This is the story of how I adopted my first German Shepherd.
I went to visit my uncle, who owned a dairy farm, and found this nearly skeletal dog lying under his kitchen table.
"Do you want a dog?" he said. "She belonged to my neighbour, Joe, but he had to go into the Manor, and we promised to look after her."
"How come she's so thin?" I asked.
"She won't eat," my aunt said. "Guess she misses him."
"She's not a good farm dog," my uncle told me. "She's scared of the cows, and we put her outside to chase off this tramp the other day. When we next looked out, he was sitting on our garden bench, petting her! She practically had her head in his lap!"
The dog was SO thin, I was worried for her. When I took her for a walk around the property, I realized there was also something wrong with her eyes, and she was partially blind. I really wanted to give her a decent home, but the problem was I was living in an apartment building.
I spoke to my friend, Chris, who also lived in an apartment, and had a male GSD. "Look," he said, "they can't kick you or the dog out unless the dog is causing problems. If I were you, I'd give it a try."
The next week, I dropped by my uncle's place after our annual family reunion, and took her home with me. I named her Lilli Marlene, after the old WWII song. Joe had named her Lassie, and I just couldn't use that name for a German Shepherd.
"Here's her food," my aunt said, handing me what was left of a bag of cheap Purina kibble. I looked inside, and found it was crawling with insect larvae. Hmm....maybe that's another reason the dog is off her feed!
Worried about her overall condition, and her eyes, I made a vet appointment for her as soon as possible. The vet examined her and shook his head.
"I can't say for sure this dog is going to live," he told me. "She may have some sort of chronic wasting disease, like EPI. She's 26 inches tall, and only weighs 35 lbs.!"
"Look, my uncle didn't want her, and she's missing her owner. Also the food they were giving her was crap. Let me give her some TLC, get some good food into her, and see what happens!"
"As for the eyes, that's easy to fix," the vet said. "She's got pannus, but it's early stages, and eyedrops should help keep it in check."
Lilli adjusted to life in a high rise very quickly. I think she had a total of two accidents before she was housebroken. She also didn't bark at noises unless someone knocked on the door. And as soon as she knew someone really wanted her and cared for her, she began to eat. She was always a picky eater, but eventually, I got her weight up to 70 lbs.
She had a very sweet temperament, without an ounce of aggression. A neighbour of mine, who babysat her niece every day used to take her out and walk her for me while I was at work. The niece took some of her first steps hanging on to Lilli's collar for support!
Last edited by Sunsilver; 04-08-2019 at 12:30 AM.