Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sadie, My Sadie

More than a dozen years ago a neighbor dropped off a young German Shepard she had rescued from an abusive home. She had been tied to a dog house in the front yard to protect the property. Kids poked her with sticks on the way to school. My good hearted neighbor took her into her home. She tried to make up for the mistreatment the dog had suffered. What she did was promptly spoil her rotten. She became clingy, wouldn't let the woman's Golden Retrievers near her. All those good German Shepard traits were out of control. My neighbor couldn't handle her, so one day she showed up with dog food dish and all. The woman said, "I know you've admired her. Here she is; she's yours."
I had Rottweilers and Bullmastiffs at the time, so I didn't need a German Shepard, but I could see that the woman was at her wits end.
Sadie needed remedial socialization and a whole lot of it. I was busy showing my dogs and really didn't want to be bothered with all the work I was going to have to do to rehabilitate this needy creature.
Who wants a neurotic dog? Well, my question became who is qualified to take her? The answer was not too many, so if I was going to place her I needed to do the work.
Sadie learned to play ball and fetch. She loved running in our big back yard with my dogs. Soon she was controlling the pack. Nothing like a smart, bossy Shepard to get her butt beat for being too pushy with the other dogs. Before we knew it they got tired of her nipping their rears and rebelled. Sadie tried to dominate but wasn't strong enough to push the issue and win. The pack put her in her place. It was the first of many hard lessons for Sadie.
Sharing didn't come easy for her. When you live in a big family, you don't get to be the center of attention for long. Sadie's favorite word is "me". Our play sessions were never long enough for her. She would risk life and limb to come between me and my dogs when it wasn't her turn.
The Rotts and the Bullies are not big barkers, but we felt secure living in the country. Sadie barked at anything that moved. We knew when a car pulled into my neighbor's driveway. Sadie would sound the alarm over and over again. Most dogs figure out what is normal in an environment and when they should sound the alarm. Sadie believed in letting no movement go unannounced.
My Rotts and Bullies have since passed. I no longer show dogs. Sadie is paraplegic. When she is in her wheel chair, she still charges the fence to let everyone know a German Shepard is still on duty.

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