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Hi, just joined this group looking for some guidance. Yesterday we took in a male rescue GSD, Luca, that was displaced during the Paradise fires. Estimated age is 1 - 1 1/2 year. We have no records of anything and he's not neutered but we brought him home because of his incredible temperament. He walks on leash so well, so good in his crate and his energy is perfect for us..not super high but loves to plav. We have three kids 17, 15, and 12. My husband has had a GSD before but I'm not as familiar (I've always had Golden mixes). We have two cats (about 2 years old) in the home that have been indoor and getting ready to let go outside soon. Took Luca to vet today and the Dr freaked me out about my kids, the cats and the cost of everything to get him up to date with everything. Honestly, I was ready to bring him back to the rescue because I'm worried we bit off more than we can chew. He warmed up so much this afternoon and I can see what an amazing dog he can be and I feel he deserves that. I love my cats too and don't want to see them get hurt and the cost is hard for me right now also. Trying to figure out what to do...I know he will be an amazing dog that deserves a family. Any advice on how to introduce to my cats and have a safe place for everyone? Also, until I can afford the neutering, does that affect anything? Thank you so much for any advice!
 

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I'm surprised a rescue sent him home without all that stuff already done. That's odd.

Don't freak out over cost -- we can probably help you figure out how to get it all done for a lot less. However, what's your plan for future vet care costs? This can be a very expensive breed to own. Most of us who own this breed have known too many $1,000+ vet bills over our lives. Good pet insurance for illness and injury costs about $50/mo (through Healthy Paws, for example) -- but you still have to be able to front the cost on a credit card while you wait a few weeks for reimbursement.

For neutering...ask the rescue for a list of low-cost speuter resources -- or simply Google "low-cost neuter clinic [your town/county]." These speuter clinics are usually concentrated in larger towns, but it's common to be able to get it done for $100 or less at partially grant-funded places (and some of them may even do it for free, depending on your income). Those places also usually do very low-cost annual vaxing (you can also find low-cost vaxing at feed store clinics and at THRIVE clinics, located in certain Petco stores).

In CA, you can also use very inexpensive HW prevention because it works well against the kind of Heartworms there (and No Cal does have heartworms, unfortunately) -- you can spend as little as $5/mo ($30/6-pack) if you buy a generic with the same active ingredient as Heartguard online with your vet's RX (ask for Iverheart Plus or Triheart plus).

Check out this thread for useful info on bringing down cost of basic vet care:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/basic-care/747759-heartworm-parasite-prevention-low-cost-options.html

As for cats, our rescue's cat-owning fosters make the cats off-limits and don't allow dogs to chase cats *at all* (even in play). The cats decide when they want to make contact with a calm dog. Interestingly, quite a few of the GSDs we've taken in seem to really love cats -- letting cats groom them and even "make biscuits" on their fur, etc. A few need to be whacked by a cat one time to stop pestering the cat and learn respect. A minority will chase them and never can be safe unsupervised with them. Most can be taught to at least ignore them. Don't assume the worst yet, but be very vigilant and firm.

A two-week shut down would be very beneficial to help the dog adjust to your home, your critters, and your daily rhythm -- you can find lots of threads about it in the archives.
 

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I'll simply add this based on you saying you were freaked out after visiting the vet.....IMO It's not any vets job to " alarm" a new owner about a specific breed of dog but some have a tendency to do just that...there are a few breeds some professionals seem to like to pick on so to speak....some will immediately get out a muzzle BEFORE they even meet the dog....GSDs are the best family dog there is IMO...some of the bad rap they get is not due to the dog---but because of the owner....I'd find another vet if I was you...you should feel good after your first visit to the vet...not freaked out....


Again in your shoes I'd start by getting Luca up to date on vaccinations.....neutering the dog is not something you need to do immediately regardless of who may have told you you should do it now for whatever reason...there are threads here about spay/neuter...read and learn as much as you can and make your own decision....as far as cats go most dogs really don't have big issues with them.....I've personally only had issues with two dogs-one was a dog I was fostering....the dogs took some time but in the end both dogs could co-exist with cats....if your cats are not scared themselves... and aren't runners every time they see a dog....that's a step in the right direction IMO....


Welcome to the forum....and post up some pics of Luca when you get the chance.....i agree that it's odd that the rescue didn't have the dog up to date on vaccinations and most spay/neuter......
 

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Find a new vet. This one sounds a bit biased.
Find a good trainer.
Introduce the cats slowly. I like to test the dog by putting the cats in a crate and leash walking the dog. if the cats are loose and they run, all bets are off and you don't get a good eval of the dog.
The kids? Jeepers. They are teenagers. What could possibly be the issue? Get a new vet.
Get him up to date on shots.

Thank you for giving one of the Paradise fire animals a home. There are so very many. :(
 

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A. Find a low cost neuter clinic when you are ready. They are everywhere. Vets over charge in their office.

B. Don't put cats outside. It's not safe for them. Why put them outdoors if raised indoors.
C. Keep the cats away from the dog until you do some training. I adopted 3 adult GSDs and 2 were not good with cats supposedly but I trained them. You need to get to know your new dog and train him "leave it". To be safe have a prong or chock collar and a muzzle on him when you finally introduce him to the cats and never let him chase kitties or you have to start all over again. If you have a crate for him that'll work too. Give him yummy treats when kitties are present and he does NOT react to them. Let us know if he's seen the cats and what his reaction is thus far.

D. Don't give up and take him back. He sounds like a great dog. But he will need a little work and you might need a new Vet.
 

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your boy sounds like some one put some training and work into him. At least some basics crate training and loose leash walking. With that assumption, I would think that who ever had him also kept up to date with vaccines. It is an assumption but one that you could actually test for via tittering at least for parvo & distemper if you are concerned with over vaccinating.

The blood test is a bit more expensive but if it shows him protected, rule of thumb and guide lines are he won't need to be tested for another three years. also Rabies is now an every three year vaccine in case your vet is advising every year. Some still do. So if costs of yearly vaccines was in that discussion concerning cost when at the vets, you can safely request the three year Rabies and titer test every 3 years for Parvo and Distemper.

He sounds like a really nice dog.
 

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I wouldn't neuter if you can keep track of him. There isn't any benefit it, it costs money and it can damage their health. Looking at my current males development he is a lot stronger/more muscular than my prior guys because he's intact and I'd be hard pressed to ever be Ok with neutering again. But this means actually not letting him run off, I wouldn't trust my guy off a leash(at least not now). I don't know about cats, I had a female who never got over cats, depends on the dog.
 
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