I wrote this story some years back It's a true accounting of my pet German Shepard
| One day at work a friend asked me." Hey, do you like German Shepherd's ? "
I hesitated to answer, because we had had a conversation some time before about German Shepherds, and that I loved their loyalty, and bravery, as well as their natural curiosity, and they were always on patrol, checking things out.
He told me his brother had a german shepherd he needed to find a home for, and knowing I lived in the country, my friend wanted me to would take it. I love German Shepherds. To me they are the best breed, and he piqued my interest since I didn't have a dog at the time. The location and time was set for me to meet "Heidi," his brother's pet.
I drove into the city to the apartment house, where she was, and met the owner. We walked out on the patio and I instantly fell in love.
Heidi's shiny coat was black. She had tan legs and a smokey face. All in all she was beautiful, and I had no problem taking her home. In fact she loved to ride in my pick-up. When I opened the door she jumped out and looked around at the vast countryside as if to say." Is all this Your's ? " She began exploring our expansive yard and soon was gamboling all over it, enjoying her new surroundings.
This would have been the end of a short pleasant tale except that Heidi had one bad habit: she began to bite anyone who came to our house. My son's friends were afraid to visit as well as relatives. I scolded her many times for being so aggressive, but to no avail. Heidi's penchant for biting was going to cost us a liability if it didn't stop. After a worker, who was foolish enough to walk into our yard from the county road was bitten the Animal Control people made me pen her up for ten days in case she had rabies. It made no sense since we had her vaccinated yearly. The writing was on the wall: either keep Heidi, and risk being sued, or find her another home.
My wife placed an ad in the local trader magazine: " Free to good home AKA German Shepherd. Good Guard dog."
Within a few days a family that lived thirty-five miles away came and took her. They lived in a lakefront area and had been burglarized three times in one year. With a sinking heart I led Heidi into the back of their van, and watched as they drove away, with her baleful eyes looking back at me.
Six months went by as I overcame my feelings about Heidi, and became busy with my work as a radio announcer at a local station. Then, one night I came home and my wife said that she saw an animal roaming around the fields after sunset, and that it might be a coyote. I told her if it came close to the house to leave it alone. If it was a coyote it might have rabies, since wild animals never get close to humans if they can help it.
The next morning I walked out of the house and got into my car to go to work. I happened to glance in the mirror as I was closing the door and stopped dead. From the out building we owned across from our house came Heidi.
She walked over to my side of the car and laid her head on my lap as if to say. " Well Dad, I'm home." She had made her way back to our house from her new home thirty-five miles away.
Her coat was covered in cockleburrs, and streaked with dried mud. She was skinny and scrawny. I took her to the vet, who said she was malnourished, but healthy. Of course we gave her all the food she wanted and I told my wife we were keeping her no matter what.
We needn't have worried about her biting anyone. Heidi's disposition changed toward strangers. She would bark at them, but the biting had ceased. I can't explain it, except that somehow she knew that was the reason we gave her away.
As you've guessed, my wife didn't like Heidi. But, there was an incident that made my wife realize just how much Heidi loved her.
It wasn't too long after Heidi came back that a young man drove onto our property in a white Ford pick-up truck. Heidi began barking, which made my wife come to the door. She saw the young man half sitting in his truck with the door open and one leg on the ground. Heidi was in the middle of the yard between My wife and the truck. Her hackles were raised and her growl was low and menacing.
"Your dog doesn't seem friendly." He said eyeing Heidi's bared teeth.
" She doesn't like men in trucks." My wife answered curtly. He started to get out, and my wife said." What is it you want?"
" I'm with a historical society, and I have a plaque I'd like to show you. " He gave her a casual smile as he showed my wife a picture she recognised from the door of our farm from the air.
" We already have an aerial photo. " Which was true. " And aren't interested."
For several minutes the young man tried to get my wife to come to his truck and look at it, or get her to let him come in the house. Finally, my wife said." How many times do I have to say I'm not interested? Now, leave my property before the dog takes a piece of you."
He tossed the picture into the back of the truck, slammed the door and started his engine. He roared out of our drive, spraying gravel as Heidi chased him halfway to the main road.
When I got home My wife told me what happened, and I began calling our neighbors to see if this guy had bothered them. I was able to back track his movements and MO. When he came upon a house with a man and wife he immediately identified his company, and even left a brochure at one house. But, his cordialness disappeared when he came upon a woman he thought was alone.
When I talked with one woman she told me how he insisted she let him in to show her the photo. " What was unusual," She said." Was that the picture he was trying to show me had to have been taken last fall. There was a dog run at the side of the house in the picture that we had taken down in November. ' That would have been six months prior to his coming to sell them. " He gave me the creeps, the way he looked at me."
I got the name of the company and their phone number; and called their office. When the secretary answered I asked her if she knew this guy, who had never given out his name. I described his hair color, height and weight, make and model , and color of his vehicle. She said that it sounded like one of the company's guys, but that the crew of salesmen he worked with were in southern Michigan this week. I live in central Indiana. That's at least three hundred miles from southern Michigan.
I went to the county Sheriff's office and filed a complaint. As I was explaining what happened one of the deputies
said. " That sounds like the guy that pestered my mother earlier this week. "
We never found out who he was, but, his actions were very suspicious and my wife was very thankful Heidi was there to dissuade him. I was proud of her as you can imagine. Over the years my wife came to respect her too.
Heidi's journey was many years ago. Recently, she suffered a stroke and we took her to the vet who said she wouldn't recover, so we had her put to sleep.
I buried her in our orchard, where apple blossoms fall in the spring; a fitting peaceful place for a sojourning German Shepherd.