Ann DueYesterday was ANZAC day, and I was not alone in attending a Dawn Parade to remember and acknowledge the sacrifices that many of our fellow country men and women, made to allow us to have what we have today.  This service was different however… It was the first year when I have attended an ANZAC dawn parade and have seen the beautiful police dog’s present…. And being acknowledged – as they should be as they were ever so present during this period for everyone.

All of us within New Zealand were faced with a tragedy recently, when one of our own was lost on duty.  A beautiful German Shepherd boy named Gazza – RIP.  It was a real shame and something that hit the entire nation – regardless of if you love the breed, own one, or simply respect them.  The dogs I saw yesterday morning stood proud and were part of the official “March” at the commencement and conclusion of the ceremony. They enjoyed singing along and being part of the entire affair (and caused a lot of laughs and joy to the crowd).  Their handlers/owners did a fantastic job and it was easy to see the warmth and love that can only be found with “Mans Best Friend”….

A German Shepherd Dog is a loyal companion, and a protector – and often we forget about those that are out there doing “Active” service.  I have owned a couple during my life and have never felt so safe as I did when they were around.  There is a reason that all of our Police Patrol dogs within New Zealand are German Shepherds.  They have that natural ability and agility to always be there when you need them to.  They were breed for their intelligence, and it is a trait that they are now famous for around the world. During the war period they were used as messenger dogs, rescue dogs and guard dogs – to name a few.  Which is not dissimilar to what they get used for today when still on active duty.

As a dog owner, it is our responsibility to look after them, and ensure no harm comes to them.  But they give that back to us ten-fold… not only to their owners but the entire country.

Like a Shepherd watching over his sheep and night – May the German Shepherd dogs always be loved, cared for, and they will continue to protect us as all as well.