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Shepherd Guide, Issue #021 -- Nov 2012
November 29, 2012

Welcome to another issue of the Shepherd Guide!

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

You spoke and we listened! In response to the survey responses, this newsletter will aspire to become a monthly edition.

Special note: Can you please take a moment to help save wolves?

Wyoming's controversial shoot-on-sight policy, especially along Yellowstone National Park, has resulted in the deaths of several collared wolves, at the detriment to intensive scientific conservation research studies.

Please take a moment to tell the governors of Wyoming and Montana to shut down the wolf hunt immediately in lands adjacent to the park. Wolves roam widely in search of food or mates. It’s natural for them to occasionally wander briefly outside the park’s invisible borders, but that shouldn’t make them fair game for hunters.

November 2012

In this Issue:

  1. In the News - Loyal German Shepherd has stood watch over his master's grave… for 6 years.
  2. GSD Hero of the Month - Mother dog saves her pups from house fire
  3. Training - How do I get my dog to focus?
  4. Health Issue - Natural treatment for German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia
  5. What's On Your Mind?

1. In The News

Loyal German Shepherd has stood watch over his master's grave… for 6 years

Capitan Hero GSDCapitàn and Miguel Guzmàn have a bond not affected by life and death.

Capitàn, from the Argentinian town of Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba, refuses to leave his owner's grave, even though he has been deceased for six years.

Miguel Guzmàn's wife Veronica said the dog disappeared shortly after her husband's death.

She told Argentina's Cordoba newspaper, "We searched for [Capitàn after Miguel died] but he had vanished. We thought he must have got run over and died.

The following Sunday we went to the cemetery and Damian [the Guzmans' son] recognized his pet. Capitàn came up to us, barking and wailing, as if he were crying."

They had no idea how he had located the cemetery, let alone the right grave, but he was found sitting right at his Master's graveside.

"We had never taken him to the cemetery," says Veronica.

Capitàn's story began back in 2005, when Miguel originally got the German Shepherd for his son, Damian. While the dog got along fine with Damian, he bonded more closely with Miguel. Sadly, on March 24, 2006, Miguel suddenly passed. But, apparently, Capitàn was not quite ready to let their friendship go.

Veronica and Damian have tried to bring him home on many occasions. But the forlorn dog always returns to the cemetery that he now considers home.

Damian Guzman says, "I've tried to bring Capitàn home several times, but he always comes straight back to the cemetery. I think he's going to be there until he dies too. He's looking after my dad."

They managed to get him home once and spend some time with him. But, before nightfall, Capitàn headed back to the cemetery.

"I don't think he wanted to leave Miguel on his own at night," says Veronica.

Capitan Loyal GSD1Hector Baccega, administrator of the Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba cemetery, says "He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master.

During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o'clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave and stays there all night."

Capitàn has won over the caretakers, who always make sure he's fed and up to date on his shots. They even called the vet one day when the dog showed up with a broken leg.

Baccega thinks this amazingly loyal dog is teaching us to cherish the time we do have with our loved ones.

The devotion of Capitàn reminds me of Hachiko, a famous Akita Inu who waited every day at the train station for his owner until the day he died. His story inspired the heartbreaking film Hachi: A Dog's Tale, starring Richard Gere.

A comment posted on a YouTube clip of the movie sums it up perfectly, "A wait that lasts a lifetime. Cruel is the fate that allows a creature to yearn reunion but yet not understand the mortality which separates them."

Photos: La Voz

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

Amanda Hero GSDAmanda, a German Shepherd Mix, saved her 10 day old pups from a house fire in Santa Rosa de Temuco, Chile. She risked her own life to move the pups out of harm's way. One by one, she picked them up and placed them gently on the steps of the nearby firetruck.

While the firefighters worked to put out the blaze in her family's home, Amanda retrieved her precious pups. She then laid down beside them protecting them with her body.Amanda GSD Hero1

She and the five pups were taken to the veterinarian. Sadly, one of the pups, Amparo, had suffered severe burns and later succumbed to her injuries. The vet said that the other four pups were doing well.

Felipe Lara, the attending vet, said that Amanda got very defensive when they tried to take her puppies away from her to care for them. She finally let them check over them, but insisted on keeping her ailing Amparo within her sight.

3. Training

One of the biggest challenges in training a dog is timing. Essentially, you must do this when they are mentally ready. It's easier to train a calm (or tired) dog, than one that is bouncing off the walls with energy. Before my dog trainer would come over, I would take Schatzi and Ryder for a jog around the neighborhood to tire them out a bit in preparation for their lessons.

Exercise can help, but if you need a bit more assistance, I've found that a natural remedy can also assist your dog in calming her brain so she can focus. Bach Flower Remedies were originally created to help your dog release trauma from stressful situations, but can also help your dog get into the right mindset to learn something new. The remedy is designed to restore a proper balance between the mind and body.

It's not woo-woo stuff. Even Dr. Oz recommends Bach Flower Remedies for stress relief.

Read more about Bach Rescue Remedy for Dogs.

4. Health Issue

Hip dysplasia is unfortunately a common disease in the German Shepherd dog. The cause of hip dysplasia is genetics, and poor breeding practices has caused it to become rampant. Puppy mills and backyard breeders only serve to perpetuate this preventable condition. No dog of questionable quality should ever be bred. Sadly, the AKC does not allow restrictions on breeders other than the age of the dog.

Perhaps we should take a cue from the country where the bred originated?

Since 1966, Germany has required hip certification before any dog can be bred or show for a championship. Before a puppy can leave the breeder at 8 weeks of age, she must be tattooed by an SV official. This tattoo must be recorded on the hip x-ray and proves to serve that the x-ray belongs to a particular dog.

I got Schatzi from what I later found out to be a backyard breeder (I didn't know better at the time). She worried me with her bunny hopping (running with her back two legs together), hesitation before jumping and struggling to get up.

Desperate to avoid surgery and find help for her, I researched natural alternatives. I found one in Arthro-Ionx. Still a bit skeptical, I decided to give it a try. Both Schatzi and I are glad I did!

The maker of Arthro-Ionx recommends 3 weeks. But, within just three days, she was running normally, hopping around like Tigger and got up with no problem.

Find out more about this natural treatment for hip dysplasia.

If your dog has hip or joint issues, she may also enjoy an orthopedic memory foam dog bed. Even Ryder, my Mali who has shown no signs of hip abnormality, preferred it to his own bed and would always try to steal it. :)

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 time,

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