Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jake the German Shepherd Dog

Until recently, I hadn't been known to hoard animals. For most of my life I was a one-dog man, and then in 1996 I moved up to two with a Dalmatian named Tasha and a German Shepherd named Sam. Tasha had to be put down about a year and a half later because she was really old (nearly 16) and had a massive tumor on her leg. After that I got a second German Shepherd named Brandy, and had the two Shepherds from 1999-2007.

For reasons that I'll explain another time, by the spring of 2007 I had four dogs: Brandy, Lucy, a new German Shepherd named Tony and an Akita named Naomi. Well at this point I was like having four dogs in one house is completely insane, so there was NO WAY I was getting another dog. Well not until I met Jake that is.

My beloved German Shepherd of ten years Sam had died that April from stomach torsion, and things just didn't feel right. It was about then that a lady at a ranch where I board my horses began talking about getting rid of her German Shepherd. It was kind of strange because only a few weeks earlier she was ranting and raving about how wonderful it was for her to have come across this dog (whom she adopted from some doctor). He resembled a German Shepherd she had left behind in Jersey not just physically, but with his penchant for chasing and chewing on dogs.

The problem was the lady had just acquired some pygmy goats. One tragic Sunday morning the neighbors dog got in her yard and YIKES! killed the goats. This caused some soul searching-not only was the act of killing the neighbors dog considered, but she began to worry if her recently acquired German Shepherd might kill the goats too. Apparently he had made some displays of fondness for meat, and was eye-ing the goats a little too often.

There was also talk that he was too thin and had to stay outside all the time by some other people at the ranch. So a woman (who will remain nameless but plays a significant role in my life ;) convinced me to go over and take a look. First the idea was to just check on him and make sure he was OK, but one Sunday evening I dropped by to inquire about adopting him.

For an animal nut like me, this is of course a major mistake. Once the decision has been made to look in on a critter I may as well just say drop him off at my house. So I drove up there, knowing full well there was no way I would leave this dog behind.

The doctor had originally named this dog Kozmo, but the woman who now owned him sensibly changed his name to Jake. She had a whole army of animals, from a pair of gay (yes homosexual) canaries to four small dogs, two goats and two big dogs. The small dogs were allowed in the house but the big dogs had to stay outside with the goats. Since Jake had his eye on gourmet goat meat, he was kind of living as a loner.

Jake greeted me with a ball in his mouth. Living up to his description, Jake is a German Shepherd that is downright obsessed with rubber balls. In fact as I type this he is laying on the floor waiting for me to throw his ball to him now. Anyway, I looked the situation over for a few minutes pretending I would think about it and then told her I'd go ahead and take the dog. She was pretty happy I was taking this burden off her shoulders, she could stop worrying about the goats and her dog had a new home. So off I went with Jake, with the realization that I now owned five dogs slowly sinking in....

Honestly Jake was a mess. He was about 75 pounds looking very skinny, had pannus and an itchy skin condition due to allergies to some kind of mite that all dogs have. After putting him on my regular feeding schedule I use with the other dogs he's up to 95 pounds, and he's getting medication for his pannus and skin condition. I recently put him on Solid Gold Dog food in the hopes his skin my improve a bit and I could cut back on medication.

Well despite the fact I'm saddled with five dogs, Jake has turned out to be the perfect addition. He was eight when I got him (so kind of close to Sam's age) and he has many of Sam's best personality attirbutes. Jake is a fairly quiet dog that doesn't like getting into trouble, so he avoids bothering the other dogs. He likes chomping on his balls (the rubber ones, PLEASE...) and also has a fondness for tennis balls. An interesting quirk is that Jake can fit two or three balls in his mouth at the same time. Sam always tried, in fact Sam tried to fit two tennis balls in his mouth up to the day he died, but never succeeded. Jake also walks good and enjoys going for hikes in the mountains. I guess I would call it chemistry, but his chemistry is very much like Sam's. Having Jake there made me feel whole and secure again in a way I hadn't felt since Sam's death.

Jake has this funny quirk, sitting in the space on the floor between the front and back seats in the car. I don't remember if I've posted this pic before, but here it is, kind of grainy since I took it with the cell phone.

In any case, Jake is the best that a German Shepherd can be. Friendly, gentle, smart, loyal, and fun.


jan said...

I didn't set out to have four dogs, but life often leads us in ways we hadn't expected.

I certainly never expected to then get a cat, but life, well, you know...

I think there is a pet diety that matches us up with animals that need us and we find that we need them even more than they need us.

GNH said...

Could be a pet deity matches us up with animals. My dog Tony looks very similar to Sam, who died on April 10th 2007. Tony showed up in the shelter the next day.