Reading these memory stories, brings to mind, one of my own. In 1988
we had but one female shepherd, which she was 6 yrs old. Of course she was pretty set in her ways, as you
can imagine, (spoiled brat). Then came the arrival of our human child, Krystal. Both of our families
were very concerned to have such a big spoiled dog inside with a new baby. As you can imagine the horror
stories we were told, (only from the grandparents) about dogs attacking newborns out of jealousy. Both grandparents
wanted our shepherd child OUT of the house since our new arrival. We would hear nothing of it. From
day one "Boots" guarded her new human just as she had always done with us. She would checked out
all visitors very carefully, and never let the new baby out of her sight. When a visitor was holding the baby,
Boots was right at their side to make sure they put her baby back in her crib. Then she would lay down and
baby-sit again. No way anyone was going to get past her and take her baby. If I was in another room, and the baby
would moan, Boots was at my side, nipping at my finger tips to let me know. One night several months later.
I noticed a nervousness in Boots. She constantly paced that night. Everything seemed okay, so as usual
we went to bed. Boots finally took her normal position, next to the baby's bed. All was fine, so we
thought. Around 3:00 a.m. I was awakened by Boots jumping in our bed. She had NEVER JUMPED in bed,
as she was always careful not to wake us when she would sneak in. This night was different There was
no sneaking. She immediately jumped out and ran to the baby's bed. I followed knowing something terrible
must be wrong. I reached for Krystal's little body, only to find her limp and blue, so blue she looked purple.
There was no sound or movement coming from her. We rushed her to the hospital, where she stayed for the next
week under several monitors. After much observation and many test,
our little Krystal was diagnosed as a SID's baby. Our doctor said that it was a miracle I just happen to
get up to check on her. We told him about Boot's actions that night and he said we were lucky that Boots
woke us up. If not for Boots, we would have lost our child that night. It was then we realized that maybe,
her nervousness earlier that night was due to the fact she could sense something was not right ????
As you can imagine now, the grandparents would never mentioned again that we should put Boots out. To them,
she proved her loyalty to her new human baby. All our words could never explain or convince them different,
but Boots convinced them all on her own, just doing what was natural.
As I write this, it brings tears to my eyes. I wish everyone could
have just one Shepherd like our Boots. But a dog like her, comes along once in a lifetime. I'm glad
she chose us to share her life with. Krystal is now 9 yrs old and is doing fine. Unfortunately, our Boots
is no longer with us. It has been 3 yrs since Boots has left us for a better life. However, it seems
we can still feel her presence. We know for sure, she is up above, looking down on us, doing what is natural, guarding
We had our German Shepherd Zara and we had titled her to SchH2, as well before
we had our daughter Jessica Well we got the same thing the dog will eat the baby et al, Keep them separate and
all that jazz. Well needless to say we did not listen, as a matter of fact the day we brought the baby home. Zara
was the first person to see her. Zara looked at us, and seemed to say.... "geese mom... dad.. that's the ugliest
German Shepherd puppy I have ever seen but i will help you mind it, and so it was for the next 7 years, My daughter
learned to crawl by grabbing her tail, Jessica, used her Nylon bones to teeth on, and ate biscuits with her, even
taste tested Zara's food for her. My daughter had a constant loving companion. One time we and some friends were
working on the side of ours and This guys own children and Jessica were in the yard palying Well we told him to
go get a tool from the shed in the back, Mark jumped the fence and then proceeded to do the Fastest 100 yard dash
I have ever seen, Zara treed him.....Mark was yelling, and We were laughing. so as Jessica grew so did Zara, till
one very sad day. My father had a heart attack, well we went home to Michigan for his funeral, and it was two weeks
later, Zara was playing in the yard, and she just collapsed, We did mouth to mouth CPR nothing, We lost her,
after we brought her ashes home and placed them in her favorite spot. jessica through her tears, looked at us,
and asked if Zara went to heaven to keep her Grandfather Company, so he would not miss us so much. Thetas some
legacy and yes we will see them both again.........
TICA - MY HERO
I spent all day in my basement office, cranking out financial reports, writing
various things and reading. Then hurriedly, put the dogs in the car for their afternoon run, picked up some things
for Linda, then returned home to continue my daily tasks. It was only upon my return that I could read the signs
of the violent struggle that had occurred earlier in the day.
Sometime during the day, Tica had entered the struggle against evil forces
and saved our house and probably, our lives also.
Lurking deep in the corner kitchen cabinet as a box of, you will not believe
this, dastardly and evil poison soda crackers. It was not a small box, please understand, it was a large economy
size. Its evil presence could not hide from
the stealthy search of Tica, the wonder dog. With reckless abandon and risk
of her own life, she extricated the entire box from the cabinet, then proceeded to do battle with each individual
cracker, tearing savagely at each packet, grabbing each cracker and, with the skill of a trained killing machine,
destroyed each one before it could thrust its evil presence against us or our home.
Without swallowing a single crumb, she single handedly chased them through
the living room, up the stairs and into the bedroom, leaving no cracker unbroken. In one final stroke of protective
rage she took the final packet onto the bed and there killed each cracker before any damage could be done.
Upon discovery, she proudly slithered to the floor, her ears down and her
tail between her legs in a posture of great triumph. Now excuse me as I have things to do. As soon as I stop laughing,
I will clean up the carnage from this savage battle to the death, and then clean it up before Linda gets home,
and then as a reward for her bravery and self-sacrifice, I'm going to kill her.
My Hero Dog, "Sarge"
I wrote the following on August 21, 1993 about my Hero Dog, "Sarge."
There are certain memories flooding my heart today. Memories of a big bi
colored German Shepherd Dog, his life, and what he meant to me. He was a
bold, intense puppy, with a sparkle of mischief in his eyes, who for
nearly 13 years slept with his head facing the door - guarding our sleep.
Exceptionally intelligent, at eight weeks of age, after being praised
"Good boy," the first time he pottied outside, he never had another
accident in the house. We had named him "Sarge", because the plan was for
him to be a replacement for my sister-in law's old Shepherd, "Major."
Sarge had his own game plan, and he stayed with us firmly ensconcing himself as housedog, and family protector.
At five months of age he developed Parvovirus after playing with his litter brother who had been exposed at the
Vet clinic. His litter brother died, but with the help of a dedicated Veterinarian, ( Who in 1981, did not yet
know much about the new deadly virus.) Sarge survived. Thank goodness he did, because three and a half months later,
Sarge saved my life. I had started obedience classes with Sarge, and had also started a summer job at a pay fishing
lake bait shop. I worked six days a week, from six p.m. until six a.m. selling bait, and tackle, and coffee to
the fishermen. My children who were then five and six years old, and Sarge who was almost nine months old went
to work with me every night. On this particular night, around 11:00 p.m. I had put Sarge on a down-stay in the
room above the bait shop, where my children were sleeping, because he had growled at a customer. Near 1;30 a.m.,
a man entered the bait shop, and asked to use the phone, saying he was having car trouble. I allowed him behind
the counter to use the phone, but the man instead opened the cash drawer, and was grabbing the money. I stupidly
said: "Hey, put that back!, " and in the following struggle, the man began strangling me. Unknown to
me, Sarge broke his down-stay.
(Intelligent Disobedience ?) I remember thinking..."he is choking me, why is HE screaming?" then I realized
that Sarge was there, and biting the man, and snarling like a werewolf. The man began to punch, and kick Sarge,
and not wanting my "puppy" to get hurt, I took Sarge by the collar, and pulled him away. The man ran
out the door, which I locked behind him. The would be robber left behind alot of blood, as well as the blood soaked
money, and a trail of gore leading to the highway where he had left his car. Because of his heroism, Sarge won
Missouri's Most Heroic Dog of the Year award, and was also honored by the Missouri Animal Alliance as a hero. When
we went to St. Louis to accept his state Hero Dog Award, we were featured on the local television news. Since Sarge
had literally "Taken a Bite Out of Crime," they thought it would be cute to have us appear with Crime
Dog McGruff. McGruff was a local police officer dressed in a dog suit, complete with a trenchcoat, and a huge dog
head with long floppy ears. Well .... Sarge really wanted to take a bite out of McGruff. They settled it by having
the anchorman stand between Sarge and McGruff. During the interview on the newscast, you could hear Sarge growling
the whole time. The news crew got a big laugh out of that on the air. When Blanche Biesswenger received Sarge's
story, she presented it to the Board of the GSDCA. As a result the current Parent Club hero Dog awards were initiated.
He did not win the award that first year, but was honored retroactively in 1985, in conjunction with the GSDCA
National Specialty in St. Louis. I still recall how proud I was when Sam Lawrence placed the silver medal around
Sarge's neck, and the audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation. Sarge's story is featured in two books;
"Dogs Who Love, and Protect," by Tom Rose, and in FL's German Shepherd Book. A grandson of Select Ch.
Bel Vista's Joey Baby, ROM, Sarge never entered a showring, and never sired a litter of puppies, but to me he was
one of the Great Ones. He was a true German Shepherd Dog. He raised baby chicks, gently cuddling them between his
front paws, as well as several litters of kittens. Of course, he also taught all the Black Oak Shepherd puppies
their manners. ( Some more gently than others.) He had a "thing" about hawks, perhaps because of his
chicks, if he spotted a circling hawk would run barking, and leaping at them across the fields.. This obsession
also ran to hot air balloons, which he chased with a fury. Every spring he would bring me box turtles, uncountless
dozens which I would rescue from his formidable jaws. He loved to ride in the car so he could look for joggers,
and people on bicycles to bark at. He was our housedog for almost thirteen years, and was devoted to my children,
and their father. When the kid's dad and I split up after nearly 20 years together, the kids, dogs, and I moved
to a rental house for 18 months in another town. The old dog adjusted, but grieved for his old home. Sarge knew
me well, and we communicated with the unspoken language of love. When I cried, he would lay his head on my knee,
and allow me to hug his furry neck. Never a demonstrative dog, he only licked my hand once that I recall, but he
always "scolded" me when I came home late, with yodels and groans, and a wagging tail. I have had countless
thrills with my dogs through the years, including our first Obedience titled dog, and our first homebred Champion.(Sarge's
half sister, and her son) None of those compare with the joy I felt when Sarge earned his ATTS Temperament Tested
Certificate when he was nine years old. I can see him standing at the end of his lead daring the weird stranger
to make his day. We came back home 40 days ago, and Sarge knew where he was, and he seemed happy to be on his familiar
turf. But he began to fade away. Maybe the stress of another move was just too much for the "old guy."
He had developed Degenerative Myelopathy, and was losing nerve function, and his dignity. He left this world yesterday,
the same way he entered it ... held tightly in my loving arms. he rests now at the edge of the garden, under the
Black Oak trees, beside his mother. If it is true that all dogs go to Heaven, I hope that someday he will meet
me at the gates, with his tail wagging, eyes alight, scolding me for being late. Last night was hard for me, without
him there beside my bed, where I could touch him. as I lay there tossing and turning, and sobbing in my grief,
I swear I heard his brass bells that he got from our dear friend, Scootie, that he had worn on his collar for years,
jingle in the darkness. Maybe it was Sarge's way of telling me that he WAS there ... still with me in spirit guarding
my sleep as always. I like to think so anyway ...........................
In Loving Remembrance Of My Best Buddy
Black Oak's Sargent Pepper,T.T.
November 15, 1980 - August 20, 1993