Throughout the years I have had a lot of pets that are remembered as special in their own ways and Gunny is no exception. Little did I know that my life and my families would forever change on the hot summer night of July 1, 2011. That day with temperatures soaring to over 110 degrees, my doorbell rang at about 9 pm. I wondered who this could be, so late at night, with my dogs barking in the background I answered the door. There stood a young boy with his father, the boy asks, “do you have all your German Shepherd’s”? I told the young boy that all my dogs were inside why? He and his father replied that they saw two German shepherd dogs roaming the neighbor that looked in pretty bad shape and thought they may me mine. I assured them all my dogs were accounted for and thanked them for their concern.
A little time past and my daughter started asking me what we could do to help the dogs, I told her likely little since they were roaming and it would be hard to find these dogs to help. But, with her persistence, we gathered some disposable water containers to place throughout our neighborhood in hope that the dogs would wonder across the water. As my daughter and I gathered and loaded water in my truck my daughter shouted to me, “there they are”, as she points across the street and as I looked over and there stood two German shepherds roaming in my neighbor’s yard. So, I whistle at the dogs and they came running over to us. When we greeted them both dogs were severely panting and the smaller dog was bleeding from his paws. My daughter and I placed the water out for them and these two went at it. Gunny just lay down and drank water for at least 3 minutes straight and while he was taking a break from drinking water we turned on the hose to cool him down. Gunny just stood in one place as the water flowed over his fur. The smaller Shepherd, who would later become known as Buddy didn’t take to the water hose at first but did allow for his bloody paws to be cooled and soothed.
With night being so late and temperature still over 100 degrees, we placed the shepherds in our garage with fans to cool them. With not knowing what the reaction would be from our pack of dogs and what kind of destructive behavior they may have, we placed them in kennels the first night to be safe. The next morning both with tails wagging they were very happy to see us and as they were let out it was then I realized the size of Gunny. I had always heard of a 100-pound German shepherd but had never seen one before. Over the next several weeks and months my family placed ads and posters throughout the neighborhood, search websites for someone claiming these dogs as theirs. As time passed we started to build a bond of trust and the more I got to know these dogs surely there must be a family that is dearly missing them. With months passed and hope of finding their owner dwindling to none and knowing we could not keep them with our pack we started looking at the rescue organizations and all noted that the dogs must be fixed to be accepted, so as we could afford to we got the boys (Gunny and Buddy) update on their shots neutered and prepared for a rescue organization to accept and place in a home. Surely this was the way to get the boys a home before the pending scorching Arizona summer (2012).
The boys were evaluated and accepted into the Southwest German shepherd dog rescue, where they would be placed in a forever home and well cared for by someone committed to loving and most of all accepting a special dog that is loyal to the end. After a couple of months with little interest in the boys, Buddy got his lucky number called and was placed in foster care and soon after was adopted by a loving family. He now resides in Tucson inside a nice house, with his place on the couch and a few little friends to pall around with.
Gunny, however, has not had the same luck he still resides in our garage and side yard keeping vigil on the garage door for when it opens and one of his people come out to say hi and play. I have spent every day outside with him even during the worst of heat and cold grooming, playing and training; we go for walks and camping. Through these times we have grown together and have a very special bond and a trust only a few know. It truly breaks my heart knowing that no one wants the best dog in the world. I hope one day I let him go, knowing it is the best for him and for my Shepherds.
Gunny almost got his lucky number called in September, but that adoption fell through it was one of the saddest and happiest days of my life. Then again in March of 2013 Gunny got another opportunity to get adopted to a forever home by a gentleman in Tempe with an acre of land to be all of Gunny’s to roam and play, if all went well at the introduction. So, the night before our meeting Gunny got the full meal deal of make overs, got the brushing the bath and fresh mouth spray to tame his doggy breath and make his smile shine brightly sure to convince any man of his noble nature. With the meeting time being at noon we had time for a refreshing walk in cool morning hours, all that was left is a light breakfast and off we were to the park. As Gunny and I got to the park there were a few other dogs there meeting other potential adopters this got Gunny’s attention as there were some dogs in the park for him to stare at and size up, so we walked around sniffing and observing the environment. As planned at noon we were waived over for the big introduction to what would hopefully because of Gunny’s new dad. The introduction went well and as Gunny and Bob walk off to get acquainted I could see Gunny look back at me bewildered, so I sat down to not distract him from the process. As I sat and waited for all I thought of where our good times and wonder what Gunny was thinking and hoping this would be a match for Gunny’s sake. As Bob and Gunny returned from there walk I could tell it went well, Bob was all smiles and had a look of excitement, really took a liking to Gunny, so it was a hit. Gunny and I walked around waiting for the rescue and Bob to discuss if indeed an adoption would happen Steff the rescue director waived us over and announced that Gunny had a new home and that everything was planned him to be handed over in two weeks. Bob was so excited at the thought of having Gunny he couldn’t wait to get started on the list of items to buy for Gunny. Over the next two week, Gunny and I went for hikes and walks enjoying our last few days together before he leaves. Bob even showed up at a training function Gunny and I attended and got to participate with Gunny, everything was on track and looked great, until Bob’s work had to delay his vacation a week, so now the adoption turn over date is April 6th. That’s ok what’s another week with my best friend going to hurt?
The next morning Gunny and I went for a hike and as Gunny got out of the truck he had hit his leg, didn’t seem to be much of a deal until the next week. So on the morning of April 6th I fixed Gunny a steak for breakfast and walked him to his favorite grass retention for a slow walk then Gunny and I are off to the park, this is where I say goodbye forever and he finally gets his break. This time was different from the first handover I wanted for him to move on and bond with Bob to live as all dogs should next to their owners waiting to be of service and aiming to please. When I handed Gunny over to Steff I had mentioned to her that Gunny was dragging his left hind leg and I thought it may be due to him hitting it a week earlier before our hike, but other than that everything else seemed fine. Steff took note and seem concerned and had mentioned something about DM (degenerative myelopathy), but she would look at him later. Little did I know this would be a turning point in Gunny’s and I life, so Gunny and Steff took off for Tempe and that would be the last time I would see Gunny, so I thought. A little while later I got a call and it was Steff telling me again that the adoption fell through, this was surely bad news for Gunny.
Over the next week with the information provided to me from the rescue I walked, observed and did some basic test on Gunny looking for the signs to see if, in fact, Gunny could have the disease DM. this disease is diagnosed by elimination of other causes to verify if the symptoms are in fact caused by DM. With limited resources to properly diagnose the disease thru test that could exceed several thousands of dollars, we have done due diligence with the information we have to come to a DM diagnosis. In other words, Gunny has been stricken by a disease that will slowly paralyze him from the hind legs forward; there is no cure and limited treatment. The disease progresses differently in each case, some succumb to it within six months others can live a few years depending on dogs responsiveness to the treatments that are proven to be effective in slowing the progression. Gunny is now unadoptable due to this disease and is now with his final forever family and dearly loved.
Gunny is so easy going and is content with his situation not knowing there is a better life for him. He loves to play and get belly rubs every night like a puppy in a large body with little grace. He is the bull in a china shop when excited. He is a love, a companion, a best friend for life and my inspiration in starting this company to help all the “best dogs in the world” find there buddy and best friend.
If you can help: http://www.gofundme.com/372q18
Through SWGSD rescue under “Gunner” http://www.swgermanshepherdrescue.com/