Allie's Story

Written in 2003 by Allie's family.

We fell in love with Allie the moment we laid eyes on her. Floppy ears, a beautifully masked face, and a gruff little bark. She was absolutely irresistible and since we purchased Allie from a police officer who appeared very knowledgeable about German Shepherds and eager to help Allie adjust to her new home, five hundred dollars for a puppy the breeder claimed normally sold for one thousand dollars seemed like a steal. Unfortunately, we were mistaken and our journey with Allie hardly turned out as expected.

We quickly learned that bringing a German Shepherd into one's home requires a lot of dedication and patience. We read books on German Shepherds; however, we clearly had no idea what a dog like Allie needed and deserved. In the year Allie lived with us she grew into a large dog requiring a lot of stimulation and attention. She became excessively protective of us and failed to adapt to new people and/or situations. Allie also appeared to suffer from anxiety when left to play by herself for any length of time and had trouble focusing during training sessions. The well-behaved police dogs we often watched on the television shows "Cops" and "The Animal Planet" were a far cry from the German Shepherd that dwelled in our home.

Desperate for help and realizing that Allie deserved more, we started researching German Shepherds on the internet, in additional books, and referenced two veterinarians. The veterinarians guessed Allie possessed a condition similar to ADD or supposed she suffered from an anxiety disorder. We attempted new training techniques with Allie, spayed and medicated her but nothing seemed to transform her into the dog we originally imagined for our family. We also tried contacting the breeder but since his number was unlisted we ended up sending a detailed letter explaining our concerns and asking for assistance. We gave him an email address, phone number, and street address. We even offered to pay for the long distance call but our plea for help was ignored and we were left to deal with Allie on our own.

With both my husband and myself very busy, a new baby, and other animals to care for we did not have adequate time to properly stimulate and train Allie. We knew Allie deserved more and began screening families interested in adopting her. We quickly learned that most people were as uneducated about German Shepherds as we were and Allie's protective and puppy-like behavior intimidated many of the people who came to meet her. Fortunately, after many interviews and several changed minds, Allie has a new home that is much better suited to her needs.

We still love Allie and accept complete responsibility for our mistakes with her, but also hope our mistakes serve as a cautionary warning to any future and potential German Shepherd owners. German Shepherds are beautiful dogs and can make wonderful additions to a family but one must educate themselves on the breed and work with and purchase the dog from a honest and caring breeder to give themselves and the dog the best possible opportunity for a long and happy relationship together.

— a family in Illinois

Read our FAQ on What constitutes a good breeder?
In addition, if you are ever considering breeding your own pet, read Should I breed my dog?

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