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2010 July

By now you will have noticed that your magazine was delivered without the plastic bag. It is not a mistake. It is one of several cost-cutting measures that your Board of Directors approved recently. Eliminat-ing the poly bag saves $9,000 a year. That’s a lot of money by anyone’s measure. Postal equipment has im-proved over the years and it is likely that this change will not a?ect the condition of your magazine. If you should receive a badly torn magazine, let me know and we’ll make arrangements to replace it.

Nearly a century ago Robert Frost wrote “Good fences make good neighbours” in a poem called “Mending Wall.” Most readers concede that he did not agree with the statement made by the neighbor on the other side. Nevertheless the phrase was adopted by the general public and is oft repeated even today. As dog lovers and responsible dog owners we likely all agree with that sentiment, but there’s an adaptation that I’d like you to consider: Good (writ-ten) contracts keep good friends.

Yesterday I spoke to a friend across the country and she related the woes of an understanding gone awry. Seems she had given a young bitch to a friend of hers because the friend just had to have that particular puppy. Notice I said given, not sold. Te recipient of this puppy promised to show her. My friend, being the trusting type, didn’t give it another thought and promptly transferred ownership of the pup to her friend.

Fast-forward a couple of years.


2010 August

Some time ago friends of mine were at a dog show that I could not attend. Mid-afternoon the phone calls came, reporting the results, who showed well and who didn’t, all the typical post-show analysis. But one call mentioned something else, how new members of our club were so excited when their puppy took first in her class and then went on to Best Puppy. According to my friend, they were going to take the ribbons home and frame them, their puppy’s first awards. Apparently it warmed the hearts of those around them just to see their joy.

Do you remember the first time one of your dogs won a ribbon? If you’re as old as I am, the classes were bigger and the competition stiff, and even a fourth place ribbon made your heart beat a little faster. Whether your memories go back one decade or four, reach back there and try to remember how it felt to be new to this game. It seemed as though all the people around you knew so much more than you, that you didn’t know enough to even have a German Shepherd Dog, much less show one.


2010 October

Weekends. They happen every week, and there are usually 52 of them each year. For some people a weekend is two days away from work each week, days to sleep late, have a lazy breakfast, read the paper, work in the garden, go for a leisurely afternoon drive, join friends for a relaxed dinner in the evening. For others weekends are spent working on home improvement projects, enjoying the satisfaction of doing the work themselves and saving money in the process

For a small segment of the population, weekends consist of getting up very early, often well before dawn, loading their cars with all manner of equipment, and driving long distances to their destination. Upon arriving at said location they will begin unloading all the equipment, setting it up and then preparing themselves and their charge for inspection. They will then display the  fruits of their labors for approximately five minutes, after which their efforts will be evaluated, often by a complete stranger, and a winner declared. Only two can ever win, no matter how many compete. Then these people will undo everything they’ve done at that location, pack it all up and either drive to another location several hours away, or return home because the two days set aside for rest and relaxation are over and they must return to work.


2010 September

Perhaps you’ve noticed in the last couple of months that here have been a few changes to your Review, and maybe you’re a bit confused.  We couldn’t blame you at all if you are. Even our printer got confused.

Here’s what is happening. At its regular meeting at the end of April, your Board of Directors voted to make a few changes that would result in some significant cost savings to the GSDCA. One was to change the coating on the cover. Many never even noticed this change, some commented that they liked the new look better than the glossy look. Another change reduced the weight of the  paper inside the magazine; we had no comments on that .


2010 November/December

The 2010 National in Utah

What a fun National we had this year! After all the worries of bad weather and rumors of inconvenient facilities, it still turned out well. And I have to say it was one of the "friendlier" nationals I've attended. For some reason we didn't hear nearly as much complaining, and I saw a lot of friendly gestures and chatting going on, and hardly any sour faces.

Of course the weather had a lot to do with it. If Bill Burggraaf had placed a special order with the weather gods, it couldn't have been much better. I know there were some people who were cold when they were washing dogs early in the morning, but guess what? That is a fact of life at many, many shows across the country. Maybe those of you who live in the south don't experience that as often as others, but it can and does happen everywhere.

Once the sun rose a little higher in the sky the days were absolutely lovely. Warm enough to be very comfortable, but not so hot we couldn't leave a dog in the car for a bit now and then. And certainly not so hot that we had to worry about the dogs working outside, say in the herding arena.

Read more: 2010 November/December

2011 January

A New Year's Gift to You

Happy New Year all you lovers of German Shepherd Dogs! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  We also hope that you all have renewed your membership to the GSDCA, otherwise you won't be reading the Review next month.

The Parent Club has a New Year's gift for Review advertisers. Effective immediately, all single-page and larger ads will be uploaded to the Review portion of the PC web site (Check It Out) for one month at no charge. This is a work in progress as Webmaster Pam Stoesser  works with us at the Review to devise the best method for making these ads available on-line. You may have seen our early trial run that went up in December. Many of you did find it, and we've received some helpful feedback as a result. Nothing is set in stone at this point, and all your comments are welcome.  Some of our advertisers already have inquired about keeping their ads on the site past the first free month. The Budget & Finance Committee will discuss that and bring it to the Board of Directors at the January meeting. Look for an update in the Board O Gram and on this page.

Read more: 2011 January

2011 February

Farewell to a Treasured Friend

The sad news arrived by email this morning. Another of our long-time members was gone. This one brought me to tears.

Jane Jeter was one of those people who I considered to be a special friend. I know I'm not alone.

Before I became involved with the Review, I didn't know Jane. I knew her name of course, but not much about her. Then in the course of something related to the Review, I needed her help and gave her a call. I'm guessing it was about Dual Title awards, as Jane was the chair of that committee.

That one call was the start of a relationship that I will always treasure. Jane and I found we had many friends and many experiences in common, and just as many different life lessons that we shared with each other. We didn't always agree, sometime having entirely different philosophies. But we respected each other and learned by seeing things from each other's perspective.

Read more: 2011 February

2011 March

The Power of the Written Word

From the time I learned to read, I have loved the written word. It came as no surprise to anyone when the twists and turns of life led me to a job as a reporter after I retired from the military. I'd done a lot of writing while I was in the Army, but there wasn’t a lot of art or creativity involved in writing op plans, regulations and military lesson plans. The job of staff writer on a newspaper challenged me on a different level. In the news business it was imperative that the writer present both sides of an issue without obvious prejudice. The more I wrote, the more I came to appreciate just how critical it was to report not “just the facts” but to put them in context as well.

These days it seems that the standards for journalism, at least in some venues, are slipping. Writers for every Internet service seem to have turned to writing headlines that are more titillating than they are accurate. Headlines such as "Was It Suicide?" or "Dog Mauls Man" may be attention-grabbers, but they can be extremely misleading and in many cases that is no accident. A sub-head to the suicide headline might say "Officials investigate death of (insert famous person's name)." Those two lines taken individually seemingly are innocuous, but used together leave the reader believing someone suspects that the famous person actually killed himself. In fact there may be no reason to suspect suicide, but the artful phrasing of the headlines likely will start a lot of unnecessary and often hurtful speculation.

Read more: 2011 March

2011 April

Are Three Enough, Are Six Too Many?

That question is an old one, dating back several decades to a commercial for, of all things, prunes. Over the years it has been repeated, with some modifications, and applied to a variety of situations. It popped into my head again recently, not about prunes but puppies.

Numbers have been running through my head for four months now, right after the puppies were born. In mid-November Music delivered nine babies and that's when I started counting from one to nine multiple times each day.

Music and her babies took over the kitchen, which is where babies are always raised at my house. It is a wonderful room filled with sunlight and lots of different noises for growing puppies to hear. The only drawback is that I have an open floor plan - living room, dining room and kitchen all flow into each other. That's not a problem until the kids start toddling, and then I've devised a system of barricades that has worked pretty well. When we've had other litters I usually move them out to the "puppy barn" at seven or eight weeks. There is a separate fenced yard there for the puppies and mom. My normal routine is to put a clean carpet remnant inside the barn, making for a great sleeping and play area. By keeping the sliding barn door open a few inches, mom and puppies can go out in the yard and get plenty of sunshine. Mom also goes out to potty and the kids quickly learn to do the same. It is really a great set-up, not fancy but it works.

Read more: 2011 April

2011 May

If We Really Love Our Dogs

We hear it all the time, people professing their great love for their dogs. It is a wonderful thing, the bond between humans and canines. Dogs, particularly German Shepherd Dogs, have an amazing ability to connect with the person in their lives which often makes their humans love them even more.

Our love for our dogs often exceeds our abil­ity to express the fullness of that emotion; words are not sufficient to the task. Being human, we search for other ways to show the world and our dogs just how much we love them.  Some will buy the best, the softest, the shiniest or just the most expensive collars, beds, crates, dishes, boots, sweaters and the like for Bowser. It is human nature to show everyone how much we love our dogs by the things that we buy for them. That must be why we do it, because our dogs surely do not care if their collar has the most bling, or their bed is stuffed with pure down.

Read more: 2011 May