Gunner at 3 months old
Gunner at 3 years old. Always loyal, always committed.
It all began with Gunner. When we got married and were starting our family we knew that there was only one breed that we wanted to raise our children around; a German Shepherd. Not knowing what bloodlines to look for, or even that bloodlines matter, we bought a newspaper (yes, a newspaper) and dove through the puppy listings. We struck gold. We brought home this beautiful armload of a fuzzy West German male puppy whose parents were imports, and we started his training.
It didn't take much effort as training him was such a joy. He was eager to learn everything we taught him and we were hooked. He was our faithful friend, loyal companion, fearless guardian and insightful judge of character. We never worried about the safety of our family with Gunner around. He loved kids and endured the overtures of affection they doled out, even if it caused him discomfort. Never once was he aggressive or even cranky toward a child. His character was impeccable. His incredible size and strength offered us a sense of security as well. He grew to be 108lbs!!
Gunner was incredibly trustworthy. We could leave freshly baked pies or cookies to cool on the counters and leave the house knowing that when we came home, whatever we left on the counters would be there when we returned. He never once snatched a child's food from their hand or was possessive of his own food. When he was a pup, we taught him to never take food unless he was invited to. This turned into the benefit of knowing that when we spread a blanket out on the floor and let the kids eat food/snacks while watching a movie, that Gunner would never take their food. We often left him around our food and plates and walked out of the room. Never once was Gunner dishonorable!
We trained him to do jobs for us. When our cell phones would ring, he knew to pick them up and bring them to us. When we told him it was time for bed, he would pick up his toys around the house and put them in his toy basket. During projects around the house if my husband needed a tool that I had closer access to, I would put it in Gunner's mouth and tell him to "take it to Daddy'". He did every time. When our babies were tiny and a bottle, binky, burp cloth, etc. would hit the floor, Gunner would pick them up and give them back to me. He brought us the TV remotes, picked up throw pillows that plopped to the floor and returned our kids' sippy cups to them countless times. He never stopped carrying out his duties. This did not require a professional trainer; this is just who Gunner was.
As he headed into his senior years, we had more babies and brought more German Shepherd puppies into our home. Gunner loved the babies and mentored the puppies. Some of our kids remember Gunner vividly, another one was tiny and remembers bits and pieces, while another one wasn't yet born when he died. But the one thing that our whole family feels to this day: Gunner is just as alive today in our hearts and memories as he ever was in our home. The influence of his character has been undeniable. We love the West German Shepherd Dog and want others to "Experience the Difference" in this incredible type of Shepherd.