Sarah is a 4 year old Chinese Shar Pei Mix. We think she's mixed with a German Shepard because of her coloring, but we don't really know for certain. She's quite small by both Shar Pei and German Shepard standards, but she makes up for it with her friendly, independent, and slightly aloof personality. She's the Queen, and we know it! :)
Sarah was 6 months old when we brought her home from the Animal Shelter. She was very smart, very timid, very protective over her food, and very, very sick. We didn't realize that she had kennel cough, which was turning into pneumonia - we just thought she was the oldest puppy we'd ever seen.
At first she wasn't sure she liked her new sister, Shilo, but Shi, being the extraordinary dog she was, just taught Sarah how to be a good dog. I love to tell the story about how Sarah, recovered from her illnesses and becoming a spunky little girl, got into the trash can and pulled a tissue out. I was scolding her, which is something that she still can't tolerate very well, and she was looking up at me with her sad little eyes. Shilo came over and gave her one single giant slurp across the top of Sarah's head, as if to say, 'It's alright. No one's going to hurt you.' I think that was the day Sarah became attached to her big sister.
Sarah has become the ambassador for Service Packs, and the matriarch of all the pups that flow through our home. She's the face that everyone falls in love with, and she has a heart to match that face. If there's anything she loves more than her people and her pack, it's kids. And chasing through the surf at the beach. :)
Murphy and Mallie
Yes, I know that by lumping these two together, I'm not telling their individual stories. But, they are not individuals...not really. They're the Twins.
The first time I laid eyes on these two, they were 6 weeks old, and had just been purchased by our neighbor for her grandson and his girlfriend... apparently, they always wanted Boxer puppies. I think the first problem was that Mallie and Murphy are Red Heelers, not Boxers, and things went downhill from there. Mallie and Murphy quickly found themselves living in the back yard with 2 scruffy faced Terriers that had been ignored for years. They got food and water, but nothing else...not even names.
They were 6 months old and, for all intents and purposes, feral, when our neighbor asked us, 'Do you want those two puppies in my yard, cause I'm fixin ta git rid of 'em!' We said, 'YES!' with the intent that we would get them out of a bad situation, and into a good home...both objectives were reached, I guess.
These two puppies were the wildest, most out-of-control creatures I'd had my hands on in years. They were so dependent upon each other, we had to physically seperate them just to get their attention off each other, and on us. There were plenty of times they had me tearing my hair out, certain that they'd never learn to mind us, but they did. And they do.
Today, Murphy is my great defender. His watchful eye makes it possible for me to just do the things I need to do without having to be hypervigilant. And Mallie is his trusty sidekick. If anything is amiss, Murphy stands between me and 'it', while Mallie bumps me with her nose to say, 'Mom, we have a problem!' :)
Simba grew up in the back room of our vet's clinic. He was surrendered by his owners when he was a mere 10 weeks old because they didn't have the time or funds to care for him. You see, he had developed a case of the Puppy Strangles. It's a terrible condition that, like it's name, can cause a puppy to slowly strangle to death. Our vet, being the kind and generous man that he is, took this guy in and doctored him back to health, which is no small feat. Simba was finally given a clean bill of health, and at 10 months of age we took him home to foster him, but he has such a good heart, and such a desire to please, that we put him into our training program.
Growing up in the back of a clinic can really stunt your growth, mentally and emotionally speaking. He has spent the last 9 months experiencing the world, and learning how to live in a home with people and dogs and a bird and so forth.
He's learning that 'come here' doesn't mean that he's going to get poked or prodded by an evil man in a white coat. :)
Honestly, Simba is the kind of dog that can get along with anyone or anything. He's so gentle and sweet, not even the chickens in the back yard consider him a threat. Just the right energy for a service dog, don't you think? And, the mohawk? That's just natural. :)
We picked up Slater at a shelter in Dallas. He's 3 years old and doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in his little body, so we thought we'd go ahead and team him up with Simba. They hit it off immediately, and we started to work on the first part of learning how to be a service dog - being a good citizen.
Slater did great at 'heeling' while we were out walking. He did great at the park with kids on skateboards and bikes. He wasn't bothered at all with people walking right by... he was just a happy-go-lucky little cocker spaniel with one great love in his life. Tennis balls! Tennis balls are his reason for living. All else pales in comparison.
It was this love of tennis balls that actually had us realize that Slater wasn't going to fit into our program. He was too much of a blonde beach bum, and just could not be bothered to work for a living. But, because we're smarter than he is, we figured out how to make everyone happy...
Slater is now Dudley, and Dudley is the happy-go-lucky, ball fetching companion dog to a man who is legally blind. He thinks he gets to spend his life playing, but in reality, he's just a working slug like the rest of us. :)
We were trapping feral cats and taking them to the local Animal Shelter, because our neighborhood was being overrun. One morning it was taking too long for the Animal Control truck to come by to pick up the kitty, and it was getting hot, so I decided to drive it over to the shelter. Little did I know that when you deliver a cat to a shelter, they make you take home a dog! (this may or may not happen in your city, but you could try it and find out)
In the very back room, in the very last aisle I walked through, was a pretty girl who didn't bark, didn't jump up on the door, and didn't glare at me. She just sat quietly, bowing her head slightly as I approached. I read her paperwork and it said, 'Owner Surrender - no time to care for her'. That could mean a variety of things, but, she was already micro-chipped and spayed, so it seemed that she was just more dog at 9 months than had been bargained for. And for the record, she is a handful...but a fun handful.
Currently, she's learning how to be a good citizen and how to work with her partner, Simba. When these two are ready to hand off to their Handler, they're going to be amazing!