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Shepherd Guide, Issue #008 -- Jan 10
January 26, 2010


Welcome to another issue of the Shepherd Guide!

Thank you for subscribing. As always, in respect for your time, I will keep these monthly updates short and to the point.

January 2010

In this Issue:

  1. In the News - Pilots N Paws
  2. GSD Hero of the Month - Stitch, An Autistic Service Dog
  3. Training - Secrets to Dog Training
  4. Health Issue - Canine Heart Worms
  5. What's On Your Mind?

1. In The News

Joe Ornato and Mimi Peberdy take dog rescue seriously.

Wolfie, a German Shepherd mix, was flown in the couple's plane from Roxboro, NC to Richmond, VA. Another pilot picked up the lucky dog, and took her to New Jersey, on the way to her new home in Massachusetts.

"The reason is to help a family get a really wonderful pet," Ornato said, "and keep an animal alive."

Ornato and Peberdy are volunteers with Pilots N Paws, a group of aviators and animal lovers that rescue animals to prevent them from being euthanized. Thousands of pilots from around the country have volunteered to fly for Pilots N Paws. These relay flights, dubbed the "poochie express," bring unwanted animals to safety.

When asked about Wolfie's reaction to her first flight, Peberdy said, "She really did great. She was very, very submissive, and very calm."

The couple used their white-and-gold single-engine airplane, a Cirrus SR22 Turbo, to help unwanted animals find their forever homes. Jeff Zagiel, a pilot and businessman from Cape May, NJ took Wolfie to meet another pilot for the last round of Wolfie's flight.

They encountered a different pilot, Michele McGuire, a pilot from Westminster, MD, who was waiting in Richmond to fly yet another rescue dog to its new home in Maryland. "My record is 16 puppies in a Skyhawk," she said.

"Aviation has given so much to both of us," Peberdy said. "It's nice to turn around and give something back."

What a great service these pilots are providing for these deserving dogs. Make sure you do your part to avoid pet overpopulation by having your animal spayed or neutered.

Have something incredible to share about your dog? How about telling us what makes your dog unique?

Share your dog stories here.

Read more stories about German Shepherds in the news.

2. GSD Hero of the Month

When nine year old Nicholas Lapinski leaves the room, Stitch stands up, ready to follow. The German Shepherd becomes visibly distraught until Nicholas returns. If he did not come back quickly, Stitch would have gone looking for him.

Nicholas is autistic and Stitch is helping him develop needed social skills.

"The difference in Nicholas over the past year has been amazing," said Donna Musico, an obedience trainer who has been working with Nicholas and Stitch. "Before, he wouldn't speak. It was hard to get him to talk. But now his focus is more outward. His focus is on the dog and he's becoming more involved with the dog and with other people."

Nicholas' father, Chris and his wife, Sarah, were aware of service dogs that help people with autism. But, they're not cheap. These specially trained dogs can cost up to $20,000. A program called K-9s for Kids trains and sells the dogs for $4,200.

K-9s for Kids operator Steve Kiray breeds German Shepherds on his property. "There is no better dog than a shepherd for what we're asking them to do," he said. "They're a phenomenal breed."

In order for the dog to develop a bond with their appointed child, they must feed and water the animal. This allows the dog to see the child as its master. If the child is unable to feed the dog, they must be present at mealtime.

The program offers once a week training with the family and dog. The family must then continue this training, either individually or in group classes. "We train families to train their dog," Kiray said.

Autism service dogs are not as common as seeing-eye or seizure dogs. But they are growing in popularity.

"More and more, this will become the norm," Kiray said.

3. Training

Since the weather has been so bad, group classes have taken a brief hiatus. In the meantime, I have been studying Secrets to Dog Training.

Daniel Stevens of Kingdom of Pets, has written several eBooks on dog training. This one is geared especially towards German Shepherds.

As a German Shepherd afficionado, you know how stubborn they can be. This book teaches you how to get your GSD to listen to you. Your dog will understand you - in a very short time.

This book covers 25 different behavioral problems and how to address them properly: aggression towards people and other dogs, digging, barking, whining, jumping, chewing, bolting out the front door, separation anxiety, coprophagia, housetraining, and much more.

I used to think I had the whiniest shepherd in the world. But, not anymore.

4. Health Issue

I recently met a woman that adopted a stray German Shepherd. Unfortunately, the dog had heartworms.

Canine Heart Worms can be deadly but are easily preventable. Transmitted by mosquitos, symptoms include: coughing, difficulty breathing, dull coat, enlarged abdomen, fainting spells and lack of energy.

A simple monthly pill is all it takes to prevent heartworms. Make sure your GSD is up to date on this easy to give preventative.

5. What's On Your Mind?

As a fellow German Shepherd lover, I want to hear what you may have questions or concerns about.

What would you like to read about in future issues? Reply to this email and let me know.

Until next month,

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