Neverending Saga: Introducing MacKenzie

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Nov 30, 2002
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Amy left us on the evening of Mr. Retirement’s 73rd birthday which made her passing that much worse. Although Mr. Retirement said countless times we would never have another dog, that thought went out the window quickly. We were terribly distraught to see Amy die right in front of us so out of the blue and so fast, we knew we couldn’t go on being so upset another minute Mr. Retirement said we had to have another puppy as soon as possible. I guess its safe to say, we were acting on an emotional impulse. I felt it was almost being disloyal to Amy, but putting it in a different perspective, we were in so much pain from her sudden loss, we knew we needed a puppy to help to heal our hearts.

I put in a call to Amy’s breeder hoping for a sibling, only to find there were no puppies available until summer. I then responded to every ad for a German Shepherd puppy I could find in my state and neighboring states. I came across some scammers along the way and what I think was probably a very well organized ring of puppy mills. I did report my suspicions to a number I found on Petfinders. I finally checked back to my old list of GSD breeders and went through their websites studying pedigrees and checking for puppy availability. Normally I wouldn’t pay that much attention to a pedigree of a horse if it was what I was looking for, but it’s a whole nuther thing when you are dealing with a German Shepherd. A tendency to be an aggressively bred dog was out of the question especially with my baby granddaughter now on the scene so I had to be careful.

After a week went by, we found ourselves on a road trip to a kennel “just to look.” Mr. Retirement and I pulled out of here early in the morning in my turbo diesel with ¼ tank of gas and a GPS that had been in storage for 7 years. I wanted to stop for gas right away but true to form, Mr. Retirement prefers to live on the edge and tempt fate. So here’s me the worry wart: “When are we stopping for gas? We’re running out of gas. We need gas. What about that place? Huh? We’re gonnna break down. When do we get the gas? I gotta pee will that get you to stop already?” Knowing my bladder doesn’t mess around, that worked. We came into a town riding on the fumes only to find that out of some 8 gas stations, none of them sold diesel. Perfect. We asked the lady at the last gas station on the edge of town where they keep the diesel around there. We were directed to another place off the main road if we could make it just another mile or so. Terrific. With the gas gage showing way below empty, we finally got our diesel fuel and pressed forward.
Meanwhile, our GPS had blown a gasket and was driving me nuts: “Turn left in 600 yards” was repeated at least 1000 times until I was ready to toss it out the window. I named it Paula Abdul because clearly it was delusional.

We finally reached our destination in the middle of nowhere by noon. The springtime countryside in Tennessee there was simply breathtaking and the flower gardens were gorgeous. What a quiet and serene place for a kennel location. It was clean, well organized, and the dogs were healthy. They did not live in a traditional type kennel run, but instead, they were residing in a natural atmosphere in large well built horse size lean tu-s with shade trees, and tiny gravel in each instead of concrete floors. Dogs were divided up, each with a friend or friends in a big yard arranged in a “U” all around the main house. Loved this set up. All breeding stock was certified OFA for hip dysplasia and IM for elbows. They were fit and happy at the top of their game. The owners ship dogs and have a waiting list of clients listed on their website and I could see why. After a full tour of the kennel property and a variety of GSDs , we were directed to the only two female German Shepherd puppies left who were available now. I had my eye on the laid back one but I could see Mr. Retirement was bonding already with the other one. We were told, she was more “frisky.” Suddenly our plans to “just look” were derailed and we were on our way home with our new baby, paperwork a mile long, vet record and extra wormer. Unprepared for a puppy, we stopped along the way home to purchase a collar, some chew toys, a bed, and Iams puppy food which was what she was already being fed.

We named her Mackenzie after the black haired pretty girl detective “Kensi” from NCIS. Mackenzie was bewildered to say the least on her long ride home and from her shopping trip. She was in the back seat on the floor and decided to inch her way up to the console and eventually crash landed in my lap where she finally fell asleep for a while. She saved puking in the truck until we were half way up our steep winding mountain road. We were only 5 minutes from the house before she let me have it all over myself, my purse and her bag of toys. Covered in every kind of gross puppy vile you can imagine from my hair, my shirt, down my legs, to my pink crocs, Mr. Retirement then asked me if she puked. I’m like “Are you out to lunch here or what? Oh heck no, I asked my fairy godmother for a new ball gown and this is what she gave me.” Honestly!

Our little pup settled in the house quite well with Mr. Retirement worshipping her while I hit the shower and cleaned up the mess. There was only one tiny accident she made on the floor and from then on in, she appeared to have housebroken herself by some miracle of the gods. She tells us from her body language and pouncing at the door when she has to go out so wow, we got lucky! Cross potty training off my to-do list. She’s a puppy potty prodigy.

We no longer have our dog crate because somebody threw it away and that same somebody hasn’t made it up to the loft yet to bring down the baby gate which would give her some containment. Nag that I am, I said a million times, “we need that crate, do not throw it out”, but who listens? This left the field wide open for our little bundle of joy with her Jaws of steel completely loose to remodel our house at will. Who does that with a new puppy? Sigh. I shall converse with my imaginary friend for the rest of my life at this rate. We were quite spoiled because Amy was never a destructive puppy. She never, and I mean never chewed or destroyed anything, but it’s a new deal now.

So, its been a bit like the Zombie Apocalypse here this week. The little miss waits until we are sound asleep and awakens to get into all sorts of mischief quietly in the middle of the night. Perhaps we have a canine version of Einstein on our hands because she is fascinated with the invention of electricity and chewing electric cords. She put us out of phone service, devoured the cord to the big screen tv, and then ate the cord on my new bedroom lamp, all in one night. How about those bananas, Santa? You never can have enough electric tape around. Crate please? The next night she showed hording tendencies by collecting our slippers and my crocs and putting them in a pile in front of the door. The night after that she ate a 1 foot square off of my new bedroom 9’ X 11’ carpet. For the lovapete man, buy a flipping crate for night time already!!!. And a whole shopping cart load of more chew toys! And fast! The thought of her destroying our excessive Christmas decorations passed through my mind, and for a moment or two or three and I was like “What are we thinking raising a puppy again?” Did we act in haste? You betcha. Do we have regrets? None.

We’ve been practicing riding in the truck for about ten minutes a day. She doesn’t like it. We’ve been practicing riding around in the golf cart. She doesn’t like that either. We’ve been practicing riding around in my Rover with the dump bed. That’s completely out of the question. Forget going to the barn with me. The minute a horse sticks their head over the stall door, she scrams out of there as fast as those big legs can sprint. I’m sure she’ll come around in time to fulfill these little jobs that she was hired for. I think I’m sure.

Some boundaries are already set and in a few days, I’ll begin formal training lessons with her; just 5 minutes or so at a time about 3 times a day. Then we’ll advance as needed to bigger stuff as time marches on. Kenzie’s sire was 125 lbs and her dam was 115 lbs. There is no way I can have an uncontrollable dog here that we can’t handle so lessons are going to be pretty serious. I’ll keep working on the issues that she doesn’t like slowly without force and I think she’ll come around. I think.

Amy is in my heart and on my mind every day. Every time I hear her name and see her picture I fight to hold back tears. She’s going to be a very hard act to follow. Then I stare at this little innocent puppy face who doesn’t know a darn thing about anything and wonder how she’ll turn out. I don’t expect Kenzie to be a carbon copy of her, but I hope she will fill the role as my new constant companion and playmate for Mr. Retirement. If she can throw herself into a little protection mode for us to ward off home invaders and the like, all the better. Time will tell. I have never had a German Shepherd fail me yet. This morning we went for our ten minute truck ride and for the first time, she offered to jump right on in and didn’t cry.

As for Paula, she finally straightened herself out on the way home, without rehab.

Marty, I am happy for you. I am sorry about Amy, but looking back on our labs recent death a day after my bday in march, I wish he had gone quick and happy, in a blaze of glory rather than a slow elderly demise, but enough about that! There is a time to grieve and a time to celebrate life, I say push forward with the joy and celebration! Keep us posted with those pics as she grows. PS love your stories!
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Mr Retirement looks pretty darn proud. And, the pup is just too cute for words.
She's a beautiful girl, Marty. Congratulations, she will be a wonderful distraction and I just know she will make you proud and glad you took the chance on her.
Marty, I'm so happy you brought her into your family! She's previous and I hope you post updates as you and Mr. Retirement grow her up

Are you sure you saw no thoroughbreds on her pedigree though??? Look at her coltish legs! She's going to be as big as a (mini) horse when she's done growing
Oh she is so pretty! She is going to be BIG!!!!! What a lucky girl she already looks a tad spoiled!
You tell the BEST stories!

She sounds like a doll! But kick Mr Retirement in the butt and GET A CRATE!! She's gonna get hurt chewing on electrical cords for sure!
Congrats!! What a beautiful little girl! Do keep us updated with your adventures.


Victory Pass Stable

She is absolutely adorable!!! I am sure that Amy is looking over the bridge and smiling down on all three of you. Enjoy your new baby
Congrats Marty. Crate right away or you will have a destructor for life. Tell Mr. Retirement it is for the best and raising any pupy without a crate is kind of like trying to raise a baby without a playpen or crib. Crib has bars, but nobody feels guilty about putting baby in crib for night. One bite of an electrical cord and the crate seems like a great thing in comparison, One abdominal surgery for something wrong eaten and the crate seems cheap. My friends lab puppy got two abdominal surgeries before she learned that the crate wasn't bad. Feed her in the crate to make her bond to it.

For the car riding puking. Spend lots of time in the car without it running or going anywhere. Puppy eats treats in the car, eats a meal in the car. Do not make the car go anywhere until she thinks the car is the greatest thing, a treat box on wheels sitting in the driveway without it running. Graduate to treatbox on wheels with engine running. Move up from there to short trips to someplace nice. Don't be afraid to ask vet about dramamine dosage for your puppy according to her weight. My bonnie filled my handbag more than once.

Your puppy is gorgeous. Love those GSDs. Miss mine forever. My Jet was perfect like your Amy. My trainer told me I had to pick a different breed because I wouldn't find another Jet. She found me a collie. My collie girl Gabrielle is now approaching her final days and I am scared to death of what my house is going to be like without her here. She is my "go everywhere" dog. It is so difficult beginning again with a new soulmate. You sound like my neighbor. They recently lost a very old labrador retriever and went out driving one day and came home with a new puppy. I am helping them train this puppy and they keep saying how their other dog "never did that". My neighbor is disabled and so is her husband and this puppy is very humbling, but on the other hand, that sweet face and cherished memory building sure does make them smile, even if puppy's mommy comes to my house wearing very chewed up crocs on her feet. LOL. Best wishes, keep those photos coming. I know that when my Gabrielle is gone it will leave a big hole in my house that Amy did in yours. Take care and love your stories! You are such a great writer.
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Marty, I am so sorry about Amy and I hope your new pup will also become your new best friend. I am in awe of the size of those paws!
Congrats! Marty I love the way you write as I feel I am right there experiencing this first hand. She sure looks like she has some big, long legs to grow into. Love the pic of her in the cart with the goodies! Keep Mr retirement in line and get a crate before she fries her lil mind on those electrical cords. Keep us updated with your wonderful stories and pics.
Oh Mylanta!! Look at those puppy wonder she pawed her way into your hearts....... she is lovely,....keep us updated, but I have to agree with everyone else.....gotta get a crate asap.
GSDs are one of my absolute favorite breeds ever. I know you'll do right by her Marty and I can't wait to see more pictures and hear more stories about her!

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