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German Shepherds Often Face Adoption Obstacles
Looking for a new forever home, Rocky is an adoptable German Shepherd mix dog, available at the Oakdale Animal Shelter. His adoption fee has been paid for, as the donor is hoping he will go to a good home. The shelter serves the communities of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon. Rocky loves to go for walks and obeys basic commands. Photo Contributed

Rocky is poised for takeoff.

A young German Shepherd mix dog, Rocky is more than ready to be out of the animal shelter and anxious to start his new life. A full life that includes being a valued member of a family. Perhaps one with children or other dogs for him to play with. To go to the dog park or for a daily run.

Rocky has been at the Oakdale Animal Shelter since late May. It is a long time for a young, energetic boy with energy to burn. He came in as a stray and has won the respect of staff and volunteers for maintaining his good humor and love of a good playtime with a ball. The staff says he walks well on a leash, knows and heeds basic commands and loves belly rubs.

So why hasn’t Rocky been adopted yet?

Several theories get tossed about, including the overpopulation problem caused by backyard breeders. Others seem to be specific to his breed, like German Shepherds are unpredictable or are dangerous to small animals.

“People get preconceived ideas about what certain breeds of dogs are like,” said Irene Mees, a German Shepherd owner. “They think some dogs come ready to go, like an automobile.”

Not so, she said.

“All dogs need to be socialized and trained. Having a pet requires time and commitment, akin to raising a child.”

Training is key to a quality dog, said Mees. Just as every dog benefits from regular exercise and a schedule, training for both the owner and the dog is crucial. Even 10 minutes at a time is good. German Shepherds are also an exceptionally loyal breed and have unwavering affection for their humans.

A dog breed like Rocky is no more unpredictable than any other untrained dog, she said. It is the handler who is inexperienced and untrained.

And as for a danger to small animals, Mees again points to training. “Even for squirrels around our home, I trained my dog to leave it!”

Rocky is at a perfect time in his life to move on to a new home, said another German Shepherd owner. Past the puppy stage, he is already neutered and has had attention and exercise while at the shelter, so he knows basic commands and is eager to learn more. He desires attention and enjoys interacting with people.

He will need some time to adjust to a normal life after the confinement and noise and stress of the shelter, but with patience and training, he will develop into a fine family dog. And he is a mixed breed, which means he doesn’t share the negative characteristics of some dogs who are the unfortunate product of inbreeding.

“German Shepherds have a great capacity for love and devotion,” said Mees, “making them truly exceptional companions.”

Rocky is currently residing at the Oakdale Animal Shelter. His adoption fee has been paid by a generous donor who wants him to go to a good home. The shelter is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call the shelter at 209-847-5625.


This article was provided by volunteers at the Oakdale Animal Shelter, which serves the communities of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon.