German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California

Thulani Program News

November 2010

Providing hospice care in safe and loving homes for
terminally ill German Shepherds

In This Issue
Hawkeye Senior
Angel de San Martin
Lady Love
Honey Bear
Ol' Red
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Dear Friends and Supporters of the Thulani Hospice Program, 

It has been awhile since our last newsletter and a lot has happened since then. GSRNC's Thulani Hospice Program is well into its second year, and I can unequivocally say that it has been a huge success and has so far accomplished the goals we set out for it. News of our program is spreading and requests to bring terminally ill dogs into our program are growing in number.


Sadly, most of the German Shepherds we showcased in the last newsletter have since passed over the Rainbow Bridge, but only after spending their final days and months in warm, loving homes that, in most cases, were likely better than any they had previously known. However, one of our alumni is still living the good life in the wine country of northern California!


We have brought five new German Shepherds into our program this year. They are all in wonderful homes, sharing with their fosters the uniquely strong bond that forms between people and loyal German Shepherd Dogs. For the fosters, these bonds are intensified by the knowledge they are providing a final safe haven and loving home for dogs that would have otherwise ended their lives alone in shelters. Each of GSRNC's Thulani dogs would have been euthanized were it not for our hospice program.


We hope you enjoy reading about each of our Thulani dogs and the lessons they are teaching all those involved in this unique program.

Hawkeye Senior

Hawkeye Sr. is a 13-year old retired drug-sniffing dog whose owner's medical difficulties made it impossible for him to continue to chawkeye1are for Hawkeye. This aging GSD is still an incredible dog; he loves people, gets along well with other dogs, is very social, and is fixated on his ball or kong. Hawkeye Sr. is partially blind but is also very spry for his age and is still quite athletic.


To quote his foster mom "Hawk is the epitome of 'young at heart'. He loves to go for walks and take a swim. He is often seen around the house carrying his favorite kong or a toy that he has de-stuffed. He appreciates having free access to the outdoors during the day and has a knack for finding comfy shaded spots in which to take a snooze. Hawk gets along nicely with other dogs and is living nicely with two dog savvy cats. His eyesight isn't what it used to be so care has to be taken when playing with toys or when carrying objects hawkeye100pxthat look like toys because hands can easily get caught in the way. Hawk loves all people and is very happy to pal around with just about anyone, though he has a particular fondness for men." 


Hawkeye Sr. had a great working life, giving his all to society. Now it is our chance to give back to him, by making the rest of his life everything a dog could dream of.

Blanca 100px

Blanca is a sweet white GSD who was picked up as a stray. She is very affectionate with people, is gentle and easy going, and pretty much ignores other dogs. She loves to go for walks, and is starting to enjoy riding in the car. Blanca is a great companion dog, she is quiet and undemanding.


Blanca is in our Thulani Program because she has advanced cancer. For now she is happy and does not know she is sick. She is with a very compassionate fosterer who will give Blanca the best life she has ever had for her remaining time. In turn, Blanca always has a smile on her face, a spring to her walk, and a wag to her tail. She takes the best walk of any dog we have seen in a long time, stopping often to thoroughly smell the roses. Blanca lives for the moment, a trait many of us would do well to emulate.


Angel de San Martin

"Hi!  My name is Angel and I am now safely with GSRNC. Even more importantly, I am at home with my new mom, Nicole. I'm still a bit confused by how this happened. All I know is that I found myself all alone in a rural area south of San Jose, with nothing to eat, nowhere comfortablangel1e to sleep, and without my people. I really don't know how I got there but I know I was scared. Luckily, a very nice man from Animal Control gave me a ride to the shelter. Although the shelter was kind of scary and noisy, it was warm and they fed me well. I waited patiently for my people to come get me, but nobody came. Then one day a nice lady came by, took me out into the play yard, played all sorts of weird games with me, and declared that I could come live with her friends. I was really happy with that because at the shelter I came down with a cough, and my arthritis was really beginning to hurt. The nice lady came back, took me to see a gentle doctor who was very easy to like, and then took me home with her. My cough got better, and my elbows stopped hurting so much. I wonder if those strange hard little pieces of food she gave me every day had something to do with it!


A couple of days later, I took a long car ride to meet my new mom. She is really cool. She knows just what I need, and she lives with two other people who really love me. They are all young and it makes me feel young again just being around them!   

When I look back at the past few months, I think that I have ended up in the best place possible.  I loved my other family, but this is just the cat's meow! (oops, did I just say that?)"
Lady Love

In her prime, Lady Love must have been a beauty. Well, actually, she still is! She is about 13 years old, has a great disposition, and she is very sweet. Lady Love ladylove100pxmelts with affection, absorbing every ounce she gets.


Lady Love is in the advanced stages of degenerative myelopathy, a progressive disease of the spinal cord that causes hind-limb weakness and, eventually, paralysis. But this aging beauty still gets around well enough to follow her new people around the house and yard.



Lady Love has met several younger dogs in her foster home and she is great with all of them. She allows other dogs to lick her muzzle and lie next to her; she also accompanies them around the yard.


We are not sure why Lady Love ended up in a shelter, but her foster mom was determined that she not spend her final days there. Instead, she will be coddled and doted upon, as any loving senior should be. This Lucky Lady has a warm, loving home in which to live out the rest of her life.

Honey Bear

Honey"Honey Bear was dropped off at Oakland Animal Services. She was quite old and not in very good shape. Her eyes were sunken and dry and her fur was matted with dander. She also had a cyst with black discharge coming out of it. That is why I was so moved by the quiet strength and dignity that I saw in her eyes when I first met her.  


When I kiss her face she gives me a gentle lick in return as if to say thank you. When I talk to her, if she is standing up, she often gives me a half wag of her tail. She is extremely smart and has adapted quickly to life on my small ranch. She mingles respectfully with the other dogs, cats, chickens, goats, and the rest of the ranch 'hands'.

She is a picky eater but not in the way most people would think. She will eat a hotdog over imported chicken sausage dog food any time. I have never seen a self respecting ranch dog that did not like horse poop, and she is no exception. Honey has discovered that lying on your back in the sunshine and rolling back and forth is about as good as it gets. Honey has come home, to a veritable doggie paradise, and will live out her life here."

Ol' Red

Ol' Red was showcased in our last Thulani Program newsletter. To refresh your memory, Ol' Red was rescued during an animal cruelty raid on a farm in north Texas.Twenty-five dogs were rescued and all were placed in homes, except Ol' Red. Red had a huge oral melanoma tumor and a heavy heartworm load and the vet recommended euthanasia. Red's defenders would not hear of it, found a vet to remove the tumor, and arranged for transport out to German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California's Thulani Program. Red was given two months to live.


Thirteen months later, Ol' Red is living the good life in Napa, showing no signs that he realizes he is sick. He has learned how to play with other dogs, has learned what toys are for, has melded into a very special loving household, and has struck an alliance with the five resident cats to raise havoc (by tipping over the garbage and spreading it all over) whenever unsupervised. Red is finally living the life he always deserved and loving every minute of it.  


Think good thoughts for Red so he can surprise us once again by still being here next year!

These are the stories that make all the hard work that goes into rescue worthwhile. Remember, you are the ones who make these stories possible! Thank you all for your generous contributions of money and time. You will never find a more appreciative group than our Thulani dogs. And, as our hospice program continues to expand, we can all look forward to bringing loving, safe homes and quality end-of-life care to many more Thulani dogs!

Bob Jachens,
Coordinator, Thulani Program
German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California
German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization