous conditions due to stress and a sensitive nature. This is when ulcers show their ugly little heads, spastic colons, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, etc. It’s not any different with the dog. I wonder why we expect so much more from them then we expect of ourselves! If the dog has been traumatized, why do we expect them to act like nothing ever happened to them?

I don’t have the answer why some dogs will remain friendly with people after they have been abused and others are never the same again. We can blame or credit it to genetics, but most dogs in a shelter environment are mixed breeds. So if one of your dogs was abused and he had good temperament, would you expect him to bounce back and be trustful and friendly with people once again? Is it reasonable to think this way?

From the book: "SILENT VICTIMS: RECOGNIZING AND STOPPING ABUSE OF THE FAMILY PET" - Silent Victims offers students, professionals, and laypersons an overview of the most critical scientific and anecdotal findings about the antecedents and consequences of animal cruelty. The research presented includes notable studies on the factors associated with animal abuse, including the perpetrators, abusive environments. The book also offers readers an insider's look at animal cruelty; real life tales weave theories and research findings with applied fieldwork, and examine commonly used strategies and techniques for recognizing and addressing animal abuse cases.

My rating: Finding the best homes for our puppies and dogs: (4)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Okay so your dog didn’t win the Grand Victor or Grand Victrix title at the German Shepherd Dog National Specialty Show this past week. He didn’t come home with an obedience or herding trophy either. Maybe he didn’t even win a ribbon. Heck, then there are those like most of us that didn’t even show at the National. Maybe we didn’t show because we couldn’t afford it. Perhaps we didn’t want to fly with our dogs and just maybe we didn’t have anything good enough to really compete with. So we stayed home and watched the show on the streaming video or read Evan’s blog for a step by step account of life at the National. One way or another, we were all clued to our computer screens waiting for a phone call from a friend that was there or an announcement to be made flashing across our screens.

This year the entries were down, but I’m told the quality was up. But one fact remains, big show or small show, most exhibitors are going home empty handed. No ribbon, no trophy. Hopefully because they are good sports they bring home with them many fine memories of a great show with friends and some great looking dogs.

Every year before the National, there is much talk about who will be chosen this years Grand Victor or Grand Victrix. Were your favorites chosen? Were there any surprises? How about the Grand Victrix who wasn’t even a champion yet? Against all odds………..she is now this years Grand Victrix! Way to go! Congratulations to all the winners!

Have you ever owned a dog that no one else wanted? Perhaps he was a shelter dog that someone threw away. Maybe he was the runt of the litter that never got sold. Or maybe he had genetic health problems and you felt it was your responsibility to take care of him for the rest of his life. Did any of these dogs turn out to be real special and that you are so happy that you never got rid of them? Were any of these dogs the best dog that you ever owned? What made them so very special? Did they beg to be noticed? Did they go out of their way to impress upon you that although God didn’t give them a pretty face, he gave them a great old big heart that knew no competition? What made your non-champion, you’re non-obedient titled dog one of the best you ever owned?

I’ve already told the story of a scaly little runt of a female puppy that my top producing champion bitch gave birth to. As I already said, other breeders would have perhaps let her go to puppy dog Heaven. But against all odds, I literally breathed life into this puppy’s lungs to give her every chance to live. And live she did. Yup, she was a homely little thing alright having to fight for her drink of momma’s milk or her place at the puppy dog’s dish of food, but it was her will to live, her will to survive that seen her through her life. She lived to a ripe old age loving life on a farm in New York.

What makes a champion a champion is the dog that shows with a lot of heart. He shows his heart out for his owner. He commands the ring and defies you not to notice him. He stands among his peers and never considers them as competition. Well the same thing can be said about the unattractive dog that no one else wants……there is something about him that makes him stand out. Perhaps it’s his tenacity, or his will to survive and never give up, or his claiming his right to his life that makes him stand out. He’s out to prove to the world that there is a reason he was born to begin with. Because this dog hasn’t been born with the superficial armor of beauty, he has to work extra hard to prove the beauty that’s in his heart.

The will to survive…………..the will to claim your God given right on this earth………is God’s gift to all his creatures. Some claim it and hold on against all odds!

From the book: “AMAZING GRACIE: A DOG'S TALE” - Now in paperback, AMAZING GRACIE is a moving, funny, and inspirational canine rags-to-riches story. "Tears will stain the pages as you read about Gracie," says USA Today. The Chicago Tribune advises, "If you're short on inspiration, read Amazing Gracie." "You don't have to be obsessed with dogs to love this story" (Philadelphia Enquirer), "Two paws up" (Portland Oregonian), "humorous yet poignant" (ASPCA Animal Watch). Booklist comments that "Dog-loving teens, especially reluctant readers, will eat this up." AMAZING GRACIE was nominated as a Young Adult Choice for 2002 by The International Reading Association-proof that it's a great crossover book.

Gracie was a deaf and partially blind albino Great Dane with a delicate constitution and a penchant for small miracles. Dan is the man-sad over the loss of his last dog and trapped in a dead-end job-who adopted her. Three Dog Bakery is the burgeoning and much-publicized chain of canine bakeries that, inspired by Gracie, Dan and his friend Mark founded. A love story, AMAZING GRACIE describes how Dan saves Gracie, the loneliest pup in the litter, then how, over the next ten years, Gracie saves Dan and Mark, teaching them the real meaning of happiness. There's the moment of meeting, when Gracie gets to her feet like a clumsy foal and nuzzles Dan's nose. Gracie's romance with the pint-size Boston Terrier next door. And the eureka moment (born of Gracie's anorexia-inducing dislike for commercial dog food): Dan teaches himself to cook and within three days begins baking the dog cookies that will transform their lives. AMAZING GRACIE is a dog-lover's treat.

My rating: Champion or not....a German Shepherd is a German Shepherd: (4)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Just a couple of days ago I was reading in the news about a story of some low life that killed a mother and her children in their home in Connecticut. He didn’t know these people but he would be forever connected to them once he did his dirty deed.

It is a known fact that more attacks on women happen during the day when the husband is away from the home. If you have a kennel full of dogs, make sure you have a couple in the house with you at all times. If you don’t have a kennel full of dogs, don’t keep your dog tied out in the backyard. He can’t do anything for you restricted like this. If you have a dog, make sure he’s your companion or what’s the sense of having one at all? Sure if the perpetrator has a gun, the chances are that the dog will get shot. Your chances of getting away are better if there are a couple of dogs in the house. If one doesn’t get him, the other one is sure to do the job.

No one wants to be paranoid, but more and more people own guns and are being trained how to use them. We live in hard times and desperate people do desperate things. It’s better to be prepared then be totally shocked and have no defenses.

Sometime back in the mid to late 80’s I remember reading a story in either People magazine or perhaps it was Life magazine. The name of the magazine doesn’t stick with me but the story has all these years later. Someone in the German Shepherd Dog Show community who was an active small breeder and owner of a Select dog had a tragedy show its ugly face to her family. I knew these people well having gone to supper with them and having parties with them at their or our homes. We sat together at many of the dog shows here on the East coast. She was best friends with another mutual dog friend. She lived a well to do lifestyle that afforded her to show dogs and then later on to own and show horses that she and her daughters delighted in.

This lady had a brother that I never met. He and his wife had always worked and lived in the city. Stressed out and tired from the “rat race”, they decided to “chuck it all” and move to a completely different environment altogether. They were giving up the city life for the quiet of the country life. So they packed up their bags and headed out to the Midwest. They found and bought a beautiful farm like home with a country barn and friendly “Howdy neighbor” types of people that they called their friends. Life was good for the city couple. They went to barbecues, fairs and festivals and you would have thought that they lived here all their lives because of how well they were welcomed in their new community.

Life was everything that the new couple to the neighborhood could have asked for. Their blood pressure was normal and they led what they believed to be a relatively stress free life. Then one day an out of town bus stopped in their little village. One lone scruffy looking poor excuse for a human being stepped off the last step of that rickety old bus. The bus pulled away from the curve leaving the vagabond behind. He hung around the small village for a short time and then he turned and walked heading out of town toward the country road that would lead him to my friend’s brother’s home. Little did he know that his actions on this day would land his name on a 4 -5 page spread in one of this countries most popular read magazines. Up until this time, no one knew his name.

People in those neck of the woods was so confident of their surroundings and believed in brotherly love that no one locked their doors at night…………or in the daytime either. My friend’s brother was out in the barn perhaps storing the hay or doing something else that country folks do. Before he knew what hit him, he was being attacked and thrown to the floor. He was beaten up pretty bad and then tied up. His attacker made him stand up and shoved him towards the house. He did not know that his wife had already been attacked and tied to a chair. The low life was on a roll now. He had a captive audience for his devious acts. Although the wife screamed and cried, she was made to endure watching her husband be beat some more until his attacker finally killed him. Then the wife cried no more as she too was murdered.

The vagabond was caught and sent away as he should have been. He confessed he never even knew these people that he brutalized and murdered. He was just a drifter with no sense or purpose. The city people that came to the country to get away from the stress and crime of the big city had no way of knowing that dirt is dirt whether it comes from the city or the country.

So if you have a dog or dogs, let them be a part of your life. Bring them in the house because they’re not going to be able to do anything for you “out there” when you’re “in here!’

From the book: "PROFILERS: LEADING INVESTIGATORS TAKE YOU INSIDE THE CRIMINAL MIND" - A bone-chilling conversation with Jeffrey Dahmer is just one highlight from this anthology of seasoned examinations of one of law enforcement's grimmest challenges. Campbell and DeNevi's second collaboration (after Into the Minds of Madmen) casts a wide net; although famous profilers like John Douglas contribute several of the 28 essays here, most are written by accomplished but little-known specialists. The result is a no-nonsense, technically oriented but readable look at how cops grapple with the worst felonies, including hostage taking, serial rape and murder, and child abduction/murder. The contributors take a measured tone toward the lethal predators they examine, as in Robert Ressler's discussion of his Dahmer interviews: "We must never forget that... there are many Jeffrey Dahmers walking among us." James Fitzgerald gives an account of using forensic linguistics to decode more than 200 of the Unabomber's writings, such as elusive marks like "indented writing," marks left by writing on another piece of paper over the examined one. FBI Special Agent Mary Ellen O'Toole offers a useful overview of the often misunderstood science of profiling ("Contrary to the current television and movie depictions..., a successful profiler is not psychic"). Other chapters offer updates on multidisciplinary approaches to cold cases and geographic profiling innovations. This is a rigorous and disturbing collection, accessible but compiled with law enforcement professionals in mind.

My rating: Keeping dogs in the house for protection: (4)

Monday, October 18, 2010


Loving our dogs the way that we do, having to say goodbye to them someday is devastating but we know the day will come sooner or later. We know that everything born will die. The normal lifespan of a German Shepherd Dog is 8 – 13 years. The oldest dog that I had was the black faced male that you see pictured at the top of my blog with his half sister. That was “Rajah” who lived to be 14 ½ years old. So saying goodbye to our beloved dogs can be gut wrenching, but what about those dogs that get lost. You know you’ve heard about the few dogs that may have been boarded that escaped or the rare few that get lost at an airport. There are even those dogs that have escaped while being in a professional dog handlers care. How about those that dig a hole under a fence and escape, or those that scale a fence? What a nightmare for the owner of one of these escape artists!

When I was a little girl, my mother found a German Shepherd roaming the streets. We took him in and we called him “Spike.” I loved that dog. He was big and beautiful and had a great temperament. But “Spike” had the “vagabond blues” and he longed to stray and look for his real owners. One day he got loose and ran away. My little heart was broken. I began looking for him and tracking his paw prints in the dirt. I mean I followed what I believed to be “Spikes” paw prints for many blocks. Then the paw prints disappeared because they were met by a major street that was loaded with traffic coming both ways. I was so upset. I crossed this major road to the other side. The other side led me to a smaller street that ran along side of a little canal. I picked up his tracks once again in the sand but then they went into an overgrown brush and weeds and I lost tract of them…….and of ever seeing my “Spike” again. Back in those days they didn’t have micro-chips for dogs.

We have all read about the horror stories of dogs being stolen at dog shows and even taken from someone’s backyard. Most of the time this happens right out in broad daylight! Your dog is a valuable part of your family. Watch over him just as you would your own child!

All of my dogs are micro-chipped. Many breeders will micro-chip their puppies before they sell them. I think this is an excellent idea so that if they do get lost that the breeder will be notified and she can contact the owner.

So what else do you do if your dog is lost besides the micro-chip? Naturally one of the first things that you should do is call the animal shelters in your area to see if anyone has turned in a dog that looks like yours. Contact the veterinarians in your area as well in case someone has found the dog and brings his into the office. Make posters with the dog’s picture on it and put it all over town. Put them up in your grocery store, your feed store and any other place that will allow you to do it. Knock on your neighbors doors and ask for their help in locating your animal. You’d be surprised how your neighbors may rally around you to help find your beloved pet. Ask the kids in the neighborhood to keep an eye out for him.

Here are some other things that you can do to help find your dog. Go online and read and post on animal forums such as the Center for Lost Pets – Also many local newspapers will let you place a classified ad in their paper for free. Besides calling the shelters, make visits to them frequently because many times a dog that has been lost for any amount of time is not in the best condition when he is found. His coat can be dirty and matted and he could have lost a lot of weight so the dog that you call up about may no longer look like the one that the shelter has just got. Go take a look for yourself.

Whatever you do, don’t automatically think all gloom and doom. According to Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk Program at the Humane Society, pets are more resilient than we give them credit for.

Here are some best lost pet websites to check out if your pet is lost. – created by a team of vets, shelter managers, and natural disaster and safety experts, this site is simple to use. – reports your missing pet to local shelters, create missing animal flyers and alert other animal owners nearby. – this is the world’s largest public database of lost and found dogs.

Also on the Animal Planet’s show that I watch every week, called “Pit Boss” there was a dog that was lost and they suggested that you look by ponds, lakes, streams……anywhere there is water because the dog will get thirsty and look for a place that he can get a drink.

Don’t give up hope of ever seeing your beloved dog again. Miracles do happen and let’s hope if your dog ever finds himself in that position that he gets his miracle too! Speaking of miracles, take a look at the review on this book.

From the book: "Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family--and a Whole Town--About Hope and Happy Endings" - "There is an aura of happy innocence--a kind of euphoria-- pervading this book....Elder shows us humanity in its best light and we are uplifted."
—The New York Times

“It’s about hope, it’s about fear, it’s about triumph … I guarantee you, you’ll feel better about everything after you read this.” – David Letterman

"This story takes place in the most familiar places – a doctor’s office, a family’s kitchen, a suburban high school, and the woods out back. It’s a modern-day myth that happened to be true. It’s a story in which wonderful things occurred because people believed in themselves and in each other. It’s a story about the power of love to change our world."
—Caroline Kennedy

"A story of how healing the love of a pet can be and of faith that good things can still happen when people pull together – a true, feel-good read"
—Patricia Cornwell, author of the Scarpetta series and dog lover

"Huck is the Dewey of the canine world. The dog is a delight-- even my cat Norton would have been charmed (after a hiss or two) -- and the book itself is lovely and inspiring. I rate it 5 barks."
—Peter Gethers, author of The Cat Who Went to Paris and The Cat Who'll Live Forever

"Janet Elder's wonderful story of Huck reminds us that the best stories about dogs are really about people or, in this case, community. Few things in America these days can bring people together more than a shared love of dogs. Dogs enter our lives for all kinds of reasons, and Huck entered Janet Elder's life for one of the most important. This is a wonderful story, gripping and heartwarming. And I can't say I've ever read a dog story with a more meaningful or uplifting ending. You are likely to cry some happy tears."
—Jon Katz, author of Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm

"This dog story made me feel good about people, families, and New Jersey."
—Roy Blount Jr.

"Puppies have always been better than people. Now comes a book where a puppy makes people better people. Pet it, feed it, even read it. You'll love it---and become a better person."
—Dan Jenkins, sportswriter/novelist

My rating: micro-chipping dogs: (4), safe keeping our dogs: (4)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I was researching for information about holistic pet care and read through many excerpts of many excellent books on the subject. I’ll probably do a review on one or two of them in the future. I happened upon this book that is the title of my blog article today. Although it is about holistic care, it is more of a story of a woman whose dog had cancer and she turned towards holistic care to treat him. Through easy to understand dialog and story telling, she takes us on a journey of the connection we as pet owners have with our animals. But that unless you own one you would never understand what it is we are talking about or feeling for our animals. In fact some people look at the true animal lover as a different species of a human being sometimes. They just don’t get how we can treat our pets as children and therefore, a very important part of our lives. “For God sakes Barbara, she’s just a dog.” We are accused of placing human emotions and love on our canine companions that should only be reserved for other humans. But in this writer’s case, many times I love my dogs more than SOME people. If that makes me crazy, I wear the title proudly!

When we share love with an animal, we experience that love on a whole other dimension. It is not the same as the love we share with other humans. With human love come conditions. If only you would get a better job, or lose weight, or were younger, or prettier, or smarter, maybe I could love you. If you loved me, you would do what I asked you to do. Why can’t you do better, why can’t we have more, why don’t you do this or that? With our dog, we are fine just the way we are. No conditions expected. You are you and isn’t it great to be loved just the way you are? This is the love that a human receives from their dog, unconditionally, and no questions asked, they just adore us. This is why we experience the loss of these non-judgmental companions so deeply. Who else will ever love us like this again? That’s why when they leave us; they surely take a part of us with them. There is something truly missing in our lives when we no longer receive this unconditional love. We long for it. We miss it.

From the book:
Deeply compelling, The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood shows that love knows no bounds and spirit is bigger than form. When the student is ready the teacher will appear, sometimes camouflaged as a four-legged companion."-- Rev. Deborah L. Johnson, author of The Sacred Yes and Your Deepest Intent

"If ever there was a doubt in anyone's mind that animals can heal us, then The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood will dispel that notion. A blessing to read and a gift to share!"-- Christy Crabtree, Animal World USA Magazine

"The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood underscores the fact that the bond many of us develop with our pets is an incredible, inspirational thing that does not necessarily end with loss. This highly readable, intimate book is nothing less than a testament to that attachment." -- Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen Newspaper

Product Description
. DO YOU LOVE YOUR PET as much as some people love their children?
. DO YOU FEEL MISUNDERSTOOD by others when it comes to how deeply you cherish your pet?
. ARE YOU EMBARRASSED to reveal how much you miss an animal that has passed away?

Journey with Nadine M. Rosin into the emotional healing and self-awareness she develops over nineteen years through the unconditional love of her dog, Buttons. Join them as they explore the world of holistic pet care to successfully heal canine cancer. Experience how Nadine copes with grief and loss, and ultimately discovers a continued spiritual connection with Buttons after death. This is her story. It is only one version of a story shared by millions of pet parents.

Inside the first few pages of this marvelous book the author quotes a song that I remember from my teenage years (oh so many years ago) and after reading them again, I realized having heard them growing up, I never really appreciated them until now and how it reflects about the human/animal love relationship. It’s called: “I’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU.” Here are the lyrics:

(Tom Springfield)

There's a new world somewhere
They call The Promised Land
And I'll be there some day
If you will hold my hand
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I'll never find another you

There is always someone
For each of us they say
And you'll be my someone
For ever and a day
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I'll never find another you

It's a long, long journey
So stay by my side
When I walk through the storm
You'll be my guide, be my guide

If they gave me a fortune
My treasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love, dear
I don't know what I'll do
For I know I'll never find another you

If a man in his lifetime has never been loved by a dog, he has been robbed of knowing what it truly is like having never been judged and accepted for the imperfect person that he is.

My rating: “The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood” – (4), holistic pet care – (3 – 4)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The dictionary describes the word “Alpha” as something that is first. I think when you live with dogs or should I say that they live with you, then there is always someone that is the “alpha” in this kind of relationship. It’s either you or the dog. But when you have more than one dog living together, there is always one of them that are the leader of the pack. Some of those “leaders” lead better than others. Some with a gentle nudging and others with a ferocious presence than no one can deny. If you are in dogs for any length of time, you just might come across a few different “alpha” personalities. Not too unlike the human society that we live in. Some people win you over (and that’s really what an alpha sets out to do – win you over) with a sweetness that covers up a strong willed personality. You never quite know just what it is about these types of personalities that always end up getting their way. You just can’t put your finger on it. But out on top they come. That type of personality that although so different from the “in your face” type of alpha, still accomplishes what they set themselves out to do………which is to be in control.

Having lived with most of the different degrees of alpha, I can say that I prefer the sweet type of alpha over the “in your face” type of alpha any day! What the sweet alpha may do is let her “subjects” know in subtle ways that she is in control without being overly aggressive. For example, take a look at the picture of the two dogs at the top of my blog. One very obviously the bitch and the other very obviously the male. The bitch weighed 58 pounds and the male weighed 105 pounds. He was double her weight and look at the size of his head. He was a big healthy boy. She was a small feminine bitch. But that small feminine bitch was the one that controlled the reins in their relationship. He adored her and she could do no wrong in his eyes. She was never overly aggressive with him. She never needed to be although this was never her nature to begin with. If she wanted a toy that he was chewing on, she would gently take her mouth and put it over his until he gave her what he was chewing. Most of the time she never really wanted it anyway. She was just reminding him that she would and could take whatever it was that he had and he would willingly give it up to her.

Of the three bitches I own now, one is extremely dominate and is always exerting her powerful influence over the other two whether they want her to or not. Although she is an aggressive “alpha” she’s not a nasty “alpha.” Rather she intimidates and controls everything in her environment. She doesn’t ask permission. She just takes what she wants, when she wants it and doesn’t back down from doing it. For example, I just gave all three girls a marrow bone this morning. You would think that they would love this. Nope, they have got to play “musical chairs” with the bones all morning long. They don’t care about the bone that they have. They care about the bone that the others have. This naturally was the “brain child” of the alpha girl a long time ago and it has stuck. She steals her sister’s bone or her mother’s bone until she decides which one she would rather chew on. Her sister has been taught another one of her bad habits and she thinks it’s perfectly alright to steal her mother’s bone now also. This goes on for the hour or so that I tolerate them in the house and then when I’ve had enough, the sisters are shown the back door once again. Then their mother (my house dog) can have her choice now of the three well chewed on bones.

Come supper time around here is another story in itself. The “natives” get restless about an hour and a half before their scheduled feed time. The mother paces around and around, whining more than she normally does. When the two on the back porch hear their bowls clanking, this is the signal for the “alpha” girl to set about her usual intimidation habits. Her sisters back feet and legs get nipped until she retires herself into the dog house which the “alpha” has shown her the way to. It never fails. You should see the fresh face that she wears when I tell her to stop being so bad. Her mouth is all puffed (because I just caught her in the act) and she has the “devil in her eye” look. There’s no denying that she’s been up to no good when she has “that face” on!

I only owned one alpha bitch that would have been more of the aggressive nature type. She was trying to “demote” the sweet nature alpha that I already mentioned in the first part of this article. She would go after her every chance she got and she was only an older puppy at the time but much bigger than the adult alpha bitch. I sold her which was a good thing as I probably would have strangled her if she hurt the smaller, sweeter bitch because she was one of my all time favorites!

So as you can see there are definitely different degrees of alphas. Of course the human in the relationship should always be the alpha of the pack, but even so, you can’t take away the “nature of the beast” sort of speak. One of the dogs in the pack will still have alpha tendencies but with you as the leader, those tendencies can be subdued. Such are the ways of the “secret language of dogs!”

From the book: THE FRIENDSHIP FACTOR - --Readers learn how to be a warmer, more loving person, how to communicate better, to resolve tension in relationships
--For friendships, marital relationships, and parents and their children. Friendship is the model for all intimate encounters.

My rating: Different degrees of alpha: (1 - 4)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


What would you do if you woke up one morning and there were not more dog shows? I know that a lot of people that read this blog are dog show people. With the entries being down and it becoming harder and harder to find “majors” anymore, could this become a reality in our lifetime? So what would you do then?

The majority of people that got into the German Shepherd Dog breed started out with a pet. They “discovered” dog shows along the way. Many people that become involved in the showing of dogs become “hooked” and they have now found themselves a new hobby. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a competitive sport and like in any other sport, only the strong survive.

So we all got our first German Shepherd because we love the breed. All the other stuff (showing, breeding, obedience work) came after. So if there were no more conformation or performance shows to go to anymore, would you still own a German Shepherd Dog? Would you still breed litters of puppies? Could you be happy just have pretty looking pets once again? Or maybe you would enjoy them in another way and work with them to do something else.

How would you feel if there wasn’t a show to go to most every week-end? I guess a lot of us would be spending more time with our family and friends once again. Would we remember how to do that? Would we remember how to have a non-dog type of conversation?

Maybe we would find another hobby to take up our time. Who knows maybe we would even discover something about ourselves that we didn’t know already. If no one could accuse you of having “gone to the dogs” anymore, would they accuse you of going to anything at all?

I’m sure many people would no longer have as many dogs as they now do. Would not having dog shows to go to, make you look at your dogs in a different way? Would you give him more attention? Would you play ball with them more often? Would you change the food and supplements you give them now that a show coat was no longer important?

There would be no more need for dog clubs. Heck there wouldn’t even be any need for the show dog e-mal lists. There would be no Parent Club. There would be no German Shepherd Dog Review. There would be no competition among the breeders looking for show homes for their newest little star. All puppies would go into pet homes.

You could sell your van and get a smaller compact car just for the family and the dog can ride in the back seat. Just think they’d be a lot less dog hair to pick up off the carpets and furniture. Vacations would revolve around the family instead of the family of dogs. No more National Specialty Show to save up for each year. No sir…..Disney World will be seeing a lot more of you and your family every year now!

You would no longer need the house with all that property that you bought just for the dogs. You could sell it and move into a Town House where your yard work is done for you. Just think no more lawn to mow! No more dogs runs to pick up after. Yup, life would be a heck of a lot simpler if you didn’t show dogs anymore. Oh yeah, and the added bonus is all the money that you would save. You could now do all the other things that you’ve been meaning to do. Only problem is many of us forgot what it was that we were meaning to do when we become involved in dogs. Once you’ve been a show dog person, would you, could you be happy just being a pet dog person again? Do you remember how to do that?

From the book: CRAFT, INC: TURN YOUR CREATIVE HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS - Craft, Inc. is the hipster business primer for entrepreneurial crafters to turn what they do for fun into what they do for money. Pro crafter Meg Mateo Ilasco offers a step-by-step guide to everything from developing products and naming the company to writing a business plan, applying for licenses, and paying taxes. Chapters on sales, marketing, trade shows, and publicity round out the mix. Plus, in-depth interviews with such craft luminaries as Jonathan Adler, Lotta Jansdotter, Denyse Schmidt, and Jill Bliss provide inspiration and practical advice. Accessible, informative, and more than a little spunky, Craft, Inc. paves the way for today's creative minds to become tomorrow's trendsetters.

My rating: Showing dogs: (1 - 4), having hobbies: (4)

Monday, October 4, 2010


In my pursuit to find something entertaining and different to write about, I happened about this idea. I’m going to list the names of the more recent Grand Victors and Grand Victrixs’ as taken from the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website to see when they were born and help me write about today’s subject. A few of the names are missing here because they didn’t list the month or date of birth of the dogs. Then also the last couple of years there is no listing for the newest winners. Let’s see which signs produced the dogs and bitches with the top honors.


GV Ch Bethesda’s Tacoma of Si-Don CD TC – 03/10/1985 – Pisces - Water
GV Ch Woodside’s Nestle’s Quik v Merwestyn, HT – 11/27/1984 – Sagittarius - Fire
GV Ch Campaigner’s Gatewood Uzi ROM CD, TC, HT, – 03/21/1989 – Aries - Fire
GV Ch Inflight’s Spencer v Sandyhill ROM – 07/23/1992 – Leo - Fire
GV Ch Stoneways’ Uecker ROM – 06/29/1993 - Cancer - Water
GV Ch Mar Haven’s Color Guard ROM PT TC – 12/17/1993 – Sagittarius - Fire
GV Ch Caraland’s Unlimited CD, TC, ROM – 12/10/1994 – Sagittarius - Fire
GV Ch WeLove DuChien’s R-Man ROM – 12/17/1993 – Sagittarius - Fire
GV Ch Hickoryhill’s Bull Durham ROM, TC, HIC – 03/18/1996 – Pisces - Water
GV Ch Survival’s Tuff Decision TC ROM – 07/10/1999 – Cancer - Water
GV Ch Marquin’s Xtra! Xtra!, TC, HT, RA, ROM – 07/07/1999 – Cancer - Water
GV Ch Mar Haven’s And The Beat Goes On TC ROM – 03/06/2000 – Pisces - Water
GV Ch Wayside’s Honky Tonk Man ROM – 10/08/1998 – Libra - Air
GV Ch Trafalgar’s Premium Blend ROM – 04/22/01 – Taurus - Earth
GV Ch Welove DuChien’s Army of One ROM – 02/02/04 – Aquarius - Air


GVX Ch Howard’s Magic Moment CD, ROM – 02/10/1985 – Aquarius - Air
GVX Ch Sea-Lair’s Ciera ROM – 05/24/1986 – Gemini - Air
GVX Ch Altana’s Kricket – 12/18/1985 – Sagittarius - Fire
GVX Ch TR’s Guinevere v Kenlyn ROM – 03/06/1991 – Pisces - Water
GVX Ch Jerr’s French Pastry ROM – 04/26/1992 – Taurus – Earth
GVX Ch Inflight’s Heaven Only Knows PT, TC – 09/11/94 – Virgo - Earth
GVX Ch Winsome’s Fettucini v. Cypress – 03/25/1996 – Aries - Fire
GVX Ch Aramist’s Ivana of Kolbrook ROM – 01/07/1996 – Capricorn - Earth
GVX Ch Lindenhill’s Voodoo Lily – 04/20/1999 – Taurus – Earth
GVX Ch Jecoda Keylis Jest ‘N Thyme TC ROM – 10/13/1998 – Libra - Air
GVX Ch Kridler’s Ruby of Highland Acres ROM – 02/01/2000 – Aquarius - Air
GVX Ch Hickory Hill’s Godiva Sirius Park – 02/16/02 – Aquarius - Air
GVX Ch Falcon’s Welove Liberty – 12/14/01 – Sagittarius - Fire
GVX Ch Castlehills Tuff Cookie HT, PT, TC, ROM – 10/08/01 – Libra - Air
GVX Ch Mar Haven’s Black Orchid – 10/18/04 – Libra - Air

FIRE – (9) – (6) Grand Victors, (3) Grand Victrix
WATER – (7) – (6) Grand Victors, (1) Grand Victrix
EARTH – (5) – (1) Grand Victors, (4) Grand Victrix
AIR – (9) – (2) Grand Victors, (7) Grand Victrix

So the most signs that produced the most winners for the top honors at recent Nationals have been those signs under the element of “Fire” and “Air.”

The breakdowns of the winning signs are:

Pisces: males – 3, bitches: 1
Sagittarius: males: 4, bitches: 2
Aries: males – 1, bitches – 1
Leo: males – 1, bitches – 0
Cancer: males – 3 males, bitches 0
Libra: males -1, bitches – 3
Taurus: males 1, bitches – 2
Aquarius: males 1, bitches – 3
Gemini: males 0, bitches – 1
Virgo: males 9, bitches – 1
Capricorn: males – 0, bitches – 1

The top sign for a further Grand Victor to be born under then is Sagittarius. The top for a Grand Victrix is either Libra or Aquarius.

So what does all of this prove? If you are leaning more towards having yourself a Grand Victor, then make sure your litters are born to be "Fire" or "Water" signs as those signs seemed to be the most dominate for the top winning males. If on the other hand you would prefer a Grand Victrix time your litters to be born under “Air” signs as more top winning bitches were born under that sign.

So there you have it. Time your litters correctly and you just might produce yourself the next Grand Victor/Victrix. With the National Specialty right around the corner, lets’ see which zodiac sign will have the most influence over the winners this year!

From the book: ALL AROUND THE ZODIAC: This book provides a revealing new look at the astrological signs, from Aries to Pisces. Gain a deeper understanding of how each sign motivates you to grow and evolve in consciousness. How does Aries work with Pisces? What does Gemini share in common with Scorpio? All Around the Zodiac is the only book on the market to explore these sign combinations to such a degree.
Not a Sun-sign guide, but a thorough look at the twelve signs themselves, this book is broken into three parts. Part 1 defines the signs, part 2 analyzes the expression of sixty-six pairs of signs, and part 3 designates the expression of the planets and houses in the signs.

My rating: Planning your litters according to the stars: (1 - 4).....depending upon how much you believe in the astrological signs!

Friday, October 1, 2010


I believe one of the benefits of the sport of showing and breeding dogs is all the friends that you get to make along the way.  And like in anything else in life, many are acquaintances, some stay for a short while, some a little longer and then there are those few that stay with you forever.  But rest assured you will learn something from all of them, for the one thing that remains a constant in this breed is that everyone has an opinion and they are always willing to share it with you whether you want to her it or not!  So listen, pick their brains, take a little of this and some of that and discard the rest.  Don’t ever miss an opportunity to learn even from the most challenging of people. 

I cherish all the friends that I have made in this breed and love my long standing friendships and welcome my new ones as well.  Some have come along with me on this journey, some have fallen away and others embrace the future with me.  I’ve learned to stay away from those that wish ill will and lack integrity and chose those that walk in the light rather than the dark.

I can’t tell you how many times that I get private e-mails from people.  They will tell me something that someone is trying to do to them to hurt their reputation and the lies that they are spreading about them.  It’s hurtful to them as a person and to their business of breeding and selling puppies or offering dogs for stud services.  And we’re left to wonder why this is.

It does sadden me when friends of mine tell me of long standing friendships that they have lost over incidences involving dogs.  Co-ownerships that have gone bad, stud dog breeding rights that never happened,  puppies that were owed to someone that never seen their new owners homes.  I see this time and time again.  People lose friendships over a misunderstanding about something to do with their dogs.  How can this be? 

Psychologically, I don’t believe it has anything to do with the dogs at all.  The dogs just happen to be an excuse for one or both people to exercise their dissatisfaction with the other person.  So it really has nothing to do with the dogs if someone breaks their contract with you or sells a puppy that should have been yours or doesn’t give you back puppies like your contract that says he should.

It’s never about the dogs.  It never has been.  It never will be.  It’s ALWAYS about the people that own the dogs.  It’s about jealousy.  It’s about control.  It’s about people wanting to knock you down a few pegs.  It’s about people wanting your level of success.  It’s about people wanting what you have.  It’s about people wanting others to recognize them like you’re recognized.  They really don’t hate you.  They hate that they don’t have what you have.  Gosh, the “green eyed monster” can cause some people such havoc.  It causes havoc to the person that the venom is spewed on and it holds the jealous person captive to the person that they’re jealous of.  And the end result?  No one wins!    I have seen friendships damaged and never the same again and ones that are lost forever…….all in the name of dogs!  

Someone on another social group that I belong to just wrote to me and said that recently someone had asked her what she dislikes about people the most.  She replied……”Human nature.”  To which I replied…..just another name for “free will!”  So we choose to like and dislike people.  We choose to keep or discard friendships.  And we choose to blame it on the dogs and our relationship with the people involved in the sport of dogs.  The dogs are just an excuse for some of us to show our true colors!

From the book: "WHEN FRIENDSHIP HURTS" - Does anything hurt worse than betrayal by a close friend? Sociologist and friendship expert Jan Yager (Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives) explores failed, hurtful, and destructive friendships in When Friendship Hurts.
The book describes 21 types of potentially negative friends. The "Rival," for example, is envious to the point of malice. The "Blood-sucker" expects you to be there every moment. The "Controller" must be in charge of everything, from where you meet for lunch to whom you date. Yager lays out strategies for dealing with the problems when you want to keep the friendship, while also warning about extreme behavior and discussing triggers that lead to friendship conflicts, such as jealousy, anger, and change (of marital status or job, for example). Yager also guides you to examine your own destructive or harmful traits and recognize patterns in your family background that affect your friendships.  Overall, this book will help you learn how to deal with destructive friendships--when and how to save them, when and how to end them, and how to cope when a business friendship goes wrong. Yager, who has appeared on Oprah and other TV programs, also encourages you to celebrate the joys of positive friendships. --Joan Price

My rating:  Using dogs as an excuse for the breakup of friendships: (1)