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german shepard

It’s been real

On Thursday morning, my dog, my spirit animal, died in my arms.

I have spent the last 48 hours grieving, I am heartbroken. I am angry.

His death was sudden, and we are still trying to figure out what happened. We believe it may have been a reaction to a vaccine. As I do more research, I will post. For today, if I can get one thing out there, PLEASE be as diligent about vaccines for your pets as you are with your children. Research, and only let them administer one at a time.

Rex was my companion, and he came to teach me a lesson. Patience.

My daughter wrote a beautiful piece about how he came into our lives. 
We were actually just going to “look” at the dogs. When we walked up to the junky yard, he came straight up to us. I picked him up, my husband paid $20 for him, and we drove home with him in my lap. No plan. When we got home, my then 16 year old dog Caesar looked at us like were crazy.

So the adventure began. We had ourselves a puppy covered in fleas, unsocialized, and already showing neurotic behavior. He whined & bit us. My older dog wanted nothing to do with him. I started reading books by Ceasar Milan, and the Monks of New Skete. We bought him a crate, and I wondered why “crate training” was not in my life before.

He grew right before my eyes, and slowly began to trust us. We were told he was aggressive, neurotic, etc…….We already claimed him, and there was no going back.

I had to learn how to be an Alpha Dog. I had to learn patience.

For 9 years, I had the most fantastic dog. He was a big bear, loving & sweet. Protective. Gorgeous. People would stop us all the time, little children were fascinated by his size & fluffy fur.

He was my spirit animal. 
I will miss him dearly.
We love you, Rex

The Story of the Wolf Dog & the Human

The Story of the Wolf Dog & the Human
by Heike Boehnke-Sharp

You walk by the man with the box in the parking lot.

You hear a yelp, and turn around.

Inside the box, you see three majestic puppies. They are not small, and have air about them.

They look you straight in the eye.

“Timberwolf & Shepard” says the man. “They make fine, big watchdogs”.

Hopefully you are not a dog fighter, a drug dealer, a macho man, a deranged soul.

Their cuteness overtakes you, you make a spontaneous decision. You pick the smallest puppy, because “WOLF” sounds so big.

It’s a boy.

You are in love. He stole your heart. He licks you, and you think it is love & devotion.

He is marking you as his Alpha. For now.

Your puppy grows & thrives. It seems that he does not want to grow into his feet. You wait with training, because he is just so cute & cuddly, all you want to do is play.  Plus, he enjoys running from you so much, taking your shoes and chewing on them, nipping you in the ankles are you walk, or biting your arm as you “play” wrestle. He is getting sturdier, you notice as he brushes by your legs with his body more and more. It must be love, like with a cat.

He follows you. He watches your eyes before he leaps on your, or steals something and runs. His body rubs become a little annoying, as he almost pushes you over.

One day, while you are playing tug of war, his lips pull back and he nips at you.

HEY! You are not bleeding, but he watches as you retreat.

He is almost 6 months now, an adolescent in the making.

He is beautiful. Regal, large, furry, with magical brown eyes.

His eyes look at you openly & clear, and the next second they change and he barks/snarls at you.

You notice the bark is not one of warning, but it is directed at you.

Hopefully, you are a strong woman, or a gentle & strong male human.

Your wolf, because that is what he is, needs his Alpha now.

“He loves me!” you  say. “He would never attack me!”

A wise soul once told me that dogs do not “love” like we humans do. We interpret their affection as such. Dogs respect the Alpha, and they are survivalist. You give them food, they are happy to see you. You give them freedom, they are happy to see you. You rub their butt where they can’t reach, they are happy to see you!

DOG:” Are you sick? Are you weak? Why are you letting me challenge you? Do I need to take over to ensure the safety of our pack? Let me just get these small humans over here where I can watch over them. Push. Push. Nip. Pull. I am sorry, I did not mean to draw blood. Why are looking at me scared? Did I challenge you too. Are backing down?

WTF??? AM I THE ALPHA???? “

Hopefully, human, you have done some research on dog & pack behavior, because you do not have a Chihuahua. You have a wolf. A hunter. A herder. A pack animal. A majestic, instinctive, canine.

Hopefully, by now someone has taught you how to safely throw your wolf down when he challenges you as  Alpha, just like his wolf mother or Alpha would. They would not take that shit, not for a minute. Never seen a wolf throwdown? Google it and learn. You will have to learn to hold his jaws so he cannot bite you, as you say NO in a growling voice and look him in the eye. When he stays down, you will have done your job to ensure his & your safety, because you love this dog.

And when stupid people ask you why you are “hurting” your dog, you send them to the right place so they can figure it out themselves. Hopefully, THEY will never find a wolf dog.

And now you will show your kids how to handle him when he throws his big body at them. He is always establishing where he sits in the Alpha ladder, and small humans and other animals are all just rungs up that ladder to you, the Alpha.

Now teach him that you are in charge of food, that when you say “WAIT!” or look at him with that look he stops.  You must run with him in the wind, challenge his brain, let him chase squirrels. You must warn your neighbors to make sure their animals stay out of your yard, because even though your wolf is friendly & lovable, when that cat runs through your yard, it is prey, and that wolf instinct is STRONG.

Your wolf is one year old. Look at him. He is HUGE.  He is watching you. He will protect you, and his pack, with his life, because that is what wolves do. If you have trained him good behavior with a gentle, but firm hand, he will be the perfect family dog. He will be fantastic. He will be loyal.  But NEVER let your guard down, because even when your wolf/dog is older, even if your routine is set in stone, he is always watching you to see if you REALLY are still the Alpha.  He can turn on you and test you periodically, you better be ready.

Welcome to the pack life, human.

Heike & Rex

Heike: I wrote this piece to get the attention of everyone who sees a “cute” wolf dog and takes it home. These majestic dogs are a commitment. Sadly, many wolf dogs end up in shelters, or if they are lucky, with a wolf rescue when they are teenagers and their owners cannot handle the “wolf”.  I was working with a wolf rescue and learning more about them when we got Rex. We are not sure of Rex’s ancestory (and do not necessarily think he has wolf), but you can see he is huge & wild :). I rescued him when he was an unsocialized, wild, and anxiety aggressive puppy. I walked around for a long time looking like I was in cat fights, as I became his teacher on how to use his teeth & claws. He came to me to teach me many lessons, and even after almost 8 years, he is still teaching me.  Learning pack behavior kept us together :), and now we are bound.

Sit!


Having a huge GS puppy seems to be my destiny for many reasons.

1. I have to walk him every morning for at least 45 minutes, with a stop at the dog park for a quick romp with his friends. Otherwise, he is a big pain in my ass for the rest of the day, as his energy level and adolensence is very patience testing. With that said, this consistant walking is wonderful for “my” ass. I also secretly enjoy the quietness and “zen” of the cool mornings in the park.

2. Obedience training is working wonders for Rex, and for my 5 year old.

3. Though it seems my dh and everyone else thinks I am too soft on Rex to be his Alpha, they all don’t know what is coming their way. The more I learn about this dog, the better I learn I to deal with the rest of my family too. I am becoming very Alpha mama…..

4. We had a wonderful trainer over the other day, and dh gets it now. Consistant training means happy dog/ happy dog means happy family. Who would have thunk it?? We are finally BOTH dog parents.

What am I going to do when this house is so “zen”?????