The Walk of a German Shepherd

We met Foxy about 5 and a half years ago.  As we pulled up to Foxy’s owner’s house, she came bounding out to us, barking like crazy.  I was a bit scared of her, I have to admit.  I had always loved German Shepherds, but had never had one.  Was this girl going to work out for our family?  I was slowly starting to get out of the van, when Prince 1 jumped out of the passenger seat.  Foxy ran straight up to him barking like crazy.  She stopped, smelled his hand, nudged it, and never left his side again for 5.5 years.  Her owner said he had never seen her do that before.  He was impressed that she liked Prince 1 so much instantly.

We brought Foxy home at almost age 2.  She wanted to take on our older dog.  I knew I had to get involved.  I did some studying on it and decided I would be her “mama” dog.  She started to go after our older dog and instantly I grabbed her and took her down to the deck, telling her “no”.  We laid there for  a few minutes and then I let her up.  She did it one more time to our older dog.  I took her down and again laid “on” her.  She never bothered our older dog again.  She always allowed Tiny to have first place in our family and gave her the spotlight at all times.  Foxy was always the first one to bark when someone drove up, yet, she stepped back and allowed Tiny to be in the spotlight for barking. 🙂

Foxy would lie next to Prince 1 at the dining table while he ate each meal.  She would lie outside the bathroom door while he took a shower.  She would whine if he went outside without her.  She hiked the mountains with him daily.  She slept downstairs with him at night.  She loved all of our children.  She would protect them at all times and was willing to lay down her life for them. When Prince 1 started working, she started going on hikes with our youngers.  I always knew they were safe as she would fight a snake or keep a bad person at bay if need be.  She was their guardian/babysitter while they wandered the mountains.

Foxy had her picture take for the first time professionally for Prince 1’s Senior Year Pictures.  Prince 1 kept telling me that we should save our money and not do the pictures.  Just take one ourselves he said.  I pushed back and said it was important.  I thank God I did.

Three weeks tomorrow, it happened.  I took Prince 1 to work.  On my way there, Princess 1 called and said Foxy was not acting right.  She had been vomiting.  So, I told her to keep Foxy in and I’d look at her when I got home.  By the time I got home she was downstairs where she had vomited more, but I did not know it.  Prince 2 had cleaned it up, not knowing that she had been vomiting earlier that afternoon.  Then she lay her head on the bottom step and rested there.  I went to change babies’ diapers.  Prince 3 came back and said that he had called Foxy up the stairs.  He said she had stumbled up and was now lying on her side with her tongue hanging out. She was obedient to her last breath.  I rushed in.  It looked like she was having a seizure possibly.  I told Prince 3 and Princess 1 to rub her chest, and keep talking to her.  I ran to the phone to call the vet. They yelled that she was dead.  I ran back over. Then she started to breathe again.  I ran back to the phone.  Steve arrived home from work and walked into chaos.  We were all yelling, crying, trying to save Foxy, get her to respond somehow.  No, she couldn’t be dying!  She had just turned 7.  She was too young.  What was happening? Steve  and Prince 2 picked her up and hurriedly took her to the car to take her to the emergency vet.  Then….Steve hollered in, “She’s gone.” NO!!!!!!!!!!!  Not my beautiful Foxy who was Prince 1’s dog!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ran out to her.  There was our beautiful shepherd. Gone.  And her love of her life was at work unable to be with her in her last moments on this earth.  I hugged that beautiful shepherd and stroked her fur.  I held her paw one last time and prayed that the Lord would let her be there in Heaven to greet our son someday.  Do our pets go to Heaven? I don’t know, but I do know that the Lord knows our hearts and our desires.  I do know He loves us more than anyone else ever can.  Why couldn’t he give us our beloved pet in Heaven too? Only He knows the answer to that.

Foxy had literally died within just a few short hours of her vomiting.  What was it?  A rare heart tumor that had ruptured.  There was nothing anyone could have done to save her.

That night Steve went to pick up Prince 1 from work.  Prince 1 did not believe Steve when he told him that Foxy was gone.  No way.  It had to be a joke.  She had just been playing that morning. He came home and we showed her to him.  He petted her, scratched behind her ears, and rubbed her chin while saying, “Foxy”.  I cried and hugged Prince 1 over and over. He said he wished he had been there.

Foxy loved Prince 1 every minute of her life with him regardless of all his daily struggles, regardless that it seemed as if no human loved him.  She was there to calm him and help him de-stress.  She was there to give her unconditional love to her boy.  She would always own him in her mind. I could tell so many stories of her and her love for Prince 1.

We talked about getting a German Shepherd puppy, but Prince 1 didn’t seem too excited about it.  Then I found a breeder in TN who said she might have an older dog which she could place with us.  I showed Prince 1 the picture of the dog and his eyes lit up and he smiled!  He said, “Would she bond with me at that age if I let her sleep in my room and have a special mat? And feed her?”  “Will she live very long?” “Oh, I wish I had my driver’s license (he can pass the written test, but not the driving portion yet..please pray for him in that area) now, because I’d get in a car and drive out there to get her right now!” I could see it then.  He needed an older dog, not a tiny puppy.  He needed one that would walk beside him and nudge his hand for pats, one that would not need to be potty-trained, but already have some basic obedience training, one that would hike the mountains with him, one that would love him when no one else seemed to.  He needs a dog.

Days go by and he talks of missing Foxy’s pointy snout which he used to hold and rub.  He misses her beside him at the table.  The night Foxy died he asked if we’d let him take our other dog downstairs with him so he could feel her fur and pet her. Tears…

Finally today the breeder lady and I talked via phone.  She feels the older dog is too old to try and change environments, so, she is going to keep her.  However she has a girl who is almost 2, ironically same age as Foxy was when we got her. She would be willing to place(not sell her, but give her to us) her in our home as we seem to be a great family, have plenty of land for a dog to run on, and Prince 1 is so connected with dogs. She said the Lord will work it out on how we will get her to us. This dog’s name is Aster.  She is a large German Shepherd, already 85lbs.  She is too big to ship and she will not ship her via commercial carriers.  I told her I am trusting the Lord in that if Aster is the right dog for Prince 1 then he would work out the details from how she will get to Utah all the way down to her walking in the door with Prince 1.

So, here I sit sharing Foxy’s story with you all and asking if maybe you could be part of Aster’s story too.  We are unable to travel to get Aster for the next month or so.  We know she is being well-taken care of in TN, but would really like to get her here soon.  Is there anyone out there that is good with dogs (maybe even some shepherd experience?) who would happen to be traveling our way in the next month?  Maybe even just coming close to our state, like CO or NE or KS? Or even IA? Anyone who would be willing to bring Aster to Prince 1?  Anyone willing to be a part of the story of Prince 1 and his beloved companion for Lord willing, many years to come? If you are this person, please contact us.  We would be ever so grateful! We’d be willing to meet you halfway if that was possible too.  We’d put you up at our house if you were coming all the way out this direction.  We just need to get Aster to Prince 1 and again have the blessing of seeing Prince 1 walking the mountains no longer alone, but now with a dog at his side again.

You might ask why we don’t just go get one at a shelter.  Well, after losing Foxy, we learned a lot about what breeding in America has done to the German Shepherd line.  It’s not pretty and more and more of them are dying young and tragically, just as Foxy did.  The genetics are not good.  We cannot risk another death like this. Yes, we know the Lord is in control at all times, but we also know that He has now given us this knowledge and we need to use it wisely.  We also trust this breeder and really like her way of raising the dogs. Why is Aster available? Because she does not cycle regularly and does not look to have good reproductive capabilities.  She will not be a dog used in breeding as they had hoped. So, she is free to go to a good home.  The lady said she usually doesn’t give dogs to families so far away as she wants them to be close where she can check on them and allow them to come back to her if the people need to let them go.  However, she feels our family is trust-worthy and a good fit, so, she will trust the Lord on this one. 🙂 We are trusting Him too.  We are trusting that He will provide a way to bring Aster to us sooner than later.

If you can help us, please let us hear from you!

Update on Prince 1 since my last post: He completed his CNA certification!!! He is now a CNA!! He has enrolled for a couple classes in the fall at a local college. He continues to work at the assisted living facility, putting back money to pay for his college.  And for those of you who gave to his fund, he now has the Kurzweil!!! He uses it daily!!! Praise the Lord!!!  We are so blessed by your generosity and support in our son’s journey.  Thank you!

If you’d like to see a pic. of Foxy, go back a few posts and  you will see Prince 1’s Go Fund Me link.  She is on there with him.  Even the vet that did the autopsy on her said he and his staff all thought she was such a beutiful shepherd. If only they had seen the beauty within her too……

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