.....the name fits. When I met Cindy Filz from the WI German Shepherd Rescue on a Saturday in September of 2001 at the local Schutzhund club's Regional Competition and she told me about a long coat female German Shepherd that she had in her rescue, my heart stopped. And then when she told me more and I realized that this girl was related to my Teddy (an aunt :):)) I knew in my heart I had another dog.
Cindy had me fill out an application so she could check my references and we made arrangements for me to meet Olivia on Monday. It was a long 2 days. Now, before I go on, let me say that Teddy was a calm dog (except when his separation anxiety took over) and very obedient. I often have said if he was the first GSD I owned I may never have been a dog trainer because he listened and wanted to please, unlike Josephine my first German Shepherd whose favorite game was "catch me if you can"!
So Monday I arrived at Cindy's and waited for her to get Olivia ....remember, thinking that a calm dog would come through the door! So, the door opened and in burst Olivia bouncing, as I've described it many times, straight up .....straight down …..straight up …..straight down! As I watched her I was struck by her beauty! I love long coats and she was the prettiest I had ever seen!
So, after intros to Teddy, I was heading home with her. She bounced around the yard when we got home and was a happy girl. She was almost 2 ½ years old.
I did discover that she had been placed 2 times and came back because there was a larger male in the household that was too tough on her and I could see that happening with Teddy so I was careful to keep an eye out. If he chased and played too hard she would curl up in a ball and just shut down so I didn’t let them alone together. She and Ari got along great and would run and play together. Josephine, I’m sure, just did the doggy equivalent of rolling her eyes as if to say… oh my... another roommate … I’ll just have to stick with Grandma - which she did!
She was a very nervous girl I came to discover. The first obedience class I had her in she trembled not just the first week but each week for the entire class. As we took more classes she learned to channel that nervousness into awesome obedience. She was perky and would prance and as we started doing competition, people would stop to watch her.
She would not play with a toy or tug when I got her but slowly we worked that in to her training and she loved the game. We did some Schutzhund bitework but didn’t keep up with that sport because, while I was told that she most likely could get a SchH 1, it would be a long road to that achievement . So, we used the tug game to have fun and build drive for obedience.
She eventually got a CGC, a BH, a CDX, UCDX and an RN and became my demo dog when I taught classes at the Winnegamie Dog Club and for a private training school. She loved sheep and got her Herding Instinct Certificate but we never competed. The pinnacle of her obedience career was when I took her to upstate NY to a PSA trial to do the obedience part of the PSA1 which is called a TC and 2 days in a row she outscored all the other dogs in obedience.
When she was about 7 she started to show some signs of stiffness and even though she had good hips, arthritis was starting to set in maybe from all the jumping up and down. Today at 9 ½ years old (11/08) she has considerably slowed down but has never lost her happy attitude.
I’m so blessed that this wonderful dog came into my life and taught me so many lessons. She and Teddy are still best buddies and she loves Ari too. However, her best friend is Kobie who joined our household about 6 months after she did. Those 2 girls would run and play and now will hang out together. The favorite thing they do is for the 2 of them to bolt out the door with Ari at night before bed and howl at the moon for a bit as if to say… we’re here… take notice!