Beth is our 16 1/2 year old German Shepherd. We have had her for 14 1/2 years after rescuing from a kennels that we were working at the time.
When we first met Beth she had a few problems, her previous owner couldn't cope with her and wanted to have her put to sleep. We just couldn't see that happen to her so decided to give her a chance.
It soon became clear the problems that she had were man made through lack of socialisation and poor treatment. She was used as a breeding bitch from the age of 6 months old! German Shepherd's are prone to hip problems later on in life but Beth has suffered all her life with bad hips, some of this is due to the fact she had puppies at such a young age when she was still growing herself. Her bones were not fully grown and not strong enough to hold the weight of puppies too, so caused hip problems so early on in her life. She doesn't let this affect her life and is still very active but she does "bunny hop" when she runs - but that doesn't bother us we love her the way that she is.
She didn't trust people especially men and used to bark aggressively at every opportunity. This was down to lack of socialisation as she had been keep away from people all her life. After months of patience and encouragement she began to learn that people weren't so bad after all. When you look at her now you would never believe that she is that same scared dog that we took home 14 years ago!
There are still some things that you will never change about her past and some things that you will never understand. She used to be beaten when she had done something wrong or if she had an accident in the house or car, even now whenever she thinks she has done something wrong she will sit there with her ears flat to her head waiting for the rest of the punishment. We just reassure her that everything is going to be ok. It breaks your heart to think that she had to go through all of this and obviously something she will never be able to erase from her memory.
She has had lots of health problems since we have owned her and we nearly lost her last year due to ill health, but we wouldn't change her for the world. We are so pleased that Beth came into our lives, she makes the family complete.
Taking on a rescue dog is not always easy but it certainly is worth it if you have the time and patience for them. We have worked really hard to turn Beth's life around, I truly believe that she is grateful for what we have done with her and in return she gives us back so much love and happiness.
Sadly Beth was laid to Rest 4 days before her 17th Brithday, 0n the 10th of August 2014,