Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.– Orhan Pamuk (author, My Name Is Red)
This will most likely be the last puppy I raise. Not to be a downer, but I’m going to be 58 this year and that means I’ll most likely be in my 70s when this puppy gets to be an old man.
I gave into peer pressure and decided to blog about raising this guy.
So, let’s start at the beginning; why did I get Falcon?
Falcon is only the second dog I ever purchased. I have worked in animal welfare for more than 10 years and of the 30 or so animals I’ve shared my life with; all of them but two were rescues. It puts me in a weird position; but one for which I’m not apologizing. I know I have friends who are sad that I bought a dog and I do feel a tiny bit of guilt over it. Not because I think it is wrong; but just because I know there are thousands of amazing dogs in shelters also looking for great homes.
I am a member of Midwest Search Dogs, a volunteer organization whose members assist law enforcement in finding missing people (alive or deceased). You can read about my first SAR dog Condor at http://www.connieswaimcaninebehaviorservices.com. Skywalker is my second SAR dog. I adopted him. It is certainly possible to find a great working dog in a shelter. I put the word out to everyone that I was looking for a German shepherd or GSD mix pup and got a call from an animal control officer about a black German shepherd with a litter of six pups abandoned in a housing complex. The mom was awesome and had nice hips when we xrayed them (good hips are important for all dogs; but especially for those you want to do lots of running and jumping). I fostered the litter of six pups; narrowed it down to three of them and fostered them for about a month and decided to adopt Skywalker. I was lucky as the shelter worked with me and allowed me to keep my dog unaltered until he reached the age of 2 so I could ensure his growth plates had closed before neutering. I won’t go into detail about why this was important to me, you can do your own research. Don’t get me wrong, pediatric spaying and neutering is essential in curbing pet over population. But, some research shows there are possible adverse effects which could be worse for a dog that has a job.
However, Skywalker has horrible hips. I had them xrayed when he was neutered and it is most likely he will have a shortened career and I will always have to keep him healthy, well muscled and on supplements to ensure he is pain free for as long as possible. Sky is also fearful of strangers, which is a result of either breeding, the stress his mother was under during pregnancy or lack of early socialization since they were abandoned (or a combination of all of the above).
I wanted my last search dog to be as perfect as possible from the beginning. So, I researched what I wanted and then found a breeder who I thought could bring what I wanted to the whelping box.