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Hi, my name is Brenda (I use my Twitter handle as my username). I'm new to these forums, even though I have been reading a number of threads for a while. My dog Windsor was only half German Shepherd. The other half was Golden Retriever. He passed away Thursday. He was diagnosed with cancer the week before, and nothing could be done. I made a memorial album here if anyone would like to see pictures of him. He had great classic coloring! We rescued him almost 4 years ago, and he changed our lives in ways I never could have imagined.

A couple of years ago Windsor and I became a certified therapy team through Pet Partners, and absolutely loved it. He had a perfect temperament for it and loved when we went out. He was calm, gentle, not easily startled, patient, and loved everyone, especially kids. We visited patients, libraries, special events, etc. and some home therapy visits as well. Not only did my husband and I lose a beloved pet, I lost what I feel is my partner. I'm truly lost in many ways without him. I work from home and he was my daily companion as well. (Well, we have 3 cats, but they're no dogs lol)

That's mainly the reason why I'm here. I want to continue therapy dog work eventually, I know I do even if I'm not ready for a new dog yet. I've seen how it makes such a difference to people, and really brings joy to their lives. I also saw how positively people reacted to Windsor, and many times it was because they love German Shepherds. There was such a connection many times for them.

I've not had a full breed one, and I'm not sure if the characteristics I described about Windsor were more GSD or Golden Retriever which is why I'm starting to do as much reading and research as I can. Honestly, he was pretty different from any dog I've owned in the fact he wasn't the least bit territorial when it came to people, just dogs walking by on leashes. A dog off a leash he'd just watch! He wasn't food protective when the cats tried to "help him" with breakfast or dinner (they got shooed away by us) and he was always so aware of his surroundings, constantly watching every little thing.

So, thank you for letting me introduce myself. If anything I've posted raises any red flags or concerns over what I'm looking for, it's ok to let me know. I'm looking for any and all advice as I become a part of this group. :)
 

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I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like such a wonderful companion and partner. Just really research your sources whether breeder, or rescue if you want to continue your work. You'll find good breeders for German Shepherds or Goldens that would be work. You got a great blend obviously with your mix but that's a roll of the dice. I would make sure if you rescue that the dog was fostered in a home with kids, dogs and cats. I had a German Shepherd /Norwegian Elkhound mix that looked like a miniature Shepherd and she just drew people in. When she was about 10 she wandered and found a senior citizen apartment complex that she loved to visit. She would spend the afternoon socializing and more often than not the local police would pull up out front and let her out of their back seat. (This was over 30 years ago in a tiny village, I wouldn't let my dogs do that now)
 

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Thank you ksotto333! Your German Shepherd /Norwegian Elkhound mix sounded like a great guy! Windsor had exactly that kind of temperament. I could see him doing the same! Visit all the people! We got new neighbor girls last year, and they loved to visit him. The rules were they had to ask their parents, and they had to ask me so I could come outside and supervise (he was gentle but an 85 pound dog is big compared to them!). As they made new friends, sometimes he'd have 4-6 young people visiting and playing with him. He was in doggy heaven :)
 

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Although both breeds are capable, I think you’re much more likely to find these traits you desire in a well bred golden. For a GSD, you’d likely be looking years out before they’re settled enough for therapy work.

I’ve had 4, different lines, genders and personalities - all rescues and where all of them were sound enough, only one stands out to me as having the temperament and personality not only to do it but to actually enjoy it and thrive. He’s sweet, gentle, sensitive, affectionate and an all around happy, friendly guy.... nothing sharp or intense about him. For what it’s worth - his coat and color point towards West german showline.
 

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IMO the traits Windsor had sound much more Golden-ish than GSD....GSDs are naturally protective of their person(s) and wary and suspicious of strangers....are there exceptions to this "rule" of course there are.....owners and/or members here that have GSD therapy dogs that end up being great.... found the "right" dog... that with plenty of training became a great therapy dog......the one HUGE plus for GSDs is this... they are the most adaptable breed and able to do a wider variety of jobs through training than any other dogs on the planet....period


When you're ready... search out some rescues around you----you had great luck before....not focusing on breed....but on the traits you loved and need in your next dog....nobody knows what made Windsor the dog he was better than you.....there's never going to be another Windsor in your life.....but if you spend time searching you may just find a twin or pretty darn close....you sound like someone with a really good heart who knows exactly what she's looking for.....so Good Luck and......I'm very sorry for your loss of Windsor.
 

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Thank you everyone! Fodder & Shanes' Dad, you may be right about perhaps looking more at Goldens when the time comes. I know I'll never find another Windsor (God knows no one can replace him), but I think a rescue may be the way to go again as well. Perhaps part of why Windsor worked out so well is he was already a mature, adult dog. Although I do recall the first weekend we brought him home for a 2 week trial (he wasn't cat tested). He was our first dog rescue (we've had rescue cats), and I don't think he'd really ever been in a house. He was a crazy dog, wanting to run everywhere. I had him on a leash constantly with me, but he was a handful, and so intense. On Sunday night I left a tearful message on the Humane Society's answering machine saying we couldn't keep him, we were bringing him back in the morning. But a good night's sleep puts things in perspective - and he already had our hearts committed - so I called back Monday letting them know we were going to give it the full 2 weeks, but was there a trainer I could please talk to and get some tips? I lucked out, there was, and the rest was history.

PS Fodder, your boy sounds exactly the way Windsor was overall! I love that :)
 

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PS Fodder, your boy sounds exactly the way Windsor was overall! I love that :)
I work with a lot of golden retrievers and it is agreed upon amongst many of my colleagues, that he’s the “golden retriever of german shepherds”. Definitely a sweetheart....he’s got a long coat too which adds to the snuggle factor and draws people to him.
 

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Your Windsor sounded absolutely lovely, and I'm sorry to hear of his passing. I'm going to agree with Fodder about Goldens being an overall better candidate. Goldens tend to walk around with a smile, and societally are perceived as happy, kind, and goofy. GSDs can be sweethearts yet still scare the socks off random people just by looking at them. My SIL has a lovely Golden, and she seriously just smiles all day every day. My GSD girl is just as much as a sweetheart, if not more, but people certainly avoid her and try to pet the Golden and give Ryka the stink eye more when we're both out and about, lol.

Personally, just looking at AKC breed temperament standard, if I wanted to do therapy work I'd stick with a Golden:

"Friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character."

And then you have GSDs...

"The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand."
 
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