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I hope you aren't struggling with a rescue, but if you are, you've come to the right place. There are lots of experienced folks here to offer wisdom and advice. I don't have any stories to share, but I think there are several members who have rescue-experience. Perhaps they will chime in soon with some of their experiences.
 

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This sounds alarming.
Are you having issues with your rescue?
In your previous post, looks like a beautiful GSD you found!

We adopted our dog a couple of years ago and I would consider him to be a success story. He was a pretty easy dog but I realize now that in the wrong hands, he could have become a dangerous dog. (For example - thanks to advice from this forum, I work hard to fend off random strangers who want to pet him and I trained him how to pass other dogs calmly on-leash. As a result of that, he has become much more relaxed and less edgy around strange people and dogs...no more crossing the street for us!)

We didn't have issues with house behavior (pottying, counter-surfing, etc) so that part went smoothly. In the beginning, he spent a lot of time in his crate and dragged a leash around. These days, he is trusted to be free in the house (even when we go out) and even has a dog door leading out to our fenced yard, which he loves.

A big help in the first few months was a group obedience class - not even so much for the commands but just for the insight into HOW a dog thinks, which in turn leads to understanding your dog and being able to teach/train him.

There were a lot of worries and issues to work on in the first months, but life is settled now and about the only thing I fear now with my dog is sickness and aging..I don't know if I will ever get over it when he passes away! Just the thought gives me a sick feeling in my stomach.
 

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Buddy was 11 months old, sick, hurt and savage when I brought him home. He had been starved, beaten, attacked by other dogs, left chained outside with no shelter, shot and hit/rundown with a quad. They sprayed him with a hose for making noise.
I put him down shortly before his 14th birthday, he spent 13 years hiding his head in my shirt when he was afraid and romping around the country with me and Sabi.

Define success.

I was cooking dinner and laughing at Sabi's attempts not to beg when the phone rang.
'Come get me. Bring a towel.'
Short and cryptic, so typical. Swearing under my breathe, I turned off my dinner, gave the dogs a quick 'be right back' and headed out. It was a twenty minute drive to the place my husband was working at, and I vented to the radio the whole way. I was fuming by the time I got there.
He met me in the driveway and told me to bring the towel and follow him. I stomped through the clear, crisp October night to a dark garage. Inside his flashlight swept across the floor and my stomach clenched. Puppies. Tiny, still puppies sprawled all over a filthy, wet, cold concrete floor. My mind took over and grabbing the flashlight I started moving, asking questions and giving him a list as I went.
Ten. Ten puppies. Small, young and thin. I collected them on a clean blanket from my car, set some shop lights around them for heat and used a clean rag to clean them as well as I could. I needed water, formula and their mom. I stood up and the flashlight beam bounced off a tiny bump in the corner. Eleven.
As I reached for the little, furry body their owner made an entrance dragging mom by the scruff and complaining that she kept running off. My husband slapped together a makeshift pen and ensured the poor waif had food and water. She was bone thin and weak, and she wanted nothing to do with the pups, but with coaxing we got her settled and the pups nursing. I guessed her at about a year old. I cradled little Eleven the whole time, feeling that faint flutter of a heartbeat every few seconds. We tried to put her with the other pups but she was too weak to even wake up, and mom kept pushing her away. As we turned to leave, he reached to take her from me. I actually snarled at him.
'That ones dying anyway' he laughed 'Go ahead. Save me throwin' it in the burn barrel.'
My husband dragged me to the car with my precious bundle.
Shadow has struggled with fear, aggression and health issues since I brought her home that night at just a few weeks old. She is now 8.5 years old and currently staying in a motel with me. She has crisscrossed the country with me and done all sorts of strange things not generally demanded of pet dogs. She has some issues but we manage.
 

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I was cooking dinner and laughing at Sabi's attempts not to beg when the phone rang.
'Come get me. Bring a towel.'
Short and cryptic, so typical. Swearing under my breathe, I turned off my dinner, gave the dogs a quick 'be right back' and headed out. It was a twenty minute drive to the place my husband was working at, and I vented to the radio the whole way. I was fuming by the time I got there.
He met me in the driveway and told me to bring the towel and follow him. I stomped through the clear, crisp October night to a dark garage. Inside his flashlight swept across the floor and my stomach clenched. Puppies. Tiny, still puppies sprawled all over a filthy, wet, cold concrete floor. My mind took over and grabbing the flashlight I started moving, asking questions and giving him a list as I went.
Ten. Ten puppies. Small, young and thin. I collected them on a clean blanket from my car, set some shop lights around them for heat and used a clean rag to clean them as well as I could. I needed water, formula and their mom. I stood up and the flashlight beam bounced off a tiny bump in the corner. Eleven.
As I reached for the little, furry body their owner made an entrance dragging mom by the scruff and complaining that she kept running off. My husband slapped together a makeshift pen and ensured the poor waif had food and water. She was bone thin and weak, and she wanted nothing to do with the pups, but with coaxing we got her settled and the pups nursing. I guessed her at about a year old. I cradled little Eleven the whole time, feeling that faint flutter of a heartbeat every few seconds. We tried to put her with the other pups but she was too weak to even wake up, and mom kept pushing her away. As we turned to leave, he reached to take her from me. I actually snarled at him.
'That ones dying anyway' he laughed 'Go ahead. Save me throwin' it in the burn barrel.'
My husband dragged me to the car with my precious bundle.
Shadow has struggled with fear, aggression and health issues since I brought her home that night at just a few weeks old. She is now 8.5 years old and currently staying in a motel with me. She has crisscrossed the country with me and done all sorts of strange things not generally demanded of pet dogs. She has some issues but we manage.
That's such a moving story, and so well-written. Thank you for sharing it. You should write a book of your experiences. I would buy it. :)
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This sounds alarming.
Are you having issues with your rescue?
In your previous post, looks like a beautiful GSD you found!
No issues yet.. I just keep thinking of all the what ifs and I know it is way early for me to be worrying. I am just scared she is not going to come out of this.

She hardly eats (she is underweight) she is so terrified of everything. I think we are getting somewhere like she will come sniff my hand and stand beside me then go lay down and come back and do it again. Of course I get excited but keep calm dont move dont touch her and she seems relaxed. Then I go to take her for her walk and she is a trembling ball of fear with her nose tucked in the corner.

I know it is going to take lots of time and patience and love.. I just need to know it can be a happy ending for her.

Sorry for my jumble and bad grammar.
 

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I’m sure I told the story before someplace. I’ll try to keep it short.

My sister adopted a border collie/ aussie shepherd cross puppy from the pound years ago. This puppy had been so abused in her very short, young life that if you look at her wrong when you called her she would pee and crawl all the way to you. She was deathly afraid of men.

My sister worked with her and mostly treated her as though she had no other problems and the puppy did better. Still she was fearful but with the training learned to trust my sister.

She was still fearful, but if my sister stop to talk to a male person, she would still sit nervously next to my sister. She would shake and with sweat enough in her paws to leave paw prints. But she trusted my sister enough to stay anyway.

She continued to improve. At some point she came to live with me for a while on my small farm. The freedom helped her to gain more confidence and by the time she left she was nothing like the puppy my sister first adopted. No one and nothing seemed to scare her. She had solid nerve and was one of the smartest dogs I have ever come across.

Hope this helps you ??
 

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OP....sounds like you're doing the right things...as you said ...time (the most important ingredient)....patience and love....throw in regular daily routine and you'll both get there......you really just got the dog ..... you've had her less than a week....not really knowing what a rescue may have been through.....you have to "earn" a rescue's trust it just takes T-I-M-E-some dogs more than others....I know it's very hard day to day when improvements don't happen as quickly as we like....am I doing the right things??....should I be doing more??......the tiniest change for the better daily "says" you're doing the right things...the simple fact that you're concerned tells me you both WILL get there !
 

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I have successfully rescued/adopted 2. The greatest joys of my life have been the turn around these dogs do.
Both physically and mentally. Remember these poor dogs were someone else's throw aways. Trash to some but
treasures to me.

Rescue #1- Dear, Sweet Tasha- came to me at 40 lbs of skin and bones and had just had puppies at 1 yr. old.
She was the nicest dog anyone could ever want. She happily lived here til she was 16 yrs. old. Never sick a
day in her life til DM finally took her.

Rescue #2- Orphan Heidi- has been here 6 mo. 1-2 yrs. old, had just had puppies and was a bag of nerves but
loved all people. Could be gsd/husky mix. Still dog reactive but can get along with some non-aggressive dogs. She has become my almost
perfect Farm Dog Extrordinaire. Smart and has learned manners and rules of the farm like not chasing horses and
cats. The first few months she was here she was like a greyhound running around the pastures. Now she's calmed
down and trots around. She immediately learned that she's the protecter here and must chase off or bark off all
the wild animals snooping around. A real snuggle bug and smiles happi[y all the time. Big personality.

I started both my rescues on a raw or home cooked diet. That way I could control their nutrition. It made a huge
difference in their overall physical and mental condition. Lack of good nutrition and certain vitamins can make
so many problems in rescue dogs. And so many commercial kibbles are really just cheap, crappy food. Like you
eating stale white bread everyday for your meals.

Most dogs who are not eating well will nibble on cooked chicken. Or cooked hamburger. Or cooked pork. You
have to keep trying different things in the beginning to get them to experiment.

Remember "This too shall pass". It helped me overcome many of the surprises that come with rescued dogs.
Just take it a day at a time and work with your dog every day and she will come around even if slowly. But get
her healthy first. Then you will see great improvement. We're here to help whenever you need a boost.
 

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I guess my advice would be to stop "fear calling" and thereby manifesting the thing you don't want. If you worry about it enough, you very well may create what you fear because your dog will reflect fear back at you -- and it will be 100% on you. I want to be tough with you about this and not sugar coat it: this mindset can cause you to fail. If you don't believe that you'll succeed with the dog, the dog won't believe you'll succeed either. They're masterful at reading us, and if a fearful dog reads fear in their person, you'll block your own ability to build confidence in the dog.

Banish toxic thoughts. If you find that difficult and are naturally the kind of person who tends to dwell on bad stuff, maybe check out a book from the library about CBT as a technique to help stop fearful thoughts from taking hold.

Dogs need us to be confident, calm leaders. My dogs need to know "I've got this." Even the new fosters have to be able to know that. If there's an eating issue, get with your vet and think about the food. Think also with your vet about whether this dog needs meds to get over the transition -- possibly in consultation with a vet behaviorist. Please focus on solutions for the dog, not on what ifs.

Any active rescue FB page has weekly adoption stories. This board does too -- just scroll through the rescue stories. You don't really need a thread for them -- there's already plenty here in the archives to inspire. I'm a little worried you're going to use other people's stories as yardsticks to judge your dog against though. Every dog progresses at its own pace, and does it in its own way. Each one is on its own journey and we have to respect that, and just cherish the small progress that happens a little at a time. Each one has usually already been failed by some human and is learning that you're a human who won't fail it -- so we have to give it reasons to believe in us every day to earn trust.

My female had her own dam euthanized right in front of her as a 6 mo. old pup in a horrible shelter. If you want fear, imagine what that trauma does do a dog! She was so frightened that she would splay on the driveway if we tried to walk her, quivering and helpless. She was terrified of *everything* at first. She had a rough first year, but we brought her out of the darkness, and she became a lovely companion. She now she is my Rehabilitor in Chief for my foster dogs. She fixes things in dogs that I don't know how to fix. She has quirks, but she's magnificent in what she can do with other dogs. I honestly believe that she was literally a gift sent from heaven to help me with foster dogs -- I didn't know it when she came to us, but it revealed itself over time. She's very special.

If you adopted through a rescue, call and ask for support -- post adoption support is WHY people should adopt from good rescues IMHO. If you didn't, lean on your trainer. If you don't have a trainer, what are you waiting for? Fearful dogs learn beautifully through clicker training -- find someone who knows how to build confidence and self-esteem in shy/fearful dogs. (It's a very different training skill set than training hard-headed, tough sport-type dogs, so try to find someone with a gentle energy about themselves.) I use OB to rebuild dogs and boost self-esteem because it works. Stop worrying and get busy!
 

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Here are my last 3 rescues (the 3 towards the front). The full GSD girls both passed away last year, age 11 & age 12, and the male GSD mix is still with us at age 15. They were the best thing we ever did. Imagine adopting all 3 in the same year about 9 years ago. I sure do miss those girls. One's owner lost their home and had to re-home her and the other was a breeder that they no longer wanted since she could no longer be breed. They were the best dogs anyone could ever hope for.
 

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No issues yet.. I just keep thinking of all the what ifs and I know it is way early for me to be worrying. I am just scared she is not going to come out of this.

She hardly eats (she is underweight) she is so terrified of everything. I think we are getting somewhere like she will come sniff my hand and stand beside me then go lay down and come back and do it again. Of course I get excited but keep calm dont move dont touch her and she seems relaxed. Then I go to take her for her walk and she is a trembling ball of fear with her nose tucked in the corner.

I know it is going to take lots of time and patience and love.. I just need to know it can be a happy ending for her.

Sorry for my jumble and bad grammar.
Has she been dewormed? I got a very skinny GSD from an abused situation and it took several courses of dewormer to get rid of her wormload.

I was going to post on here as I don't have an extreme rescue story but I feel it's more similar than I thought.

I got an extremely sweet and friendly GSD who was severely beaten and had been left outside since she was a puppy. Yet after all of that all she wanted was to be with her people.

She only had one accident in the house and that was because she wasn't jet out when she should have been during potty training. Training her took awhile because I use a lot of hand signals and a raised hand to her meant she was afraid of getting hit. Or picking up objects next to her she though she was going to get beat with them. I picked up a toy sword laying next to her to put it away and she screamed like I was beating her and peed and she pretty much flat against the ground got away from me as fast away as she could. I never even came close to touching her with it. Some if she thought you were going to hit instead of pet she would yelp and hit the ground.

It took a lot of work and we treated her as normally as possible while trying to to hit her triggers. But she is now pretty much 100% normal. Only very very rarely would she yelp if she thought somebody was going to hit her. It's been over a year since I've seen her so she might be fully over that now. I can pet her with that toy sword, instead of running away she would run up to me excited to get attention if I picked it up.

So give her time and attention but don't coddle her and I'm sure she'll come around. She just needs time to learn what's going on.

I almost forgot to add Shelby will regulate her food intake. She eats 1-2 a day sometimes not at all if she ate twice the day before. If she gets a lot of excercise in she will eat twice a day. But it takes 2x the excercise as my lab/GSD mix for her to be hungry enough to eat what I consider normal. Also if dogs are stressed enough they won't eat, so just try to stay relaxed and take it one day at a time. If you keep a journal of her progress you may feel better because you'll really notice it then.
 

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We have 2 adopted GSD. I haven't read all of the responses in this thread, but since you were originally asking for success stories I'll share our experiences.

Maggie (our second GSD) came from a local rescue group. She had been surrendered to a shelter for "aggressive behavior toward other dogs." When we originally met her, she had been with a foster for 4 months and would not leave the sunroom of the house except to go outside. The foster said she had to carry her into that room the first time, and most of her day was spent hiding in her crate. She was extremely timid, but did give us kisses and seemed fine around our older dog that we brought to meet her. When we went to pick her up from the foster, she was so scared that we had to climb in the kennel and force her out then ended up carrying her to the car. But let me tell you... The change in that dog has been amazing. She walks freely around our house. Doesn't use a crate at all. Is friendly to people and other dogs. Literally the most well-behaved dog we have. She definitely still suffers from some anxiety at times (especially when she's apart from our older dog or during storms), but she is just so loving and kind-hearted. I wouldn't trade her for the world.

Iris is our youngest. If you've read any of my other posts on here then you'll know she's very different. We adopted her when she was only 4 months old, but already had numerous bad habits. She's now 8 months old, and we're still struggling to get her behaviors straightened out. We've been through one trainer, now trying our own home training, and we may even end up sending her for a boarding and training program with Ivan Balabanov. She's a wonderful dog, but is very high-drive and energetic. It's a work in progress... LOL! But still, we love her so much and we're willing to do whatever necessary to provide her with a good, loving home.

Not sure if this is the type of information you were looking for, but 2 of our 3 GSD are adopted. All very different dogs, but perfect in their own way.
 

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Buddy was 11 months old, sick, hurt and savage when I brought him home. He had been starved, beaten, attacked by other dogs, left chained outside with no shelter, shot and hit/rundown with a quad. They sprayed him with a hose for making noise.
I put him down shortly before his 14th birthday, he spent 13 years hiding his head in my shirt when he was afraid and romping around the country with me and Sabi.

Define success.

I was cooking dinner and laughing at Sabi's attempts not to beg when the phone rang.
'Come get me. Bring a towel.'
Short and cryptic, so typical. Swearing under my breathe, I turned off my dinner, gave the dogs a quick 'be right back' and headed out. It was a twenty minute drive to the place my husband was working at, and I vented to the radio the whole way. I was fuming by the time I got there.
He met me in the driveway and told me to bring the towel and follow him. I stomped through the clear, crisp October night to a dark garage. Inside his flashlight swept across the floor and my stomach clenched. Puppies. Tiny, still puppies sprawled all over a filthy, wet, cold concrete floor. My mind took over and grabbing the flashlight I started moving, asking questions and giving him a list as I went.
Ten. Ten puppies. Small, young and thin. I collected them on a clean blanket from my car, set some shop lights around them for heat and used a clean rag to clean them as well as I could. I needed water, formula and their mom. I stood up and the flashlight beam bounced off a tiny bump in the corner. Eleven.
As I reached for the little, furry body their owner made an entrance dragging mom by the scruff and complaining that she kept running off. My husband slapped together a makeshift pen and ensured the poor waif had food and water. She was bone thin and weak, and she wanted nothing to do with the pups, but with coaxing we got her settled and the pups nursing. I guessed her at about a year old. I cradled little Eleven the whole time, feeling that faint flutter of a heartbeat every few seconds. We tried to put her with the other pups but she was too weak to even wake up, and mom kept pushing her away. As we turned to leave, he reached to take her from me. I actually snarled at him.
'That ones dying anyway' he laughed 'Go ahead. Save me throwin' it in the burn barrel.'
My husband dragged me to the car with my precious bundle.
Shadow has struggled with fear, aggression and health issues since I brought her home that night at just a few weeks old. She is now 8.5 years old and currently staying in a motel with me. She has crisscrossed the country with me and done all sorts of strange things not generally demanded of pet dogs. She has some issues but we manage.
Wow! What a moving story. I will never understand how anyone could be so cruel...
 

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No issues yet.. I just keep thinking of all the what ifs and I know it is way early for me to be worrying. I am just scared she is not going to come out of this.

She hardly eats (she is underweight) she is so terrified of everything. I think we are getting somewhere like she will come sniff my hand and stand beside me then go lay down and come back and do it again. Of course I get excited but keep calm dont move dont touch her and she seems relaxed. Then I go to take her for her walk and she is a trembling ball of fear with her nose tucked in the corner.

I know it is going to take lots of time and patience and love.. I just need to know it can be a happy ending for her.

Sorry for my jumble and bad grammar.
I'm just now seeing this response from you to another comment. If you haven't read my post about our experience with our Maggie, I think you'll relate. Just give her space and don't force her into anything she's uncomfortable with. She'll get there. She may always have some fear or anxiety under certain circumstances but I think love and patience can do A LOT.
 

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When I was 13 I had saved up some money to buy a dog. I scrolled through
craigslist hoping to find a little German shepherd puppy in my area. (yes Now I know craigslist is bad) There was an add that a rescue had posted. They were having their adoption event near me. So I gave my parents the address, took my money with me, and told them we should go "check out this store":grin2:

Anyways when we had arrived to the event they paired us with this dog they had said was good with children and other dogs. They handed me the leash and let me walk her around the parking lot. Meanwhile my mom was sitting at the table talking with the adoption lady. I took a seat on the sidewalk and this dog started licking my face as to say "I choose you".

Anyways fast forwarding....She was returned twice previously and escaped from her first owners multiple times scaling a 6 ft fence. She is afraid of fireworks and in the beginning would lunge at smaller dogs during walks. Oh and she had separation anxiety. The rescue did not tell us about her flaws. I worked hard to fix all those issues (firework issue is a tough one) she no longer lunges. She actually COMPLETELY ignores dogs. Her separation anxiety is not an issue and she lives peacefully in a home with a 5 ft fenced yard:grin2:
She also passed her CGC last year. I am 20 now and we still have some minor things to work on. Don't worry op.. It takes patience, forgiveness and lots of love. You've got this:smile2:
 
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