|Tajji guarding pumpkins|
My husband, fellow writer Dave Trowbridge, and I have languished in the condition known as Dog Withdrawal. Our wonderful old German Shepherd Dog, Oka, died last April from leukemia at the august age of 12 ½ (GSDs typically live 9-12 years), and the lively puppy who bounced into our lives later that spring went to find a new home (on a ranch owned by rodeo ropers) when I was out of the state for almost two months, caring for a dying friend. After that, we decided to give ourselves time to properly grieve both losses, an act of faith that the universe would present us with the right dog at the right time.
The way this works is you have to give the universe a helping hand from time to time. So both of us spoke of the “German Shepherd Dog-sized hole” in our lives. As it happened, a musician (French horn) in two of the bands Dave plays in (bass and soprano clarinet) is married to a blind man whose seeing eye dog was nearing retirement age. Seeing eye work is strenuous for dogs, both physically and mentally. It requires constant alertness, lightning reflexes, and the strength and speed to instantly pull an owner out of harm’s way. After some discussion, they brought their dog over for a visit. We got to meet Tajji (which means “my crown” in Arabic, her owner being Egyptian), a lovely, sweet-tempered German Shepherd Dog. She’s 10 years old and in good shape for her age with beautiful, strong conformation. Coincidentally, she is a sable (sometimes called “gray” or “Grau”) like Oka. In fact, except for the difference in their sizes, she looks like a feminine version of him.