Five years ago today at 2:15 pm ET, my beautiful German Shepherd Jack died. We had his vet euthanize him before his body did it by itself. It was getting pretty close; I don’t think he would have survived another night. He had a number of physical ailments; we don’t know exactly what all was wrong internally but I suspect a fast-growing cancer was involved. He was only 9 3/4 years old. He had been my best friend, counselor and “baby-dog” for 9 1/2 of those years.
He came to me as a puppy needing a home with love and freedom. He had been tied outside and neglected, fed irregularly and poorly. At about 4 months, his back legs were so weak he couldn’t climb a step. He didn’t know how to play or run around. That broke my heart.
He learned to play – quickly! There were quirks in his personality that remained for life. A dog trainer told me that the first three months of a pup’s life are very important for socialization. That is when they learn from their mother and littermates how to play properly and they learn how to interact with humans. I don’t know how long Jack was with his mother, but I do know his first couple of months on his own were literally spent on his own.