Ann DueIt’s interesting to find out how people first became aware of the German Shepherd breed, or what it what is was that sparked their introduction.  Was it a friend that owned one, a neighbour, or was it something a bit more than that??? I was speaking to someone recently and their introduction was via Luke – Luke the Police dog.  And the introduction wasn’t due to the media involved around him – it was the personal meeting of him with his shaved patch at the Easter Show in Auckland, and it was something I wanted to share.

I was very young myself when Luke was in the Media in New Zealand, but when his name was mentioned I knew who he was and what had happened to him.   He was an amazing dog that got injured in the “call of duty” and was fortunate enough to survive.  He was never able to return to active service – but he lived out the remainder of his life with the person that he had worked with and become a loving family pet.

Fortunately – as he had won the hearts of so many, this amazing person took Luke out in public, while he was still showing signs of his wounds – and people have obviously never forgotten Luke.  The words I received about Luke were so loving about his nature, and how he was happy to be surrounded by people.

It is obvious to me that Luke was a real treasure and a dog that should be remembered.  He served and protected, and then became a loving family pet to his family.  He was retired in 1984 – and was was unfortunately put to rest in 1991, still belonging to his loving handler.

The article that I was passed on about Luke, which is titled “Goodbye old friend” is dated August 15, 1991.  And I can guarantee you that Jim Donald wont remember the person who reminded me of him.  Just as I know the dedicated team who attend the regular fundraising BBQs for German Shepherd Rescue wont recall everyone they meet.  But all these people who are taking their dogs out, putting them on display, and earning respect for the breed need to be commended.

Now lets think for a quick moment about all of those dogs that require fostering care while they find their forever homes…. Some enter our lives for a season, and some for a reason.  It’s a life changing situation and it takes a very strong person to be able to say “I am going to love you, cherish you, and give you everything you need to be happy… and then I am going to let you go”.  They deserve a medal.  Every time they do it – they make a difference in more than one dog/family/persons life.

So like Luke, who will always be remembered – I would like to say a person thank you to the dedicated Foster Family/Team who continue to help our dogs.  It’s a misconception that all dogs end up in rescue due to behavioural issues, and it’s the one’s that do due to neglect that hurt the most.  There are also those that have had loving families, and due to circumstances outside of their control they need to ask for help, and I have an immense respect for people being honest enough to do this.

So to Luke, and all the Foster Families out there – I salute you.