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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I can't remember how much I've told you all about Zee.
Here is her story.

Zee is a two year old German Shepherd Dog. Her story is one of bad circumstances, unknowns and of people who love her and long to make her whole.
When Zee, then known as Zelda, was born at a Virginia kennel in February of 2011, her future was bright. Zelda and her liter-mates were born at the hands of a knowledgeable, capable breeder who was well equipped to make them happy, successful dogs. Homes were lined up, and a waiting list formed before they were even concieved. Puppies were set to go to working homes, show homes, and into the hands of police trainers. In her hands, their potential was limitless. These dogs were meant to be something, and she was the one to help them start their journey.

Ten days after their birth, the breeders home, which included her kennel, burned to the ground due to faulty electrical wiring. It took less than twenty minutes for everything they owned to burn to ash. Luckily the family and dogs all made it to safety, but in the aftermath of the fire, they were left with nothing. This is where Zee’s story takes the turn that would leave her a fearful, shy dog, that would require months, potentially years, of love and devotion to make her the faithful, trusting dog she can become.

After the fire, the dogs of the kennel were scattered, from boarding kennels to the family’s rental home, with the future uncertain as the family grasped and dug deep to regain a normal life. During the chaos that followed, the puppies lost the opportunity at necessary socialization and though the breeder did the best she could, she realized this liter was going to be different from the ones before, due to the uncontrollable circumstances that followed their birth. But her determination and devotion to them never ceased. She would strive to raise them in a normal environment.

When time came to place the puppies, the breeder had been unable to locate the buyers she had lined up to take them. All of her documentation and contacts had been destroyed in the fire. Of course with the quality of dogs she produced and the outstanding reputation she had, she ultimately had no difficulty placing the pups.
She chose to keep one. And that was Zelda. A pup that was a little shy, but beautiful with a willingness to please that she praised. In the year that followed the family rebuilt their life. Their new home was under construction and their life was slowly becoming normal, close to what it was before the devastating fire. The dogs had been relocated back to the family property, set up in temporary kennels, but reunited as a pack.

But as life normally does, things change and our plans aren’t allows laid into place. As time progressed and the family continued to try to rebuild their life, the breeder realized that Zelda was going to need a life different than what she was able to offer her. And even though she longed to keep her, she knew it was best for Zelda to go to a new home. So, she began searching for just the right family for her. And she thought she’d found it with a member of her dog club.
A contract was drawn up and before long Zelda went home with her new family. Yet, it wasn’t a peaceful transition for her. Within the weeks following her move, the breeder heard many negative response from the new owner, and worked with them repeatedly to help Zelda grow in their family. Yet, after several unsuccessful months, Zelda’s new family turned their back on her and contacted the breeder demanding she take the dog back. Of course Zelda's breeder was more than willing to take the dog back, Her uncle was dieing and she's arranged to spend time with him that afternoon, so arranged a time to come pick her up the next day. But while Zelda's breeder was at Hospice, visiting her dieing uncle, the new owners showed up, put Zelda in her car and left. We don't know how long she was left alone, in the breeders car.

The dog returned was not the same dog that had left, just mere months before. This “new” dog was underweight and even more shy and fearful than she’d ever been before. She was afraid of everything, plastic bags, odd noises, people….. she longed to hide and exclude herself from everything.

We’ve been unable to determine what really happened while she was with her new owner, all we know is they returned a dog so scared of life, that she was miserable.

So, the breeder, devastated by the condition the dog was in upon it’s return, set out to recondition her and help her become the dog she’d once been.
The breeder, who happens to be my husband’s cousin, had been filling us in on her training and progress and about a month into the journey she offered for us to take her. She knew our history of rescuing and nursing sick dogs back to health, but we were honest with her that we'd never dealt with a dog with the issues she's described in Zelda. She was confident that we were the right family for her.

It was a decision we didn’t have to think too long or hard about. Being a life-long fan of the German Shepherd Dog, I’d longed to own one of her dogs. They were beautiful, smart, capable dogs that excelled at whatever job they were given. And even being offered a “defective” one was like a dream come true.
So, we made the trip to VA, the same weekend as DH's granddad (the breeder's uncle)'s memorial and returned to NC with the dog, we’d decided to call “Zee.”
Zee, has been a challenge for us, to say the least. We’ve had her with us for about a month and a half, and during this time we’ve struggled to build her confidence. She’s shy, she’s fearful, she’s unsure of herself and everything around her. The sound of a plastic bag shaking, or a paper being wadded up, sends her into a panic. The beep of my flat iron or the oven or microwave beeping, sets her to panting and pacing. Men, in general, scare her. She’d rather spend her time alone, hiding than participating in normal family life. To keep her from running from us, I keep her leashed, and tied to me, unless she's in her crate. The first several days with us, she refused to eat, even the most tempting of morsels. But we see in her that she’s so eager to please and make us happy. She really wants to be normal.
And with routine and stability, she has made improvements. She loves being outside, and enjoys being able to romp around the yard and try to talk our older lab into playing with her…. and she's so good, and has made such trust improvements that now I can let her out off leash, as long as I keep an eye on her.

.She loves to “work” for treats and her backpack is her favorite job. She’ll now eat her full meal now at one sitting, and will even let my husband touch her. I still keep her leashed to me, because she still doesn't accept normal life and general family commotion. Left to her own, she'll choose to lay in the closet or her crate, rather than be with the family.

But she's a different dog than the one we brought home just over a month ago. She's growing, she's learning, she's becoming a DOG.

As we’ve been on this journey with Zee, we realize she requires more than what we’re experienced to provide, so we’ve enlisted the help of a trainer. With the help of our trainer, we’ve began to strengthen our bond, and Zee is really starting to blossom. After just one official class, she's already showing her strengths. I'm very proud of her. grow together, I have become more comfortable with her and her ability. I know what she can handle and what she can't and I make a point of socializing her and introducing her to new people and new things several times a week. After all, if she's not able to experience new things, how can she become comfortable with them?

And as we

It’s my goal to help her become a confident, obedient member of our family…. and it's a goal I have no doubt I'll reach.
I’ll keep you all posted with periodic updates as to her progress, and thank you for welcoming us to your forum. :wub:
 

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What a great story. So sad, but getting to be so much happier. Looking forward to keeping up with Zee's story. Hope you will be able to share some photos soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This was Zee before she went to her new family.


This was Zee when we first brought her home. To me, this picture shows her fear and uncertainty.


This is Zee now.
 

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She's very lucky to have found you.

Poor girl! At least she had some loving people there to help her out!
 

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Mary thank you for giving Zee the home she needs and deserves.The future is not guarenteed to any of us and the tragedy that befell Zee's breeder is what can happen to anyone. Zee is very lucky both in her breeder and in you. I look forward to hearing about her growtrh and progress and her life as a happy family member.
 
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