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Toronto German Shepherd Rescue

This'n That

Now and then we come across some bits and pieces of poems, letters or interesting articles. Some of them are inspiring, some amusing, some educating. Some touched our hearts deeply...
We want to share them with you...

How could you?

Rex is enjoying his bucket.

by Anna Young
It was inspired by Jim Willis' essay with the same title.
Jim Willis, Director, The Tiergarten Sanctuary Trust, accredited member of The American Sanctuary Association, and Program Coordinator, International Society for Animal Rights

You brought me home in your arms when I was just a tiny pup. You loved my puppy antics, and I made You laugh. I was "your girl", You used to say. I ate your shoes, or ripped the pillows -- and You'd shake your finger, laugh, and say: How could you? - and we would be friends again, and I would get my belly-rub. You understood that I was just a baby and I loved You for that.

I do remember those perfect nights of nuzzling your face in bed. I listened to your worries and secret hopes, kissing the tears off your face, supporting all your dreams.

Bruna loves water.

We shared our daily walks and runs in the park, car rides, and swimming in the lake. We played ball together, and shared the popcorn in front of big screen TV. Warm and content, I took long naps in the sun, waiting for You to come home at the end of the day. I knew that life could not be more perfect than that.

Then slowly, your hours away became longer; You worked hard on your career, and spend more time with your human friends. I waited every day patiently; to comfort You through your heartbreaks and disappointments, to approve of every decision You were making. I greeted with joy your every homecoming, and I was happy when You fell in love.

Bronko in the park.

She, your wife, was not a "dog person" - still, I welcomed her into our home, showing her affection, and respect. I was happy because You were happy. When human babies came along, I shared your excitement. I was curious, and concerned when they cried. I wanted to mother them, too. But she, their mother, worried that I might hurt them, I was just a big hairy thing to her. She would complain about the dog hair around and muddy footprints in the kitchen. Soon, I got banished to a back room. When I cried, to remind You I was there, You said: How could you? and put me in a garage.

By then, You did not carry my photos in your wallet any more to proudly show around when telling others about us. I was not "your girl" anymore --I became "just a dog",

And then the day came for a big decision; to move to a better town. "It is best for the family", You said.

Photo of Ruben.

I was so excited to be together again, going for a car ride. When we arrived, it smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, and desperation. You filled out the paperwork and said: "Please, find a good home for her, too bad we can't take her with us". You gave me a last pat on the head, and left quickly without looking back. Perhaps, You did not want to find How could you? in my eyes; just maybe, I want to believe, You wanted to hide the tears in yours.

Photo of Ruben.

Ladies in the shelter were nice to me. They fed me, of course, but I was not hungry. Every time the lock rattled, I got excited, hoping it was You - that You had changed your mind - that this was the end of a nightmare... With time, I was just hoping that it would be someone, anyone who cared, anyone who would take me home, far from this sad and desperate place. The time came when I knew that no one was coming for me. Visitors were choosing the youngsters to take home with them and rarely responded to my friendly smiles. Finally, I understood that I was just an old dog that had nothing of value left to share with anyone. I curled at the back of my cage to dream of our times together when I still had so much to give, and we were both so happy together.

I hardly heard her footsteps when she came for me at the end of one day. With tiny shred of hope still flickering in my heart, I followed her along the hallway to a room in the back - a clean and blissfully quiet room. She rubbed my ears, telling me not to worry and the last flicker of hope was gone, I knew instantly why I was there.

Photo of Ruben.

I looked in lady's face and there were tears in her eyes. I started to worry about her; I wanted to comfort her the way I used to comfort You. With the kiss, which she allowed me to give her; I wanted to make her feel better. I was sorry that I made her cry.

Photo of Ruben.

She hugged me, and still crying a bit she told me it was time for me to go to a better place, where no dog is neglected, or hurt, or abandoned, or unwanted - a place of love and light, a very happy place. Then I felt the gentle prickle in my leg and felt cool liquid flowing through my body. With the last bit of strength, I was telling her with a wag of the tip of my tail what to tell You if You ever change your mind and come back looking for me - I don't want You to worry; I want You to know that I will wait for You at a Rainbow Bridge, so You won't have to cross the Bridge alone.

Maybe she did not understand, because the last thing I heard, was her soft whisper: How could you?

The End

The above fictional story is just of one of the millions of formerly "loved pets" who die each year in North America's shelters.

Please help us to reduce those numbers, one German Shepherd at the time.

If you don't know where Rainbow Bridge is, please read "The Rainbow Bridge" poem below.

Photo of Rookie.

Inner Strength

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, are probably a dog.
(Author unknown)


by Karen Shirk (C) copywrite 1996

You are more than welcome to place my poem on your site. I wrote the first half the poem when Ben was about 3 years old and was sad to finish it last week. Just make sure to credit me as Author with (C) copywrite 1996 after my name.

The Heavens looked down upon my life and saw my suffering.
The spirits in all their wisdom could not end them for it was not within their power.
As I prayed for death, the heavens opened up,
and into my life came
love, courage, protection,
a friend, a confidante, a partner in life.
He is the most beautiful soul I have ever seen,
and I call him, Ben

The heavens looked down upon his life and saw his suffering.
The spirits in all their wisdom could not end them for it was not within their power.
They knew he must be set free.
The heavens opened up,
and into my life came courage -
Yes, a mighty courage,
for I was the only one who could free him.
He was the most beautiful spirit I have ever known,
and I called him Ben.

I gave Ben a few awesome days. We had a booth Saturday and though he had been in retirement, I took him with me. As usual when he saw the table and the marketing board going up, his eyes danced with delight. He knew a dayfull of fun was coming. As he has for many years, he greeted each person who stopped with great joy. He endured the children's tight hugs, and the slap on the head of others with great patience. A young man asked if Ben could chase the Frisbee with him. I didn't say no as my heart wanted to, but instead,I explained DM and asked he not throw it far. Ben struggled after the Frisbee with great enthusiasm, and after a couple of throws he lay down with the Frisbee, claiming it as his own. I thanked the boy for the Frisbee, now full of Ben teeth holes and he kept his prize.

That night, he could not get up without great effort. I knew I had allowed him too much activity but I also knew it was HIS day and now, he was ready to go. So today with great sadness, I gave Ben back to the spirits and thanked them for lending him to me. I asked that his spirit be allowed to travel to a Bulgarian orphanage to find the 2 year old boy who is soon to be my son. I told Ben he would have no trouble identifying him, just look for Benjamin Aaron Shirk. No baby could have a better guardian angel.

Ben, My Courage And Friend, CD, TC, CGC, Service Dog (A True German Shepherd Dog)

Karen's best friend April 6, 1994 - May 21, 2002.

Degenerative Mylopathy is a terribly unfair disease. It robbed Ben of life in his prime. He held a strong, beautiful front, with not one grey hair any place, yet his back end was wasted by disease. It is my understanding that it is a disease known primarily in the German Shepherd breed and that the German Shepherd Charitable Foundation is working to end this horrid disease which claims many great dogs like Ben. PLEASE, make donations to this foundation. Help put an end to Degenerative Mylopathy.


(Author unknown)

There is a very special place on this side of the Rainbow Bridge.
This is where the dog, once loved by You, goes after he dies.
There is always spring by the Rainbow Bridge, the sun shines, the grass is green,
There is never too cold, and never too hot there,
There is plenty of food, space to play, there is fresh, cool water in the spring brook, to drink and to frolic in.
There, all dogs that were old are young again, sick or wounded are healthy and whole.
There is no more pain, no more fear and despair.
Dogs play all day, and then rest in a shade of an apple tree.
There is only one thing missing
There is only one thing which would make the dog's life perfect and complete...
And then the day comes, when he lifts his head yet again to look at the distant horizon.
A very special sparkle lights in his eyes, his tail's all motion again
He leaps across the field,
Within seconds he is by your side, leaping to greet You,
Your face gets kissed and kissed and kissed again
And then you cross the Bridge together,
never to be separated again.

The Meaning of Rescue

Winnie in her new home.

Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my new warm bed,
I'd like to open my baggage, lest I forget.
There is so much to carry... so much to regret.

Hmm...Yes, there it is, right on the top...
Let's unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss,
And there by my leash hides Fear and Shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave...
I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.

I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
But I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.

Will you add to my baggage?
Will you help me unpack?
Or will you just look at my things...
And take me right back?

Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To put away my baggage,
To never repack?

I pray that you do... I'm so tired you see,
But I do come with baggage...

Will you still want me?

~ Evelyn Colbath ~

One of our Rescues ("Lake County, Ohio German Shepherd Rescue", USA). . . . JERRY, THE HERO

This morning my German Shepherd Rescue (Ohio, USA) partner Deb, received a call from one of our adoptive homes (they adopted two boys from us, both had been my foster boys). The call started out with, "Deb, Jerry (the first boy they adopted) just saved our lives and our home."

It seems Jerry woke his "mom" up this morning acting very strange, she let him out, that's not what he wanted, let him back in and he ran to their son's bedroom, laid on the bed and barked. She took her son and put him in bed with dad (still sleeping) feeling something was wrong, she just didn't know what. She went back to her son's room and Jerry continued to bark and carry on, she could find no reason for his actions but felt he was trying to tell her something. . . Jerry continued barking and barking, so she stayed on her guard. She kept going back into her son's room and during one of her checks, discovered his comforter on fire.

Because of Jerry, they were able to get the children and all the pets out of the house and were able to put out the fire before anyone was hurt, or the home destroyed.

This is a story to help put a rescue's frazzled emotions back together.. . . . . . . . a once unwanted shelter dog is now A FAMILY'S HERO!


P.S. Jerry is quite a boy. . . his family fell in love with him even before they met him. His placement was one of those "God sent".
Little history..... Jerry came out of a shelter in October he was about 10 mos old and a BIG boy at that age. Deb, my "partner in crime", knew a family, that had lost their shepherd but "she" wasn't sure she was ready to adopt again "yet". As Deb was telling me about the family and the "mom" that wasn't ready to adopt, this strange feeling came over me "this is her dog".
Every call I received just wasn't the right home for him... this went on for 4 weeks, Jerry wasn't moving. Finally, Doris consented to meet Jerry... three days later he went home with them.....
God said he was her dog and we just had to wait for her to hear Him.

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Anna Young,
Last modified: June 6, 2002

Copyright 2001, Anna Young
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