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In Loving Memory Of Niels

Niels, had led a wonderful life with a couple who brought him home as a puppy. He was well-trained, well-loved and a dog they could take anywhere. He was big, beautiful, wonderful Niels. Unfortunately, when the couple split up, Niels went through a series of changes and new homes, and he began to show a protective and unpredictable side. His owner was unable to help Niels, and decided to surrender him to us to help find him a more suitable home. All of us at the rescue just adored Niels, and in a kennel setting he didn’t show the protective side.

One of our volunteer families, Andrea, Dan and Paige decided to take him home and foster him, to give him some stability and hope to help him find that inner-easy-going-GSP again. With them, their family and friends, he was just the most fabulous of dogs. With strangers, he needed a lot of work. They had made some good progress and were completely invested in Niels to help him thrive to find him the right home. Soon a family who was willing to continue the training came along and adopted him. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out and Niels was back at the Rescue.

Well he went back to his foster family, and Andrea, Dan and Paige decided he was right where he belonged and made him an official member of their family!  They have fostered more dogs than we can count, and the decision to make Niels a permanent member of their home did not come easy to them. They’ve helped some “easy” dogs and some dogs with issues in the past. Although it was never easy to give them up, they were always happy to find a loving and permanent home for their fosters and move on to the next dog that needed a good foster home to succeed.

We recently received the news that Niels passed away surrounded by the love of his family. We are so grateful to Andrea and Dan and Paige for everything they did for Niels. We know that the loss has been very difficult for them. We could go on about how much Niels meant to his family, but we thought it would be best for them to tell you.

“What can i say about Niels ???? hmmmm….my heart

Well Niels was supposed to be turned into rescue on a Saturday. The Wednesday before I saw him in a local shelter, his owner had dropped him there instead. A lovely long term volunteer, Sandy, dropped what she was doing and picked him up. That was the first of many time Niels 9 lives was reborn.

I met him a few weeks later volunteering at the rescue just walking dogs on a Sunday. I walked him and he was full of nerves. He had some crate anxiety so living in a kennel made him nervous and he didn’t eat like normal. I tried to take him for a walk and he pointed out the cookies he knew were in my pocket but was really nervous and wanted back his space. Sort of a weird intro. He was obviously a huge GSP around 80 pounds. Not fat, just a big guy. His head was big, his chest big, his feet were big, He was just big. He also had a big personality, which I would understand later.

Fast forward, we fostered Niels. He found a few families that adopted him but none were quite prepared for how much Niels needed. He was overly protective of the home and his family. That meant that while he was amazing with his family, at times he was a bit more to handle than some were able. True to his “big ” personality he was big when protecting the home too.

The rescue took him back into rescue after his adoptions that didn’t work. They commit to each dog they pull or take in. Niels was lucky with that. We were very open to foster but thankfully the rescue was able to commit to getting Niels a little extra help. We went to a vet behaviorist with a rescue volunteer about once a month and followed the protocol they prescribed.

What we didn’t know at the time was that Niels was home. He looked to my dog Walter as his “service animal”. Walter gave him confidence and guidance. He walked next to him “glued” to his side and Walter was happy to provide this service. Niels was part of everything in the home and took to training in an amazing way. We worked with him introducing very small challenges at a time… never pushing too much. He told us when he was comfortable and it took us time to read his queues.

So, while we trained this beautiful boy, he also trained us. He showed us how investing in a dog that maybe didn’t have a perfect record brought incredible rewards. He left memories in every part of every single day. Niels impacted us in every way possible. I miss cooking and him staring at the floor hoping for droppings. I miss his kisses. He was such a kisser and would kiss anyone . WE miss him barking at 5 am because he wanted his morning cookie at the top of the stairs (his routine). I miss him drooling all over his own face or slopping his food all over his face and not caring. We all miss the love that a personality as big as Niels could bring that he brought every day. He was part of every moment of every day. What we wouldn’t give to bring him back and make him part of our home again… So many if only’s but yet Niels knew he was home… always with us. He was the most incredible gift. He fit in, and we love him so much. Our hearts break not having him here, and we wish we only could have had him longer.  We look at the sky for him every day.

 Sometimes a little dog that is a project captures you in ways you could never have imagined”

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