Did you fall in love with your rescue before or after the adoption? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Did you fall in love with your rescue before or after the adoption?

Did you fall in love with the dog and decide you had to have him/her? Or did you make a "brain-based" decision to adopt and then fell in love over time?

Share your stories of how you came to love your adult rescue!

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- 6 years

At the Bridge:
Cash Adopted 2007 - 7/28/2010
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Rocky 4/19/2002 - 1/16/2015 to DM
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 12:44 PM
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What a great thread idea!!

Here's my story:

It has been a number of months since my previous dog had passed at the ripe old age of 15. I felt that I was finally ready to bring another dog into my life. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but decided to go to the pound with an open heart and an open mind and see if any dogs there 'spoke' to me. But, nothing. None of the dogs clicked. I went back a few more times, walking the kennels, asking questions about the dogs, taking them out to walk them . . . still nothing. Maybe I wasn't ready for a dog yet? Maybe I needed to give myself more time.

But then this one visit, I was leaving with no dog again, when the very last kennel I walked by, this black, shaggy thing ran up to the kennel door and looked boldly into my face as I walked by. I stopped to look at her too - too big, too hairy, too much black, I thought to myself. But she looked at me with such big round friendly eyes, pushing her head against the kennel door chain link, I reached through to pet her, and she just about tried to push the door down to get the full effect of me petting her.

I looked at the info posted on her: Name, Keeta. Female. Approx six months old (turned out to be older), picked up as a stray.

I asked to take her out and walk her, and asked a billion questions, but the staff could not tell me much more about her than the info already posted. We checked her out with cats, she was fine. Tail wagging and calm. Perfect I thought - but she is so BIG! Though wanting to be open minded, I had sorta expected that I would get a smaller dog. GSD mix, said the info on her kennel door - everything I have read about GSDs to date said they needed strong leadership and a job to do - would this dog be for me?

I went home to sleep on it, but I could not get her face and her friendly, happy stare and hunger for attention and interaction out of my mind. So the next day, I went back and brought her home.

It wasn't instant love. She was big and had no clue on how to behave. She didn't even know to 'sit', and when I tried to make her sit by pushing down on her rear-end, she growled at me . . . I wondered what possesed me to get this dog? It was like a huge alien presence in my home, she was always underfoot and in my way. She felt like a trespasser - she was sick with a cold, had UTI and had many accidents in the house - pulled like a draft horse on leash, and did not tolerate much handling - trying to pick up her feet or even so much as touching her tail was met with more growling. She wanted to chase cars, had crazy zoomies that ended up her jumping on me and grabbing my clothes and tugging until I almost fell over. She was mouthing everything ALL THE TIME.

Trying to control her on leash in public took all my strenght. What have I done?? It was a constant fight for control, who will win? But at the same time, she was sweet and playful and what fun we had when we went out and played fetch and chase! And those eyes! She got me each and every time with her 'poor me' look, and I melted and resolved to work things out.

I did love her, but I was overwhelmed and unprepared for her. What really changed our relationship around was taking her to classes, where I learned how to set her up for success and reward her. The change in her was astounding!!! It was like someone had reached into her brain and flipped a switch. Suddenly things were clear to her - she made the connection to what to do, instead of me always fighting her to NOT do things. I had seen glimpses of her potential and ability before, and now I had the skills and understanding to tap into that vast potential and bring it out.

So the bond came with time, it came with work. Thinking back, I think if there was one moment where I think things clicked with her was shortly after I had got her.
We were walking on the trails in the woods. This was winter and there were a few feet of snow. She was running around, and out ahead, just being a dog and enjoying the walk. Then I broke through the crust and sunk in to almost my waist. I was laughing at myself trying to pull myself out, when she saw me on the ground - at her level. She came running over and bouncing all around and giving me kisses, wanting to play with me. Me struggling on the ground in three feet of snow was a good thing in her mind, LOL! It felt like I had a 'normal' dog then, and it was my first time feeling like I did have a bond with her, or her with me.
I think I love her the most for teaching me so much!


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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 12:55 PM
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Oh before, most definitely!!! I fell in love with Rosa when I saw her picture online. She was completely an impulse decision.

We had been waiting for several months for our breeder to get a litter (several attempts, but none had taken). We were getting frustrated so we started looking into adopting a rescue. We put in our application and got the home visit out of the way, but knew that since we were looking to adopt a puppy, there was likely to be a lot of applicants interested in the same puppy we wanted.

Then we finally got the news from our breeder that she finally had a puppy for us, and we were very happy about that. We contacted the rescue to know that we were no longer interested. That's when Jean (Rosa's foster mom and the person who did our home visit) contacted us about Rosa (who was not the puppy we had hoped to get, we did not even know she was available to be adopted since all we knew about her was that she was very sick). It seemed that Jean was very disappointed that we would not be able to adopt, since in the back of her mind she had been thinking we would be a good match for Rosa. She sent us pictures, and that was the end of it right there.

I still remember the look on Don's face when he said, "Well, what do you think?" I knew he was all for it, and just wanted me to tell him it was okay with me. My heart was pounding, but I said let's go for it, and we did.

And then we all lived happily ever after.

Niko: American Showline GSD 5 years old
Rosa: American Muppet Dog (GSD/Border Collie mix) 5 years old
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 01:10 PM
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Too late to edit, forgot the pictures:


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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 01:23 PM
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With our first rescue (as a couple) it was an impulse decision.
Our daughter had to do a paper/project for school and the topic she and her friend had chosen was on a rescue shelter. She had her project partner staying overnight at our house and we had set up a trip to a particular shelter so they could interview a few volunteers and workers there.
I kept on saying over and over and over that we would not be leaving with a dog..........the father had spoken and there would be no dog! (I was between K9 partners and wasn't ready for another dog yet) Of course, you all know how that ended up.
We went and we got a tour of the facility and when the girls went back into the dog kennel area (about 50 kennels) Audrey and I stayed in the office/animal visit area. (I just didn't want to go back there)
While the girls were doing their interviews, Audrey and I decided to walk back into the kennel area. Of course, everyone started barking/crying/whining as soon as we got back there. Audrey went one way and I went the other and when I came around the corner in the last row, the very first kennel had the only dog (or so it seemed) that wasn't barking and going nuts. This large, black, long haired dog was just sitting there, looking up at me, tongue hanging out. No tail wags or other movement, he just sat there looking at me. There was no kennel card on his door, so I knew nothing about him, but I couldn't make myself leave. When I finally said hi, I got a couple of wags, but that was it. I don't know how long I stood there talking to this dog, but when Audrey finally caught up to me, I told her that I wanted to save this dog.
We went and got a volunteer and they let us take Rocky out in the rear yard for a walk and some off leash play time. He barely left my side the whole time we were out there. He ran around a bit with the girls, but mostly he stayed close to me.
He knew some basic commands, but not much at all. We were told he was housebroken.
This was on a Saturday afternoon over Veterans Day weekend. We did all our paperwork and arranged to come back on Monday to pick him up.
We also found out that he had been in one shelter after another since the 4th of July, where he had been found in a large regional park, tied to a tree and nearly beaten to death.
He was the best dog I've ever had, hands down. We had him for just over 7 years. For about the last 3 years of his life, he suffered from seizures and that's what finally took him to The Bridge.
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He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true~ to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 01:31 PM
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Oh for me it was definitely after.

I was volunteering at my local shelter and fell absolutely in love with this shepherd/border collie mix named Cinder. I'd been working with her everyday for about a month. Then she got a adopted and I was happy that she had found her home...She was returned about a week later. I made the decision to adopt her, I contacted my landlord to make sure I was allowed to have a dog and went down to the shelter to adopt her. She had been adopted out 10 minutes before I got there. I was heartbroken.

With my broken heart I was now set on having a dog. I wasn't looking for a GSD, just a shepherd mix as I was experienced with herding breeds. I typed in "shepherd" into petfinder and Blitz showed up-I met his foster mom and adopted him.

It wasn't love at first sight. The first night home he unlatched my gate in about 2 seconds and went for run around the neighborhood with me chasing after him. I bought a padlock for the gate that same night. For the first few weeks he wanted nothing to do with me, just sat in the kitchen ignoring me. He wasn't house trained, had no obedience training, didn't seem to know how to interact with people or dogs (this is a 6 year old dog). I thought I had made a huge mistake...But I stuck with it, I taught him regular obedience-sit, stay, down, etc. and worked with a trainer to help him with his dog reactivity. Now he's a regular velcro dog. The dog who used to try to escape from my yard and presence now happily goes on off leash hikes, trotting right next to my side, stopping to sniff the occasional bush then running to catch back up.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 02:16 PM
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After losing the love of my life, Quasar, I looked and looked online. When I saw Shay, I knew. Not love, just knew THIS was our dog. The thought of someone else getting him made me physically ill. As a puppy, my first puppy-puppy, I then hit the postpartum blues. After a bit longer, when the pup fit in to the routine better, I came to love the little bugger. Now, head over heels in love with him. His name is Shay which came from one of the locomotives on our garden railway, but Shay in Irish is "a gift" and Shay-Shay (sp?) in Chinese is "Thank you" so it's fitting.

Cara -- Central CA
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 05:59 PM
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I had been looking through the local dog pound website at the pics of dogs available for adoption. I saw a rottweiler and wanted to go meet it……as I was walking by all those cages at the pound (which is heartbreaking) I saw a lab and I liked his expression, he had a noble and elegant look about him. He was neither overly excited-nor aggressive as a matter of fact he had an attitude of indifference. I kept walking though and looked at the rottweiler meanwhile my son was pleading for me to rescue one dog-my daughter another…then my daughter began crying for a dog because she didn't want them to "kill" it but something about that lab attracted me and I have never had a particular liking for the labrador breed.

I asked to see the lab outside in the fenced in area and once out there he continued to ignore me. I had my husband (he was protesting me adding a dog because he said that we had our hands full with Brutus-but he'd been a good sport and had come along anyways) go and get Brutus and we introduced them but the lab had no interest in him either. The girl working at the dog pound became concerned and started trying to call the lab over to socialize with us-she kept trying to offer us different excuses as to why he was behaving that way and to plead with the dog to come over and say hello, she looked worried that we wouldn't take him because of his indifference. She had no idea that I had no problem with him ignoring me….in fact I completely understood……why should he wag his tail and be delighted to see me when he didn't know me, I had to earn his love.

I took that lab home and it took time…a couple months for him to love me just the same as it took me time to fall in love with him. Now I can't imagine life without him. He follows me everywhere-won't go to bed until I do and then he lays on the floor at the foot of my bed (I have placed a mattress there for him now) then he waits until I get up in the morning before he will move from that spot. He is also very obedient to me and eager to please….I think he is just awesome.

*US Army Mom*

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 07:01 PM
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I've had and currently have several fosters rescues. Each of the ones who stayed with us were pretty much secure in that position within the first 24 hours of being home..."Jamie" was one of about a million identical looking lab mix pups at the Detroit Humane Society that morning. As I walked from pen to pen, overwhelmed by the love and the sheer NEED in the room, my eyes were drawn to one pup in particular. While all the other pups were whining and barking and jumping around and desperately trying to get my attentions, she sat staring at me -- perfectly still save for her tail, which was wagging furiously behind her. As I moved past her, her head turned to follow me, but she did get up or move a paw. I walked back fromthe opposite direction, her eyes followed me again. I told my hubby "I just want to hold her for a minute"...we had her from that day on and for the next 13.5 years. She helped us usher in all of our three children and untold other animal creatures in her lifetime. I hand raised Tori (rottie mix) from 24 hours old; I had just lost Jamie to cancer 2 months prior and Tori seemed then (and still is) a gift from God. She settled into our home as if she had always been here. She is a Super Mom and has helped to raise dozens of puppies and kittens from abandoned litters through the years. She is scary smart, is a stellar best friend and protector, a gentle therapy dog, and recently became the third mixed breed dog in Michigan to earn the AKC Companion Dog title. Rocket (Maine Coon Cat) was found in a dumpster, starving, flea & parasite riddled, with a broken femur. He was supposed to stay until he was healthy -- that was 6 years ago next month. He needed nothing more than love, regular meals, and basic health care to get better, and he has given us constant unconditional love and companionship every single day since we brought him home "to heal". "Booster" was dropped off in a cardboard box, all alone, no mama, no littermates, at about 9-10 days old. She snuggled under my chin from the first moment, and by the end of that first long night we knew she was a keeper. She's been with us a year now, is big and strong and the most unique cat I've ever had the honor to know. She follows the dogs in and out of the house, eats with them, sleeps with them, plays fetch with them (she can pick up the tennis ball with her front paws!), and you can hear her purring from 20 feet away. Many other fosters have come and gone, some with more heart-tugs than others, but of all those that became part of our family, we knew it immediately.

There are two kinds of dogs: Dogs who are German Shepherds, and dogs who WISH they were German Shepherds....
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 11:06 AM
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I fell in love with Max's photo - posted here on the urgent rescue forum - when I saw it. As I spoke with the shelter director (a GSD person) and the gal who did his temperament test, I fell in love with him even more. He was a cruelty/neglect seizure by their animal control officer and I was determined that he would not be put down in the shelter as he had kennel cough.

When I first saw him on the day that I picked him up, I was a bit disappointed. His photos were definitely nicer than he was in the flesh. He was so, so, so tall and very thin. Nothing that good food and a bath would not fix. We started on that adventure right away and I fell in love with him all over again as I lived with him from day to day.

Six months later, there is no going back and this dog is very much "my boy". He came in to my house never having been in a home before and has integrated in to my pack of (currently) nine dogs. He was a diamond in the rough and is now a gem of a dog.


Sabra - female GSD - born April 30, 2012
Sargeant - rescued senior GSD male/foster failure - approximately ten years old (August 2013)
Max - rescued GSD - Dec 22, 2010 to March 7, 2012 - at the bridge
Sable - rescued GSD - at the bridge
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