Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I realized that I haven't yet told the story of Marco. He made his first appearance on our Christmas card this year and people are still wondering how a German Shepherd found his way into the mix.  Let me tell you this: it was fate.

If you follow my blog, you know that this has been a tough year for me, losing two of my best friends, Jinx and Digit.  When Digit died, circumstances had conspired to ensure I was home and found him, rather than a stranger. Tom was still away on his hunting trip when I received an eerie email.  The address was that of Sherri Bednarczyk, a well known schutzhund competitor in our region, who had passed away unexpectedly about a month earlier.  I was taken aback, but read on.  The message was actually from her daughter, Dawn, offering condolences for my loss of Digit and recalling how her mother had felt the loss of her dogs and how her new puppy, Marco, had brought such joy. She said that she wasn't sure if I was ready, or even interested, but that if so she would like to show me her mother's puppy. I cried on the phone as I told my husband about receiving the message, and how I felt the timing said it was meant to be. I had lost my dog and Marco had lost his master. 

I spoke with Dawn and arranged to meet Marco. A blizzard interrupted the initial plans. In the meantime, my logical brain was arguing with my emotional brain, which was convinced that I needed to see this puppy. I took my friend, Sam, the best puppy-tester in the world and cautioned him to look for faults (logical brain) and off we went to Chicago.  As we stood in the living room, Steve Z released Marco upstairs and down he raced... straight to me. uh-oh! So much remaining the detached observer! We took Marco to the back yard and he was stellar.  He had a natural, full grip on the rag. He wasn't startled by loud noises, or unnerved by body contact.  He had nice prey drive and equally balanced food drive.  The only thing he did not do was to retrieve, preferring to guard and possess objects.  I can work with that! And he was darned comical strutting around the yard carrying a giant branch that actually belonged to one of the other dogs.  Needless to say, he went home with me.

Since that time, he has been learning lots and I have discovered that, by default, I have an extended family in the Burr Oak schutzhund group.  Sherri had big dreams for Marco.  I have them, too.