My love of German Shepherds actually began when I was with my ex. Dogs were one of the few bright spots in my life with him, and I’m grateful to him for introducing me to German Shepherds and bitesports. I moved into my condo in October 2011 after a two-year period of not having dogs, and I immediately began my search for a four-legged friend. In fact, one of the reasons I bought a condo (instead of renting an apartment) was due to breed-specific legislation — a lot of the apartments in the area I was searching (Howard County, MD) did not allow German Shepherds because they were on the “bite list.”
Once I got my furniture set up, I started applying to various GSD tescues. However, I was summarily rejected from all of them because I didn’t meet their requirements (one of them being a fenced-in yard). My condo backed up to woods on the ground floor, so I had a yard of sorts, but no fence.
After being turned down, I looked on the Howard County Animal Shelter website, and saw a 9-month old GSD named “Abby” (now Arya). I fell in love with her striking looks, and arranged to go meet her. Her former owners had dropped her off because “they were moving into an apartment and they didn’t want her to be bored.” Their loss, our gain. <3
Arya has been with me for 10+ of her 11 years, and is still going strong. 🙂
Once I got Arya, I took her to basic obedience classes at K9 Koncepts, which we passed in 6 weeks. However, I knew in my gut that she wasn’t cut out for protection work. In January 2012, I took her to the Pet Expo at the Timonium Fairgrounds, and met Isabelle Sanche and her dog Branik. I asked her if she knew of any working GSD breeders with puppies on the ground, and she directed me to Steven Yerger of Centurion K9.
Steven had paired his bomb dog Falco with one of Al Younger’s last dogs (Sierra), producing Desmo’s litter. I picked Desmo up on February 12, 2012, and immediately began shaping him into my IGP prospect. We worked on tracking, obedience, and protection for months. On September 27, 2014, I titled Desmo to his BH.
Once I got his BH, I continued to work with him in IGP for the next 2 years (2014-2016). In late 2016, I moved to Alexandria, VA, and began working with him in APPDA. We went for our EL1 (entry level 1) title on August 12, 2017. He passed the obedience portion, and came off the bite in the backtie.
In April 2018 we did a two-day seminar with Charlie Randolph of Homeland K9 International — I have notes from that which I’ll detail in another post. Suffice it to say that we learned a LOT.
We then continued training for the next few months until I transitioned to RV life prep.
Hounds Of Heck On The Road!
We pulled out of Alexandria on March 29, 2019. By that point, Arya and Desmo were WELL traveled — they’d been with us on multiple trips down to VIRginia International Raceway, Kitty Hawk a few times, Deals Gap for the 2017 solar eclipse, and multiple trips to NC and IN to pick up the coach and stacker. In 2019, they went bi-coastal!
We spent the winter in Camp Verde, AZ, and hit the Grand Canyon in January 2020. We left Camp Verde in March, and headed to the family property north of Fresno, CA. Little did we know that would be Desmo’s last trip in the RV. He succumbed to hemangiosarcoma May 18, 2020, and not a week later, I started searching for German Shepherd breeders.