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Old 11-05-2012, 02:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Introducing my GSD rescue!

Hi, everyone. I've chimed in on a few threads here and there, but I'd like to officially introduce Heinz, my rescued stray GSD. Here's our story:

I lease a horse at a barn in a Houston suburb, and one Saturday went out to ride as usual. As I parked, I saw a sad old dog sitting patiently by one of the horse trailers - he had a collar and a long tie out lead on, and I assumed he was with some new borders who had arrived that week. I spoke kindly to him, and he shrunk away behind a trailer. I figured he was just shy and waiting for his owners.

Arriving in the tack room, I was greeted by my friend the barn owner who said "How do you like the stray dog?". Turns out he had showed up a couple of hours earlier, dragging his leash, and looking like he wanted to stay. Barn owner's Great Pyrenees wanted to kill this strange dog so she was frantically calling around to rescue groups trying to find a place for him to land. She was of the opinion that putting him in a high-kill shelter like we have here in Houston would be a death sentence for him, since he looked like this:
Keri Csencsits Smith's Photos | Facebook

Mind you, I was not looking for a dog. We live in a small house in the city with 3 cats. Plus my friend is very active in rescue, and I could have had a dog 10 times over had I ever said the word, but there was something about this poor stray.... out of nowhere I found myself saying "Well, if you can catch him, he can live in my backyard for a while until we can find a better place for him."

Friend snagged his leash (he had apparently decided that she was The Boss around this place and he'd let her get close enough to him) Once she had the lead, he was staring at her with what I know now is that GSD "Full attention" look, just dying to have someone to give him orders, and my heart melted even more. We realized he STUNK, and gave him a quick bath with antibacterial shampoo. Oh, he was in bad shape! What hair he had left was falling out, he was too skinny, and he had nails like dragon talons. We could only assume he had been tied out for a long time and either escaped or got dumped "out in the country". But he was an angel with us and the bath, no fussing, just a little whine where we hit a scabbed over patch. I'm thinking "Wow, this is a nice dog"

So we loaded him in the back of my Outback (had to lift him in there, his back end was so atrophied) and off we went.

Did I mention I'm married? Did I mention I did not inform my beloved husband of our newest housemate? Did I mention I am married to the most tolerant man on Earth?

We arrived home, I let "senor stench" out in our small backyard, and husband comes to the back door, "What is THAT????". I replied "That is a half-starved, smelly and mangy German Shepherd. And we don't have to keep him!" (yeah, right).

And come on, just look at that face!
Keri Csencsits Smith's Photos | Facebook

Then our big tuxedo cat came out to see what the fuss was about and strutted over to the dog. Dog is all "Oh, hey Cat, what's up???", sniffs him and proceeds to ignore him otherwise. I'm thinking, "Wow, this is a really nice dog"

Off to the local PetSmart for some food and a bed. He liked that:
Keri Csencsits Smith's Photos | Facebook

Off to the vet for tests the next day. Seriously, he looked so sad I was prepared to send him over the bridge if it turned out he was seriously ill. But good news! Heartworm negative, no mange, just a yeast infection, and the vet correctly diagnosed hypothyroidism as the cause of the hair loss. And the vet and the vet tech are all "Wow, this a a really NICE dog!:

So lots of baths, twice a day meds, and he starts looking better:
Keri Csencsits Smith's Photos | Facebook

In the meantime, he's gained Heinz as a name. Had to let hubby do the honors to give him more of a stake in the proceedings , but I think it fits. He's settling in well, we bought him a dog house to get out of the rain, he doesn't bark, he doesn't chase our cats, he walks nicely on the lead (though I feel compelled to say "He's a rescue" every time another dog owner gives us a Look as we walk past). He starts coming in the house more and more now that he isn't shedding skin everywhere and stinking. And he's still a really nice dog.

I halfheartedly contact a few rescues (who would be more than happy to list Heinz since I am fostering), but in the meantime I'm ordering books about German Shepherd Dogs and clicker training and looking up local obedience classes. Yeah, we know how this story goes.....

So three months in, and it looks like we have a diamond in the rough. Vet initial estimated his age at around 10, but now, we're guessing 5 or 6. (and his teeth are in great shape)
Keri Csencsits Smith's Photos | Facebook

8 months later, and I couldn't imagine giving up my new best friend. He is, as far as I'm concerned, The Best Dog Ever. Loves to do things, super nice with people, kids, and other dogs, and I've lost 10 lbs because he likes to go on such long walks . I love working with him - nothing serious, just teaching basic commands and a few tricks here and there. Maybe at some point we'll try agility. He's my bar buddy, and will accompany me to the local on Friday nights for a pint (he loves sitting at the picnic table). And now when we go for a walk, it is not uncommon to hear: "WOW! That is a really NICE DOG!"
Keri Csencsits Smith's Photos | Facebook
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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WOW! Nice dog, and a great timeline you did there!
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I love stories like this with happy endings Congrats on Heinz
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What a great story and what a wonderful dog.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great story and he's one handsome fella. So nice that you could see past what he initially looked like. I love happy endings Oh, and cudos to your very tolerant husband. I have one of those too!
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I really enjoyed your story. What a lucky dog Heinz is!
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow! Look what a little soap and a lot of love can do- such a transformation. He's one lucky, happy dog
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What a wonderful story about looking past a dogs current condition and seeing the gem within

He's gorgeous and knowing his story makes him that little bit more special, dogs give so much back to those who show them kindness (and a few treats )
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How wonderful of you to make this dogs life so much better. He's a handsome fellow! Kudos to you and your hubbie for being such caring wonderful people to give this dog a happy endng!
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Awwww, what a great heartwarming story. The look in Heinz's eyes are pure devotion to you, his hero! Thank you for sharing his first chapter with you...I hope to read many more!
If only he could tell you about his life before Heinz.
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