Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….
August 9, 2008 — Empty Leash Refilled
After Truman’s turn-in, I took my empty leash over to the kennel department and filled it with a German Shepherd.
I know. But I’m serious. I had been asked to temporarily take on a Shepherd from the puppy raiser group in Washington state. The little guy was having some allergy issues, and the GDA vet department wanted to try to clear those up in order to give him all the chances they could to get him to formal training, so he came down to SoCal for a while. I figured it would be nice to have another furry friend to cuddle with since I’d miss my Roo so much, and I’d never watched a Shepherd before, so that would be fun.
The handsome devil’s name? Imriel. An all-black Shepherd (or as I like to refer to them, Pointy Labs). And he was a sweetie!
The first thing I noticed — beside how long and lanky and tall he was — was his gait. This was no Labrador tugboat! On leash, he had more in common with the Labradoodles I’d watched. Long and loping, barely there. It was fun to walk him.
I got him home to my apartment, and we settled in for the next few weeks. He was a great dog, but very different in some profound ways from what I knew best. I found myself calling the “Shepherd people” I knew, to ask questions like “Why does he not seem interested in eating?” and “How on earth do I get him to eat?” and “Seriously, what is his deal with the not eating?” My friend’s answer was pretty funny: “It’s normal. It’s a Shepherd thing. It’s just that unlike a Lab, food is NOT a Shepherd’s number one priority.”
I loved watching Imriel keep track of everything; he really seemed to know what was going on everywhere, at all times. Even while we were walking, his gaze would shift near and far, his head would turn (but calmly) at the slightest peripheral activity, and his ears would constantly be realigning to whatever they could pick up. He was on the job 24/7. And aside from having to pronounce his name repeatedly to everyone, and assure them that yes, there is such a thing as a black German Shepherd, I loved having him around.