Duke

Duke was my best buddy for just under eleven years. He will be sorely
missed.

I remember the day that I drove to CIGSDR from my then home in
Indianapolis. I had intentions on adopting a senior GSD named
Sebastian. Upon arrival, I met Sebastian and while he was a nice old
fella, he really couldn't care less about me! However.... a little 4yr
old red and black boy named Duke attached himself to my hip almost
immediately. Everywhere I went, he followed. If I stopped walking, he
sat at my feet. If I sat down, he sat ON my feet!!! It didn't take a
rocket-scientist to figure out that I was the one who had been chosen!
In the following 11 years I found him to be a constant source of
humor, love, and friendship. My life over those years has been riddled
with trial and strife but at the very least I had the constant
friendship, love, and unconditional acceptance of my boy Dukey-do. I
will always be grateful to CIGSDR for allowing me to bring Duke into
my life. Thank You and I hope you are able to continue the WONDERFUL
work that you do for many years to come.

Roger H Smith
Apache Junction, AZ.
"Duke's Dad"
 

 

Cassie

 WE WERE BLESSED TO HAVE CASSIE IN OUR LIVES FOR TEN YEARS. THEY WENT
BY TOO FAST. SHE WAS OUR VERY SPECIAL ANGEL. SHE HAD HER OWN UNIQUE
PERSONALITYPLAYFUL, MISCHEVOUS, FLIRTATIOUS,VERY FEMININE. WHAT I MISS
MOST IS HER SMILE.SHE WILL LIVE FOREVER IN MY HEART. WE ALL MISS YOU
SWEET GIRL,
MARY & CARL & LANCE ( CASSIE'S CANINE PLAYMATE)

 

George

 George (aka "The Old Man")

I met George while I was volunteering at the local animal control. He had
come in with an american bulldog after their owner went to jail.

A few days later I was in an outside run, working with a young under
socialized and very scared pup, George was a couple runs down, barking,
trying to get my attention. After spending some time with the pup, I went
down to his run, he stopped barking and gave me a full body tail wag. I
went in and rubbed his neck and shoulders. He rubbed across me, walked
around behind and stuck his head between my legs and looked up at me with
a big grin.

I spent a little more time with him and before I got back to work I went
to the office and told the adoption coordinator that I wanted to adopted
him. "His hold time isn't up yet"she said. "I know, but if his owner
or the family doesn't claim him, I want him". Being a senior, his odds of
being adopted were not very good, and he already had me with his playful
personality and that wolfish grin.

His hold time was up on a Saturday May 13th,2006, and I happened to be
there that day. After getting the kennel cleaned and all of the animals
feed, I went up to the office, filled out the adoption application,
paper-clipped the adoption fee to it and gave it to the adoption
coordinator. When we closed that afternoon I walked out with George (who
was named after the character on Seinfeld).

Many people thought he was a wolf, or a wolf hybrid, because of his
colors and markings. As far as I could tell, he was german shepherd/husky
mix, and a great dog. He loved to play ball. Tennis balls, baseballs,
basket balls, we once gave him one of those big colorful balls, that they
keep in the big net bins at the store. He thought that was great, right
up until it popped 10 minutes later. I'll never forget how disappointed
he looked. He also loved to go to the park for walks, and for rides in
the car.

On February 24th, 2011, "the old man" was euthanized due to increasing
complications with degenerative myelopathy, and arthritis.
 

Jimmy
Jimmy
Jimmy went to the bridge. Thanks to everyone for prayers and support, and Ruby and GSD rescue for saving his life. He gave us so much joy. We just wish we got to have him for longer. RIP, MY BIG MAN.. —Mike & Nicolle from Indiana
View more photos of Jimmy (PDF)

Thunder
Thunder
Thunder was incredibly intense. He could read your mind with"that look" he'd get in those big dark eyes of his. He's the most intelligent dog I've ever had. He learned all the commands quickly and was the smartest dog in the 4 classes he attended.—Suzanne from Illinois

Cassie
Cassie
Cassie was a wonderful dog, and helped several other dogs learn to play and be dogs. I will miss her very much.—Linda from Illinois

Sherman
Sherman
Sherman was a very strong one person dog. He loved to play ball, BBQ, long rides in the truck and was a prankster. He would not back down from any challenge. [We were] blessed to have owned such a fine pet and will miss him till our day comes at the rainbow bridge. He lived from January 19, 1996 to August 27, 2007. As a puppy he was doing basic tricks without being trained and understood and performed tasks that were asked of him as if he was human.—Harold, Kelly, Hannah & Bubba from Illinois

Shania
Shania
Our Shania...I miss her dreadfully—Jan from Illinois
View more photos of Shania (PDF)

Cox
Cox passed away from Gastric Torsion. He would have been 7 in less than one month. It was really hard on me because he had not only been my pet, but my partner. He was a great police dog. I really thought I would have had more time with him.—Heather from Illinois

Elsa
Elsa
Elsa (1996-2008) was getting the best possible cancer treatment & was recovering at the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. But, unfortunately on February 15, 2008, Elsa & I were involved in a serious automobile accident. Elsa died as the result of the accident. Elsa was born in Allen Town, PA on November 4, 1996. When Elsa lived in the States of Florida, Georgia & New Jersey, she did a good job in guarding my home & protecting me for those 11 years. It has been difficult for me not to have Elsa by my side anymore, but I have found hope that someday I may be able to see Elsa again in heaven.—Peter from New Jersey

"I have always been comforted to know that God will provide everything we need to make us happy in heaven (this may well include the resurrection of our pets)". -Dr. H. L. Wilmington, Dean of Liberty University, Wilmington School of Bible

Buck
Buck
Buck is deeply missed.—Suzanne from Illinois

Scout
Scout
In Memory of Scout. Loved companion and friend for 11 wonderful years. Your family misses you terribly but knows you are happily wagging your tail on the other side of the bridge.—Tracey from Wisconsin

Max
Max
Max (January 17, 1994- March 23, 2007) had true loyalty and love. He was smarter than I could ever imagine a dog could be. Our beloved Max is missed everyday.—The Murray family from Illinois

Zane
Zane
[This is] a picture of Zane the day before he left us [in September of 2007]. We had no idea it would be Zane's last day running with Elka at the park. What a great dog. He was faithful and true to the last beat of his heart.
View more photos of Zane (PDF)

Boris
Boris
Boris was 12 years and 3 months when he died. In March of 2005, he was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. He was given a prognosis of 6-9 months. Read more about Boris...

Maximillian
Max
My best friend Max (Maximillian) passed on during Christmas of 2005. Max will never be forgotten!  I got Max from an animal control when I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee. He literally was a day or two from being put down. I had another dog at this time (a black lab), but they managed to get along well. The first six months were tough on Max. He had been exposed to parvo, had heartworms when I got him, and had various other ailments & minor injuries. He persevered through it all, which is a testimony to the size of his heart! Within a year, I had noticed a huge turnaround in his temperament; he was a happy, playful, loving dog! Ever the protector, Max turned out to be the most loyal, loving dog I have ever had! Max grew up with much of my family. My Nieces were babes when I first got him and are now teenagers. They have great memories of playing with him. My goal was to provide a loving home. I know he did his part! I'll never forget ya' big guy!—Jerry from Michigan

Humphrey
Humphrey Humphrey
Our gentle giant, Humphrey, was a gift to my wife (although probably more so for me) shortly before our wedding. He became part of family in October of 1997. At 12 weeks old he resembled an alien with an over sized head and ears to match. He weighed an impressive 33lbs at 12 weeks and by the time he was an adult tipped the scale just shy of 130lbs. He went everywhere with us - he is even in our wedding pictures! His favorite thing was to go for a ride in the convertible letting the wind run through his hair - just like his Mom, he had a strange fascination with sprinklers, and loved to help clear the driveway of snow. Humphrey taught us more than we could have ever taught him. He was a born a leader and a magnificent specimen of a dog. He taught us about love, compassion, persistence, and loyalty - all the important things a newly married couple needs to be successful. His life was filled with challenges - a battle with bloat and subsequent surgery. Cancer took one of his eyes a short time later and he battled with allergies and degenerative myelopathy later in life. His body was failing him, but his spirit could not be broken. On April 9, 2007 Humphrey left us. My wife and I are heartbroken but we cherish every moment we had with him. He touched us and everyone who knew him in a unique way and he is dearly missed by all.—Bob from Michigan

Harley
Harley
Harley, a Shar Pei mix, is an honorary German Shepherd. Harley will be remembered for his loving personality and devotion to his owner.—Kathy, from Kentucky

CGC Captain
CGC Captain
Until our lives come full circle and our paths meet again, I will hold you close in my heart.CGC Captain was everything a GSD should be. In September of 2005 Captain left us after a brave battle with lymphoma. Captain is greatly missed by many friends and especially by his family and fur siblings: Kim, CGC Zena, CH TDI Precious, Jessie and Layla from Missouri

For more information about canine cancer, visit: http://www.caninecancerawareness.org

Kirby
Kirby
Kirby passed away Thanksgiving 2006. He was a steadfast companion whose greatest joy in life was "going along" - oh, and he was afraid of chipmunks....-Scott, from Illinois

Duke
Duke
Duke “Dukey” was with us for four years until we had to unfortunately release him back to rescue for family reasons. He was a wonderful, quirky, loving boy who loved ice cream and jolly ranchers. He had such a sweet tooth…he almost loved sweets more than rawhides. That’s probably what made him such a sweet boy himself. He would go crazy chasing basketballs and footballs and deflate them within seconds. He loved to chase them into our bushes at home and “hunt” for them. He hated being brushed even though he had such a beautiful long coat….it was such an ordeal to groom him, but we tried, and he was always gorgeous despite the fact. He loved his trips to the State Park and wouldn’t swim, but just wade in the shallow river. He was a fierce protector of our home and would intimidate any strangers who dared darken our doorstep….but to our children, he was a toy to ride on and would let all the babies pull up on his fur when they were learning to stand. He was their dog and they were his babies……He is not our first GSD to succumb to bloat. Our first did as well on July 4, 2001….I swore off GSD’s (for about 5 minutes). This breed is just so amazing, you can’t stay away for long. Duke was no exception. He was loved by us, he was loved by his rescuers, and I’m sure all that met him. The world will miss him, but someone of higher authority wanted him back.— Kelly from Illinois

"High up in the courts of heaven today, a little dog angel waits..." from A Little Dog-Angel by Norah M. Holland

Buddy
Buddy
Buddy passed away from lack of medical care for his Megasophagus.
Read Buddy's story...

Romeo
Romeo
Romeo passed away on May 31, 2006. He was only 3 yrs old. I miss him terribly. We adopted him on December 21, 2003. Romeo suffered from Aortic Stenosis and could not overcome the stresses that it placed on his heart. He was showing signs of the stress for about the last 6 months of his life. It was sad to see him not able to run and catch the frisbee or chase his bounzer ball during those months. However, I know we were able to bring out his best in the two years of his stronger days and thoses not so strong days. Romeo was unlike any pet I have ever owned, the smartest by far. - Toni from Missouri
View more photos of Romeo (PDF)

Horatio
Horatio
"Horatio" (2004 - February 18, 2006) came to a shelter (NOT the Central IL GSD Rescue) as a stray in 2006 at about 2-3 years of age. As you can see, this dog was gorgeous, but nevertheless another product of typical [irresponsible] breeding. He was extremely highstrung and completely out of control. He could often be seen running in circles "screaming" in his kennel. Even when let out to exercise, Horatio was a nervous wreck. The shelter tried to find a home for him for about 2 months, but was led to end his suffering after he injured staff members. Of course, none of this was Horatio's fault - it was his breeder's [fault], who put two "good-looking" dogs together without consideration of temperment. Anyone who knew this beautiful dog would know that his was not a temperment derrived from the shelter environment, but was much more tragic, which cost him his life. I hope Horatio may live on as a model of the many other dogs who suffer the same fate. Rest in Peace, Horatio.- A.S. from Illinois

Sierra
Sierra
Sierra was rescued from Fulton County Animal Control in May of 2005 after her family of 14 years couldn't care for her any longer. She was due to be euthanized, a fate too many seniors face in shelters. Few people realize the joy of adopting a senior dog and fear that their time with the dog will be too short to take on the committment.  It is heartbreaking that these dogs, after a lifetime of loyalty and love, die alone at the hand of a stranger, however kind and well meaning the shelter staff may be. Sierra was with us eight months, and every day with her was a treasure. It is not the amount of time spent with a loved one, be they human or canine. It is the quality of that time, and the bond that is created. It is my sincere wish that all of these seniors are given the chance to live out their days in love and safety. That they are allowed the dignity to pass from this life under the watchful, tearful gaze of a family who adores them, as did my sweet girl....She is free from her pain and waits patiently at the bridge.... — Kelly from Illinois

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle...easily and often breached, unable to accept it's awful gaps, we would still have it no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan" - Irving Townsend, "The Once Again Prince".

Sam
Sam
Sam was six weeks old when he joined our family. I had grown up with Shepherds, but this was my wife's first dog. She trained him at obedience class, and although he never achieved the good canine citizen rating, (Sam couldn't let my wife, Stephanie, out of his sight long enough to pass the separation phase of the training) he was a star student in our eyes. He brought eight years of joy to our lives, and was taken from us far to soon by spleen cancer. We all miss you Sam. You left us with many happy memories and we loved you very much.— Scott, Stephanie, and Brian Ferguson

Gypsy
Gypsy
Gypsy would go get the newspaper from the driveway and was never taught to do it. She was so smart. My male Shepherd, Gunnar, grew up with her. Gypsy almost acted as his mother! She used to clean him, take care of him, and eased his separation anxiety when they were left "alone". Gunnar seems to be dealing ok, but he has to miss her so much. He is 7 years old now, but still such a puppy. Gypsy is sorely missed, by both me and Gunnar.— Lynn from Illinois

She was such a sweetheart and one of a kind. She is missed by my parents and me, along with our other dog, Gunnar.— Steph Olson from Illinois

Shadow (Dodo)
Dodo
In fond memory of Shadow (Dodo) who began waiting at the Rainbow Bridge on December 23, 2005. She is dearly missed.— Rick and Elizabeth, Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue

Jake
Jake was a beloved dog to his mom, Karri, and his sister, Kamiko. Whether snuggling, eating or playing fetch, he always had a wagging tail and smile for his family and friends. Although he is greatly missed, his spirit and memories live on.— Susann from Arizona

Gretchen
Gretchen  Gretchen
When I saw Gretchen on the Community Dogs page, her photo was marked urgent. I read her bio, and found she was at the local animal control. Two days later I was bringing her home. I only had her a few months when late one night, she was acting as if she wasn't well. I looked her over, her gums were grey and her ears and feet cold. I rushed her to the emergency clinic. The vet said she had possibly ruptured an intestine and diaphragm. She was euthanized that same night while I stood by her, holding her head and gently stroking her neck. She had a rough time of it. Prior to being picked up by animal control, she was a stray, and very thin. She quickly settled in at my home. She loved to go for walks, car rides, and to the park where she could run and chase the squirrels, though I think her favorite thing was playing with Sid, a stray kitten I found at the park. Gretchen will be greatly missed and fondly remembered. Until we are all together again, Gretchen, be good little girl.—Steve from Illinois

Thor
Thor was a beautiful boy and a wonderful friend. His owner always referred to him as "her boy" and he will be dearly missed.—Jessica from Illinois, a friend of Thor's mom

Marah
Marah
Baroness Marishka's Pride, aka "Marah" was euthanized on Oct. 29 2004 due to increasing complications form degenerative myelopathy. She was a month shy of her ninth birthday. She was a happy dog, even after degenerative myelopathy stole the use of her hind legs, and she required aid to go for a walk. She never let it get her down though, and looked forward to going for a ride in the car or a walk around the yard (and still tried to chase the rabbits, with me running, trying to keep up). Marah is fondly remembered, and greatly missed. My new rescue dog "Dweezel" has brought me some comfort.—Steve Hitz from Illinois

Max
Max
We picked [Max] up from West Suburban Humane Society mid-March, 1991. Within two weeks, he had the run of the house. Dave, my husband, brought home some toys and Max quickly became attached to a yellow, squeaky football. We began to realize that Max was really a gentle soul who rarely barked or put up a fuss. He never chewed, didn't have accidents in the house and headed for the "driver's seat" every time he got in the car. When not allowed to drive, Max resigned himself to hanging his nose out the window, taking in as many sniffs as possible and slobbering on the window. [Years later] he passed away peacefully in his sleep. To this day we look around the yard and the house and think of Max.No animal will ever replace our Max, but at least, after Dave and I have time to heal, we will be able to spring another dog from the shelter. —The Smith family from Illinois

Rommel
Rommel  Rommel
We got Rommel when he was a 6 months old. He was a huge, big framed dog and very active. When we picked him up we had all these plans to keep him separated from our then three year old daughter on the way home. Rommel had other ideas. He climbed in the back seat with her, laid his big head in her lap and that is where he stayed. As you see in the picture he would not have intentionally hurt anyone and let Kati dress him up including some of her shorts. The other dog in the picture (bottom right) would take everything away from him, sticks, bones, toys. So he started carrying around big red bricks as toys. He had a favorite cat that he carried around in his mouth. The cat just hung out of his mouth on either side. Rommel never bite down. We miss him very much. [Photos: Rommel playing dressup with the family's child. Rommel, trying to play with the toy-hoarder.]— The Smith family from Illinois

Kobi
Kobi
This is in memory of my big, beautiful Shepherd, Kobi. Kobi passed away on Jan. 10, 2004 very suddenly because of a twisted intestine, just shy of his 4th birthday. He was our great protector and friend. We always felt safe when he was around. He was not a real affectionate type, but he would always let me kiss him and hug his neck. I would always get mad at him for leaving big muddy paw prints on the glass of the garage door, and he left one for us that we will always have. He was always so full of life and loved chasing birds and squirrels and playing with his ball. There is a hole in our hearts that only he could fill and we miss him terribly as he was taken too soon from us. We will always remember Kobi fondly. He was such a big part of our life and we loved him very, very much.— Aileen O’Dea and family from Illinois

Cleo
Cleo
We pulled Cleo from a shelter in January 2003. She was to be another foster dog who we care for, train, socialize, and then tearfully send on to their new home. Less than two weeks after bringing her into our home, Cleo was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. We adopted her ourselves and so began our journey together. Cleo and I may not have had the benefit of sharing our lives for years, but we crammed a lifetime of bonding into the 11 too short months that we did have together. My life and schedule revolved around Cleo and her needs. Nothing was more important to me than taking care of Cleo and enjoying life with her. She and I could read each other perfectly. If she were a human, we would have finished each other's sentences. In my heart I know that Cleo was an angel sent to me. Her silliness and happiness in spite of everything she endured was an inspiration to me. She taught me how to live in the moment with her, and give a pishaw to the other things going on around us. During her final days she taught me to smile despite utter sadness. We were blessed to have had her in our lives. She was and still is my hero. May the memory of her incredible spirit live on forever in the lives of those she touched. Rest well my sweet girl until we can be together again. There will never ever be another dog quite like you.— Marilyn, rescuer from Indiana

Dixie
Dixie
Dixie was my baby, my best friend, and my teacher. I had always wanted a dog like her and she was everything I had ever wanted and more. She has taught me so much. I have learned infinite patience from her younger days when she let me know, time and again, that she had a mind of her own. She never completely lost this willfulness—and I never wanted her to—but it was tempered with maturity and wisdom. We began to form a partnership and she realized it was alright to do what I wanted her to do. (However she always reserved the right to do it her way!) She taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. Through all that she and I went through, the good and the bad, she never failed to be there with a wagging tail and an invitation to play—showing me that she loved and accepted me completely. She also taught me the meaning of true friendship. She was always there when I needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to jump for joy with. I could always talk to her and she would listen, truly listen, to every word. She was a unique mixture of energy and serenity that was contagious. Everyone who met her instantly loved her and she never met a person or animal that she didn't immediately consider her own. She lived more in her short life than many dogs get a chance to live in a long life. I only had her for four and a half years, which wasn't nearly long enough..... but what wonderful years they were!— Jodi from Illinois

Sadie and Beau
Sadie and Beau
Sadie and Beau. When I went to look at the "free" German Shepherd puppies that someone was giving away, Sadie (on the left) stole my heart immediately. She was the runt of the litter. We took her home and began the training process. I can't tell you how many shoes we went through until she learned that shoes are NOT toys. Beau came to live with us a few months when the people that owned him couldn't keep him anymore. These two dog were smarter than I ever seen. I felt I could talk to them like any person and they understood me. After many years of having them, I let them out one morning for a yard break, and when I came back a few minutes later, Sadie could not get up. I thought maybe she just hurt herself while being outside so I left her in the house for the day while I went to work. I couldn't concentrate at work, so I came home and told Sadie we were going to the doctor.Sadie did NOT like going to the vet, but before I could get the front door locked, Sadie was already pulling herself down the hill trying to get in the car by herself. She had no feeling from below her front legs to her tail so she was literally was dragging herself. The vet sent us to a specialist that said they could do surgery, but Sadie's chances of walking were not good. We spent that afternoon with Sadie at home and then took her in to the vet and had her put to sleep. I held her as she fell asleep. Sadie was my child and it was a sad day for everyone. Beau mourned for weeks and wouldn't eat. Beau suffered from a lifetime of horrible allergies which was hard on his poor body. He passed a couple years after Sadie. These two dogs truly loved each other as did I. I still miss them.— Tammi from Kansas

Misty
Misty
Misty, Our Vice-President's very special puppy and honorary German Shepherd (schnauzer mix), recently passed away after two decades of unsurpassed loyalty. Misty was a one-man dog for our VP's entire adulthood. She saw him through the best and worst of times with unconditional love and acceptance, often kept him going with snuggles on cold nights. Misty will never be forgotten, and the clicking of her nails will be missed terribly. Twenty years is a wonderfully long time to keep your best friend. She is now dancing in green fields with our other beloved pets, until it is time for us to meet again.— Rick and Elizabeth, Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue

Shadow
Shadow
"Her name was Shadow, but life was brighter because she was in it." My family adopted Shadow at the tender age of 9 weeks. She was a pure black fur ball of energy. Little did we know the beautiful and proud dog she would grow into. She was protective, almost to a fault, (ask a few ex-boyfriends) and often threatening a passerby for getting too close to us on our daily run. Though barking at people walking on "her" sidewalk was a favorite pastime, she was most content being in the middle of the commotion with her paw on your hand. Whether it be in the middle of Christmas paper wrapping or under the kitchen table - wherever the family was, she was. Some of my very favorite memories of Shadow are when she misbehaved - coming home to her with a tiny bathroom garbage can stuck on her head because she was trying to eat the Kleenexes out of it, or coming home from church to find a bag of hamburger buns hid throughout the house in bedding and couches. I often wonder just how many toys were buried in our old couches before we gave them away and how many bones we left buried in our old yard. Shadow was nowhere as happy as she was at Mom and Dad's summerhouse in Wisconsin. Whether it be fishing with Dad in the boat or chasing the ducks in the lake (and then them turning around to chase her), she was home. Sadly, as much as we loved Shadow, God had other plans for her - he needed a new protector and companion. On April 5th, 2003 Shadow joined Shasta and King and is happily playing and swimming in a place that bears a striking resemblance to Buffalo Lake.— Korrin from Illinois

Candy's Cane
Candy Cane
We did everything right. Good bloodlines, healthy sound parents. All his shots, new collar, leash, bed, bowls, toys, crate...ah yes the crate! Small enough to feel safe and lie down in but big enough to get his head through the wires and hang himself...5 days before Christmas. Never had this happened to us. We had grown complacent thinking we were doing everything perfectly. Never did we check the kennel, we just assumed it was "perfect" also. Please, check these wire kennels thoroughly. Strong little necks can push the lid up but can't pull themselves back in. Maybe some day, we will be able to adopt another German Shepherd Dog pup like our little "Candy's Cain" (but not replace him).— Jan from Ohio

Luke and Leia
Luke and leia
We adopted Leia (right), and her brother Luke (left), in April, 2001. They were both very shy around us and incredibly attached to each other. Eventually, they came to accept us as their new family and their individual personalities emerged. While not the goof ball her brother was, Leia was extremely affectionate and playful. When she was very happy, she had the most adorable prance where she would spread her toes and high-step with her front legs. She loved to chase toys and went crazy over anything that squeaked. Leia even liked to watch TV! She was also incredibly devoted to Luke, waiting by the door until he came back from his walks. They would often parade around the house together, holding on to the same toy. Everyday, they gave us something new to laugh about. In February 2003, Leia suddenly developed cancer in her spleen. There was nothing we could do and she had to be put to sleep just one week later. We are so lucky to have found these two and glad we were able to make Leia's last years so much better than her first. We miss you Leia!— Luke and his Family from Illinois
View more photos of  Luke & Leia (PDF)

Burl
Burl
We will never understand what any of these dogs have suffered through in their lives, and we really do not want to. We, as ground level rescuers, already know too much of the truth. There are three other dogs at this person's house who are dying a very slow and extremely painful death. Burl was left outdoors for his 4 years and didn't even know what to do inside the house, but curled up next to the heater on his comforter in the kitchen and slept comfortably for maybe the first time.

Burl had been caked with feces and saturated to the point of urine crystals on his hair follicles. He was blind, probably later in life and probably as a result of his illness and was dumped from the only family he ever knew for this inconvenience. His owner didn't even want to pay the $10 owner give up fee to the pound and complained about it.

Burl was unneutered, unvaccinated, and untreated for heartworm or any illness. He wagged his tail at the littlest bit of attention. He ignored cats. He wagged for other dogs —probably the only creatures to ever help him in his life. This dog died 100% because of human neglect. The dog did nothing to deserve this treatment. He had no medical care, no preventative care, no affection or love.

After all of this, after having every reason to hate or fear humans. After having every reason to fear the world, fear the unknown. This dog laid his head on our laps, snuggled his head into us, laid his paw on our arms, licked our faces, cautiously followed us and trustingly went where we led him. This dog ate our food, drank our water, slept on our comforter in the kitchen and next to our bedroom door. This dog let us bathe, brush, nail trim, and clean his ears without so much as a growl or a lip curl. This dog let our veterinarian examine, take a temp, check ears, eyes, heart, and draw blood without so much as a cross look. This dog let that needle take him home (euthanized) without a fight.— Elizabeth, Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue

Burl was a gorgeous, male, sable, 4 year old. He was also blind, and because of that, lost his home. His owner dumped him at the pound because he had "too many dogs". We only had him for a few days, but in that time this 89lb sweetheart tolerated a 2 1/2 hour bath, ear cleaning, nail trim, having to learn a new environment and new people. He was very compliant and at one point fell asleep on, my husband, Rick's lap. We even have a special foster home with extensive experience in training blind dogs, so the condition of his blindness wasn't an issue.

Thank you to Aileen O'Dea, Gina Addis, Kathleen Braun, Rebecca Kuk, Susan Caley, Steven Hirsh and family, and Deborah Eades (God bless this sweet dog and may he chase squirrels forever in a better place across the Bridge) for their donations to give Burl a proper cremation.

Elvis
Elvis
Elvis (a.k.a. woo woo baby) needed to be put to sleep on December 26, 2002 due to uncontrollable seizures. He was just a pup. He is pictured (right) with his pal, Duke. Elvis' biological mom was a purebred Australian Shepherd and his dad was a purebred German Shepherd. I saw him in June of 2002 when I took a neighbor to pick up a horse she had purchased. Elvis snuggled into my neck and made little grunting noises. I just fell in love with him! At 6 months of age, Elvis was very good at 'sit', 'stay', 'down' and fetched toys like a pro. He would get his tug and bring it to you to play with him. If he wanted me he would make this wooo wooo sound and couldn't wait to go with me to feed the horses so he could round up the cats to the feed bowl. He greatly enriched our lives in the short time he was with us. I ride with a volunteer Horse Search and Rescue (SAR) Team and had hoped to train Elvis to work with the horses in the field doing searches for lost people. SAR work rekindled my interest in having a German Shepherd or German Shepherd mix in my "family". I don't know how long it will take me to get over the loss of this young, but much loved pet.— Susan from Illinois

Dutchess
Dutchess
Dutchess (a.k.a. The Snoocher, Dutchy, Snooches) came to our lives in May of 1989 as the third child (with two human children before her). She was a shy, lanky pup with one ear up and the other undecided. She was jet black and came with an attitude. We were lucky enough to have her around for over 13 years.

Dutchy spent much of her time playing with balls, plastic alligators, and a vinyl octopus. She saw my brother and me graduate from high school, college, and medical school. She got us through family good times and bad. There was seldom a day when we wouldn't smile about something relating to her. Daily walks by the lake were her favorite, and she would often return with a stick or rock keepsake from the journey. I had hoped for her to be the "flower dog" in my wedding.

In her final years, Dutchess suffered with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), which made it hard for her to stand up and get around. My parents installed carpet segments and ramps all over the house to facilitate her lifestyle. She left us peacefully (after barking at the mailman) and quietly passed away with her head in my father's lap. We all miss you Dutchy — see you later.— Andra from Ohio

Oscar
Oscar
When Oscar was about 5 months old, he had an abdominal obstruction and a few inches of his small intestine had to be surgically removed, but he recovered quickly. In the following years, like many other German shepherds, he was very energetic and playful, he had also developed allergies, and was afraid of thunder. Other than work, he accompanied me almost everywhere. He came with me on vacation, to grocery stores; he even went to the bank with me sometimes. He was rather picky when it came to food. His favorites were roast turkey, rotisserie chicken, and broiled beef on top of NeutroMax small bite dry food. Oscar came home with me when he was six weeks old - absolutely the "cutest little pea" in my eyes. Oscar passed away on October 19, 2002, just less than a month from his 7th birthday. He had been suffering from hip dysplasia, followed by ITP. In his last days, he was taking a high dose of steroid to control ITP, and it was suspected that this might have contributed to a combination of sicknesses.
Oscar the GSD
He is being remembered as beautiful, loyal, and intelligent. Rest in peace, Oscar boy, you are always in our hearts. You are not only my best friend, you are also part of the family. Thank you for all the precious time you have given us. Until we meet again, play happily at the Rainbow Bridge, and always remember that we love you very, very much.— Rebecca from New Jersey

In September 2003, Rebecca unvieled her new website in memory of Oscar. Her site is designed to help homeless German Shepherds find homes. Visit her site at: http://www.oscarthegsd.com.

Duke
Duke
Duke was a real sweetheart and a beautiful big boy. He broke our hearts because he was such a large and handsome boy, but would drop in a second as if in fear of being struck. He was so quiet and gentle and very snugly and surprisingly trusting, but if you tried to throw a fetch stick or said "no" too loudly, he just cowered. We were afraid he had been beaten and this is inexcusable. He was very well behaved. He was found by police locked in a basement and left for dead. Thankfully he did not suffer malnutrition or illness. Unfortunately Duke developed Gastric Torsion (bloat) in the morning of November 22, 2002, after breakfast. Because of his age (possibly 8 years old), the Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue opted not to try surgery and put him to sleep.— Elizabeth, Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue
A special thanks goes out to Duke's sponsor: Lori Broach — on behalf of her dog Leia, a Shepherd/Doberman mix

Thank you to Aileen O'Dea, Marilyn Manley, and Rebecca Kuk for their donations to give Duke a proper cremation.

Rebel
Rebel was a handsome male German Shepherd. He topped a hundred pounds easy, yet was the sweetest boy in the world. He never asked for much from us at the Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue.

He came from a sad situation. Apparently having changed ownership several times in his life and ending up with someone who never really wanted a dog. He was chained to a dog house under a tree. The neighbor fed him most of the time and asked permission to walk him. She was tired of seeing him in the weather with flies and feces surrounding him and asked if she could call the Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue to surrender him.

Rebel certainly wasn't getting any younger, he was at least eleven, if not 13-14 years old. It was December of 1999 and winter was here. His old bones were not going to make another season of exposure. The Central Illinois German Shepherd Dog Rescue lucked out and picked him up during a mild beginning to the winter just weeks before bigger storms hit.

He was brought in the house and given his own room to stay in. He was quiet, loving, and just loved a good meal. He had never been neutered and had a couple major masses on his body. We had his masses removed and tested, he was neutered and his teeth were cleaned. He braved all of this new medical attention and healed up well. We hoped for a couple of good happy years.

He enjoyed car rides and walks around the block and was content to sleep in his room the rest of the day after breakfast and supper. His limbs started to get sore, so the walks declined and we had to be more careful on stairs. He was a senior and we understood the process, but he was still comfortable and happy.

Rebel was never adopted to a personal home of his own where he would be loved and spoiled all alone. We came home one day in the summer of 2000 and he could no longer get up. We moved him closer to air-conditioning in hope of bringing comfort and called our vet. She came to the house and performed an exam. He had become painful on palpation and all of his organs were enlarged. She believed he was very end stage and things were just shutting down.

Rebel was held by us, lovingly in our home, which we hoped he considered his, and our vet brought him peace. Rebel will forever be in our hearts. We only knew this magnificent animal in his golden year and could only imagine how fantastic he must have been in his youth.

We don't want to imagine this animal's heartbreak at being discarded over and over and spending his final years at the end of a chain by a tree surrounded by his own excrement. How brave he must have been to accept care from complete strangers, tolerate medical procedures, and examination by a vet, when he may have never seen a veterinary hospital before.

We can marvel at his gratefulness for a warm place to sleep without fleas, flies, or mess. We can be amazed at how happy a bowl of food made him. We can be reminded of the horror of irresponsible human actions and the purity of an animal's soul.

Rebel was a dog who never left the rescue for a single loving home. We all understand the love we feel for our pets and how none of them will ever be forgotten, may we never forget the dogs who pass away in wait for rescue.