I said that I would never get a dog!

Looking objectively at my life, I have enough responsibility: a child, a husband, a full-time out-of-the home job, a mortgage, a cat and various and sundry responsibilities such as trying to keep up friendships. Ha! So, when my daughter approached me last year and asked if we could get a dog, I told her to “Forget it!”  Then, later in the year, my DH and I bought her a mechanical dog “Biscuit” as a pseudo-stand in for the real thing; her enthusiasm for the toy lasted almost a week.  Three months later, she came back to me and again asked for a dog.  This time she approached me with a list of reasons why we needed a dog.  I responded by offering her a compromise and a challenge: I would get her a goldfish and if she could keep it alive for at least a year, then we could CONSIDER getting a dog.  (The goldfish died 2 days later; I was, of course, blamed for its untimely death.)

Finally, I relented.  I agreed to get a pug because I knew that K thought that they were really ugly.  But when she finally met a real pug, she fell in love. I also knew that we would never find the time to find a pure-breed.  I figured that I had some time before K asked me again.  What I did not count on what my DH approaching me on the flight home from Baltimore after Thanksgiving with my family.  I admit, I was tired from the trip and really looking forward to getting home. Let’s admit it, I was weak and agreed to “look” at dogs at Orphans of the Storm (www.orphansofthestorm.org) a local animal shelter in the area.  I told K that this was no guarantee we were getting a dog (who was I kidding?  Of course we were going to get a dog!)

And guess what?  There was only one dog that I wanted: a German Shepherd.  No small dogs for me!  I grew up with Shepherds and if there was a female German Shepherd available for adoption, I was going to get her!  Well, it was Kismet, of course. And we have adopted a German Shepherd, Maya.

Maya is six years old and a full breed German Shepherd complete with the typical German Shepherd personality quirks:  sensitive stomach, VERY smart, whiny and loving.  We have no idea what happened during the past 6 years and the previous owners did not share her pedigree papers with the shelter.  So, we have no idea of her lineage or any past experiences that she might have had with her last family.  But she is almost perfectly trained, knows basic commands, likes to walk on a leash and doesn’t steal food off of the counter or the kitchen table.  (Well, there was that time that I left butter on the counter and she ate an entire stick, but let’s not hold that against her, shall we?)  There is only one complaint: She HATES other dogs and is not a big fan of people walking on the street towards us when we are walking.  I never seen a German Shepherd act this way!  She literally lunges, snaps and refuses to acknowledge me when she sees another dog!  Because we live in an area where almost everyone has a dog, you can imagine how embarrassing it is to have the one dog on the block who would like to tear apart all the other ones!

So, Maya and I are off to TOPS, a German Shepherd training center, in Greyslake, IL this Friday.  I promise to write what I find out about this dog.  Will she be able to overcome her hatred for other members of the canine community or will we be doomed to walk this dog at odd hours of the day and night?  Is this simply a lack of self-esteem?  Or was Maya attacked by a gang of pugs in her past and continues to hold a grudge?

The mind boggles…Wish me luck and please, if you have suggestions for how to tame my dog, aside from giving her drugs prior to our twice daily constitutional, please let me know.  I am comfortable with Maya ignoring other dogs; but I am not so happy with her desire to eat them.