Skipper enters the pack

By Forever Hero | Shepherd Stories | 28 Nov 2020

After the death of Lexxieboy in 2018, and Rowan last December, we noticed very much the two ladies that they missed the leadership of a male. Lana in particular was very busy, and she did not leave our little Myla alone anymore either. Myla on the other hand is really starting to get older and she couldn't really appreciate Lana's behaviour that much anymore.

In addition, we ourselves lacked the affection that male dogs often show much more when female dogs do that. And two bitches together often go less well if there is no male.

Yet we were not really searching, but more thinking that in the long term we would like to take on a dog that needed to be relocated. A German Shepherd dog looking for a new home.

Suddenly there he was ...

Coincidentally, through an internet site, we suddenly came across a German Shepherd dog of just 1 year, looking for a new home. His profile appealed to us, and we fell completely for his handsome appearance. His name then was Toran, but that name sounded too much like Rowan ... So we changed his name to Skipper. And since february, the 16th ... he's the new man in the pack. 


Here Skipper tells his story! 



Almost drama ... I bit her hand!

Oh boy, the first time I came to Lady-boss's house almost turned into a drama. I came from very far by car. All the way from the north of the Netherlands to the South. Well they always say "The Sunny South", but trust me, it was bad and angry in my eyes. A strong storm, a lot of rain and my people went there with me? What the woof!!

Should I go for a walk here? And did I have to like that too? I actually didn't know that well. But eventually the car was parked, in people's homes! Also strange, but yes, I got out of the car and really almost had a coincidence. The moment I got out a woman came out, that is not such a drama. But she had a DOG with her. Another dog! Ooohh I got mad. I can't stand other dogs at all when I'm on that leash. I am a little afraid that they want to do something to me, and to prevent that I open my big mouth myself. As hard as I can! And believe me, that's hard, and I seem very dangerous then.

She didn't care

However, that woman didn't care about my big mouth and loud barking, so she reached out to let me smell. But she still had that dog with her. So what happened then, well, I'm kind of embarrassed about that now. But I was so focused on that dog that I bit the woman's hand. I didn't notice it all that much, all the more. But she didn't get mad. She did change her strategy and ran away from me with the other dog. Meanwhile, the other dog had become angry with me. And I thought "You see, they always get mad at me".

Myla Mouse would become my girlfriend

The other dog turned out to be little Myla Mouse, and she didn't approve of biting her Lady boss. I didn't know then that it would become my Lady boss, and that Myla Mouse would become my girlfriend.

I really went crazy

Anyway, so we walked. Lady boss with Myla Mouse in front, then me with my people, and finally a human came, with ANOTHER DOG! That would turn out to be Lana. What the woof, ONE MORE dog? Ooooh I really went crazy, bounced like crazy and went completely insane. And I was angry at the beginning of the walk. My 'old' people held me tight and were afraid that Boss and Lady-boss would shy away from me. But that didn't seem to happen. They looked through my angry behavior and saw that I had a very big mouth. But actually was still a little boy. And they just kept walking. Giving me the opportunity to calm down. I didn't know then that Lana can be as hard as I can. Although I noticed that she was not as easy as Myla.


Myla could run free

After a ten minute walk something strange happened. I had calmed down a bit, dived into a ditch to cool down, and started enjoying the fact that I could stretch my legs. And the person of Myla suddenly loosened the line of Myla so that she could run nice and free, and I already thought ... Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooof this will be fun, now I can finally watch that black one. But nothing, I had to stay on the leash and Myla's human also held that leash tightly. My own people now walked behind me and Myla's human kept me with her. As soon as I wanted to go, because I always liked doing that, she quietly stopped me and with only her voice she let me know that she did not like it. Because I didn't know her yet, I decided to stay calm with her. After all, as a dog you never know what a person can do to you. Right? Have to be careful. My own people slowed down until they got to that black dog. I looked back a few times at what was going on and I found it really strange. But then that person what held said to me softly every time, “Come on boy. You are doing well Toran ”. Oooh yes, I have to woof that, my name was still Toran!

In the meantime we had been walking in the woods for a while and slowly all people started walking closer together, making it impossible for us dogs to do anything else than walking ever closer together. But we had already received so many impressions that we actually no longer wanted to really bounce. And that turned out to be nice. I had never realized that it can also be nice to walk quietly next to other dogs, but I trusted that nothing would happen. And that allowed me to relax and just walk along with the rest.

Coming into my new house

When we had walked for about an hour we were back at home with the people of Myla and Lana and I saw my people's car again. So I thought, "Hmm, okay, are we going home now?". But that turned out not to be the case. The gate was opened and I was allowed to enter ... and suddenly the collar went off my neck and I could really get to know Myla and Lana for the first time. That was quite exciting because Lana didn't feel like getting to know me at the time. She snarled and snapped, and Myla wasn't sure what to do next. I already learned then that Myla is much at ease then Lana. But hey, like every young guy, I like a challenge and I went to see Lana. Also because she smelled very nice to my idea.

Toran be a good boy!

When we entered the house afterwards, I was allowed to look around everywhere… and I was even allowed to lie on the couch. I thought "Woof, those people here are very hospitable to dogs". Everyone went to drink coffee and was talked about me quite a bit. At least I heard my name very often. When I looked then my people said "It's all right Toran". But I heard from their voices that it wasn't that good at all! My people were both crying and I was no longer comfortable. What too woof was going on? Then my people got up and suddenly fetched my balls, my blanket, my chunks, everything I love so much was put here in this strange house. I couldn't understand it anymore. Felt really weird and wanted to know what was going on. And suddenly my people came to me and said "Toran boy, you are going to be a good, good dog, and we will never forget you". They walked away crying and told me to stay!

I was upset and felt abandoned

Completely upset and defeated, I stopped. I didn't understand it. My people let me down? What would I have done then? Wouldn't I have been nice? Sadly I lay at the door waiting for them and the people of Myla and Lana just patted my head and walked into the living room. There I was, alone in the kitchen. Yes, the door was open and I could lie down next to them, but I didn't want that at all. I felt alone, sad and let down. Myla and Lana occasionally came to see me but I didn't want to play with them anymore. I… I… I was abandoned!


Myla and Lana growled at me

The people of Myla and Lana came to see me every time, sat down with me but gave me the choice if I wanted to be with them. They let me process my grief. And when I went to see them myself, they were very nice to me. Apparently they understood that I was sad. Myla and Lana were not so nice to me at the beginning, when I walked into the living room and wanted to lie down with them, they growled at me. Fortunately, their people did not let them and I quickly learned that the two girls listened to their people. That was something I had to remember.

Going to sleep for the first time in my new house

The evening came and my people still had not returned. Should I go to sleep here? When I saw that they were going to put my blanket down, I did understand that exactly that was the intention here, and what I liked was that people also stayed with us. I didn't know then that they were doing that to make it easier for me. But it was nice, so I had some support by their presence and therefore went close to them.

My people didn't come the next day either, and slowly I started to give up hope that they would come back. After all, this was not the first time I had moved and met new people. I remembered how it had been last time, just felt more let down again and decided that this time I would not trust people so quickly. Because being let down for the second time in 3 months is something that gives your confidence a nice dent. This time I would focus on the dogs, and the people? Well, nice that they are there… but I shouldn't really trust it.

That was my first acquaintance, and my first week would remain that way. Seek support from Myla and Lana but don't really trust people.

Only these people turned out to have different thoughts. They always valued me, forced me to nothing, but always remained sweet, friendly but consistent to me. Every day I was allowed to do the same, and every day the same was not allowed. So I learned that quickly and I just know if they don't like something, I better not do it. Imagine I had to move again. I didn't like that idea. Even though I didn't trust the people, at least I felt more comfortable day by day with Myla and Lana. Or it must be that my old people came to pick me up. But I never saw that happen again. Sigh. I also understood now that I would stay here.

But a fast forward to now ...

Skipper en Myla.jpg

Four months later

We are now four months later, and I must say. After the first difficult week I completely adjusted myself and I have a great time. MY Lady-boss and boss are super sweet to me, I have become friends with Myla and Lana. Okay, Lana can still snarl and growl, but apparently that's just how she is. Myla is a sweet girl and I can play with her a bit if I hold myself back. Every day I go for a walk at least four times and in the meantime Lady-boss does exercises with me to teach me things. She always says I don't need to know any tricks, but I do have to listen immediately when she calls me. She also plays a lot with me with balls and with my Kong.

I now know that I can stay here because boss and Lady-boss have promised me that I NEVER have to move again and that they accept me as I am. And I do believe them now, I have given my trust! That was the problem with my previous people. They live in a busy residential area, with many dogs that always walk around there. And I just don't have confidence in other dogs when I'm kept on a leash. I bounce, then I bark, then I just get really angry ... because I'm really just scared that they will hurt me. I don't get it right because I didn't learn it when I was a puppy. And my previous people couldn't accept that because it was too difficult for them.

Lady-boss and boss help me in that. Now when we run into a dog they turn me away from that situation and let me sit back and wait. I have noticed that Lady-boss herself does not get nervous from other dogs, and that helps me too. Because she remains calm, she can also take me away from what I find difficult. And if I'm far enough away, I don't have to bounce like crazy. I have also noticed that Lady-boss does not like that I pull on the leash. At first I thought, I am going to pull hard enough ... then the leash can go off and I can run. But now I'm starting to learn that the harder I pull, the less chance of releas the leash. Only when I walk neatly with her and listen carefully, then she takes off the leash and we start playing together. It has been a time of learning and adjusting for me. But I have to say that I like this approach. It makes me like it and want to do it the way she wants me to, because then I can run free.


One step too far for my willpower.

Last week I made a mistake with that. I walked freely with Lady forest in the big forest and suddenly heard a jogger coming. That's not a problem for me, I thought. I stay well-behaved as Lady-boss wants, but then I suddenly saw that the jogger had a DOG with him. And that was just a step TOO far for my willpower. I couldn't contain myself anymore and jumped to that dog with a few barks.

Lady boss didn't like that very much, but she didn't punish me… then again. She called me back very hard and enthusiastically, when I looked she enthusiastically threw my ball the other way. And together we ran to that ball. Then she threw again, when I had neatly picked up the ball and brought it to her, I was rewarded once again exuberantly and we walked on. Only then did she reattach the leash to my collar.

Learned something again

By now I realized what I had done wrong and therefore accepted the consequences. So now I have learned something again. Although I honestly don't know if I will do things differently next time. It remains difficult for me to see other dogs. I want to do it right, but I would also like to get to know them to see if they want to play with me. Because even though I am big, and may seem angry, I am essentially an insecure boy who is afraid that other dogs will hurt me while I just want to play.

It is nice to say that I have come to trust Lady boss and boss completely. I now know that I can and can trust that they protect me and that I can stay here. No matter what…

So hopefully I woof many Shepherd Stories here!



Originally written on Hive in July 2020

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Forever Hero
Forever Hero

Doglover, photographer and digital artist

Shepherd Stories
Shepherd Stories

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