Raising a family with Shepherds

Ever since my children were born, they have grown up with a four legged friend by their side.  I can't imagine them not having a protector there to warn me of anything that was out of the norm.  From a bump or a bruise, or a problem at school, their best counselors were always the dogs. 

Growing up on acreage, we spend a lot of time outside.  We had a barn full of Percherons that kept me busy everyday, cleaning stalls, exercising, feeding them and the countless chores that come along with owning horses.  I remember a time when my son was 2 years old and we were cleaning out the stalls as we did daily.  We had a small pasture to the south of the barn that had about 7 of the big boys in there, enjoying the sunshine.  Busy with shoveling, I heard a loud bark that came ringing in my years.  I ran outside to find my 2 year old surrounded by  a herd of 18 hand horses, him in the middle, and Jenna, our GSD, right by his side, letting the horses know they were not to come any closer.  Her alert saved the day, with the help of one of the horses that adored Nic and was keeping the other horses at bay as well.  If my son was outside, I knew only to look for Jenna and you would find Nic.  She was a perfect playmate over the years. 

The dogs not only protected our children, but they were there to help learn many of life's lessons about friendship, commitment, work ethic and the list goes on.  Our kids have had to learn the costs of having an animal, the work to take care of them, the pain of losing an animal.  These lessons are so invaluable as they grow into adulthood. 

The dogs have endured being dressed up as princesses and paraded around by my daughter.  They lay quietly enjoying the attention and earning my respect for putting up with her laying all over them.  They have licked the tears from her face when she takes a fall or gets her feelings hurt, all in the name of unconditional love. 

I am very grateful for what our dogs have helped teach our children.  Their contribution will never be forgotten.