Back at home, my family, like many others, has an animal companion to keep us company and make our days brighter. My common family of four is even more common in the fact that we have a family pet, a dog. Though, our dog is a little unusual. We have a dog named Sandy, a golden-white German shepherd. Sandy’s had quite a past, transferring from shelter to shelter. For a time, she even lived with a foster family, but from now on, Sandy has our house to call her home.
With an interesting coat color for the breed, we constantly receive comments on Sandy’s unique golden-white color. German shepherds are known to be almost any color including brown, black, white, liver, red, blue, and gray, yet German shepherds are not known to be golden-colored. Believed to be a mix, Sandy is figured to be either half yellow lab, due to her love of swimming and water, and her “soft bite”. Labs were bred to swim across lakes to retrieve fowl, bringing the birds back with their “soft bites” to prevent damaging the meat further. Sandy also sports a pair of “angel wings” a white marking common in labs. “Angel wings” are white stripes located right behind the shoulder blades. Maintaining the German shepherd body and characteristics, it’s difficult to identify Sandy’s past genetics. Although her specific breed may be a mystery, we are happy to include Sandy in our family.
Back in October of 2008, my family had just moved cross-country, back to our hometown in Texas. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas all went by…The house, although unpacked and filled with all the possessions that make it home, still bore an empty presence. A loving family, we’re rarely without pets. From a stray cat, named Hobbes, who we loved for about nine years; seven goldfish, each with his its own name; frogs and crickets that were given the best; and two, white rabbits who still clutch a corner of my heart after occupying four years of my life; we’ve shared our home with a diverse collection of animals. But, through all sixteen years of my life, we’ve never had the most common pet: a dog.
On January 17, 2009 my family gathered in our car and drove across town to the Animal Defense League. My mom had been carefully studying each animal they displayed on their website and had read up on all the rules, regulations, and information listed on the Internet. We wanted to be well-informed and fully prepared to adopt our first dog.
After arriving at the shelter, we asked to look around at all of the animals available. We literally looked at every single animal they had. It was quite an experience. I was bitten at one point.=
After hours of looking, one dog had stuck in our mind, but we still hadn’t looked at all of the animals. An employee saw us wandering and brought us to one particular pen. “This is Sandy,” the employee said, “She dances.” The dog in the pen quickly dashed up to the fence to greet us with a happy expression. The woman spun her finger in a circle in the air and Sandy immediately jumped up on two legs and spun around in a circle.
“Oh, wow!” we all exclaimed, surprised by her training.
“Can we walk her?” my dad asked. After getting a leash, we were headed to the large meadow they use to allow animals to run about. We were surprised how easily Sandy walked on the leash. She seemed pretty excited to walk about, but she had good manners, as well. Pretty soon, all of us had fallen in love with her.
After the walk, we returned to her pen and gave back the leash. Still making up our minds, we decided to visit the dog that had stuck in our minds before, but as soon as we saw that dog, we knew that Sandy was the dog for us. All of us immediately wanted to go back to Sandy’s pen.
We spoke with an employee and pretty soon we were in the Main Office filling out paperwork. While we were waiting for the forms to pass, we used a dog tag-making machine to craft Sandy a brand new gold dog bone-shaped tag for her collar. She still wears that tag to this day.
Within the hour, we were walking out of the animal shelter with Sandy on a leash. Sandy was very excited to hop in our car and go for a ride. To this day, she is excited to ride in a car.
Once we got home, we allowed Sandy to explore our home. She was very excited and happy as she quickly darted from one side of the house to the other. She never stopped moving as she dragged her nose around the floor and discovered her new home’s quirks. After a while, we led her upstairs to explore the second half of the house.
When Sandy entered my room, she was given quite the scare. Resting on my floor is a large male lion stuffed animal that is almost life-size. Sandy entered my room and turned the corner coming face-to-face with the lion. She jumped in shock, turned, and ran away. For about a half hour afterwards, she still would not come into my room. After coaxing her in, she cautiously sniffed the lion until she found out that it wasn’t real. After that scary incident, she was back to her active self, running about the house and beaming with excitement.
It’s now over three years later and Sandy has become a permanent part of our family. Now completely comfortable in our house, Sandy has actually found my room to be her favorite room in the house. With my bed resting right up next to the window, my room offers Sandy the perfect spot to perch and watch “Dog Television.” She especially loves barking at passing dogs and watching birds fly by. Also, she spends each night in my room with me, having her own bed next to mine, though she usually prefers to sleep on the floor.
Sandy is a wonderful, loving dog and I love her dearly. From time to time I come to miss her as I spend my time in college over an hour and a half away. I enjoy coming home to a happy, jumpy dog who’s just as excited to see me. I love Sandy and I believe that she loves me just as much.
Memoirs of a Past Foster Owner
October 29, 2007
Sandy is a sweet dog who quickly steals hearts. It’s easy to see that she was once loved and cared for, but the poor girl went through some rough times, coming out of the shelter at a mere 33 lbs. In just a few days’ time, Sandy was back to her “old self,” though, eating heartily and with no food issues. She will be packing on the weight in no time, though she’ll always be petite. Apart from her weight (soon to be a non-issue), she appears to be happy and healthy, sweet and loving. She truly has a beautiful disposition!
Sandy runs and plays in her foster’s acre-plus yard several times a day. She would enjoy a large yard and lots of interactive play. She loves walks and would undoubtedly love a jogging partner. Sandy does great in the car and thinks trips to the park and lake are the best! Though she has only been allowed to wade into the water, she sure likes it! In every activity, Sandy is energetic but well-behaved. (She would benefit from formal training and may get that with her foster or adopter, but she is naturally responsive, so we think she will learn easily.)
Sandy also loves sitting on a rug or blanket next to the couch and chewing on her bone, especially after a nice long walk. (She LOVES chew toys and bones but has not bothered shoes or other people possessions.) Other pastimes include following her fosters around wherever they go and observing their every activity. (Note: The kitchen is another place she has displayed good manners).
Sandy has met other dogs and we think she would enjoy the company of other dogs/playmates, but seems to get along better with males.
Her fosters have lovebirds and she barely notices them.
Sandy has only lived with cats for 5 days. Her foster’s cats were initially terrified (of all dogs) and then one of them attacked her, so it’s not really fair to judge her yet, but the current prognosis is no cats. If you have cats, check back to see if this changes.
January 23, 2008
Single, White, Female seeks ACTIVE partner (owner or dog sibling!). Couch potatoes NEED NOT apply! Love DAILY long jogs through the park, and would probably LOVE chasing a frisbee or doing agility work on the weekends…Loves kids (other people’s, I can’t have any of my own), other large male dogs OK too.
If you are looking for a VERY ACTIVE German Shepherd to accompany you jogging, hiking, or any other outdoor activity, Sandy is your girl! I call her “The Snow Fox” because she looks like a little, white fox darting around…..she is DEFINITELY built for speed. She is a petite female (about 45-50#) approximately 1 year old GSD who goes from dawn till dusk…like the Energizer Bunny!! I think she would excel at something like agility because she is lightening fast and NEVER quits. She would also be a wonderful jogging partner…she prances when she runs, and doesn’t have the big, heavy build of a full-sized GSD that makes jogging so hard on their hips.
Sandy is a happy dog who lives to play. She probably should not go to a home with older or smaller dogs because she would worry them to death to PLAY with her!! I don’t think she would hurt them though…same thing with cats. She gets along GREAT with all of my big males, but can get pushy with females.
She loves ALL people…no exceptions. She is housetrained, crate trained (she sleeps in her crate quietly at night). She is a POWER chewer, but as long as she has a Kong to play with and chew on, she is fine. She rides great in the car; if the trip is long, she will just lie down and go to sleep. She sits on command, and we are working on other basic commands for her…she loves to please, but she is young and needs reinforcement with her commands.
Sandy is spayed, Heartworm negative, microchipped, fully vaccinated and ready to GO, GO, GO to her forever home. If you are in the market for a sweet dog who would make a GREAT jogging partner, she is your girl! Please apply for her on-line now!!
Sandy has completed a month of obedience training at Southern Star Ranch!
Sandy has decided that she is really a LAB in a German Shepherd Dog body…she LOVES to swim!! She is very graceful in the pool, and she and her foster Lab brother swim laps every day together!
More on Sandy: Sandy’s Webpage