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I searched to see if this topic had been done before but none turned up. I apologize in advance if it has been done already.

I think this is different from the "How did you get involved with GSDs?" thread. Mods feel free to disagree of course.

I thought this might be an interesting topic since although there are many first time GSD owners here, many others have had GSDs for decades. Each of us had that first GSD at different times in our lives and under different circumstances of course. What is not unique is the profound effect they've had on our lives.

The first GSD that was a major part of my life was not mine but my father's. Rex was already old when I was born but his presence was so vital that his death when I was 3 is among my earliest memories and was my first understanding of loss in life.

Kaiser was the first GSD who was my dog and no other's. I was 5.5 years old and quite young to be given a puppy to care for. My siblings had been about age 9 or 10 when dad gave them their's. Dad felt I had what he called "the gift" and that I showed the most promise of all his children to carry on his legacy with these dogs. As in most things, dad was proven right.

I still remember the day I was given him that April day in 1967. He was the biggest and the leader of his litter. Dad used noble titles for names and my Kaiser deserved the title of "emperor" as he was very big and handsome as an adult and remained imperial in his demeanor. Calm and resolute, strong and gentle as one. I started training him with my dad training me in the process. I joyed in the time with both my dog and my father together. It is among the happiest times of my life.

Sadly poor Kaiser was murdered by the teenage boy nextdoor. He was only 3.5 when he died a horrible death by being purposely run down. The fiend actually went up on our lawn with his car to get my boy. I was at a friend's house when it happened. My sister came and got me and broke the news. There have been few times in my life when I felt so helpless. The grief was terrible and it was nearly three years before I could bring myself to have another GSD. I was young enough to feel that I was somehow betraying Kaiser by putting another in his place. It took me that long to realize that none ever would take his place. He was first, and he was unique in more ways than one. Not the least of all because it was with him that I learned the depth of these dogs and what a privilege it is to have one. He was perfect too in being my first. He made it easy on me to learn how to train. Dad showed the way, but Kaiser and I traveled the path together and his calmness and quiet power were ideal for a very young trainer to learn to train with. I was very, very lucky to have had him in my life but to have had him then most of all.

I've posted this little movie I made with iMovie of Kaiser before, but I've never told his story. His violent death was too hard to relate in the years just after I returned from Iraq. I've come a long way in healing this past year and half or so. It was time to tell you of my first GSD.





I don't want this to be all my show so please, tell the tale of your first GSD whether the time is now or many years ago.
 

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I was too young to remember when I first met the first GSD we had. The parentals were breeders.

But I have been told that Bella (gorgeous golden saddleback female) came up to me when I first arrived from from hospital, as a little 4 pound spec, and gave me the biggest lick imaginable. I didn't start crying but I had the most startled look on my face! I seemed to be saying - What IS that?! But Bella knew what I was...a Pup! Of course. She then barked to the others and they came running over, sniffing me and licking me. They were so excited to see this new pup! Bella tolerated this for a while, then barked at them to 'Get Lost, now!" and they went! She never strayed more than five feet from me from then on...she even followed me into the sand pit! I used to feed her mud pies, and she licked at them for me! She would look at mum through the window with a mournful expression as though saying "How much more of these to I have to eat?!" She was the most beautiful and heartwarming dog I ever had the pleasure of knowing...except of course, her daughter....Sharn.

RIP Bella
 

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That was a beautiful tribute to Kaiser. He was so young. You were also just a child dealing with this horrible trauma. I'm glad you were finally able to share this story.

This is a great idea for a thread. I've heard that once you have a GSD, you will always have/want a GSD. It would be nice to read how everyone's first GSD impacted their lives.

My husband grew up with shepherds. He told me so many stories of his buddies Pondo and Elmo while he was growing up. He said Elmo was the crazy one. He just lights up when he talks about his memories of those dogs. Years before we got married, he told me we would have GSDs in our lives and the first would be our own Elmo.

We got Elmo in April of last year. I didn't know what to expect. I just remember driving home with him. My husband was in the back seat of the car with Elmo. I turned around and he looked so happy. It was like the joy a little has when they have what they want.

Elmo was adorable. But, he was huge! I had never had a big dog before. Our JR was big to me. Elmo was only 11 weeks old but he was a little bigger than Molly already.

Through the weeks, I was big on getting him socialized. I took him for walks through the neighborhood so he could meet people. He loved everyone! Everyone loved him too. I'll never forget one of our first walks. He was still getting used to his leash. We were walking on the sidewalk of a somewhat busy street. He decided he didn't want to walk anymore so he sat down. I tried to get him to keep walking but he just sat there. So, I decided to turn around and start walking. I figured he would see me and come running. I stopped when I reached the end of the leash. I stood there for a while and finally turned around. Elmo had turned his back to me and sat down! The little guy must have thought we were playing a game where we turn our backs to each other. If anyone driving by saw us, they probably thought we were nuts.

Over the last year, Elmo has become my buddy. I talk to him like he's a person sometimes. He has these soulful eyes. I can't look him in the eye when I'm upset. He's like a little person whose feelings get hurt so easily. I can't stand to see him upset.

My favorite moments are when I'm not feeling well and Elmo tries to cheer me up. He comes to me for extra hugs and kisses. He brings me his favorite toys! I'm blown away at how much logic he has.

I've read that people say that GSDs are like shadows. They are always with you. I'm so proud to have Elmo as my shadow! I feel lost when I'm without him.
 

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I'm so sorry about your Kaiser. What a horrible thing. I'm glad you're starting to come to terms with it, such a sad thing to happen to a little boy.

My first GSD wasn't mine, he was my mother's dog. Totally devoted to Mom but he adored us children. He was 5 when I was born so my earliest memories of him were this big old lunk head laying in my lap licking my hands. Every night when we'd have family TV time, Prince would lay in my lap and lick my hands for as long as I'd tolerate!

Princey, when he was young and very black


Princey when I was a toddler


Baron was the first dog who was mine. I was 8 and my parents let me pick him from the litter. So being 8, I picked the most outgoing pup! he was great fun, would play ball for hours. He lived for the ball!

Baron with my niece (who's now 25 - her little boy last Christmas had a similar scene with Morgan)


This boy was the third GSD, Rex, the gentle giant. First GSD I had as a quasi adult (I was 16 in this picture)
 

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I agree...what a terrible thing to happen to Kaiser. I am glad that you are finally able to tell someone about it. He sounded like he was a beautiful dog.
 

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GSDad-
Holy smokes, that was beautiful. Not the tragedy, but your tribute. Thank You for your service. Thanks for sharing.

Let's see...I got my first mix when I was 18, a week after getting robbed and witnessing murder while working at an all night grocery store in 1972 in Detroit.
He was so awesome, a gsd/dob mix. My next was a gsd/collie mix from the humane society who walked my kids to and from school.
So nearly 30 years since the first, I got my first full bred gsd as a birthday gift from my daughter, but a week early. I shared my birthday with my Mother,
and she departed this Earth on the same day that year. What are the odds? Anyways, he became a therapy dog, but died suddenly @ 4.5.
Then we got Rani, now 4, our first female...but still missing our Big Boy, now have Hugo too, now 17mos. I met his breeder on my birthday, just days before he was conceived. Life is such a trip.

While I think all dogs are wonderful, the gsd does hold a special place in my heart, a common affliction we all gladly share here!
I still miss all my old dogs, but know they taught me so much so I could enjoy the ones I now host. I feel very lucky and fortunate to
have known them.
 

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i am so sorry about your first gsd =(

beamer is my first gsd! i love her! she was actually bought for my daughter whos 15 months old. we were initially looking for a husky, but saw an ad in the paper for 12 week old gsds for $200. so we called & the guy brought her to my husbands work & he bought her right then & there. the whole ride home from work (we were sharing a car at the time) i was SO scared of her LOL, i was scared of gsds..

needless to say 9 months or so later she is laying with her head in my lap right now. =)
 

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Emma is my first full-blood GSD... I never imagined my entire life that I could fall head over heels in love with a GSD, I was always under the assumption that the GSD was a bad violent breed, but to my surprise they are the best breed...Love them, and will always until the day I die will have a GSD in my life.

I think it's been a great experience for me, and it's all to the thanks of my DF, Del for introducing me to his GSD, Bo...The moment I layed eye's on her I was hooked, sadly enough she has passed on to be in Doggie Heaven, which tore me up inside, since I did get a full 3 years with her.

I love the way the GSD is in the working group, and how staunch they are. The protective manner is like none I've ever been around.

Some would beg to differ with me (yes, surprisingly, there are a few), but the GSD is so intellegant.

My first night with a GSD pup was scary for me, as she was a rescue and I was not certain she would survive, because her sister had just passed away meere minutes before we got there from starvation, and well Emma was starving to death as well. I remember on the 8 hour car ride back home I held this tiny helpless 8 week pup in my lap and continued feeding her puppy formula every 10 minutes for the entire 8 hours, not ever taking my hands off of her cheast to ensure she was breathing, and to my surprise the tiny pup never had an accident in the car, she would only do her business when we would pull over and let her stretch, she certainly is a trooper in that way! It was almost 24 hours after we got home that we could settle on the name "Emma" for her, she just had that girly petite look about her, and so far her name has suited her well.

She is now right at 10 months old, and healthy and stonger than she's ever been. I hope to get many many years with my sweet Emma.


This is Emma on her
first night here.

This is Emma less than a month ago (I need to take more photo's)

 

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Gracie's my first and you all know how I feel about her. She has completely changed my life. I love it and I love her!
 

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Max was my first GSD. My mom was pregnant with me back in 1979 and my dad, who had Shepherds growing up, wanted their child to grow up with a dog. So that is when they brought Max home. Max was born in January of 1979 and I was born in August of that year. So we were babies together and grew up with eachother until we were both 12 and we had to put Max down. He was our gentle giant. A very large, long haired, soft earred GSD and just a gentle soul. He would tolerate me climbing all over him even on those hot summer days. He was such a good boy and I miss him dearly. He is the reason I love the breed to this day. I don't think I could own another breed.
 

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The first GSD that I owned as an adult was a female rescue.The rescue was not GSD specific and I went to adopt a basset hound that was gone when I got there.Shana chose me .they had a huge fenced area with dog houses and all dogs lived together.When I went into field to look at other adoptables(I really wanted that basset)she raced toward me whirled around and sat at heel.Whether true or not rescue told me she had never done that before.She came home with me and the first thing she did was jump up on the bed with me that night give a HUGE sigh and lick my chin.She was kinda a perfect dog would stay at heel to me whatever the cicumstance(even took her to midtown Manhattan without leash)accepted many rescue cats as family loved anyone who was part of my family/friend group.She died 4 years after my adoption from lymphoma and was the reason my next rescue was not GSD cause I could not stand pain of comparison to Shana.
Since this is about first GSD won't go into next rescue but OMG WHAT a difference could not believe same breed but jake has won me over.Never knew why GSD were recommended for experienced dog owners only due to my first GSD rescue.
 

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What a beautiful tribute, and Kaiser's story nearly made me cry...

My first GSD was a GSD/mongrel mix named Melur. I was really young then, and my Dad wanted a dog to help guard the house. I didn't live with them (dad and stepmum), but Melur made the biggest impression on me, that she was increadibly loyal and smart...

Jump to the present, when I got my first home, and my first GSD, Stella. My husband was at the time, petrified of dogs, even small ones. Of course, I conveniently did not tell him how big a GSD would grow to... Stella very very quickly won him over, and she was the most intelligent GSD - opening doors and undoing locks, opening the fridge to get her 'cold water' to drink, incredibly trainable, and she was a beautiful black and gold, with classic saddle markings. We took Stella almost everywhere with us, and she was very loyal and protective of her family. Sadly, she was stolen from our yard when she was only three years old. We miss her very badly, even to this day, and losing her was very depressing for us.

We have two Sibes, but they cannot be compared to a GSD. After almost a year of losing Stella, we finally decided that we would get a new pup. It took us a few months of pup-hunting, and we finally decided on Anouc, a Czech working-line pup. My husband just could not take the sadness of another dog who even remotely looked like Stella, so we picked an almost all-black girl. Anouc is amazing, as we now know the difference between a show-line and working-line dog. Her intelligence and trainability is just amazing, and her affection is indescribable...

For both of us, we will always have a GSD in our home, as there is nothing like GSDs. And a plus point for me, as my husband now loves dogs, or rather only GSDs and Sibes, and still is petrified of the other fru-fru dogs! He says they can't be predicted or trusted, and only prefers our furkids!
 

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That really was a beautiful tribute..

We decided to get a GSD and took two years to research the breed... By the time we got Reiker, I knew the german commands, what sex we wanted, the name, the toys, etc.. we were prepared..If you could be..lol... we brought this little bundle home and he was an angel.. He was everything I could of wished for.. We had gotten Rana a year after Reiker .. she was a rescue and was not a purebred. They were great friends with each other..
He was just over two years of age when he took his first seizure.. it was devastating.. He was my constant companion and when i had serious health issues, he was there... he would help me around the house and would "pull" the chair out so that I could sit... He would grab my sleeve and guide me around , even to get out of bed.. When I was sick , he would sit beside me and lick my face while I was being sick.. He was my rock during my illness.. I always called him my son, for the one that I never had.. He was everything to me.. Reiker had just turned 4 and he passed away suddenly 8 days after his birthday.. We were all devastated.. Rana went into depression and spent her days on my lap whining as I was crying.. I thought that I would never love another son again,... Friends suggested that the dh get me another baby asap to distract me.. We then got Bismarck.. he is now soon to be three year old and we have three females as well.. so we have a full house with GSD's and I surprised myself that I could love all of them equally.. I still had enough love in me.. I miss my son more than you know and not one of the furkids that I have now have "replaced" him.. they are all of different personalities and they are all unique.. With having the four, it has made life certainly interesting.. We spoil them rotten and love them unconditionally as they do to us.. Rana is not purebred but she thinks she is so we let her go with that.. Brya is just turning two and is growing everyday and Kayla is soon to be turning three and is an absolute love.. Without my first experience with a GSD through Reiker, I would not of had such an appreciation of the breed.. Our house is now a full GSD home and I love every minute of it..
 
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