I’ve changed states. I now live in Ohio, and I have a new dog, an “Alsatian” named Anka.
My partner and I have been doing some fostering of dogs over the past month, and a few weeks ago we managed to come across a German shepherd bitch that was for sale on Craig’s List. The original owner really didn’t connect with her, but she was firmly attached to him, escaping from the open windows of the house whenever he left for work.
Truth be known, I’ve never been much of a German shepherd person. I never much cared for the show dogs of the breed, and I always thought the working version could be too nasty to make a decent companion animal. But I thought it was a good idea to foster this dog for a while and then find her a good home. We have contacts in the German shepherd community, so I didn’t think she would be here long.
Her initial owners had called her “Precious,” a name that really doesn’t fit this breed at all. So I thought we should give her the German/Czech name of “Anka,” which is a fairly common name for working dogs of that breed.
I never wanted to touch her, and when she came in the house, she was nervous and shy. Her sable coloring made her look wild, even a bit vicious. I just sat on the sofa and gave her no attention, which worked for about two hours. She then trotted over to me and started to nuzzle my lap. I stroked her ears, and I knew I didn’t have to be afraid of her.
My partner worked her for the first two weeks. She knows shepherds far better than I do, but it became apparent that her temperament was just so solid that she could not have been any random backyard bred German shepherd. She was obviously of some sort of working line dog. and as she became more fit, I was asked to work her out using the flirt pole and throw the ball for her.
For whatever reason, doing these activities with Anka made her much more attached me than to my partner. Dogs do things like that. They will chose people on the oddest of things. Her former owner was a man, and even though he wasn’t particularly well-versed in dog behavior, maybe she thought that she was to bond with men more than women. It wasn’t that we were doing fundamentally different things with the dog. She just preferred me.
As we started to bond with each other, I began doing things with her that I’ve never done with another dog. I’ve had her eat steak off my fork, and I make sure I hand her some fries when we go through the McDonald’s drive-thru.
She is a gentle soul, but she likes to tug and leap and fetch. She has big teeth, but she used them almost exclusively for play. She never growls at the other dogs, and she tries to avoid conflict with them at all costs.
She just does lots of impressive leaping and tugging on the flirt pole. I am sure that people might think she is some sort of super attack -trained dog, but the truth of the matter is she’s about as dangerous as a spaniel, and she loves to retrieve and swim.
I wish I had her papers. This is a dream dog. Driven and sweet, and so loyal and affectionate. If I had known there were German shepherds like this one, I would have paid more attention to them. She has certainly changed my mind about what one of these dogs can be.
So she won’t be going anywhere. She is mine. I have a real working dog now.