Hamster Herding

From Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About German Shepherd Dogs.

Hamster Herding 

Hamster Herding

Jetta was relinquished when her owner was surprised by the fact that German Shepherds get “large” (80 pounds). She came into rescue and was un-adopted twice, which led me to raise an eyebrow. Nevertheless, I inquired and was told she was returned because of her “antics.”

Antics sounded manageable, so Jetta came to live with us. It turns out Jetta’s antics are unique but completely tolerable. Some may even go so far as to call them cute. She loves going for walks around the neighborhood, and if she decides that I am stopping too long to talk with neighbors, she takes the leash in her mouth to pull me along. She is particularly fond of plastic water bottles, but only if they have the tops screwed on. She carefully unscrews the top and then crunches the bottles—helpful for recycling! She also knows how to use her paw and snout to turn doorknobs and open doors. Once, when she was put in the bedroom while the pizza man delivered, she apparently tried to open the door but locked herself inside instead!

We call Jetta the “herdmaster” because she takes shepherding very seriously. One of her favorite “herdlings” was our hamster, Jessica, who escaped her cage on a regular basis. Jetta understood that nipping at a hamster’s heels wasn’t the proper herding technique, so instead, we would come home to find Jetta standing over Jessica after having licked her into a corner. Jessica was wet but unharmed. Jetta also tried herding one of my cats, who was terrified of her. It was classic miscommunication: the cat hid under the bed covers, meowed menacingly, and swatted at Jetta with her paw. Jetta was so thrilled the cat “liked” her so much that she promptly paid the cat even more attention.

Jetta’s antics sometimes get her into trouble, and when she knows I am mad at her, she stays out in the backyard until my son comes home. Jetta doesn’t spend much time in the yard anymore, though, because she hasn’t done much to upset me since we adopted a second German Shepherd. We thought Jetta needed someone other than the cat to play with, so we brought Tillie home one day. The two of them got along great at their first meet-and-greet, and Tillie jumped in the car before we had even completed her adoption paperwork. The one little thing the rescue forgot to tell us was that Tillie had a bad case of diarrhea! She pooped three times in the back of our station wagon before we got halfway home. Jetta assessed the situation quickly and jumped in the front seat with us, making sure we knew she was not the offender. What a day!

Jetta and Tillie have been together for four years now. Jetta is well-behaved, and as strange as it may seem, every time there is a “dog offense,” Tillie is the culprit. Or maybe Jetta has perfected her antics so much that she can just let Tillie execute them for her, leaving her without any blame… –Shirley Worthington

Storytime: Charlie Takes a Dip

From Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Dogs, Vol. I.

Charlie Takes a Dip 

Charlie Takes a Dip

Charlie and I live in New York City and like to visit Central Park in the morning during off-leash hours. While Charlie never strays too far from me, he loves running around free in the grass. On this particular morning, we were walking along the bank of a pretty large pond in the middle of the park. Charlie ventured to the edge of the pond, but since he had never shown any interest in water before, I let him wander. Then, he started to cautiously step in to the dirty, muddy, and moldy pond.

At this point I was amused but still not too worried. That’s when Charlie started to actually swim in the pond! He headed straight to the middle of the dark and disgusting water, and I feared he might get tired, stop swimming, and then have no way to get back to land. I called to him, I whistled for him, and I looked around for someone to help me, but in the wee hours of morning, even in New York, people were few and far between.

Charlie, normally a very obedient dog, was completely ignoring my panicked cries. He looked so calm and happy that someone watching him would surely have thought he was just going for his morning swim. My nervousness was growing quickly, and I realized that my best option was to jump into the murky water after him and try to catch up. My heart was racing as I started thinking of the possibilities of this dire situation. I took off my jacket. I was planning on taking off my t-shirt, too, so that I’d have something clean and dry to wear when I got out, when I heard a jogger from the other side of the pond: “Stop! Wait, don’t jump in!”

I screamed, “But that’s my dog, and he’s not coming back to me!”

The jogger replied, “He’s coming toward me. Just wait, and I’ll catch him!”

I thought, okay, we can try this option before I jump in.

Charlie did continue swimming to the other end of the pond, looking as happy as a clam. Then, when Charlie was about five feet away from the shore, he turned around back towards the middle of the pond! I was beside myself, but I realized that Charlie was clearly teasing us and enjoying every bit of it. Eventually Charlie came back to my side of the shore and trampled out of the water. Everything but his head was a muddy, greenish-brown mess! I felt a rush of emotions: relief, happiness, and anger. And I couldn’t stop laughing as I tried to dry Charlie off with my jacket. –The Sheth Family

Recognizing Rescuers: Chris Wilson of GSRCA

Recognizing Rescuers is a new series we are doing to honor all of the wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to helping animals. Running a rescue is not an easy job, as it entails working with many different people, animals in dire situations, and endless hours of fundraising, marketing, and management. Because of this sacrifice, Happy Tails Books believe these heroes deserve recognition.

Ginger Campbell, author of a story in our German Shepherd Book, wrote in today to honor Chris Wilson of German Shepherd Rescue of Central Alabama:

Chris Wilson GSRCA
Chris Wilson of GSRCA

“I would like to recognize and thank Chris Wilson from German Shepherd Rescue of Central Alabama. We have had Jake for almost 2 years now, and there is no doubt that he has enriched our lives in many ways. Chris is the one who helped make this possible.

We got Jake on January 2, 2009, and it is not that common to be able to adopt during the holiday season. Because we had another dog that was dying and wanted Jake to come into our family BEFORE he passed away, Chris agreed to do our home visit right before Christmas and she expedited all the paperwork.

Everyone in rescue gives so much, but I want to thank Chris for ‘going the extra mile.’ “