Saturday, December 31, 2011


A few weeks ago, I wrote about this subject and then just this past week, I got an e-mail from two other concerned dog owners asking me to support them about this kind of behavior on Facebook. I never posted this on my blog, but now I am.


I bet most of the people that are on your Facebook page you don’t even know. I doubt that most of us know the couple of hundred or more people that call us “friends” as friends. I mean can you call anyone of them up at three o’clock in the morning needing help and expecting to hear them say, “I’ll be right over!”

When I joined Facebook, I did so because I wanted to connect with family and friends and perhaps make some new friends. I joined to be entertained and amused and never took it seriously. I considered it light entertainment. I enjoy looking and sharing pictures and videos with my friends. I enjoy reading and posting quotations. What I don’t enjoy looking at or reading about is cruelty to animals! I am repulsed and sickened by the horrific and graphic pictures that some post on Facebook! I did not invite anyone on my Facebook to post such disgusting pictures.

A couple of weeks ago someone felt the need to post a picture of a dog being roasted on an open pit like a suckling pig! I see pictures of dogs used as target practice with their bloody wounds practically bleeding through the page. It's just too much sometimes. Then just a few nights ago when I thought I seen it all, I hadn’t. As I scrolled down the page, imagine my shock and repulsion when staring helplessly back at me was a picture of a German Shepherd (or what was left of him) with half his face blown off! It seems that some perverted kids were looking to have “fun” and decided to stick explosives in this poor helpless dog’s mouth that they so generously duct taped shut! I’m surprised he was still alive……his whole jaw and nose was missing. Obviously he must have been put to sleep as he could never live without these things on his face.

We live in a sometimes very brutal and sadistic world. I know what goes on out there. I read the news or see it on television. I do not need or appreciate seeing these types of graphic photographs on my Facebook page. This person was removed from sending me any more photographs as was the second person that felt the need to post it again last night.

If one feels like they MUST get the word out there about the lowest ones that masquerade themselves as human beings, PLEASE put a WARNING on your subject matter and include a link for those that want to view the photograph. I choose not to look at these types of pictures and would NEVER open a link that warned me about the graphic nature of the subject. But at least I get to choose what I want to look at or not. PLEASE don’t make up my mind for me by sending this type of material through.

Let me tell you how I reacted when I saw the roasted dog. I cried and had a talk to God about the cruelty in the world. I shook my head in disbelief. Now how did I act upon seeing the German Shepherd with half his face blown off? I became hysterical crying and I had to get up and go into the bathroom because I was gagging so badly from the sight of the horrific picture. The dog’s black eye’s stared back at me from the white page with his erect ears still standing tall reminding me that he was still a German Shepherd with only a bloody pulp left where his beautiful nose and mouth once graced his face. What did this poor animal do to deserve this fate? Nothing he could have done could ever have warranted this type of punishment!

I never did read the story because I was too sick to do so. I just read that some kids did this to him. When we live in a society that produces MONSTER’S in children, I say to myself that I don’t belong here. So let’s see now what our law enforcement will do about this? Are they underage kids? Will they get a slap on their wrists? Will they have to do community service for a month or two? Community service? What the hell does that teach them? Go blow up an animal or torture it to death and for your punishment you’ll have to sweep the streets of its debris for a month or two. I’m sure they’ll learn their lesson with that one! Their sorry little butts need to be locked away for awhile with some real hard ass criminals that will teach them a thing or two about what it means to be scared. Just like they scared this dog when they taped his month shut. Oh boy, these kids are lucky they don’t have me as a parent……but then again if I produced kids like this, I’d pick up the mirror and question myself as a parent to begin with! If this case ever went to court (I doubt it), these kids would never want me on the jury. I’d do everything in my power to make sure that they “reaped what they sowed!”

Until our laws change and take animal abuse more seriously, we will be rubbing elbows with the future menaces to society. Animal abuse is the first step in the serial killers demonic “rap sheet!”

So once again if I see anymore of these disgusting pictures, I will delete the people that are responsible for posting it. I know we live in a sometimes cruel, cold world, but there is also many good things going on in it as well. I choose to read about those things. Let me have a choice as to what it is I want to read and see. Put a WARNING on your post so I know to avoid it!

My rating: 1 - 4 depending.....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011



A better question would be what becomes of a dog once she finishes her championship and she lives in the Cohen household? Chances are once a male becomes a champion and especially if he adds Select to his title, the German Shepherd population will know more about him than if it’s a bitch that has done the same thing. Of course if she becomes a top ROM producing dam then that’s another story. Ever wonder what becomes of some of these lovely girls that had such wonderful show careers? Well if she’s raised in the Cohen’s house (Lorraine and Marc) and her name is Select #2 Ch Cathelin Azeri of Hallmark one might find her sailing up and down the coast line of Washington. Or she might be accompanying Marc on one of his veterinarian lectures sitting right up on the podium next to him. After all she’s used to being put on display and the stares and smiles directed at her has all been shown to her before. She takes it all in stride and is more concerned about the dinner that she and Marc will be sharing back at the hotel later on. So if a bored yawn escapes her mouth, it’s not that she’s unappreciative of her adoring admirers, it’s just that she’s looking forward to a favorite treat that awaits her back in the hotel room.

Annie is the queen of the Cohen house and the other dogs (many of them being her kids and grandkids) know it and show her the respect that she’s grown accustomed to. Many of them are following in Annie’s illustrious show career with major points and Best in Futurity wins and class winners.

As much as Annie enjoys the comforts of her home or traveling with Marc on his lecture circuits, one of her passions has been those lazy days spending time sailing up and down the coastline of Washington where she resides. Although Annie is not the only dog in the Cohen household that has shared in this beloved sport of Lorraine and Marc’s, she usually accompanies them the most. It’s a privilege that she’s earned! The latest adventure found the Cohen’s and Annie sailing through the straights up to Canada. Lorraine told me that they ran into (or better put) ran away from a storm that was chopping up the sea that they set sail on. In typical Annie fashion, she took it all in stride. If it was good enough for her masters, then it was good enough for her as well.

Annie has her own life jacket and her infamous little red booties that she wears on those rougher days out at sea to help prevent her from sliding on the wet deck. She tolerates her embarrassing red booties surprisingly enough more than her constricting life jacket. I wonder what her show dog competitors would think of her walking around in red booties and a life jacket. Jeez!

Come dinnertime, a plate is set at the table for the Queen to join her masters as they discuss their day at sea. Lorraine swears that Annie understands many of their conversations. No matter how rough the seas can get, Annie never gets sea sick or nervous as the writer of this article would be! I guess that’s why she’s a true German Shepherd……she’s a brave little soul!

And what about when “mother nature calls?” Going potty on the deck of the boat is something that Annie refuses to do. She’s such a lady! Instead, she enjoys her little boat rides on the dinghy that takes her and Marc to shore. One would swear that she’s just looking for an excuse to feel the sand between her toes and run along the beach with Marc. Lorraine says that she loves it! Is this a dog that enjoys life or what?

Most days find Annie walking around up on deck taking in the sights and smelling the fresh air and sea water. Some days a stray seagull or two might hitch a ride to the sails of the “SV Gantman” (the name of the boat) to see what a German Shepherd is doing away from land. Once their curiosity is satisfied, they turn a disinterested eye away and fly beyond the horizon until Annie loses site of the feathered creatures.

Annie is eight years young now having just celebrated a birthday on August 17th. One would swear that she’s still a puppy the way that she “tells off” the resident dogs that live on the docks on boats with their owners. So this is when the “Queen” is put on a leash and hooked up to the “grab rail” down in the salon of the boat as they leave the docks. It’s as if she’s letting them know how special she is. I guess she forgets that she’s no longer home ruling her domain and these dock dogs aren’t at all impressed with her show dog titles. To them, she’s just another one of those loud, boisterous German Shepherds trying to push her weight around. They are most thankful when the “SV Gantman” prepares to set sail with “that dog of theirs.” A male dog lifts his leg to relieve himself where their boat was docked as if saying “Bon Voyage Ms. Show dog!” And as they further drift out to sea, one can still hear Annie in the belly of the boat barking in defiance at the dock dogs’ indifference to her!

I was delighted to meet Annie in person when I shared a room with her owner Lorraine at the 2005 National where I saw this beautiful representative of the breed deservingly take her Select 2 title! Annie is everything that a German Shepherd should be. Besides her successful show career and her equally impressive offspring, Annie is the type of dog anyone would be happy and proud to own. She’s beauty, brains and bravado all wrapped up in one tightly neat little black and red package!

Back at the Cohen’s house bed time can prove challenging for Marc as sometimes he finds himself in the awkward position of “asking” Annie if she doesn’t mind moving her little body over so he can climb in as well. Oh it’s not that she’s selfish, but if she gets into bed first then she’s claimed that spot as her own for the night and “those other two” have to scramble to find a comfortable spot of their own. Did I say already that Annie is one smart canine?!

Annie is retired from the show ring now and lives a very happy and content life……..”You think?”

My rating: Living, loving and playing with your German Shepherd: (4)

Friday, August 19, 2011


Quick, if someone asked you to name the all time greatest German Shepherd Dog in the history of the breed, who would you say? How about if they asked you who the best looking dog of all time was? Want to make a bet that you would name a male dog for both of those questions?

Admit it, when you were a kid and someone would mention the German Shepherd Dog, I bet you would visualize a male dog. I know that I did. I’ve always loved the noble look of this breed. I visualized them as being a masculine, big boned dog with a great big old head. I thought of them as a powerful breed; strong and courageous and willing to defend you with their life! Not once did I ever think of a German Shepherd bitch when I thought about this breed! For some reason, thinking of a German Shepherd brings up a picture in most peoples mind of the majestic male of this breed. Many times if your parents bought a German Shepherd as a pet, nine times out of ten, it was probably a male. They were probably looking for a guardian for their family, but more importantly a powerful protector of their property and valuables.

There’s just something about the noble German Shepherd Dog that makes you think in terms of the males of this breed. On the other hand, if you’re thinking of a lap dog, many times you might think in terms of a female.

When I first started out in this breed, a male is all I ever thought about owning. I wanted a big masculine dog that would turn people’s heads when I walked down the street with him. “That’s right, we’re cool. I got myself a big “bad boy!” I wanted a dog that commanded people’s respect and in my mind, what better way to do this than with a male German Shepherd? That was my mind set then. German Shepherd Dogs equaled male dogs! That was until I was knocked down a few pegs when one of my very first lessons in this breed is when someone told me: “Your kennel is only as good as the bitches you own!” Really? But I loved the males. That might have been true, but unless he was a star, I would be just about the only one that loved him. He would never be used for public stud and would only remain my beloved pet! Boy, that didn’t seem fair at all! I mean after all he had the same bloodlines as his more desirable litter sister! How come it was OK for me to keep her and not him? Seemed like a reasonable question to me at the time.

I was told that if the bitch didn’t turn out for showing, I could always breed her to a top producing stud dog and perhaps get a show quality puppy or two. On the other hand, if I kept her brother and he didn’t turn out, no one would breed to him, except me and that would mean I would have to go out and buy myself a bitch to breed to him. It looked like if I wanted to have any little bit of success in this breed, I’d better learn to follow the advise of those seasoned pros that proved what they were saying was true by keeping mostly bitches in their kennels. However, the few males if any that they owned were all top winning dogs.

I would soon find out the difference in owning males compared to owning bitches! Both sexes certainly have their own unique personalities. I find it very different owning a bitch compared to a male. The majority of German Shepherds that I’ve owned have been bitches; so therefore, the majority of my favorite dogs throughout the years have been females. That said I still miss the males. I find that they are easier to get along with as long as you don’t have females in season! Most of the time they make great house dogs! Very much like the human male, they can be big babies!!! They like to be pampered and loved on and thrive on attention. Most of the time, they're quieter than the bitches.

The female on the other hand has earned her title (and wears it proudly) of being called a bitch and everything that the word may stand for! She is nobility at its best. She may even be the homeliest little thing that was ever born, or even the runt of the litter but don’t tell her that, because she’d never believe it. She’s too into herself strutting around like she owns the place. And if truth be told, she does (well in her own mind anyway)! She rules her domain by either being a showoff looking for endless adoration or ruling with a quiet dignified look to anyone that might challenge or doubt her. With her dark Hershey brown eyes, ears standing strong and centered resting on a fabulous feminine head well there's just nothing more breathtaking!

The bitches are definitely unique in how they view their world. They can be cunning, inquisitive, and sometimes oh so challenging! Living with bitches means there is never a dull moment. There is nothing funnier than when you see a 90 pound male submitting to the 58 pound “Queen Bee” as she steals his favorite toy only to drop it after she gets it. Then she runs over to put her teeth gently but firmly across his mouth to let him know she really didn’t want it at all but to let him know she can have it anytime she pleases! It’s like she’s saying, “I don’t really want it, but I don’t want you to have it either!” Can we say "Diva" here? Hmm…….sounds like some human bitches that I know of!

As far as watchdogs, both sexes of this breed are excellent, but sometimes the bitches can be just a little be nastier than her male housemate! She has to make up for all his bravado so what she may lack in strength, she makes up for in speed! They’re quick and it’s almost like their maternal instincts kick in when defending their human family and property. They’re very purpose driven; not being satisfied until they accomplish what they’ve set out to do. For sheer strength and power, you couldn’t want a more formidable defender than the male German Shepherd. He is not a dog that an intruder wants to find greeting him. But for sheer quickness and agility all the exercise and jogging in the world won’t save the perpetrator from the sheer cunning of the bitch of this breed! If you trespass on this breeds property, their goal is to get you and they’re going to “get you good!”

Living with the male German Shepherd he has learned how to manipulate his humans to get what he wants by surprising them with his “big baby” ways. Those big old brown “cow eyes” that hold you in his stare makes for some “laugh out loud” moments. Few can resist this big macho dog collapsing at your side for a belly rub. The bitch can be more demanding of your attention by moaning, groaning and whining when she feels her needs are not being met. If she were human, this would probably equate to the not so nice label of being called a “nag!” Oh they do keep us on our toes!

So no matter what sex you decide upon, living with a German Shepherd is always an adventure. You never know what your day is going to be like with these guys, but one thing is for certain, it’s never going to be boring. They make sure it’s not. They’re just too darn smart for that!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Being a part of the Facebook community allows us to make friendships with people that most of us will never meet in person. But everyday we invite these strangers into our living rooms to share a piece of our lives with them and them with us. It's a comfortable environment. We can pour ourselves a cup of coffee and lounge around in our pajamas without having to get a robe to cover up. We get a peek into their relationships both good and bad. Sometimes they share too much information, but some feel this is a good way for them to vent their frustrations and disappointments. There also are lots of good news........babies born, engagements announced, birthdays celebrated, etc. Then there are the deaths and those that are grieving for their lost loved ones. Well yesterday one of these loses came across on my screen. This was from a man who seems extremely popular and well liked if the number of responses he gets from people everyday is any indicator of this. I don't know him personally, but by reading his posts everyday, I feel I know a little something about him. We share his life through his pictures he shares with us and his words he writes on his posts. You can tell this man has a lot of love in his heart for those that are in his life and his beloved dogs. They say every picture tells a story and in his case this is very true. The picture that he posted yesterday will remain in my memory for a very long time.

Most people think of women as being the ones that can share their pain and express their emotions more easily than a man does. I mean we are raised in a culture that applauds the hero in men, the strong, the noble.....the "men don't cry" persona. You know the mind set......big boys don't cry! Well yesterday, this man's picture blew that mind set out of the water! His picture showed just two faces, two faces with their heads laying down on the floor. The man had his head touching his dog's head. A picture of a man and his dying dog stared back at me. The black eyes against the dark fur with a blank look in her eyes and the sorrowful eyes of the man who was saying good bye to his beloved dog was a picture of unquestionable love. "Good bye my friend, good bye a part of my heart" spoke to me from that page. We shared in his sorrow. We knew that we were looking at a very special bond with a man and his dog. He shared with us his vulnerability; unashamed of his sorrowful heart. Although it was very heartbreaking knowing the pain he was suffering, it was also very beautiful seeing this man share his softer side. I say that because I look at all his pictures and he seems like a macho type of guy. He trains his dogs and shares those pictures with us as well. They are so beautifully trained and cared for and loved. He handles and loves his puppies with a loving, gentle but firm hand. We see pictures of him and his love who he just became engaged to. We see him and his sons and his grandchildren. This is a man who is loving his life and has much to be thankful for. But it's the loss of his very special dog that brings him to his knees.

When there are times when our hearts are heavy, it seems that it's just you and your beloved dog against the world. He's got your back covered. When he's no longer there, it's just your memories that get you through. For all the times that you cried, he was there to lick away your tears and reassure you when you didn't feel so sure yourself that all would be alright. He never left your side. It's when he has to leave your side that you may feel alone against the world. But if you watched the lessons that your dog taught you throughout his short life, you will take that love into all the other areas and relationships in your life. You see once you've decided to own and love a dog, your heart no longer belongs to you. You've just signed up for 10 - 15 years of unquestionable love, but nothing can prepare us for when that purity of love is taken from us. They may have taught us how to love, but they never taught us how to say goodbye!

You may ask how can one of God's creatures that is not another human being do this to us? To ask that question would mean you never shared your heart and life with a dog. If you view the dog as "just a dog" than you missed the whole point of that animal coming into your life to begin with. It is this writers belief that the dog is one of God's angels on this earth. If you own a dog and you miss that, you've missed one of life's greatest mysteries. There is no other purpose for them to be here. Sure you can train them, use them for herding, protection, breeding, etc. If you miss the point that dogs are pure love and I mean pure love because of their desire to only be with man, then you have missed the opportunity that has been given to you. This is why I feel that they are here such a short time on earth. They are here to teach man about loving and if you ignore it, you've denied yourself the most beautiful of all emotions, the most beautiful of all gifts. If you just breed them for the champions that they may produce or the dust collecting trophies that you may accumulate than you have used the dog for your own glory instead of the blessings that has been bestowed on you for even being in their presence. They are angels. You can be sure of that. They can do no bad unless they are ignored and forgotten about. Then you are left with a dog that is angry at you for not recognizing his real purpose here on earth. Listen to what he is saying to you without his capability to utter a single word. If you don't know that love is standing in front of you and if you've ignored it, then you've ignored that angel that was sent to you. Think dog spelled backwards is God is a coincidence? If you believe that God is love and loves unconditionally, then the dog that he has sent to you is indeed a Heavenly gift.

So I'm sure this man on Facebook will compose himself and continue to love the rest of his dogs, but he'll never forget the girl he just said goodbye to. He's acknowledged the fact that she was love. He said that she was his beginning. She took a part of his heart to Heaven with her where it will be written in the Book of Life.........this man knows how to love. Good night "Mocha," your time on earth was well spent! You did what you came here to do. Your master was touched by an angel and he'll never be quite the same again!

From the book: GOODBYE FRIEND: HEALING WISDOM FOR ANYONE WHO HAS EVER LOST A PET: For pet lovers, the loss of a cherished pet ranks almost as high as the loss of a close family member in terms of grief experienced. In Goodbye, Friend, Gary Kowalski takes you on a journey of healing offering warmth, guidance, and practical advice on how to deal effectively with death by honoring your animal companion's life. A superb and comforting book for both adults and children.

My rating: Dealing with the loss of a dog: (1 - 4).....there are stages we all must go through to it through it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


So the last couple of times that I talked to one of my friends she has made mention of wanting to get a bigger dog. Mind you MOST of the time throughout her years, she has owned smaller dogs. WAY smaller…….having owned and still owns a Chihuahua! Now let me explain to you a little more about my friend. She’s a lovely woman with a kind heart and has a beautiful home. She is elderly (69 – 70) but looks and acts more like a 59 – 60 year old. In fact she looks wonderful! Did I mention that she has a beautiful home? Oh yeah, I just did. Well this “youthful” looking 70ish year old woman is what I call a “Fuss Ass” meaning she is a fanatic in her home!

About two years ago my friend rescued a Chihuahua mixed female to come live with her and her husband and her purebred female Chihuahua. Life was wonderful when the new puppy arrived. Her other dog now had a companion and my friend had a new “baby” to love. It seems the purebred is more her husband’s dog than hers. So this “new kid on the block” would be hers to spoil and love on. She’d call me up to ask about advice about food and health questions. The puppy was extremely loving and extremely “puppy” in behavior.

So the cute, adorable love fest went on for awhile until the “puppy antics” showed its ugly little head a little more than my friend could or would tolerate. First of all the pup had the terrible, yucky habit of eating her stools. She tried everything that I suggested and the stools were still her puppy’s “treat of choice!” Take one point off for stool eating.

Next the little rascal starting eating her wallpaper off of her walls. Seems she had one favorite place for doing this. Take off another point for wall paper eating. Then there were the usual puppy leaks on the floor and carpet. Yup another point was taken off for puppy potty deposits in the house. I encouraged her to get a dog crate which she did and the puppy was fine with going into her “den.” But it was those times that she was out of the den that left “Mrs. Susie Homemaker’s” nerves stretched to its limits. Now mind you this is a woman that is a fanatic in her home. I’m sure she must walk around the house with a spray bottle of Lysol attached to her pants. Smudge marks, muddy paw prints, water on the floor, dog biscuit crumbs might just send her running to the medicine cabinet for another tranquilizer!

She bought a new mat to place in front of her back door. Seems like the little mixed breed thought it was her invitation to leave her “tinkles” on it. So now the last point was taken off! It looks as though the little dog ran out of points and second and third chances! So long story short, she just placed the “new kid on the block” on someone else’s block to live and they love her very much; especially the teenage daughter. So the youngster is doing fine, but now my friend is experiencing the “empty nest” syndrome!

So she gets this brainstorm that she must get a large dog. Her birthday is coming up soon and her husband asked her what would she like? Wrong question to ask a “determined to get what she wants” obsessed woman!!! Her husband is not in favor of a large dog mind you! So she runs this by me again yesterday. So I went down a whole list of reasons why she should not get a large dog. This is what I told her……..small dog = small problems. Large dog = large problems! Now I’m not saying that large dogs are necessarily problem dogs, but they are dogs after all and dogs do, well doggie things!

She says to me, “Well you have three large dogs.” Yeah and I say to her, I’m not a fanatic around the house either or I would have shot them a long time ago! I told her there is no guarantee about her new dog’s personality traits. I might have three dogs, but they are most certainly different in personality. My house dog is a great house dog. Her daughters are horrible house dogs. Yes, yes, I know a trained and obedient dog is a wonderful dog to live with. But therein lies the key……..personality traits also dictate the obedience time spent on training a dog. My housedog is very smart and willing to learn. Her nerves and concentration level is more steady. I believe her two daughters have “attention deficit disorder!” Oh they’re very smart too, but their concentration level is on another planet somewhere! And with my own health issues and my lack of physical endurance and strength, I must use caution when trying to train them. A younger me probably could have trained them properly, but the older me just can’t keep up with these two. So these are things my friend needs to think about as well. Does she have the strength and health to train a dog of this size? The little dog she can just pick up and put him back down again. Try doing that with a 60 – 90 pound dog!

Oh yeah, I also mentioned to her that she better get ready to change her home owners insurance now that she was getting a large “guard dog!” I told her depending upon where she lived, she might have a hard time getting insurance once she owned this type of breed. She didn’t think of that before.

Having owned German Shepherds for most of my adult life, I find them great dogs to live with, but there are those occasional few (like two of mine) that might make you rethink about owning them at all. They can be destructive. They are highly intelligent and they never miss a trick. Their noses are on everything because of their need to investigate anything new that might come into the house. They might communicate with you that they want to go outside by smudging their noses on your sliding glass door or scratching at the back door with their heavy paws. Be prepared to use your vacuum cleaner a heck of a lot more than you normally would. Hair and dander removal from rugs, floors, clothes, etc. is a normal part of your life now. Smudges and scratches and dog hair and dander are not for the fanatic housekeeping type. Before I get those private e-mails sent to me…………I AM NOT SAYING LARGE BREED DOG OWNERS ARE LOUSY HOUSEKEEPERS! I’m just saying that having a larger dog is more work than having a smaller dog. Oh yeah, lets not forget about cleaning up after them after they have done a “potty call!” It’s a whole lot different then picking up after a smaller dog!

So to my friend that is thinking of adding 70 or 80 more pounds of dog flesh and hair to your beautiful, “magazine picture perfect home,” do heed my advice. Your friends and family don’t want to see your face plastered on the front page of the National Enquirer announcing “Woman locked away for the rest of her life” because large dog squashed his nose against her windowpane for the hundredth time. Enjoy your little dog and the teeny tiny piddle that she may leave behind because it’s a heck of a lot easier to clean than a darn lake all over your antique Oriental rug!

My rating: Large dogs or small dogs: (4), Taking care of large dogs: (2), Taking care of small dogs: (3)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


If you go on any given e-mail list that is sharing their opinions about our beloved breed, you are bound to run into a few disgruntled people. Emotions can become rapidly agitated and tempers can reach the boiling point. Like the German Shepherd Dog that they own, they are a proud community. They feel things strongly and "Oh my goodness," challenge their viewpoints and sometimes the "uglies" spew out of their mouths, feelings become hurt and sometime friendships strained or lost forever! But like the most faithful dog on the planet (of course that's the German Shepherd Dog), the majority of the people connected to this breed when called upon for help, step up to the plate and score a home run! I always knew that I had made some wonderful friendships in this breed, but little did I know how wonderful they truly were. Even more surprising were those in our community that I never met who was right there for me during my hard times. Most people know people in this breed by the dogs they own and show, but sometimes we forget that they are human beings before they were ever a dog person. I am so blessed and so appreciative to all of you that reached out to me. It proves that there are, indeed, angels right here on earth.

It all began with my dog "Amber." Yup I wanted to include her here on my list of "thank-you's!" Like most German Shepherds, she's very smart and very curious. I remember how she would come up to me looking for a pat on the head because she's an extremely affectionate dog. When I look back on it, many, many times she would take her big black German Shepherd Dog nose and press it against my stomach and sniff and snort loudly. I would jokingly say to her, "What are you smelling Amber.......some bad stuff inside of me?" I've had some health problems these past several years so nothing surprised me anymore. Now I know what it was she was smelling. They say that a dog can smell cancer or other illnesses that you may be harboring inside. I was convinced that she did just that! So pay attention if your dog is paying attention to you a little more than usual.

When I was first diagnosed with uterine cancer and told some of my closest friends in the breed, they all were concerned and before I even knew what hit me, they were busy behind the lines, if you will! So here goes with all the many "thank you's" that I need to say. The first one goes out to my dear friend Marilyn Smith. Many of you only know her for the lovely animals that she's bred. But Marilyn is much more than a friend to the German Shepherd Dog. She is a friend that goes out of her way more times than not when someone is in need. She has this calm demeanor but don't let that fool you, she knows how to get things done. I told her that I was very concerned for my three dogs when I go to the hospital and then when I come home for my recovery. I knew that I wouldn't have the money to have people come in to take care of my dogs. She told me that she didn't want me to worry about my dogs. She said "You get your operation and I'll take care of the rest." And true to her word, she did. First she gave me the number of a organization that helps dog people when they become ill. It's called "Take the Lead." I contacted them and filled out the papers that they asked me to only to be told that it was too expensive to pay these dog sitters and with a "pat on the back" wished me well and sent me on my way. In my opinion, their attitude was not very friendly and almost made you feel guilty for being sick at all. They depend on donations to help their cause. I'm sure other people that they helped would give them a favorable review. I'm sorry that I will not be counted as one of those people. In my opinion they need more friendly, sympathetic people that answer their phones and deal with ill people. While I understand that they can't help all that may come to them, they need to do some work on learning how to turn people down with more kindness than they do now. They may be dog friendly, but I didn't feel they were very people friendly!!!!

Marilyn reassured me that all was not lost. She said she was going to contact the "Sunshine Squad" from the German Shepherd Dog Show list. So she placed a call to Doc. Zoe and called me back to let me know she was waiting to hear back from her. Later that night, Marilyn and I were talking again and she was getting a call from Zoe and told me she would call me back. A little while later, she excitedly told me that I was approved and for me to call up those dog sitters and book them to come take care of my dogs. I cried with joy as my dogs were a major concern for me. Now I could go get my insides cut out of me with a smile on my face!!!! (Not)! My dogs were going to be taken care of!!! Doc Zoe was marvelous to talk with and so very supportive during my hardest times. She wrote to me and called me several times to make sure I was doing well. Think she's just one of the administrators and founding members of the Show Dog list? Then you don't really know one of the kindest people that I didn't really know either!!! The Sunshine Squad is a marvelous charitable organization that helps fellow German Shepherd enthusiasts that are in need during their trials and tribulations. The word "sunshine" is an appropriate name for this organization because that is just what they did for me...........brought a little sunshine during some of the blackest days of my life. I don't know all those that contribute to this wonderful organization but from the bottom of my "itty bittie" heart, thanking you and Marilyn seems so inadequate! God bless you all! Please check out the Sunshine Squad's link here. It offers so many different resources for those that are in need. And donations are gladly accepted for you never know when you too may need assistance! It's a great website for information.

And then there's my good friend who makes me laugh more than most. You guys may only know her as that lady from "Last Hope, Safe Haven." Yup that's the one and only Dawn Restuccia! I asked her to take over my e-mail list (The GSD Showcase) in my absence and she graciously accepted. But more than supporting my e-mail list, it was that chicken soup of hers that most impressed me! Since the time that she knew that I was ill, she kept saying to me that she wished she lived closer so she could make me some homemade chicken soup. Then one day she gets this brainstorm (she's gets a lot of these) and tells me that she's going to send it me in the mail!!! I thought she was kidding and told her she was crazy and I just laughed it off knowing what a "joker" she is. Well no she wasn't kidding and yes she is crazy because "lo and behold" there's a big box waiting for me on my doorstep one morning! I look at the return address and it's from Massachusetts. Who do I know that lives up there? It could only be Dawn! I open up this overly taped up box that houses a big old bowl that she froze in her freezer. It's taped up with a gazillion wrappings that took me forever to remove. Sure enough there's the soup that she told me took three pounds of chicken to make! Can you believe it?! And "man of man"..........the woman can cook! My stomach loved every spoonful. Knowing Dawn has been a true pleasure in my life! Thank you dear friend. You are really special.....even if you are a little crazy!

Thank you to all my other many friends in the breed for your many phone calls and e-mails. They all meant so much to me. It's true, you really don't know who your friends are until you are in need of their friendship. It's so easy to be a "friend" to someone when their life is good. It's those people that hang around when your life stinks that are true friends! Those that impressed me the most were those that I never met who reached out to me. Thank you very much. There was Steve up in Maine that offered to take care of my dogs for me. There was Bruce who had prayers said for me in his church as many others did as well. There was a special e-mail group of German Shepherd people who say prayers for the sick and dying and Deb would send me prayer updates all the time. The list goes on and on. I never really appreciated how truly blessed I am until I became ill. I never felt sorry for myself and asked, "Why did this happen to me dear Lord?" I just accepted it and knew I was in God's hands and he already knew what was going to happen to me anyway! Life is what it is............not always easy, not always fun, and certainly not what you may want it to be, but it is what it is. You can either accept it or fall down and crumble, moan, groan and complain or "get up" and go on! Well I'm still here for as long as God wants me here because I know he has work for me to do yet in whatever way he chooses to use me. All I know is that I am blessed.

I also want to thank my family that has been here for me. You already read about my youngest brother, but my other brother Jedd has been a God send to me as well. He was with me after my first operation and waited with me in the recovery room and listened to my endless drug induced chatter for what must have seemed like hours on end! He has the patience of a saint for that one. I was no better in his immaculate car when I threatened to get sick in it from the triple morphine running through my veins. He got me home just in time because what I threatened to do in his car, I did in the kitchen sink. Yucky! Sorry for the visual, but I'm telling my story as it was! Then he also took me down for my follow up at Sloan Kettering which ended up being an all day event because of more testing. We left at 9 in the morning and returned at 9 in the evening!

Then there's my sister who commissioned the dog sitters to stay a few weeks longer. Thank God because I just couldn't do the physical work needed to take care of them! Then there's my cousins that called me all the time and my best friend Brenda who has been "too kind for words!" She's like a second sister to me!

I have to say something here about my faith. I have very strong feelings about it. But there are times when you wonder what you are going to do about something that you see no way through. I experienced this many times during my trials. I wondered how I was going to do this or that. One day I was walking through the kitchen talking to myself and asking myself these exact questions. I felt my blood pressure elevated and through my "self talk", I heard a silent voice say in answer to my questions........"Ye of little faith!" You have no idea of how enlightening that was to me! I had to remind myself........"Let go and let God!" And because my faith is strong (although tested many times), God was there for me once again.................he worked his miracle through all of you guys that were there for me! So next time you go to a show, say hello to a stranger. Help out a newbie that is looking for a friend. You just never know if he was sent to you as your "Guiding Angel" for sometime in the future!

So this has been my journey. I am still recovering and it's a slow process. I live my life one day at a time. For all those that reached out to me in this are so much more than just a breeder or exhibitor. You are special human beings above anything else. Some of you may never own a champion and some of you own more than your share of them, but to me, you are champions among people!!! You may not have a title just yet, but your crown is reserved by a judge far better suited to judge than any AKC licensed judge on this earth!!!

From the book: A SECOND HELPING OF CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: The runaway bestseller Chicken Soup for the Soul captured the imagination of millions of readers with its uplifting message of hope and inspiration. With a nation still hungering for more good news, Canfield and Hansen went back to work and cooked up another batch of life-affirming stories to warm your heart and soothe your soul.

Through the experiences of others, readers from all walks of life can learn the gift of love, the power of perseverance, the joy of parenting and the vital energy of dreaming. Share the magic that will change forever how you look at yourself and the world around you.

My rating: "Sunshine Squad": (4), Chicken Soup for the Soul books: (4), most German Shepherd Dog people: (4)!

Friday, June 10, 2011


The last time that I wrote on my blog was right after my first surgery and I was not looking forward to the second one down at good old Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City! Facing the unknown is always a scary prospect. I must say I didn’t dwell on it, but there were times that it hit me in the face with the force of a brick being thrown at me. I could never really wrap myself around the fact that I had uterine cancer! My relatives and my friends shared with me their cancer horror stories in the past, but now my reality was I too was added to the list of those that would battle this invader of life! Having lost my beloved mother to colon cancer, I was all too familiar with this dreaded disease. And that’s exactly what it is…….an invader! Who asked it to come and reside inside of me anyway? Invited or not; it took up residency and it planned on staying for awhile.

The morning (and I’m talking about the wee hours of the morning) of my dreaded surgery, was dark, dreary and raining heavily. I said goodbye to my three dogs and told them to be good and I’d see them in a couple of days. My youngest brother Jack who had been taking me back and forth for my Sloan Kettering appointments was once again at the wheel of the car as we hydro-planed our way down to Manhattan. If I was nervous about the operation, riding in this temperamental weather ran a close second to my already stressed nervous system that morning! Thank God my brother is a good driver and knows his way around the city because if I had to depend on “yours truly,” I’d still be looking for the hospital!

Arriving at the hospital and walking down those long, cold corridors that would lead me to “who knows what” is like playing an old black and white news reel that spins in my head. I know I was there, but it’s like someone else was pushing my reluctant body along. I didn’t want to be there, but I knew I had to be! Filling out more papers, signing in at the desk, small obligatory chatter exchanged between me and the receptionist and all of those nurses. My, my, there were so many nurses! I met so many people before the actual operation and now their faces are but a blur in the memory bank of my brain.

I’m told, take off this and put on that. I remove my gold cross and hand it to the man that takes my “valuables” down to security. I’m given a cap to put on over my head and a robe with the opening in the back. I can’t ask my brother to tie the little strings that holds the gown in place so I struggle to make myself “decent” before I pull open the drapes. My brother, who has probably one of the funniest senses of humor that I know, decides that I’m looking more like a scrub nurse than a patient and snaps a very unflattering picture of me on his I-Phone. He threatens to expose me on Facebook but feeling sorry for me shares it instead with my other brother and my best friend. Let me tell you, looking unfashionably yucky is the last worry on my mind. I have every needle pricking me, x-ray of my chest taken, and the anesthesiologist reassuring me as I tell her once again that I almost died from anesthesia one time. Oh let’s not forget about the little old lady in her 80’s that came around my bed and said prayers over my unattractive looking self. What did she say her name was? Sister Hillary? Oh well it was “Sister” something or other. She was a gentle soul and was sweet and kind and momentarily made me forget while I was talking to her in the first place. Wasn’t she there to say a prayer that I make it through the operation alright and if not, may I be taken into the hereafter and hopefully God might find a place for me in Heaven?

Finally after a couple of hours of waiting, my bed is moving along the hallway that will lead me into that sterile, white, cold place called the operating room! My brother walks along side of me and I grab his hand one last time as I turn the corner and he is left behind me. The bottom of the bed hits the double doors and opens into a smaller room than I would have imagined the operating room to be. I was having robotic surgery and I was expecting a larger area for this “robotic doctor” to perform his magic on me! I was asked to get off of the bed that I was on and crawl up on the operating table. More nurses are in here. There’s a man above my head whose face I never really get to see. He’s kind and gentle and keeps on talking to me. I’m nervous and confused as I’m strapped on this gurney that will secure my body for the next four hours. Where’s the doctor I wondered. Then the man above my head was saying, “Barbara, I’m going to put this needle in you now to help you relax. I never did remember relaxing, because I woke up in the recovery room instead.

I’ve got five different needles in me. If that wasn’t bad enough, I am told that they are going to put a sleep apnea mask on my face as I was in the high risk category. Let me tell you, everything up to that point was nothing compared to this horrific thing on my face for an hour and a half. I thought I would just about die with that thing. I felt myself become panicky probably because I felt claustrophobic. And they wouldn’t remove it when I asked them to. They insisted I needed it on. When I was finally released from the “torture” mask, I literally breathed a sigh of relief.

Once in my room, my brother was texting everyone he knew to let them know that I pulled through the operation just fine. But because of the pain that I was feeling, I made many unattractive and goofy looking faces. My brother couldn’t stop laughing at me even when the nurses came into the room to attend to me. I told him that I was happy that he was having a good time for himself laughing at my misery! But all kidding aside, I laugh a lot at myself anyway, so I found myself laughing right along with him until a sharp pain would snap me back to reality!

They gave me dinner that night and most of it I couldn’t eat anyway. My poor brother was exhausted because he hadn’t slept the night before and then driving in that awful weather for two hours and worrying about me knocked him out. Little did I know while I was sleeping, he pulled open this lounge like hard bed and lay down and in minutes was peacefully sleeping. I awoke being serenaded by the deep, robotic sounds of an overly tired brother laying ten feet away from me. “Oh no, I’ll never get back to sleep now” I thought. I didn’t have the heart to wake him………..well not just yet anyway.

So what was a “just operated on” girl suppose to do? I looked over at my bedside table and I saw that my dinner was never removed. So I took a couple of straws and removed the wrapper and threw it at my brother thinking foolishly that something as light as this would make him roll over. Really? What was I thinking? Blame it on the anesthesia that was still cruising around inside of my body. I buzzed the nurses several times for pain meds or some other incidental that I needed and even with them coming back and forth into my room and talking to me, my brother never budged. He just kept on snoring as loud as could be and I just kept on thinking how am I going to get him to stop. Now I ask you was I selfish to think that I needed rest as well? Nope I didn’t think so. So after a few hours of this torture, I called out his name several times and woke him and told him to turn over, stop snoring or go lay in the lounge for a while because my weary body was, just that…….weary. No argument on his end. He just got up and told me he’d see me in a few hours. I guess he must have remembered all those “Hot Wheels” that I bought him when he was a kid! I didn’t know it then, but it must have left a positive influence on him!

Anyway, I’m happy to say that I’ve made it to the other side but not without a few complications here and there. After being home for about two weeks and complaining about this tremendous pain I was having, come to find out I got an infection following the operation. My doctor put me on an antibiotic and thank God, it took care of that. It is now a month and a half since the operation but I’m in pain because I’m not yet healed inside. Some days are better than others. It’s a process and I deal with everything on a daily basis. I’m happy to say that my doctor said that they removed the “invader” and that I do not have to have chemo or radiation! WHOOPIE! I am so very blessed.

I have so many people to thank, but that will be for my next blog writing. For now I thank my doctor and his team of professionals for saving my life. I thank God above everyone else for it was he who held my hand through this whole thing. I could not have made it without my faith! But for this blog I want to thank my brother Jack for he was my hero and I will never forget how he laid in my room at the hospital and how I awoke to his annoying snoring, but the love I felt for him at that moment for being there with me, I shall never forget. Thank you brother!!

My rating: There is life after cancer: (4) Going through life threatening diseases with friendship and love: (4)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Good morning everyone. It's been a month since I've written on my blog. I suppose I need to explain. I've had a small operation last month and will have an even bigger one next week on the 13th. I've been diagnosed with uterine cancer (do you know how hard that is for me to write that no less say it?), but anyhow there it is. I'm not going to wallow away in my sorrow for that's not who I am. So I will not give "me" any more space here writing about my trials and tribulations. So enough about me. Let me move onto who I really wanted to write about.

I've been meaning to write something about a child in the German Shepherd Dog community that lost her life to the dreaded "cancer" last week. Her name is Danielle DeLarso. Many of you know her mother Linda Rogers DeLarso. Beautiful, courageous Danielle only graced this earth for 17 years. I started writing this the day that I found out she left us, and continued to write a sentence or two here and there. I finally finished it this morning. Although like her life, it's not very long, I hope it touches you all in some small way.


I looked for your message on your special web-site that your mother kept for you today. I waited and waited. It never came. Then I remembered that you left us and went back home the other day. I just had written to you the night before. I was left to wonder if you ever got to read it, or maybe your mother read it to you just before you shut your eyes for eternal rest. I'm told that you never did wake again but instead the angels accompanied you on your journey to your Heavenly father's outstretched arms. Oh you needed not to worry that your pretty dark hair was a little tousled from laying in that hospital bed for so long. God accepted you into his arms and loved you just the way you were. You were always beautiful to him and to all those that loved you.

Having only pictures of Danielle's face to look at gave life to the words that her mother would write most days about her. I was struck by her gentle beauty. There was something profoundly different about her that I've not seen in girls her age before. I struggled to identify what it was that made her different in my eyes. And there it was in her eyes that stared back at me. It was like looking in the windows of an old soul in a young body. It was like looking at a portrait of a Victorian woman that one would expect to have graced the wall of some ancient castle that you would see illustrated in a fine novel. She didn't look like the girls of today. There was a quiet beauty and softness about her face. How was I to know then that an angel was staring back at me from her photographs?

Those that are left behind shedding tears for the lovely Danielle miss the lips that smiled and lit up a room welcoming all those who came to visit her. They miss that sparkle in her eyes that seemed to capture the very essence of who she was. I too shed those tears but tears are for those of us who live on this earth. I'm reminded that tears have no place where her soul resides. Her job is done here. She was born to this earth but was made for Heaven. No amount of needles, pain medications, tubes or chemo were ever strong enough to whittle away her faith. She smiled through her pain knowing that God had a plan for her. She was loaned to us to show us what love is all about, without complaint, without jealousy, without selfishness, without keeping score, but with a gentle resolve knowing love is kind, love is patient and love is eternal.

How could a child that so many never met touch so many lives? She did everything with grace and grace only comes from God. She truly is a child of God who was sent to this earth for a short time........just enough to remind us all to love one another. Thank you Dee for touching so many hearts. You truly are love!

Now quick, quick, don't away. Let your soul soar above the clouds. Heaven is anxious for your arrival. We on this earth will be fine although we hunger for your presence we know that we were touched by a child that was loaned to us but belonged to something greater! Some write and say "Rest in Peace Danielle" (or Dee as those who knew her well called her). Rest? Are you kidding me? Not Danielle. She'll be too busy teaching the children in Heaven how to score a goal in her beloved sport known here on earth as soccer. Oh they're going to have to be quick to keep up with her! Enjoy your reward in Heaven sweet girl! Miss you? Sure we do! But angels never die. They just go back home!

From the book: "GUARDIAN ANGELS: TRUE STORIES OF ANSWERED PRAYERS" - This collection of stories about amazing things that happened when people prayed is the most recent addition to Anderson's series of popular books about angels, miracles and other wonders. Some of the accounts in Guardian Angels were previously published in Angels We Have Heard on High, but Anderson has added new ones. The most fascinating—and goose-bump producing—involve incidents in which people in distress receive comfort or aid from figures who later mysteriously disappear or entire buildings that seem to vanish after an angelic encounter. In one story, a woman gets through a difficult night in the hospital nursing her sick baby because her younger sister comes to help her. Later, when she thanks her, the sister is puzzled because she wasn't at the hospital that night. Anderson's stories are related through the eyes of faith, and she has written them to convey a message about prayer and its importance in today's world. She also urges readers to make prayer a more significant part of their lives. Believers in the power of prayer and angelic visitations who delight in reading "evidence" of the supernatural will especially enjoy this book.

My rating: Prayers and angels: (4)

Friday, March 4, 2011


I’ve been reading about the ? “man”? from Pennsylvania who let his German Shepherd Dogs starve to death. I seen it come across some e-mail lists and then with some awful photo’s on Facebook. I could not pull up those pictures to look at the dead dogs. I could see one laying there dead in the small picture and that was enough for me. I share this planet with these types of vermin and I confess that it gets harder and harder for me to do so!

I’ve said this before in another article that I wrote, that I find something so profoundly wrong when any dog or any animal gets treated like this. I take it up a notch when it’s a German Shepherd Dog that is reduced to a dead carcass lying in a filthy, mud encrusted enclosure as his final “resting” place. This is what his beautiful Hershey brown eyes seen for the last month of his sorrowful life. Even our most hardened criminals get a choice of a last supper if they are going to meet their maker with the help of a lethal injection. These poor souls hadn’t had a last supper or a quench of thirst for a month. Appalling!

Three dogs died and the other seven are receiving medical attention. Not only did they not receive any food or water but there was no heat where they laid their weary bones. Pennsylvania winters are brutal. One of the three that were dead was a puppy. How sorrowful that his short life was a brutal one! Welcome to the world baby!

Now people are writing to the judge that will handle this case asking for jail time rather than just a fine for this monster that inflicted this kind of pain on loving, trusting animals. It will be interesting to see if he receives jail time for his monstrous, premeditated acts of cruelty. Nothing infuriates me more than when justice is not served. Many times with cases like this, the perpetrator gets a slap on the wrist and maybe a few hundred dollars as a fine. Was justice served? Not on your life!

I'm a believer in "Let the punishment fit the crime!" So what does it teach the criminal mind of an animal abuser to be locked away for a week or so? He gets a bed in a warm cell. He gets fed three meals a day. His victims received the harsh punishment of an uncaring soul. This man doesn't know what it means to be a victim. Maybe he should be locked away for a month without any food, water or heat. Then society can say, "Justice has been served!" I really, really think this guy would then "Get it!!!"

When it comes to animal cruelty cases, I rarely read of fair justice being served. It’s almost as if the criminal system is saying that these are just dogs and we don’t have time for animal abuse cases. There’s too many crimes being inflicted on people and naturally those cases come first. I wonder who should determine the extent of pain that a person can endure and the extent that an animal can endure. I don’t even let myself go there with my thoughts of an animal whimpering and shriving with a stomach begging to be fed and a throat dry with longing for a little water.

Until our justice system takes animal cruelty seriously, this kind of heinous act will continue. And as long as it continues it stands as a testament to the overall health (or lack of) of a society as a whole. It’s a testament about those who abuse and a testament about those that turn their heads the other way saying, “It’s not my problem.” But lo to those that may feel this way. It is all of our problems because allowing it to continue sickens an already emotional depleted, unhealthy society. What messages are we sending to our children?

Kick a dog when he’s down and he might come back to bite you! There may come a time when all dogs…..all animals become leery of human beings. Maybe the days of the loyal companion will only be read about in story books and the animals that once roamed the jungles will once again retreat to them to stay as far away from man as they can. Maybe that unconditional love that only a dog seems capable of giving will be replaced with suspicion and distrust……not unlike the man that made him that way!

From the book: "THE LINK BETWEEN ANIMAL ABUSE AND HUMAN VIOLENCE"....Many philosophers, including Aquinas, Locke, Schopenhauer and Kant, have assumed that there is a link between cruelty to animals and violence to people. During the last 40 years, evidence for this view has steadily accumulated as a result of statistical, psychological, and medical investigations, and there is now a substantial body of supporting empirical evidence. "The Link Between Animal Abuse & Human Violence" brings together international experts from seven countries to examine in detail the relationships between animal abuse and child abuse, the emotional development of the child, family violence, and serial murder. It considers the implications for legal and social policy, and the work of key professionals. Sections include critical overviews of existing research, discussion of ethical issues, and a special focus on the abuse of wild animals. This book is essential reading for all those who have a stake in the debate, either because their academic work relates to the issues involved, or because their professional role involves contact with the abused or the abusers, both human and animal, including child care officers, community carers, law enforcement officers, health visitors, veterinarians, anti-cruelty inspectors, animal protection officers, social scientists, lawyers, psychologists, and criminologists. This is the most up-to-date, authoritative, and comprehensive volume on the link between animal abuse and human violence.

My rating: Criminal Justice System for animal abuse: (1), Need for better laws against animal abuse: (4)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


More and more I’m appalled when I see people showing pictures of their dogs and puppies whether on one of the e-mail lists or on Facebook. What I’m appalled about is looking at the background of some of these pictures. I’m seeing a gazillion dogs cramped in one muddy, dirty looking dog run after another. I’m seeing dog houses that are ready to fall in on their occupants. I’m seeing filthy looking puppies that look like they roll around in their urine and feces all day. I’m seeing many more dogs than the owner can possibly give the much needed attention that they all deserve.

I’m seeing nails that look like claws, and ears that look as though they’ve never been cleaned. Some of these people are “proudly” displaying these pictures and are advertising their animals for sale. Even sadder is seeing the positive comments that people write about the pictures that they are looking at. Besides feeling sorry for the poor dogs, who wants to buy them? I mean really. Coming from a filthy environment, how can one expect the dogs to be healthy?

Now I understand that this time of the year when the springtime is "trying" to sneak in the backdoor of "Old Mister Winter" that along with the warmer weather, she brings the sticky, yucky mud right along with her. We all have dogs that track more than a few muddy paw prints in on the kitchen floor. This is part of normal dog ownership. But I'm not talking about a few muddy paw prints. I'm talking about dogs that are literally living in the mud! It's one thing that they are, but letting the public see it, well let's just say that they're advertising the fact that their dogs are very poorly kept.

Throughout my lifetime involvement with the German Shepherd Dog breed, I have been to some very well known breeders kennels as well as the smaller less known breeders. Let me tell you, being well known doesn’t necessarily mean their kennels and therefore, their dogs are being very well taken care of. Some of these animals only feel a brush going through their coats to make them look pretty just for the show ring. Once it’s all over, back to their “not so nice” kennel enclosure they go. Now I’m not talking about people that are poor. I’m talking about dogs that are kept poorly!!! You can be poor, but be clean.

And how about those dog bowls and water buckets? I bet those bowls don’t know what hot water and soap feels like. The water buckets match the color of the mud that the dog is running through. I mean how much does it cost to give your dog fresh, clean water every day? How much effort does it take to pick up those dog dishes and soak them in hot soapy water?

I have a friend that bought one his Select champions from a breeder that told me that the mother of the dog was decorated in caked on mud and when he went into the breeder’s home, he was afraid to touch anything for fear of all the germs that he was sure to contact. Yuck!

I went to a very well known breeder one time that owned some of the top producing Select dogs in the country. I mean if you went in his back yard, one dog was more outstanding than the other as they gaited through piles of thick ice and snow laden with dog droppings. Oh he was a very well liked old guy alright and boy could he breed some great dogs. But those great dogs lived in not so great living conditions. Looking at the man’s house neither did him or his family.

Why just a couple of weeks ago, a breeder calls me up and asked me if I saw some puppy’s pictures that were being advertised on Facebook. I told her that I did. Then she asked me, did I notice the person’s house where the pups were set up. I did. What she was saying is the place was a mess. Now I’m not going to win the “Martha Stewart” award for the best kept house in the dog world, but if I were advertising puppies, I would make sure that the place I was taking their pictures wouldn’t attest to the fact that I need to hire a housekeeper!

The way a person takes care of their dogs and their living quarters says a lot about that person. Many times if the dogs are kept dirty, the owner isn’t that much better. Certainly people that advertise their dogs looking like this and showing the environment that they live in one could easily say that “truth comes to advertising!” What you see is truly what you get!!! Dropping a bowl of food on the ground and in some cases, dropping the food on the ground without a bowl……well let’s just say that animals deserve better than this!

From the book: "It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff"......This book changed my life! Veteran "organizational consultant," TV show host and author Walsh (How to Organize (Just About) Everything) has more ideas in his latest book on clutter management than the spare closet has junk, and, even better, it's organized, in-depth and entirely user-friendly. Part One examines the "Clutter Problem": how it happens, how it hampers and how to face it without excuses or discouragement. Part Two presents a step-by-step approach to "Putting Clutter in its Place," which begins with "surface clutter" and developing a household plan before moving on to the bulk of the book, a walk through of each room in the home. Also included are ideas for involving other family members, letters Walsh has received from viewers of his TLC show "Clean Sweep," vignettes illustrating how real people deal with common organizational challenges and plenty of charts, checklists and sidebars ("Clutter Quiz," "Yard Sale Planning") for added utility. Walsh is upbeat and funny throughout, treating the task at hand like "a thrilling archeological dig," a "positive and exciting" way to unlock your "ideal home" and "unearth those things that are most important in your life." Entertaining and instructive, this is one guidebook readers should place in their "keep" pile.

My rating: Dogs deserve clean living quarters: (4)

Monday, February 21, 2011


Are you beginning to think that your dog is always a “bride’s maid” and never a “bride” when it comes to her show wins? Is he/she always winning a reserve at the dog shows? I know of some really good dogs that have accumulated many of these reserve wins over the lifetime of their career before they’ve finished their championship title.

So just what does it mean to win a reserve at a point show? Your dog doesn’t win any points for all his and his handler’s expertise! On a positive note, if he wins a reserve at a major pointed show, then he will have helped contribute to his parent’s ROM (register of merit title).

I would like to see the AKC award a point to a Reserve Winners Dog that has won at a major specialty show but put a limitation on how many points that he can win this way. Many times the reserve winner’s dog is just as good as and maybe even better than the winner’s dog, but perhaps he didn’t show as well on this particular day. Maybe tomorrow he’ll be the winner’s dogs and the other dog will be the reserve winners. Different judge will see different things and maybe the dog is feeling better on this day and shows his little heart out.

Many people believe that a conformation show is a “beauty contest” for dogs. And perhaps in some ways it is if you didn’t count the importance of temperament and movement. I mean if we just judged the dogs on what they looked like, I can understand where some of these people are coming from. And if that were the case, then like in a beauty contest if the winner can’t live up to her expectations, than the second place winner (reserve) would take her win and her title. It’s not the same in a dog show.

So in some cases a reserve winner’s dog is little more than a brag for some people especially if it was received from a major pointed show. A dog that I bred many years ago (Am Select #3 BOS futurity Am & International Ch Chieftains’ Kharu CD) was the Reserve Winners Dog at the National Specialty show out in Arizona the year before he went Select. It was a huge show and I was so proud and excited that he achieved such a wonderful award, but it didn’t add any points towards his championship.

I searched and searched on the AKC website to give me some more information about the reserve win at a conformation show. I couldn’t find it. That doesn’t mean it’s not there, but “yours truly” just couldn’t find any information about this award outside of the fact that the second place dog in any class will compete for reserve winners if the winner’s dog came from his class. In other words if the Winner’s Dog came from the American Bred class, then the second place American Bred dog would go back in the ring to compete for the reserve win.

So why is there a reserve win to begin with? Just how important is it or is it important at all? Do you think that the AKC should award a point to a major winning reserve dog? How many reserve winners’ ribbons have you accumulated over the years of showing your dogs? Perhaps someone can enlighten me to the importance of the Reserve Winner’s Dog award besides ROM points for his parents if he won it at a major pointed show.

From the book: "NO CONTEST: THE CASE AGAINST COMPETITION"....Are you of the belief that my success depends upon your failure? Contending that competition in all areas school, family, sports and business destructive, and that success so achieved is at the expense of anothers' failure, Kohn, a correspondent for USA Today, advocates a restructuring of our institutions to replace competition with cooperation. He persuasively demonstrates how the ingrained American myth that competition is the only normal and desirable way of life from Little Leagues to the presidency counterproductive, personally and for the national economy, and how psychologically it poisons relationships, fosters anxiety and takes the fun out of work and play. He charges that competition is a learned phenomenon and denies that it builds character and self-esteem. Kohn's measures to encourage cooperation in lieu of competition include promoting noncompetitive games, eliminating scholastic grades and substitution of mutual security for national security.

My rating: Reserve Winners Award: (if achieved at a major pointed show) - (3 - 4)!

Friday, February 18, 2011


What are your feelings about puppies winning Winners Dog or Winners Bitch at a major pointed specialty show? How would it make you feel if your dog took a reserve to this puppy and your dog could have finished his championship that day with that win? Would you have felt robbed? Would you think that that was fair losing to a puppy?

Do you think that a puppy should go winners bitch at a show the size of a National Specialty show? Do you really think that an adult bitch can’t be found in all those entries that are better than the puppy? How would you feel if that same puppy went on to a Select title that very same year? You mean to tell me that with all those beautiful champions in the Best of breed competition at a National Specialty that a puppy should beat them for this special title? Do you consider it fair or are you of the belief that a puppy can fall apart as they have not had the time to fully mature yet?

I mean we all know that the winners from each of the classes will go back to compete for the Winners Bitch and Winners Male at these shows and that includes the winners from the puppy classes. But just think if you get to the National level with your top winning bitch or male and then he or she is beat by the winning puppy for a Select title. How would that make you feel?

If any of you reading this has had a puppy take major points at a Specialty show, you know the thrill and excitement that this brings to you. Many standing ringside are feeling the same thrill and excitement as you are and some are in downright disbelief. My very own BIM Ch Arbar’s Xanadu ROM took two five point majors from the puppy class and deserved to do so. She was a star right from the beginning. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it can be the thrill of a life time. I wonder how many of these puppies fall apart and never do finish their championships! Is it fair then to the older, more mature dog that was ready to take those points and has already realized his earlier potential?

The judge has to judge the quality of his winners on the day that he is judging them. He can’t think that the puppy may not fill the potential of what he is now. He can’t look to the future. He must judge them the day that they set foot in his ring.

Let’s face it, if truth be told, no one wants to lose to a puppy! Worst yet when you own a champion, you don’t want to lose the breed to a puppy. It happens. Not often, but it happens. Worst yet is if it happens from a puppy from the youngest of all classes…..the 6 – 9 puppy class!

So what do you think? Should puppies win the major points and should they be awarded a Select title at a National specialty show? Or are you of the belief like some that the puppy still has time to mature and because of this, the more mature dog that has realized his full potential should be the one that receives the points? Can you be happy for the person whose puppy just won it all? It takes a good sport to congratulate the owner of this puppy!

From the book: "HAPPINESS: UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WEALTH"...."This book is absolutely a delight to read. [The authors] have made the science very accessible and practical. You will love the stories they weave into the text. The Dieners take us along on their adventures around the world. We tag along as they unlock the mysteries of happiness. As you read the book you come to understand why Diener is known as the ‘Jedi Master of Happiness’ and why Biswas-Diener has been called the ‘Indiana Jones of Psychology.’ Get the book, settle into a comfortable chair, buckle your seat belt, and enjoy the ride." (Positive Psychology News Daily)

My ratings: Puppies being awarded the major points at a dog show: (2 - 4)!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


What perfect timing that I should receive this DVD about Show Dogs when the Westminster Dog Show was on television this past Monday and Tuesday. I just watched it this morning and it was a delightful way to spend 61 minutes of my time! Show dogs, no matter which breed you favor are really different from your next door neighbor’s dogs. Or better put, it’s the people that own them that are really different from your other neighbors! Yup, we show dog people are unique among other folks that one might know. Can I say that we live and breathe dogs?

CAUTION – SHOW DOGS is a dogumentary that was orchestrated by Leslye Abbey. This is what the outside of the DVD case says. “Repeatedly throughout the year, at the many prestigious Dog Shows, hundreds of breeders from all over the country present the very best of “Man’s Best Friend.” While showing at these events, the dogs are evaluated alongside all the other competitors to eventually contend for the highly coveted top prize – BEST IN SHOW.

Behind the glamour and excitement lie endless hard work, enormous amounts of love and an all-consuming dedication difficult to imagine. Get to know four top breeders and their dogs and share the years of knowledge and experience required to produce consistent champions. CAUTION – SHOW DOGS puts you behind the scenes so you can feel the excitement and exhilaration of the big world of SHOW DOGS! It you love dogs and are just a wee bit curious about the intrigue and hoopla of Dog Shows, this is your movie!”

In easy to understand language, follow some breeders, handlers and judges as they take you along with them on their road to a dog show. I found the interviews with these people refreshing and enlightening especially for the novice person just getting into the world of show dogs. And even then for those of you that just simply love dogs, it’s an amusing way to get a little educated about the sport of showing dogs.

Some of the subjects they talk about are showing, handling, judging, agility, etc. They even touched a bit on politics and the show ring. You’ll see a German Shepherd breeder who has a lot of success breeding and showing her Australian Shepherds as well. She showed some pictures of her Australian Shepherds winning with Jimmy Moses as their handler. I have to admit for me, it was a little unusual seeing Jimmy with anything but a German Shepherd. Then too, there is a little interview with Alan Stone who was very well known in the breed for many years. Alan is no longer with us, but it was good hearing what he had to say once again.

Naturally this DVD is not just about German Shepherds, but anyone who is a show person in another breed goes through very similar things that we do with our breed. I loved hearing what some of those handlers from other breeds had to say and a couple of judges as well that talked about politics and some “tricks of the trade.”

Do pay attention even at the end when the credits are being shown because the camera will cut back to more comments from some of the people on this DVD. What was really interesting and amusing was what a professional handler had to say about a dog that was being shown. Apparently this dog had one testicle as a youngster and the breeder liked him so much that she wanted to show him. So doing the “unthinkable” she had a plastic surgeon “sculpt” him a second testicle! Yup, it’s done folks. I’ve heard of this one before even in our own breed! Well on this particular day in the show ring, it seems that the judge was spending too much time “back there” with the dog’s testicles. Finally, he shakes his head and says, “Geez, this dog’s got three testicles!” I laughed out loud. Apparently the owner never checked her dog any more after the testicle surgery. Seems like if she would have been a little more patient, she would have found out her dog “grew a new one” all by himself! The truth was out. She got caught!

I also loved the saying that seems to go around the show ring about show dogs. It goes something like this: “A good dog will win some of the time. A great dog will win most of the time!” Love it!

CAUTION – SHOW DOGS doesn’t take itself too seriously. Rather it shares information and stories about the show dog circuit and what it’s like to be part of it. One thing remains true throughout this movie. These people love what they’re doing and most of all they love the dogs that they’re sharing their lives with! All in all, a light, breezy and most of all entertaining little piece of “dogumentary.” In my opinion this is a great way to introduce the novice to the world of dogs and to show them that what we do is a lot of fun and to encourage them to get involved in the world of the show dog. Dog shows should be fun and this movie showed that indeed, it is!

My rating: CAUTION – SHOW DOGS: (4)!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Before I begin today's article, I wanted to let you know about the feed back that I received about the show dogs and whether or not they make good house dogs. About 95% of you told me that you keep your show dogs in the house with you and have no problem showing them and keeping a good attitude on them. A few people say that they alternate their show dogs from being a house dog and a kennel dog. Only one person told me that they keep their dogs out all the time. However, I had others tell me over the phone that they too keep their show dogs outside. So there you have it and thank you all for your comments.

Recently there was a conversation going on over on my list (The GSD Showcase) and it was about whether or not to bring our dogs inside when the temperatures drop down to the freezing mark. Someone wrote that he thought that we baby our dogs too much. So that got me to thinking about this a little bit more. Do we really baby our dogs too much?

Some people think it’s perfectly alright to keep their dogs out in temperaments that reach freezing and below as long as they have insulated dog houses and covered or protected dog runs. I never leave my dogs out in temperaments that are at the freezing mark or below. They go out and do their business and then they come back in again. My house dog can’t tolerate it very long either. She will hold her paws up off the ground because it bothers her. I don’t think that it’s because I baby them too much, but I don’t care how used to it they are, their ears still get frozen. I can see how they shake their heads when they come in. Sure they have an insulated coat with the undercoat that they carry, so it’s not their body skin that I’m concerned about……it’s their feet and their ears. We all do what we feel is best for our dogs.

Then I received a private e-mail saying that we make our dogs too soft rather than keeping them strong. What he said is that we “humanize” them too much. We forget that they are dogs and we try to make them like one of our kids. I think he was upset about reading how some people’s dogs sleep in the bed with them or lay around the house all day. He reminded me that this is a working/herding breed not a toy breed. He said that this is a breed of dog that was meant to be a tough breed that works and protects not a soft lazy breed that watches television with us all day. Hmmmm…….I wonder how many of us have the luxury of watching television all day?

He went on to say that we provide our dogs with designer this and designer that. I think he was disturbed about those who chose to use holistic dog food and treats. He said no wonder our dogs stomachs are the way that they are. They are too weak. If they were in the wild, they wouldn’t be eating designer foods and treats. They’re stomachs would be a heck of a lot stronger than they are. Forget about vitamins and coat supplements. He compared our dog’s coats with that of the wolf that has a gorgeous coat and he doesn’t receive vitamins and coat supplements! He lives outside and doesn’t sleep on a foam mattress either he reminded me!

He called today’s show dogs weak in body and mind and poorly bred for genetic health problems. He blamed breeders for the health problems in the breed. He said we soften the dogs temperament and that most of them couldn’t do a days work without collapsing from exhaustion! He said stop babying the German Shepherd Dog and bring back the true character of this breed.

I would venture to guess that most people will be offended by this writer’s remarks. Does he have any legitimate complaints? Do we baby our dogs too much? Have we bred dogs with too many genetic health problems? Have we softened up the temperament of the German Shepherd Dog in favor of sweeter, nicer nature dog?

I like living with my dogs and having them share in my life. I believe we all do what’s right for us and our dogs and our life style. I don’t want to toughen up my dogs too much especially living in a “sue happy” country. I want them to be able to protect me and my home, but I don’t want a raving maniac either. I want to be able to live with them and at the same time be able to depend on them. I want to enjoy them, and I can’t do that if they’re away from me outside all day long……..just to keep them tough!

If we spoil our dogs, it’s simply because we love them and they are very special to us. Yes I like to feed my dogs’ good food and yes I do add a supplement to their diets. Yes my house dog has special rugs and quilts for her comfort and warmth when she lies on the floor. Sure I buy them treats and bones to chew on. And yup, they have their toys lying all over the living room floor. But you know what; I don’t call that babying them too much. I call it loving them very much!

From the book: "A DOG'S PURPOSE"....Dog lovers will absolutely love this book. The author masterfully captures what many of us would imagine to be the thought processes of our dogs, and makes the reader think about the role we play in our pets' lives, for good and for bad. While the book has its uplifting moments, make sure to have some tissues nearby as there are many, many tearful moments in the story of this dog's numerous lives. Lest anyone think that this is yet another book in the growing dog channeling genre, rest assured that this book is much more than that. This is a book that will make you think not only about the purpose of a dog's life, but the purpose of life in general.

My rating: Babying and spoiling a dog: (4)!