From Raven and Dierk 9/16/08: “Selma”


Just a little update…Selma is doing great, of course! The dogs let me sleep in until around 8:30 this morning (we got up for a potty break at around 5) and then Selma was quite a bundle of energy. I filled up the little wading pool in the yard to see what she would do with water. She wasn’t afraid, but she didn’t seem to like it much either. Of course Rudy loves the water and he dug in the pool, chased the hose around, etc. Maybe she’ll change her mind when the weather isn’t so cool.
It’s really fun to watch Rudy and Selma together. They play together and sleep together and I know it’s such a good thing for them to have each other. It’s interesting to see Rudy let Selma take toys and treats (well, only certain treats!!) from him. I wonder if it’s because she’s a puppy or if she’s going to be a more dominant dog than him.

House training and crate training were a little challenging at first but she’s doing much better now. Honestly, I think I was spoiled with Rudy and I suspect that you already had him house trained before you sent him home with me!! The crate is hard because at first they scream, it’s hard to listen to it, and it’s very tempting to just let them out. Some patience and perseverance has paid off and I’m feeling much better about going back to work tomorrow (although I’d much rather stay home with these crazy canines).

I hope you enjoy the pictures (you’ll see how they play!!).


Update: 11-27-08

Happy Thanksgiving Sherle,

I’m sending just a few pictures to show you how beautiful this little girl is. The puppy phase is a lot of work, but it’s so much fun. As with Rudy, Selma is growing so fast and she changes a little bit every day. She’s also very dense for her size…if you were able to pick her up you’d be SO surprised by how heavy she is. We go to the vet tomorrow for her vaccines and checkup, so I’ll be interested to see how much she weighs.

Selma now does perfectly in her crate, but she still has occasional accidents in the house. I’m thrilled that this morning she finally started to ring the bell that hangs on the back door to let me know when she has to go out. I’m very pleased.
Of course, I’m also pleased to see how well Rudy and Selma have bonded. I know that it’s so good for them to have each other and they get along so well together.

Have a great weekend…I hope you have some time off work to enjoy the holiday!

Cathy, Rudy, and Selma

Update: 5-23-09

Hi Sherle,

Raven’s new puppies are BEAUTIFUL. I’d want another one except that I’d probably have to buy a bigger house and a bigger car to have another big dog! But looking at the pictures you have online makes it very tempting.
But that’s okay because I’m enjoying the two dogs I have. It’s been a while since I sent you some pictures (we’ve been BUSY!!), so I thought I’d give you a little update.

Having two dogs is a good thing. Sometimes it’s hard for me to watch Rudy be submissive to Selma but it’s obvious that having another dog is good for him (actually, both of them) and the pack order doesn’t bother him a bit. They still go to doggie daycare a couple days a week (and LOVE it) and we hike and swim as much as possible on the weekends.

Rudy and I just got moved up to the next level in our agility classes. I want to do an activity with Selma beyond her basic obedience training, but she might benefit from something more mental challenging than athletically challenging and I haven’t decided what to do with her yet. Currently I’m tossing around the idea of tracking. If you happen to know of somewhere we can learn to do that in the Atlanta area (or within about 100 miles–as long as it’s the weekend I can drive that far without traffic issues) please let me know.

Rudy and I took Selma on her first road trip in April. We went to Tyler, TX to visit my parents and my brother and his family. The dogs are great car companions and we had a fun trip. They were both great with my nieces and nephew that are 9, 6, and 3 years old. The kids especially loved it when Selma took every opportunity she had to hop in the bathtub with them…she’s decided that she likes taking baths and showers. At home I have a shower door, so I can keep her out of the shower while I’m in it, but her desire to get in there with me has come in handy on a couple of occasions that she’s managed to get herself covered with mud before I even get ready for work in the morning 🙂 She also likes to “hang out” in the tub and she’s figured out how to turn the faucet on in case she gets thirsty. She’s a little devil!

Selma is noticeably more vocal and demonstrative than Rudy. She’s not “barky” but she grunts and groans and sighs when she eats, plays, and sleeps. When she’s happy or excited, not just her tail wags, but her entire body twists and turns and wags. On the other hand, Rudy doesn’t vocalize (other than his alarm bark) and he hardly ever wags his tail, even though I know when he’s excited, happy, etc. I guess he just has more subtle ways of communicating. Rudy is extremely protective of me and even though I’m positive that he would never hurt anyone, I’m pretty sure that his size and his bark would deter anyone who would try to get anywhere near me without being invited.

There’s only one thing I wish my dogs would grow out of. They chase the broom, mop, lawn mower, shovel, and hose. The only thing they don’t actively chase (although they follow me around the house) is the vacuum cleaner. My house is definately not as clean and pretty as it was before I got dogs 🙁 Oh, and Selma has also been known to bring me the occasional chipmunk (and she’s very proud of herself when she does)!

I hope you and your dogs are well!

Cathy, Rudy, and Selma

Update: 11-29-09

Hi Sherle,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Me and the dogs stayed in Atlanta and spent the holiday with friends. I haven’t sent you an update in several months, so just wanted to let you know that Rudy and Selma are doing well. Selma went for her annual checkup and vaccines yesterday and everything was good. She weighed in at 68 lbs, which is about what I expected. Since I haven’t been able to find anyone to teach me and Selma tracking yet, I found a place nearby that will teach us herding (with sheep). I have no idea how she’ll do, but we’re going to try it out and see how it goes!! Rudy continues to do well in agility. Our current session has only 3 dog/human pairs and two trainers, so we’ve getting a lot of 1:1 instruction and we’ve been improving (I should say that I’VE been improving because Rudy’s always been great at it) a lot!

I still check your website from time to time. I love seeing the pictures of your dogs and their puppies and reading about all they’ve been doing.

Take care,
Cathy, Rudy, and Selma

Update: 6-10-10

Hi Sherle,

There’s not much new with Rudy and Selma, but they’re doing fine and we’re having lots of FUN! I attached a few pictures of our recent adventures.

We took our annual road trip to Tyler, TX in February to visit family. The weather was great and we were able to do a lot of hiking and some swimming. Rudy and I continue our agility classes (he’s still a STAR and I’m still improving!). We celebrated Rudy’s third birthday in March and the third anniversay of him coming home with me in May. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three years. Selma started herding a couple weeks ago at a place called the Canine Ranch in Canton, GA. I took her for a temperament test and it was very interesting; though it was the first time she had seen sheep and we didn’t teach her anything before she went in with them, she instinctually knew what to do (it was really cool). And she was really good at it! She was a very tired and happy dog after just 10 minutes in with the sheep. We’re going back for a lesson next week. The Canine Ranch also has a big pool for dock diving and this morning I took Rudy and Selma up there for a swim. They really love to swim and it was fun that I could be in the pool with them. After just a few minutes of hesitation they even jumped off the dock (you know how Rudy is, he’ll do anything for that soccer ball!), and then of course, all they wanted was to keep jumping off the dock. We had a blast and now my VERY TIRED pups are snoozing while their coats dry.

I have to laugh sometimes when I visit your website. My dogs have some behaviors that I wonder about…whether they come from their breeding, or if they’re typical behaviors for GSDs, or if they’re typical for any big dog. For example, some of the pictures you have posted of Sarge (from Selma’s litter born of Raven and Dierk in 9/2008) show him carrying a HUGE stick. Rudy does that…he insists upon carrying/chasing/playing with the longest, thickest stick (or sometimes it’s more like a trunk!) he can possibly pick up or I can possibly throw. And what you’ve written about how Raven jumps…my dogs can jump like that. They can easily jump straight up in the air from a standstill to as high as my head (and I’m about 5’8″ tall). It’s unbelievable! I remember the first time I met Raven…she jumped up on your kitchen table with the ease and grace of a cat. At the time I was seriously worried that I was going to have to install a higher fence around my yard to contain one of her offspring. Selma went through a phase where she jumped up on the dining room table just like her mother, but since my dining room table is my only really nice piece of furniture I quickly taught her to NOT do that!

So, things are good! I’m loving these dogs 🙂 I’m not in the market for a third at this time, but do you have plans to keep one of Raven’s pups?

Cathy, Rudy, and Selma

From Raven and Dierk 9/16/08: “Lukas”

Update: 1-18-09

Lukas is doing great, we started puppy classes and he is the biggest one in the group. He never barks but the first day of class we walked in and that was all he wanted to do was bark at the other puppies… He weighed 40 lbs a week and a half ago… already bigger now! He is already becoming quite the protective guard dog, it is very cute 🙂 We are sill working on not chasing the cat… she enjoys teasing him and then running upstairs where he can’t go.

Jamie Chastain

From Raven and Dierk 9/16/08: “Faust”

Hey Sherle,

I think the puppies are going to be great together. Amber is still a little jealous, but I don’t think that will last long, she looks after Faust like a big sister or a mother.

They BOTH have been such a pleasure. I am sending you a few photos, more to come later.

Bruce, Amber, Faust and May

Update: 1-29-09

Hey Sherle,

The pups are doing fine. We went to our cabin (Mick’s Hideaway) for Faust 4 month birthday and Ambers 1 year birthday. We had snow and the puppies LOVED IT! They had a great time, we enjoyed watching them so much. Amber is still a little jealous at times, but Faust has become her best friend, she is always checking on him, but actually, they both look after one another. We couldn’t be more pleased.

Here are a few pictures, more pictures coming soon.

Talk with you later,
Bruce, Amber, Faust and May

Update: 6-25-09

Update: 8-29-09

Hi Sherle,

Just a quick note, the pups are doing great! Spoiled rotten, but doing great!

Here are a few photos at the Southern Most Point in the Continental USA (Key West,FL) Ambers second time going, and Fausts first time, both were great and lots and lots of compliments.

As you know, Faust will be a year old Sept. 16. He is now about two inches taller than Amber, and weighs about 88 pounds. Amber stays at about 80 pounds constant, both solid and all muscle.

Love them both dearly, they are excellent dogs!

Bruce, Amber, Faust and May

Update: 12-20-10

From Raven and Dierk 9/16/08: “Sarge”

Sarge is doing great. He’s so full of energy and he isn’t minding this cold weather at all. He loves to go outside and chase us around the yard. He likes playing in the hay on the ground and jumping on the bales of hay. The birds have come back since our last round of snow and ice melted, and he likes to sit and watch and listen to them. Sometimes that is the only reason he rings the bells on our door to go out! Oh, and with the winter weather, we learned that he likes to eat ice too.

He’s still learning so much. Now he will fetch his toys, roll over and play dead. He will also release anything he’s chewing on when we tell him to. He likes to ride in the back seat of the truck and he does a good job to sit or lay down the whole time. He likes going to Petsway and going to visit our friends who also have dogs. He’s walking pretty well on his leash but we’re still working on that. He seems to be picking up on “wait” fairly quickly. It is so cute how friendly he is with everyone and with other animals. He just wants to play with everyone!

As good as he is, we still haven’t given him run of the house. He’s too curious about everything! We have a bathroom on one end of the house that we don’t let him go in. We have the cat’s food and the litter box in there. He watches the cat go in and out, but he’s not allowed. Well, I forgot to put up the baby gate the other day when I was doing laundry so I thought he was playing in the next room. When I went to check on him I found him in there eating the cat food! He knew he wasn’t supposed to because he stopped right away and ran to me with such excitement when I called him! He has such a good personality and has so many different expressions. Sometimes it’s hard not to crack a smile even when we have to get on to him. He’s always making us laugh.

Gosh, I could talk about him all day! But, this email is getting long. I’m attaching some pics to this email. If you aren’t able to see them, let me know and I’ll send them again. They’re from the beginning of Dec through today. We took him for shots on 12/06/08 and he weighed in at 25.6 lbs! He’s going back on Saturday and we’re curious how much he will have gained by then. He changes and gets a little bigger every day. Aaahhh… I just keep going on and on!

Have a great Christmas! We’ll keep you updated!

~Natalie, Mike & Sarge

Update: 2-21-09

Hi Sherle,

We finally have our power back on since the ice storm! Here are some new pics of Sarge. He is growing so fast. His last vet appointment was 02/07/09 and he weighed 60 lbs! It’s hard to believe we could hold him in one hand when we first brought him home. He has a hearty appetite, but he plays hard every chance he gets. He loves to run and he can wear both of us out! We’ve both become a little healthier since he’s gotten bigger/faster. It’s kind of funny that I tried to get Mike to quit smoking for 8 years… then Sarge comes along. Mike hasn’t had a cigarette in almost 2 months! Ha!

He’s doing great and is still very eager to learn new things. Now he’s bringing his leash to us when he wants to go out. He’ll put his toys back in the toy box when we tell him to, and occasionally he’ll put one in on his own before he gets something new. It’s amazing how smart he is. We’re working on getting a video put together for you.

Thanks again for giving us such a great companion! We’ll continue to keep you updated.

~Natalie, Mike & Sarge

Update: 3-14-10

Hi Sherle,

How are you? We’re all doing fine, just wanted to send you some updated pictures of Sarge. He’s our pride and joy. He’s healthy and strong, as you’ll see in the pics where he tries to uproot a small tree! He actually did, but it turned out to be too big to play with for long. He’s maintained a weight of 96 lbs. for a couple of months now. He’s really filled out quite a bit since last year. He gets a lot of complements when he goes out in public. People are even more impressed by how smart he is. He listens so well that we can give him a treat, tell him to wait and he will hold it in his mouth until we tell him to eat it. We have never had any problems with his behavior or temperament. He gets excited at new places, but even then he still listens pretty well. He’s extremely friendly, but still protective of us. We love him to pieces!!! We’ll continue to keep you updated.

~Natalie, Mike & Sarge

From Raven and Dierk 9/16/08: “Emma”

Dear Sherle,

We wanted to let you know how much we love having Emma as part of our family. She has fit right in with the two Jack Russells and is doing wonderful. Dylan and Pearl love having a larger sister. She is already potty trained by ringing a bell to go outside (which she rings regardless of actually needing to go…she sometimes just wants to play). She can sit great, and we are working on stay and “down.” She is so intelligent and very eager to learn (quite different from the Jacks who are smart but do things on their own terms). She is learning how to heal on her walks and loves to go on adventures to the barn and about town. She currently weighs 38lbs and her coat keeps getting darker. We cannot believe how much she has already changed.

We have attached some photos and we will keep you posted on her…

Thank you for such a wonderful dog!

Sara and Byron Stephens