Post by wavewolf on Jan 27, 2014 21:52:47 GMT -8
I'm posting here to share some photos with members. (Click pic to enlarge.) Lex, in my avatar, was the canine leader of a magnificent pack of three GSDs rescued at different times from their feral lives.
in our back yard
Each lived more than a year "on their own", so bringing them into a household was not easy. I have worked in GSD re-homing for over 40 years, and myself have adopted the ones considered not placeable with a family. Lex, and the black one, Levi, were abandoned at a state park in different years. They would have been shot by the ranger if I had not trapped them, and were too "wild" to risk putting them up for adoption. Lydia, the silver one, was trapped after making her way from North Carolina to northern Delaware over four years, being captured and identified through her microchip several times, then escaping and moving on! These three were the best pack I ever had, and fit in well with my "wild" ways! Each one was so close to me, and they were totally bonded to each other. There was no jealousy, pack order was clear, and they groomed each other and shared toys and food very differently than domestic dogs. Each was abandoned at (best estimate) around a year of age, left to fend for themselves. The boys were captured after about a year of feral living. They all became well socialized, except Lydia, who remained very loyal to her pack but wary and wily around all others.
When I became paralyzed (Feb 2009), I kenneled them together for a month. Then, when it was clear that I had a long road to recovery ahead to even know if I could live independently, I had to find homes for each of them. Because I do not have family, I had arranged prior to my illness for each dog to be cared for by experienced GSD people, and felt that each would be in an environment that was viable. All of us (people and dogs) knew each other for a long time, and we had these arrangements among us, including transfer of ownership documents and some financial provision for each dog. But when it came time for my dogs to be brought to the rehab to see me--I was desperately missing them--only one of the three who had committed to their care showed up. Fortunately, my other friends came to see the reunion and my passing of ownership so pack members would understand it and others could support my dogs through this hard time.
Lex leaping into my lap! Snuggling, one at a time
Two of these friends stepped up and took Levi and Lex. Lydia went to someone who really understood her, and she became part of a new pack with a dog she knew well from hiking outings, and again had two male GSDs to be her loving companions. Lex went to live with a friend's family as a temporary arrangement until I knew if I could manage his care, because he already knew and loved their dog and son. Levi went to stay with someone who loved him very much, and he felt that. But he did not fit into her Siberian husky pack, although we had mushed with them. My friend cared wonderfully for him, but the stress of losing his pack--and he was the most dependent on them, very sensitive--caused Levi to waste away, and he died only a few months later, too young. Lydia is still very happy in her pack, now a grand dame!!
Lydia's new pack
I trained Lex, who was already highly trained, to help me with mobility, retrieval, and specific other tasks. So when we were able to be reunited, he became my service dog, and totally reinvented his personality to perform this job. From being fiercely protective and a little too forward, he became very settled and sociable. Lex died almost two years ago, at a ripe age, from degenerative myelopathy. But he left a wonderful legacy, working up to the end in what capacity he was able and helping me train Lorenz as my second service dog. I have been with Lorenz since July 2011, and we are quite the team!
Alpha b**** (prednisone bloat!) with Lex and Lorenz