I’ve shared my life with a few dogs and they have all been great. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a German Shepherd Dog gal but truthfully I love just about every pup I cross paths with (except this one Chow Chow that tried to kill me when I was little *snicker* and most Chihuahuas because they are truly evil little creatures, but I digress). However, as I have gotten older I’ve noticed a trend with human/dog relationships. To fully explain it, let’s jump back to the year 2000.
All my life, all I ever wanted was a German Shepherd Dog. I wanted one so bad that I went out and purchased every book, magazine, stuffed creature, you-name-it that had anything to do with this magnificent breed. I knew the history, I knew the temperament, the average size, weight, potential health complications – I knew them all. I watched K-9 until my VCR bled. I watched Rin Tin Tin K-9 Cop every day after school (yeah, that was a thing). But my mom was absolutely not a dog person, especially not a GSD person. So it was not meant to be.
So in 2000, I was living in Southern California and no longer under my mom’s roof, so I was able to finally get my German Shepherd Dog. I went down to the German Shepherd rescue in Burbank and found a beautiful one year old pup. I can’t remember the name they had given her. It was something cute and fufu – and I promptly changed it to Heidi. She was a Heidi. She was big. She was gorgeous. And she came with a whole host of known German Shepherd quirks. But that was okay. Someone had abandoned her and I was there to love her. And I did. I took her everywhere. I loved that dog so much. I was a young adult with no real ties to anything but my dog. She was my kid. For a while, she was my entire life.
Eventually life changed. I became a mom (and had the safest kid on the planet because no one was going to dare get near Heidi’s “pup”) and life started to shift. I had a small human to mother. It didn’t affect my bond with Heidi but it affected my potential bond with future dogs. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had entered a phase in my life where no other dog was going to have that relationship with me. Not for a while, at least.
Heidi lived a good, full life. She had hip displaysia and corneal dystrophy but with supplements and medication, she thrived. Until she was gone. It was a horrible, searing pain. I still cry about it now and then. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I had ever done.
Over the years I had a few dogs come in and out of my life but none of them were Heidi. I resigned myself to the fact that those years of my life had passed because I was a mom and nothing would ever be more important than my kids. (Still true, will always be true.) I couldn’t imagine having another relationship with a dog where that dog held that same rank.
But then came Fritzi and she completely upended my world. My kids are older now. They don’t require 24/7 tending to. They have lives (my first baby, Heidi’s baby is dual enrolled as a junior in high school and a freshman in college, so things have definitely changed), they have friends, they have school and activities and I found myself once again with the ability to wrap my world around a 4 legged baby.
It was a tough decision, though. I have two cats and three kids. And while it is easy to find a GSD who loves kids (it is rare when they don’t), it isn’t easy to find one that loves cats. So we had to start with a baby. I found a breeder who had some puppies on the way. On April 25th, I got the message that three pups were born to the litter and since I was 2nd in line, I officially had a puppy. I had my sights set on the little female with the pink collar and thankfully the person with the first pick didn’t select her.
Eight weeks later, Fritzi came home to be with the family.
It was a rough start at first but we knew what to expect. Having a new puppy is not unlike having a new baby. Puppies have to relieve themselves very often (generally they can hold it one hour per month of life) so there were middle of the night wake ups to go out, just-in-case puppy pad change outs, and that let’s not even discuss the teething and mouthing of the little landshark. Puppies have razor sharp teeth and they don’t mean to hurt you, but they still do.
When Fritzi was three months old, she went off to boot camp. School. Whatever you want to call it. She had four solid weeks of inboard training. That was hard. We couldn’t see her for four whole weeks. Our trainer sent pictures and videos so we could see her progress. But boy we missed her. And she grew while she was gone. I mean, she really grew. She looked like a baby when she left but was more like a gangling teen when she came home.
She is five months old now and my life is totally wrapped up in her. We go to school every weekend, where she continues her training and I get trained as well. (After all, it is usually handler error and not dog error when something goes wrong.) We have our regular trips to Starbucks for Puppaccinos and have figured out most of the dog-friendly establishments in town. (Did you know that if you go through the drive-through at Walgreens, they send a big dog treat out with your prescription? It is true.) I take her everywhere I can. She has become my constant companion. She has also become my younger kids’ best friend. My son loves to play and wrestle with her. My youngest daughter wants to cuddle with her and play fetch. It was just kismet.
So when you get tired of my Facebook posts and tweets about my sweet girl…just keep scrolling. Because I’m going to keep posting. And I totally did make her an Instagram page because…why not?
Happy Monday, folks!