Having married late in life, and only once, my husband and I led a 10-year nomadic military life, where we observed families coping, or not, with normal family responsibilities. I also had health issues not conducive to healthy birth. With this brief description of our background we turned to dogs for extended family.
Our 40+ years of marriage include three female German Shepherds, all registered and spayed, all dearly loved, and much grieved when the end of life good byes were needed. Our first black and tan Shepherd puppy, Snoopy (but female) was European with European registration, small in stature, and sweet in temperament. Her life was a fun-filled nearly 11 years. There are many humorous stories related to her as she was our "military child."
Perhaps these stories will be regaled another time.
We obtained our second black and tan Shepherd puppy, Cassie, in Missouri. Belatedly, we came to believe this was possibly a "puppy mill" and AKC papers contained false information. We still loved her, but I made the worst mistake of my life by protection training her, also with an unlicensed backyard trainer. Upon realizing the mistake, I quit the training but always had to be extremely careful with her. However, she had severe hip dysplasia and relieving her of crying 24/7 at seven years was easiest of all goodbyes.
We waited a few months and obtained Gabby, a sable Shepherd puppy in Arkansas, after researching blood lines. She was our Romaine lettuce, broccoli stalk eater. She gave us much joy for nearly 13 years. Parting was sweet sorrow.
By now we were older (in our 60s), had our own infirmities, and figured our dog days were over, despite the fact I kept a picture of Gabby by my computer for three years (and still do). My husband and friends knew I was in perpetual mourning.
One day, my dear friend, a newspaper employee, called to say a photo of a 2.5 year old small mixed breed dog with German Shepherd looks, weighing only 35 lbs had been submitted by the Humane Society. I pleaded with my husband to look at her. It was love at first sight, and our first adoption! We are now sold on shelter adoptions, where dogs are tested for adaptability. I did not have the joy of a puppy, but at my age I was, and am, just happy to hear four little feet running through the house and enjoy a dog's natural forgiveness and love for their owners' inadequacies.
Luckie answers our recorder as "Luckie, the hound from the pound."
Next post: How Luckie got her name and maybe a picture