He started out as just a little fur ball in my lap but by the time Baron (my GSD) was a year old, he had a limp after strenuous activity. I took him to the vet and x-rays followed. The bad news was that he had a congenital defect in his back knee joints. This misalignment was compounded by the fact that Baron is big. Very big. A typical response when people meet him for the first time is, "OMG, I’ve never seen such a big German Shepherd." Think Marmeduke in size and temperment. Surgery was an option but he was already probably too old to have other than a remote chance of success. The vets advice was to limit his turning and jumping activities and try glucosomine. I did.
Now he is four and very rarely limps anymore. He loves to hike, run and chase small animals. The turning, twisting, jumping part is under strict control especially when he socializes with other dogs. He is not "cured" but managed. I’m now hopeful that Baron and I will be able to do our thing together for many years to come.
One of our favorite joint activities is "bird hiking" This, apparently, is not standard birding technique. Your typical little old man in tennis shoes, binoculars in hand, tip toes silently through the woods peering into the bushes for the sight of a titmouse. Baron and I use the standard grouse hunting technique. I had previously perfected this method in my upland bird hunting days, with all my labs and retrievers. Baron charges through the woods, sloughs and prairies flushing every mammal and bird in his way. They fly in all directions and not being an "on the wing photographer," I note where they land, call the dog to me and then approach for a picture.
The only problem with this birding technique was deer. Baron loves to chase them. As a youngster I had taken him for a hike in the Maynard Underbakke State Forest. What a disaster that was. It’s a very densely forested area, and Baron was exploring ahead down the trail. He had been checking back with me every minute or so, until he disappeared without returning. I had called and called with no response. Following the trail, I noted some deeply imprinted deer tracks. It was as if a deer had been hard and fast. "Not good" I thought. I tracked and called down the trail for about a half a mile. Nothing. Then I returned to the truck and waited for an hour. Still nothing. I figured I had about two hours till dark, so I decided to return to my neighbors, borrow his four-wheeler, load it on a trailer, drive ten miles back to the woods and resume my search for lost puppy.
The access road to the forest, off the state highway, is nothing more than a field road about a half mile in length. . As I drove down that road, next to a plowed cornfield, I saw him slowly working his way toward me. What a relief! Could he have found his way ten miles home? I doubt it.... but he was obviously backtracking. When I stopped the truck and jumped out he saw me and came running. Big hugs and kisses all the way around.
He hopped in the cab and got his butt chewed all the way home. I know it didn't do anything for him but I felt better about it. Unfortunately I think the lesson learned on that outing was (1) chasing deer is a lot of fun, and (2) when push comes to shove my master will come and find me. Grrrrrr.
The next time we went to the Big Woods together, Mr Adventurer was wearing a shock collar. Yes, he still tried to chase deer for a while but a lesson was soon learned. Those big brown running animals somehow bite. Tough love, they call it.
Ray, this is weird, but Sioux has developed a limp after running. If she behaves herself for a day or so, it goes away. I feel it's either her hip or her ankle. What do you give Baron? I need to research some joint supplements for both dogs. :)ReplyDelete
Baron is a beautiful dog. You don't seem to see as many German Sheppard s as we use to.ReplyDelete
He is truly a beautiful dog. Those shock collars work like magic, or so I've heard.ReplyDelete
Big can be hard to slow down.ReplyDelete
Big can be hard to slow down.ReplyDelete
The Shepard is such a beautiful dog. I am glad that he is able to go birding and he has gotten better.ReplyDelete
He also looks like a very happy dog, well loved and cared for! Good for you for finding a way...ReplyDelete
Baron certainly looks as if he enjoys these outings with you, even if he has had to wear a shock collar at times.ReplyDelete
Oh how scary to have him run off like that. I would have been a total wreck. I can just imagine your relief at finding him. He is such a handsome dog. I've heard good things about the glucosamine. I hope Baron continues to do well. It is heartbreaking to see our pets in pain.ReplyDelete
Awww...what fun to have a dog that enjoys having so much fun!! Enjoyed this story. That puppy pic is too cute.ReplyDelete
Guys our age insist on having "real" dogs and not some furry 8 pound rag-mops. I know exactly what you're going through. My 18 month old Kangal called Tajah loves to get out there after the wildlife as well. Control is a continuing challenge. When I complain, my wife insists that you'll find my picture in the dictionary right beside the entry for "stupid". However, none of us would give up our big galloping mutts, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing your story and your pictures.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you found Baron. My dog BJ once ran off in the woods and I was sick about it. He came back pretty fast. I can imagine how scared you were and how happy you found him!ReplyDelete
Great story, Troutbirder. What a dog!ReplyDelete
What a great dog! Of course Baron has to chase deer - they are cat sized for him. Congratulations on your Baron story getting published too!ReplyDelete
What a great story..seems you found the perfect solution to the deer chasing problem..one that worked! Everyone birds in their own way..and it sounds like you two make a great pair:)ReplyDelete
Your pics are gorgeous. Love those German Shepherds!ReplyDelete
Sounds like you and baron go on quite the adventures.I'm glad to hear that your dog is managing his health challenges well.ReplyDelete
Once a parent, always a parent. :-)ReplyDelete
Love the photo of Mrs. T/Mother Goose!
Yes, you and Baron seem like a perfect match. He is such a handsome dog and I hope he continues to do well. Pets sure bring us a lot of joy!ReplyDelete
Wow, he IS big and he is a beauty, but what's most important is that he is your pal!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. I appreciate it.
That is good to hear that Baron returned in good condition. I know those deer can really do some damage with their kicking and biting.
Seeing such a cool German Shepard makes me want to go get a little puppy myself. He looks super healthy.
Good luck if you head out trouting or birding anytime soon!
Looks like you have a wonderful life companion...that you take great care of. Kudos to you for that from one dog lover to another.ReplyDelete
Look at baby Baron!!! Adorable!!! Oh he reminds me of a pup we had when I was growing up on the farm. So cute!!!ReplyDelete
I live here in Northeastern Pa, and have G Sheps as well. My one G Shep is 15...yes 15 and even she will still give chase.ReplyDelete
But the reason I am commenting here is because one time there was a buck with a bunch of doe in the field out in front of our home, and as soon as I opened the door Levi Jane, my 56 yr old G Shep charged after them. They all scattered (as usual) except for the buck. He stood very erect, made some sort of grunting noise, and pawed at the ground (yikes!)
It was rutting season, and this boy meant business. I called for Levi, and she completely disobeyed me.
Fortunately, he took off toward the woods right before she reached him. Had he not done that, Levi would have been mince meat. :(
After that incident, I don't let the dogs chase the deer anymore.
Oh my... what an adventure! I've had those terrible moments when my GS's seemed lost too. Not nice. Shock collars are good for GS - they have such thick necks they hardly feel anything - and, it is much better than loosing them! Love the last photo of Baron and your wife! Such connection!ReplyDelete
Blessings for many years of walking the woods together!
(now... I really must get to work!!)