I received my first white German Shepherd as a gift from a dear friend while visiting St. John's Newfoundland during a St. Patrick's Day celebration. Patty was a beloved family pet and great running partner for almost 13 years. Although she never can be replaced, we wanted to continue the joy a dog can bring a family, so brought Dakota into our lives in March of 2007. Dakota's mom, Diamond came to live with us a few months later. "di-da" GSD Companions is named for them.**
Dakota's first litter was born the 4th and 5th of June 2009 -- 4 girls and 3 boys, all white pups with two long coats. It was the 10th litter for the sire Atlas, a beautiful long coat white GSD from Atlas Kennels who's still going strong in the show venue in 2011 at a healty age of 8. Grandma Diamond helped mother the pups as the gentle matriarch of the pack, even producing milk to nurture the pups. In 2010, Dakota was mated with a wonderful black and tan GSD named Rooster from Juel's Haven. Ten pups were born the 28th of May -- 6 girls and 4 boys, 8 white and two black/tan, though we thought one of the black/tans was a solid black for many weeks. It was Rooster's first litter. In 2011, Dakota was mated with Rooster's brother Johnny. This was Johnny's nth litter. Nine pups were born the 17th of May -- 4 girls and 5 boys, 5 white, four black/tan, one long coat of each color.
Diamond and I visited the Ronald McDonald House and the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester and participated in the Rochester Library Sit Stay and Read program. It was very rewarding to see the joy on young people's faces as they interact. I placed Diamond in early 2011 as I adopted Andes from the Rooster litter. Diamond is missed, but I take comfort in knowing she is loved by her new family near the Cities and absolutely loves going to work with them each day. In September of 2011, Dakota earned her therapy dog certificate so we can continue the visits I so enjoyed with Diamond.
Donna from Eclipse Kennels and Tracie from Atlas Kennels helped orient me to the show ring and breeding world. I was introduced to Judy from Juelhaven by a judge in the show ring. She continues to be a wealth of knowledge and support for life with canines and breeding for optimum health and structure.
I've participated in obedience trials with Dakota, Search and Rescue training with Andes and Dakota, and AKC fun matches with each of my dogs. But therapy dog visits remain our mainstay. Dakota inherited her therapy dog aptitude from Diamond, and passed it on to daughters Andes and Katy, and now Katy's son Sir Lancelot.
Diamond and Katy have now passed, Andes is now a seizure and sleep apnea detection / service dog in Wisconsin. Dakota and I continue to do therapy visits, about once a week. Sir Lancelot has a therapy dog aptitude as well. Once qualified, he'll be my fourth generation therapy dog partner. .
We are currently a member of the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America. and the United German Shepherd Alliance.
The embedded picture is of Patty when we took her to Apache Mall to visit Santa for Christmas of 2001.
** A note about Diamond: When puppy assessments were done for the Dakota x Rooster litter, Andes stood out with her "right-on structure and a temperament to die for". The sire's owner said that she'd cry if Andes didn't have an opportunity to carry the pedigree onward. When three show / breed homes fell through for Andes, I was delighted to find a therapy / service home. Then that also failed. In early 2011, a door opened for Diamond. I looked towards a bigger picture and tentatively placed Diamond with an understanding it need be an above-average experience for everyone, or I'd gladly take her back. Diamond's quiet and confident attitude proved true with the new family. She's now helping raise a couple daughters, has a boy friend GSD to kabitz with, and travels every day to her owners auto repair shop where she serves as an evangelist for white GSDs. Melancholy.