A Young Family, Living with their German Shepherds -

I truly believe there are two types of families…small dog families and big dog families Mine slots into the latter! My family dog as a child was a German Shepherd Dog, we owned two.. So the natural ‘go to’breed for me was always going to be a German Shepherd… This saying we didn’t actually go dog shopping… My husband came home with a ‘puppy’ one evening after finding out that there was a litter of pups that had been mistreated… Most had been taken and re homed but one bitch remained in that dreadful place! So doing his hero bit he brought her home! …so… This lump Of brown matted fur… With wobbly unsteady legs from being kept in a tiny cage, was now ours.. She could nor eat or Lap having only eaten from bone scraps, she was under weight and had the most lost dark eyes Ive ever seen in animal!!! But now she was ours and now she was home!

Macy wasn’t the biggest of Gsd’s but was still big enough to cause the usual big dog issues and boy could she chew… Shoes being a particular fav!!… We taught her to eat, have impeccable manners, swim and how to love and be loved!!…. There’s something about a rescue dog that is different… They have that eternally grateful look… Many used to adore my husband, and had fierce loyalty towards us.. Which in turn she extended with the easiest of transition to our daughter, who literally became her sidekick… Where the one would be.. Soon enough the other would follow!….

When our son was born four years later.. Exact same acceptance… Her sidekicks were now at each hind leg, a perfect fit!!… For me this was a game changer…I on times was simply overwhelmed with how this animal adapted and manuoverd herself around these small people!!how ‘that’ look seemed to go even deeper when she played and interacted with her them!!!…We have endless memories!… Macy passed away suddenly at 8 years young. We were devastated and even that doesn’t come close!!! She’d been on our first journey with us.. When we got engaged, got married had two babies!! And now the house was empty! And trust me when owners of large breed dogs say the house feels empty, it’s not just a phrase… It’s physically empty because you loose that presence. large breed dogs take up a hallway, a sofa, a doorway!!! It’s a huge physical absence!! So in came Zac into our lives at 8 weeks old!!!… Biggest of the litter, he reminded me of a big bear pushing his way over the top of his brothers and sisters in a ‘OK! Look at me way!!…. And boy wasn’t that the case!!! He is a large GSD, he is noisy clumsy, and his worst and best trait all rolled into one is his loyalty!!… Like Macy, the children are his tribe!! Of this I’m in no doubt that filling that GSD shaped hole in our lives with Zac provided the exact same bond that Macy had with the children… But Zac is indeed a different egg!!… He hasn’t got a waggy tail and smiley warm eyes for strangers…he treats our home as his castle!!… He don’t like you? Well you ain’t getting in!!! He has a protection overdrive button that we have yet to locate to switch off!!!




Remember when i said having the children around Macy was a game changer? Well having Zac kind of showed me the other side to what it is to being a ‘big dog’ family! The looks you get at the field or park when you have a reactive dog on the end of your leash that is so torn up that his little mate is all alone over there going down that slide without him?? And the little girl who sneaks him biscuits when mummy isn’t t looking, has run over to the river to throw a stone but he is stuck on the end of this leash and can’t get to them??!! So he does what he does best in frustration he pulls and he barks and whines… But does all this with the strength of a bear and the tone and volume to match!!!… So then the drill is.. All the mummies in the park have newspaper articles of these vicious dog attacks running through their brains.. They pull their children close and if they have to pass us they rush along as though we were walking a shark!!!.. And I get it!! I totally get it!! It’s OUR choice to have our kiddies run with this gentle giant, who have had many a bruise and bump from losing a game of tuggy with him, or being mowed down by him in a game of chase?!?….we are learning too!! Zac isn’t a Macy… He can’t relax if we aren’t all in his pack and stay at least in his 2 ft comfort circle!! He pulls and is grumpy if you won’t let him be leader on a walk, he sulks, he eats anything he shouldn’t! He will physically bully and maul you with his tongue for a Bourbon biscuit!! And will nip my cats on the sly if he thinks we arent watching!!!… But please don’t say things like “oh that dog could maul those children , makes me shudder to see them in that garden with ‘IT’ running around them'( and yes that’s an actual quote that’s been said to me)…. Another top ranker was….’well.. If you invite a wolf into your home it’s your own fault when it goes wrong???”….Sorry last time I looked the wolves were snug in the Forrest? Not my lounge…? But what he is, and what I see is kind eyes, a big old furry neck that gives amazing comfort when your day has been crappy in school, I see a dog who is so torn over whose bedroom door to sleep at?… He sleeps at the top of the stairs so he’s got all bases covered!.. A dog who shivers with excitement when we go to the beach and dog who totally panic’s when he’s (yet again) ploughed over my youngest in a game of hide and seek in the long grass!! YES he is big and YES he may not be your cup of tea( and yes he has ruined my mat when I got home from work today and eaten half my rose bush)… But we will never be without that presence of a large breed! Gsd’s will forever more pad their paws around this home!!

Claire Wilson