We are a dog-loving family, never having gone more than a month or two without benefit of loving brown eyes waiting to see what else they can do for you. After one such period, I answered an ad for German Shepherd pups, and came home with an adorable black puppy whom we named Bella for beautiful.
However, it soon became apparent that there was something very wrong with the pup, so I took her to a well-respected breeder in Washington state to have her evaluated. The breeder was a German woman whose mother had a large kennel in Germany. She looked at the pup’s papers and then called several employees over to see the dog. It seems that through ill-informed breeding this little thing would have a limited life-span, demanding constant care and expense.
After telling the breeder what we wanted in a dog, she asked us to come back in a few days after she had chosen several we might like. When we returned, she had us go into small stall with about 4 cute 8 week old pups while she waited outside a Dutch door to watch. As the little pups scrambled all over one another, climbing over and under, one went under a small bench seemingly wanting our attention. As we went to collect her, the breeder crossly asked “What are you doing?” We answered that this was the one we wanted. She said “But THAT is the one who wants YOU!” pointing out the tiny pup who was trying to shred my raincoat!
I learned a good lesson that day. Don’t answer an unqualified ad, and always choose the pup who wants to be with YOU. Training is easy and fun with someone who wants to please you from the get-go. You can have a wonderful dog otherwise, but it will take longer to make them trust you implicitly.
I returned Liza to the breeder in a few months to have them look at her. She was becoming a fabulous looking dog, and they felt they had made a mistake in selling her as a “companion dog”. She was descended from a long line of international champions, and they tried to convince us to show her. However, we opted not to take on the responsibility of long hours of care and dog shows.
We lived in the country at that time, with a horse corral in the rear of our property. When a very young grandson came to visit, Liza herded him away from the fence and back into his proper place. She guarded us that same way the rest of her life.
Liza was our constant companion for many years, going everywhere with us, whether camping, to the mountains or the seashore, or simply grocery shopping. She was a fixture in my sculpture studio greeting people as they came in to chat or to share a cup of coffee. She was a party animal with a big tail wag for everyone.
There is a small sculpture and a large photo of Liza in our home, reminding us that she was a great part of our lives. Though we have had a number of lovely dogs since then, including a terrific Jack Russell terrier now, Liza will always hold top honors in our hearts. She was truly a Champion.