As many of you will have seen from the Health Forum, Bravo passed away on Sunday April 26th, after a short but savage battle with hermangiosarcoma.
We adopted Bravo at 12 months from the Northern Utah GSD Rescue, although more accurately it should be said he adopted us; we saw 5 dogs that day but he was the one that both of us were drawn to. He had problems they told us; peed in the house; he stole food; he climbed on furniture; he was an escape artist. We steeled ourselves but went ahead anyway. We got him home and guess what - he sat nicely by the door when he need to go potty; he went for one cookie, was told no and never stole food again; he put one paw on the sofa, was told no and never climbed on furniture without our OK and as for an escape artist - pleeeeeze! he was velcro - we couldn't have got rid of him if we tried!!
He was an ambassador for his breed. Everywhere he went he wowed people and they fell in love with him (apart from the child molester, but he got just what he deserved!). He loved kids and they loved him. You're a toddler he's never met before - no worries, he'll let you hang onto his ruff and support you as you investigate and he'll guide you away from the sharp corners. You're a strange baby in stroller being threatened by a bull terrier? it's OK, Bravo will just invite the bully to move along and then hang out by the baby until he decides everything is cool.
Wheelchair bound? not a problem, he would just find an extremity with feeling and rub himself against you (and then gently lick away the tears running down your face). Old or imfirm, again, not a problem, he'll just lie there and let you pet on him anyway you can.
He was a softie with all humans, except those that meant harm, in which case he was everything that we want from our dogs (IMHO). Never out of control but always fierce enough to discourage would be troublemakers (100lbs of angry Black GSD tends to do that!)
He wouldn't stand for bullying at the dog park. I don't know if he realised that it was dads job to maintain the rules and monitor the dog interactions or if it was just his nature, but he wouldn't allow a timid dog to be picked on or for any "pack attacks" to get going. He was way better at spotting the snarky dogs than I ever was!
He was only 7 years old went he went and that's just wrong; there were more lakes to be swum in, more kids to be played with, more troubled people to calm and more hugs to be had from mum and dad.
Bravo, my big boy.