German Shepherds are like potato chips…
It’s difficult to have just one. Although I did not intend it to be that way, it did happen for me. Here is my story on how “Stryker” our second German Shepherd came into our lives.
I am sure you are all familiar with Hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana several years ago.
Well several of the dogs that were found during the rescue efforts went to shelters all across the country. Several dogs came to our local animal shelter and they desperately needed foster homes for the dogs while they tried to locate their owners.
My husband and I went to our local shelter and offered to foster one of the Katrina dogs. The rescue told us they were holding the dogs for 30 days in isolation to make sure the dogs were healthy before they could be fostered.
Thirty days later we came back to the shelter to get the dog we would be fostering. However, some of the dogs had developed kennel cough, and they decided to keep them another 15 days in isolation before allowing them to be fostered.
As we were leaving the shelter, a man was in the shelter planning to turn over his dog to the shelter to find a new home. He had overheard our conversation with the shelter staff, and asked us if we would be interested taking his German Shepherd.
We had not planned on adopting another dog, we were only interested in fostering a Katrina dog until it’s owner could be found, however he had the German Shepherd right there. I knew that the shelter was completely full since they had taken in so many Katrina dogs, and since they weren’t a “no kill” shelter I also knew he would be euthanized immediately, if turned over to the shelter.
We of course tried to talk him out of getting rid of the dog, and we could see he didn’t want to do it. However, he stated his wife was making him get rid of him because he was so big. Evidently his wife didn’t realize a German Shepherd was a large dog. They had a small terrier at home and his wife only wanted small dogs.
At the time, we already had two dogs, and two cats at home. I knew nothing about the background of this dog except what the owner told me, and I knew he was desperate and would tell me anything he thought I wanted to hear, and not necessarily the truth.
The owner kept going on and on about how he had papers for him proving he was a pure bred German Shepherd. However, the dog was 8 months old and had never had any vaccinations, nor was he neutered. That told me all I needed to know about his care for the dog.
My husband and I took a couple of minutes and discussed the situation. I could see my husband had already fallen in love with the dog and wanted to take him home. I wanted to take him too, but I had no idea how he got along with other dogs, or cats. I was worried about the safety of my other pets.
Being the animal lovers that we are, we decided to take him home, we decided if it didn’t work out then we would foster him until we found the right forever home for him.
Ironically, it turned out his previous owner only lived a few blocks from our house, go figure. The previous owner had named the German Shepherd Dog “Stryker,” and he knew his name, so we decided to keep the name and not change it.
Long story, short we brought Stryker home immediately. We introduced him to our two dogs, and after a few sniffs they immediately started playing. Then we introduced him to the cats.
Stryker had some prey drive and wanted to chase them, but didn’t seem to want to hurt them; he just wanted to play with them. I realized he was very cat correctable, and within a few days he was settled in, had learned the rules, and learned his place in our pack. The situation really couldn’t have worked out any better than it did.
At first, I thought I would never truly be able to trust Stryker because I really didn’t know his background, and since I hadn’t raised him from a small puppy. Stryker was only 8 months old when we rescued him but he was full grown, a full 85 pounds. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It took me no time to see the dog he truly was, and I realized my original misgivings were based on the stigma that society, the media etc. has portrayed rescued or unwanted dogs in. Having my own personal experience now completely changed my mind set.
I owe so much to Stryker. When we decided to foster a Katrina dog, this was going to be our first experience in fostering animals, and I felt different about that situation since I knew the dog had an owner, so we would be basically be temporary housing until the owner was found. After rescuing Stryker (even though Stryker wasn’t a Katrina dog, and became a permanent member of our family), I fully understood the true importance of rescue and what fostering an animal would truly mean.
After that I started fostering dogs for many different rescue organizations. We found it very fulfilling, and when you find the animals’ forever home, there is no feeling like it.
So thank you Stryker. You have made an amazing addition to our family, and have changed all the perceptions I had about rescue dogs. I cannot believe he is 12 years old now as of March 2017.
I hope you enjoyed reading Stryker’s story.
For more GSD stories, information, etc. Check out my the rest of my German Shepherd Blog.