Greta is a 45 lb. shepherdish mix. She has a curly tail and funny "Gremlin" ears. She is often shy, but is wonderfully behaved and quite controlled.

favorite photos

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In December of 1992, after a year-long shelter search for a dog to "replace" the GSD rescue (Mia) who we had had on the farm, I gave in and called a GSD breeder in Illinois. The evening that I called back to inform her that I did want a pup from her upcoming litter, I received a call from my father informing me that there was an adult male GSD on the farm. I went to the farm to check the dog out the next day. It was a beautiful dog, but it could barely walk. I took it to a vet in Rensselaer to have it checked for what I suspected to be hip dysplasia. As I was waiting, a tech came out and said "So, you like shepherds?" and held out a chubby 18 lb. bundle of fur. I fell in love immediately and told her to get the pup ready to go. (As I think about it, I don't recall even touching the pup before deciding. I was a bit anxious about the adult dog's condition.)

I finally got into the exam with the adult GSD and the vet confirmed that it was extremely likely that he did have CHD and that nothing could be done about it. I gathered my dogs up and did my best to drive them back to the farm. The joy of finding the pup struggled arduously with the sadness I felt about the adult dog. I dropped the dog off at the farm. We never saw it again, and I know/knew that I should have killed it, but I didn't have the strength.

The pup returned home with me. I named her "Greta" because that's what my wife and I had decided on for the pup I had ordered. The night that I returned home with Greta, my wife was in the middle of Christmas Show rehearsals. (A BIG deal here. It's her busiest time of the year.) I took Greta up to her office to wait for her to get a break. On the way up, I ran into one of her co-workers and introduced Greta. My wife, Kitty, also ran into this co-worker on her way up. He told her about meeting Greta. She explained that we weren't going to get Greta for a couple months. He insisted that he had met her. Kitty asked if he was sure he didn't meet the male adult dog that I went to the farm to check on. He insisted that it was a female puppy. Kitty came up to see what was up. I was in trouble for only a few seconds.


On January 19, 2002, Greta earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dogs International certifications.

On April 14, 2002, Greta and I passed our Delta Society Pet Partners evaluation.


In February of 2004 a tumor was discovered in back of Greta's throat while she was sedated for a dental cleaning. It was a squamous cell carcinoma. We treated it with chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, and finally, in 2005, radiation. The radiation caused fluid to collect in her face and neck. Her face swelled horribly and she had great difficulty breathing.

On May 14, 2005 Greta only wanted to be alone and outside. It was obvious she was done. For once we let her stay outside to enjoy the beautiful crisp day while we attended a graduation party. She died while we were gone.

I am grateful to Greta for teaching me how to be a responsible dog guardian and especially for showing me how to love gently.

owned by: kyler


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