Playing fetch at the Cliffs of Moher

While in Ireland, we got to visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

Cliffs of Moher

After rounding a bend and looking at the watchtower, we were suddenly approached by this spunky, sprightly little shepherd mix.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

She came running up to us eagerly and had a fragment of a tennis ball in her mouth. We couldn’t resist playing with her for a few minutes.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

I’m not sure who her person was; I didn’t see anyone around who seemed to be claiming her. She had a collar on, however, so she clearly belonged somewhere.

Cliffs of Moher

But she made us laugh and reminded us so much of Eden. Because this is exactly what Eden would be doing if she were a free-range Irish dog: Stalking around a busy tourist spot, hoping that someone, anyone, would stop to play with her.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

I love that personality trait so much in dogs: the endless playfulness and energy. Even if it can drive you crazy sometimes, it is so charming to be near an animal who is so full of drive and joy.

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Former foster update: Laszlo

Anyone remember Laszlo, our foster puppy from Southeast German Shepherd Rescue?

Watching bugs

Pen Park with Laszlo

He was just a little guy when we had him, back in AprilĀ 2013.

Found: Old photos of Laszlo

I got the pleasure to see him again this pastĀ March, when I taught a calligraphy workshop at the vineyard where his person, Tracey, works.

Calligraphy workshop: Laszlo all grown up!

What a handsome little dude! He looks like a miniature German shepherd, with macro ears.

Calligraphy workshop

Calligraphy workshop

Dogs in March

He has turned into a fantastic dog, and he is so well-mannered and calm.

Dogs in March

I taught the workshop for about three hours, and he camped out like this in the room with all of us, like a complete darling.

Tracey has done a marvelous job with him. He gets to roam around the winery with her all day and behaves himself beautifully with people, children, other animals. He also is still loving life with his big sister, BB, a German shepherd, and a gigantic cat out on their mini farm.

Calligraphy workshop

It does the heart good to see a former foster thriving. Laszlo has a great life, and I couldn’t be happier for him.

If you fostered, do you ever get to see your former fosters?

Play-date with Howie, a fellow rescue alum

On Sunday night, Pyrrha had the privilege of meeting a fellow Southeast German Shepherd Rescue alum, Howie!

Play date with Howie

Rainer and I got to visit Howie’s new parents during their application process with SGSR and do a home visit there, so we were excited when we heard that they were finally able to find the perfect puppy. Howie came from a litter of 11 (!) puppies born to a German shepherd mama, Rosetta. As you can see from his appearance, there’s a good chance that his daddy was a black lab. I think you can really discern the shepherd-ness in his face, though.

Play date with Howie

We let Howie and Pyrrha sniff each other through the fence first, which went fine for a few minutes, but then Pyrrha started getting agitated and barking at him. I was thankful for Emily (Howie’s mom), who wasn’t scared off by this behavior (as Howie had recently graduated from the reactivity class that we are about to take with the same trainer). We let the dogs take a break; she walked Howie back up to her car, I brought Pyrrha inside, leashed her, and then we let them have some space in the front yard to look at each other for a bit and then carefully sniff on loose leashes. In a second, they were wagging and play-bowing, so we brought them back to the fenced-in yard, where they played perfectly without an incident.

It was a good reminder that dogs sometimes just need to be introduced in a different way, that they are very capable of recovering and being perfectly at ease if we just give them the chance. I was also very thankful for Emily, who understood this!

Play date with Howie

I didn’t get a ton of great photos, as it was quickly growing dark, but these two had a great time together. And they were both thoroughly worn out after about 30 minutes of their vigorous game of tag.Play date with Howie

Howie is 7 months old, and he was a great match for Pyrrha in play behavior. She tends to like these floppy, adolescent males!

Play date with HowieWe hope we’ll get to play with Howie again soon!

New foster: Laszlo!

Everyone, meet our new foster pup, Laszlo!

Pen Park with Laszlo

Laszlo is a 9-10 week old German shepherd mix. He was thrown over the fence in the middle of the night at a West Virginia shelter, and that’s basically all that we know about his background.

Out back with baby Laszlo

He was dropped off at our house by a sweet family who volunteered to transport him on Friday. Laszlo arrived somewhat overwhelmed and withdrawn, but he was very cuddly with everyone and always wagged his little tail whenever a person approached him. Within a few hours, he had started to open up and explore the house.

Pen Park with Laszlo

Pyrrha has been a little less than thrilled with his arrival. She treats him with a kind of reserved disdain. He was quite frightened by her at first, but after a day, the two of them now coexist peacefully. (This morning, the two were playing bitey-face while I ate breakfast…)

For all of her standoffishness, Pyrrha remains gentle with puppies, and she does seem to respect his size and age. For now, they are tolerating each other, which is all we can really ask for. I imagine, however, that within a week or so, he may gain more confidence and the two of them might actually interact more.

Laszlo in the car

My sister and brother-in-law were visiting for the weekend, and on Saturday, we took the dogs to the local trails for an afternoon walk. Laszlo kept up quite well and did OK on the leash, partially thanks to Pyrrha’s example, I think. We did carry him part of the way back, but he was a trooper. He even met a few dogs on the trail and didn’t seem too scared of them, which was a good sign.

Pen Park with Laszlo

He strikes me as quite smart and trainable. Within a day, we trained him to sit, and he’s now habituated to sitting in front of us when he wants something, instead of jumping up. He still does jump, but he doesn’t seem to have many of the typical GSD vices yet (noisiness, biting people, chewing up stuff). Essentially, he strikes me as a rather easy puppy. He slept through the night on his first night here, and he’s still getting used to the housetraining.

Out back with baby Laszlo

What would you guess he is mixed with?

His paws are somewhat small and proportional, so I don’t think he’s going to get very big. He clearly has GSD markings, but purebred GSD puppies don’t get their ears up this young. His coat is also unusual and unlike a GSD; instead of the fluffy puppy fur that leads to the thick GSD double coat, this guy has somewhat odd, silky fur that is close to the skin. He has a stocky build, too.

My best guess is either some terrier or some heeler somewhere in his lineage, but of course, we have no idea. What do you think?

Out back with baby Laszlo

Looking forward to getting to know this little dude more and more! More details to come!

Laszlo is looking for his forever home! If you are interested in adopting Laszlo, fill out an application at Southeast German Shepherd Rescue.