Archive for September, 2012

The first time I saw Tater, it was a shelter photograph of a sweet-looking but confused German Shepherd at the Independence Animal Shelter.


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“Owner passed away.  Big boy who gets along well with other dogs, especially females. No issues with handling, loves attention and affection. Good with kids and does well on leash. Should make a wonderful family pet!!!”  I was hooked!! 

Tater had two siblings, a shiba inu and a doberman. They were found in a home 4 days after the owner passed away from heat stroke. All three dogs were very stressed out from that experience. Upon being found they were taken to the Independence Shelter. No family came forward for any of them. They each went into separate rescue with Tater being brought to my house by a shelter volunteer on a Friday evening because I couldn’t get there in time and we didn’t want him in the shelter over the weekend-especially when his siblings were rescued and out of the shelter. That is how Tater came to be a part of the MARQ family.

When I met him there were two things that I knew needed to change…. 1. He was the largest German Shepherd I have ever seen. I own a large male German Shepherd and he is a chunk at 85 pounds. Tater, he weighs 126 whopping pounds! 2. He needed a new name to start his new life-something more distinguished, I thought.
While I was discussing potential new names with people online, I found out that Tater was his given name not a shelter name. Tater was the name his beloved Daddy had called him, and that is what Erin and I decided to call him too! He had been through enough change. I could tell he loved to be called by his name, Tater he was and Tater he is today.
He settled right into my home, my pack and my heart. He was definitely used to living indoors. He likes soft spots to lay, he was polite with eating, and asked to go outside when he needed to.


I had him for less than a week when he was adopted by an adopter with large dog experience. I felt it was a good home for him. Before delivering Tater to his new home I had to get the number of his microchip. I live in Mission and instead of driving out to the lake for Erin’s chip reader, I decided to go up the street here to Unleashed. Erin works with Danielle and I knew they would read his microchip for me and save me a drive. Like I said, Tater is a big boy. He is a show stopper everywhere he goes and not only because of his size but the the sweetness in his face is irresistible! Danielle Reno of Unleashed came out in the lobby while we were there to say hello to the huge handsome boy I had brought in. As we were chatting she mentioned that she had previous adopters that were looking for a perfect German Shepherd to adopt because they had recently had to put their rescue shepherd to sleep. <pointing> “This room is dedicated to their daughter, they are great people” Danielle said. That was good news, I’m always stalking the shelter websites for shepherds in need and to have a potential adopter for one is always a good thing.

When I dropped Tater off at his new home he was comfortable and at ease in his new mom.  I left him there knowing he would know love and would have help with his diet.

Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out. Tater was there for 2 weeks before she called and said “he’s too big”. Tater was coming back to me. I was heartbroken for him. All the changes he’s been through and this meant it wasn’t over yet. When he came back to my house he was very nervous. He was irritable around my dogs. I believe he was so full of pent up energy and stress from all the changes that he really didn’t know what to do with himself. He settled in after a few days.

I posted his picture as available for adoption on Facebook. He had interested adopters outside of town, far enough that I needed to schedule their meet-and-greet on a Saturday. On the Thursday before his meeting on Saturday, I noticed a thread on Facebook about him. Andrea Knobbe of Unleashed and sent his picture to some people that were looking for a German Shepherd. I was instantly drawn to this husband and wife. Their pictures on Facebook showed Biker people, with tattoos, trains, and leather vests. But also a wedding kiss picture. I jumped into the conversation. My gut was talking to me. These people, they were the perfect adopters that had recently lost their shepherd girl, the same ones Danielle Reno had told me about 3 weeks before. That is not all there is to their story either. As we talked I discovered the reason the adoption room at Unleashed was dedicated to their daughter was because she had been killed in Afghanistan in July. A Soldier. A Hero.

It was a month after the loss of their daughter they had to make the hard decision to end the pain of their German Shepherd, Annie, who suffered from hip dysplasia. The losses they have suffered this summer left me speechless.

Gary Bailey took one look at Tater’s picture and it was a done deal. There was no way Tater was going to go anywhere else. Gary wanted to pick up Tater that minute. He was his dog. I talked him into waiting until I got home from work, his wife Deanna was out of town. I took Tater to Unleashed that night to meet his new Daddy. There was the instant connection that I look for, Gary wasn’t intimidated by Tater’s size or the fact that he’s a German Shepherd-that can be intimidating. Gary and Tater even look similar-rough and tough on the exterior and marshmallow softies on the inside. Maybe they understood each other? It was instant love between two men that had suffered such great losses. When Deanna got home 2 days later Tater was already part of the family. The two of them are spoiling Tater to pieces. He has good food, lots of toys and the safety and security to heal from the loss he has suffered. In return, he has unconditional love to give to his new Mama and Daddy that needed him as much as he needed them.

It really does always work out in the end. I was so disappointed in Tater’s failed adoption, but I can’t help but think it was fate. Deanna and Gary had been traveling for memorial services for their daughter until the day I got Tater back. The fact that I took Tater to Unleashed for his chip number, I’ve never done that before, and to have learned of these incredible people. And finally, that they happened to see a picture of Tater from a rescue that was not Unleashed and that they had to only look in the eyes of one goofy, overweight dog to know what he would mean to them….It’s an incredible story that I am blessed to have been involved in, even in a very small way.

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  • Surviving A Canine’s Adolescence

    Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., Companion Animal Programs Adviser. National Outreach

    Those weeks of careful monitoring have finally paid off — you’re now the proud caretaker of a housebroken pup! But wait, is that a yellow stain partway up the drapes? And after you unclip Rex’s leash in the dog run, and he maniacally bounds around for 45 minutes, it still takes a ten-minute game of “catch me if you can” to get him back on-leash to go home. What gives? Your puppy has grown into a teenager.

    The Wide World of Spot’s
    From the age of 6-18 months, your dog undergoes adolescence — that gawky stage between puppy-hood and adulthood. Physically, your dog has his adult teeth, but he still needs to chew on hard toys. That cottony puppy coat is falling out during one tremendous shedding cycle, allowing the adult coat to grow in. He has almost reached his adult height, but for now is all loose elbows and gangly movement.

    And what movement! During adolescence, the domestic canine resembles a perpetual-motion machine that requires superhuman stamina to wear out. It’s a good idea to find your pup a friendly pack of other canine adolescents to run with in the safety of an urban dog run or suburban fenced-in yard. If your dog lacks canine friends, send him or her out with your resident human teen to fetch a Frisbee or go jogging.

    Tiring out your canine teen will also save wear and tear on your abode. Chewing often results when a bored, anxious, or curious dog is allowed the run of the house. For the canine adolescent, boredom and curiosity can lead to major household damage via chewing, digging, and general reorganization.
    This damage could largely be avoided if caretakers would simply continue to confine their dog in a training crate or dog-proof room whenever no one is around to monitor canine investigations. Canine teens are not yet capable of the consistency it takes to earn the run of the place unsupervised.

    Those Paws, Those Eyes … That Smell!
    Hormones also play a major role in your canine’s adolescence. Most dogs become sexually mature at eight to twelve months of age; at this time, females will experience their first estrus (heat) cycle and males will begin to lift their legs and show interest in “the ladies.” By spaying or neutering early (between two and six months of age), you can save yourself and your dog such varied experiences as increased indoor urination (females in heat do it to advertise for suitors; for intact males, it’s a way of marking territory), inter-dog aggression (primarily between dogs of the same sex who are compelled to “fight off the competition”), and the complete loss of attention span that attends raging hormones. This also eliminates accidental matings, false pregnancies, and the male teen’s need to taste-test female urine.

    Remedying Rover’s Memory Loss
    An adolescent, even a neutered one, will experience occasional lapses in attention. At times he may look at you as though you had just addressed him in Mandarin, trying to convince you that you never taught him the sit command. Handle these lapses the same way you would with an untrained dog. Take a step or two backward in your training program and patiently re-teach him the command by luring him into the requested position. Be sure to make it worth his while with the use of positive reinforcement. Keep his focus on you, using favorite toys and treats as lures. And keep your training sessions short and functional, always ending with a game or playtime. If you take away the fun, he or she will show even less interest.

    In order to get through your dog’s adolescence, remember to provide plenty of exercise, continue to crate/confine when he or she is unattended, spay or neuter, and keep your training sessions fun. And by all means, hang on to your sense of humor. Although your pup may try your patience, take heart — adolescence is one thing your dog is guaranteed to outgrow!

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