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I looked at this post and responses before answering.

My first great dog was a mixed "looked like a small Labrador" female named Sheba. She had been dumped on a farm preggo. After her puppies were weaned that farmer was going to shoot her. I asked to have her and so had a dog. I had her spayed. That dog only had eyes for me and was with me when I ended up on my own farm. I was a very lousy dog owner back then (over 50 years ago). No dogs in the house sort of situation. Sheba made up for my short comings. She died in an accident. I have never forgiven myself (especially knowing what I do now).

I had other dogs on the farm that were good.. then I got my first pure bred German Shepherd. She was an amazing dog. I wish I had known then what I know now... she was a great dog and a true partner (her choice!). Anything I needed her to do she would. She herded cattle for me. She worked with the horse herding cattle. She would also herd the destructive deer out of the corn fields. She was like having a third hand. She would have helped me repair machinery if she could have held a wrench! I had her 14 years. The last 4 years of her life she lived part time with my parents. She recognized my Father's hearing loss and took up as his "hearing dog." Mom could go out and relax knowing that dog would tell Dad when the phone rang or there was someone at the door.. or any other emergency he could not hear. Heartbreaking when she crossed the bridge.

I went 11 years with No Dog then got another German Shepherd.. and that eventually led to my current dog.

When they say you will never get another as good as a past heart dog, don't believe it. This guy is as good as the other two heart dogs.. better in some ways.. and every bit as much a partner as a dog could be. He is an extension of me and, the way we work together I think I am an extension of him. Sometimes we look at each other and just "know" the next step. For the first time I am not sure I will find another dog as good as this one. He us 5 years old and often I think "Dogs don't live long enough."

I expect next year after recovery from shoulder replacement I will start the next puppy... while this dog is still young enough to enjoy that play.

I have been very blessed with good dogs. I am grateful though the sorrow when they go is the hardest part if dog ownership.

It is never easy to lose a great dog. You can never expect the "next dog" to be like the one you lost. You must not constantly compare new dog to the heart dog you lost as hard as that is. Each dog is unique.
 
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