Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review- Suspect by Robert Crais

Suspect by Robert Crais


Robert Crais has created a new vision in crime drama fiction. In this book we meet Maggie, a beautiful 85 pound German Shepherd. She was a patrol dog with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan until a bomber and snipers kill her handler and leave her too badly wounded to continue as a Marine.
We also meet Scott, an LAPD officer scarred and suffering  post traumatic stress after he is shot and his partner are wounded in a bizarre ambush in a poor and run down part of Los Angeles.
Scott, attempting to return to active duty in the LAPD joins the K9 unit. There he falls under the spell of Maggie a dog who seems so destroyed by her experiences in Afghanistan that she will never work again.
Together they come to understand each other slowly, and Maggie proves that some of the best detectives never need say a word or carry a gun.
I read this book in one sitting, I could not put it down and loved every moment of the story.
Crais has put in a lot of work building great characters in the past, but for me Maggie is there in the best of Crais's characters beside Elvis Cole.
The pace is always tense, you worry enough about the characters individual well-being to make the book a great read. All is not tension though, there are lots of releases especially at the K9 training facility where the instructors try to instill a little dog into the recruits.
Crais has definitely put a good deal of time into looking for background into German Shepherd behavior, and it pays off with a good story.
You may buy Suspect from my Store here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Have a New Dog on the Way

This last year has been my longest time in thirty years with no dog in the house.  I now feel that it has been an empty year lots of things have happened. Three hospital stays, starting a new online business, all that fills time but there has been an empty space on the floor next to me that should have been filled with a dog.

Sadly my next dog will not be a German Shepherd. It will also not be a pet. It will be either a Labrador or Golden Retriever. It will be a working dog, a guide dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California.

We will meet in just about eight weeks time. I am very excited about the prospect of having a working dog. This will be a whole new experience . A whole new level of being around a dog.

We will train for two weeks together in San Rafael and San Francisco and then graduate the school on November 2.

I plan on writing on my experience with a guide dog using this blog. German Shepherds will still be here with a little added portion of anecdotes and information about guide dog life.

Sadly, for me at least, the German Shepherd is no longer the preferred dog for guide dog work. This will be a change of breed for me. But I am sure we will all learn something new over the coming years.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Great Horticulturist

I well remember when Polly was little more than a puppy, aged about six monthsold she became enthralled with gardening. In particular bulbs.

I had for several years been growing  several dozen Bluebell flower bulbs from seed. I had collected the seed from a nearby wood and grown the plants on every year until the bulbs became large enough to plant back in the wood to spread the bluebell flowers.

One day I spent a morning planting a set of year old bulbs in a border of my garden to grow on for ripening for planting out later. Polly sat quietly by my side, watching my every move. She showed no direct interst in the bulbs. Just wanted to show the usual German Shepherd love of being in a supervisory role.

That afternoon I went out shopping and when I returned home. There was a very proud Polly, sat at the edge of the living room carpet with a beautifully neat and straight row off freshly dug up Bluebell bulbs. The very same bulbs she had watched me plant just a few hours earlier.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

German Shepherd Tote Bag

German Shepherd Tote
William Elliott at Zazzle

I recently created this Tote bag design on

Available in a range of bag sizes priced from under $10 for the economy design these bags are hard wearing and versatile. Use them for carrying your groceries, baby supplies or books from the library. The bags are of rugged design and will last for a long time.

Even use the tote to carry your dog supplies on that car journey to the dog park.

See the German Shepherd Tote here

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can I Mourn theLoss of My Dog

In my thirty something years of working with both German Shepherds and their owners, one abiding question I have found is,

"After he dies. A I silly for mouring his death?"

The simple answer to this question is that you are ok to mourn the loss of your dog.

Many people, most often men in my experience are for some reason ashamed for expressing feelings for their dog. I don't know why. It just seems to be that way and the experience crosses national boundaries, as it was in Britain it is here in the Unoted States.

It can be that the memory of your dog can come back at the most simple of triggers, you may walk past a spot where you walked together, thesound of a scratch at the door, a glimpse of an old toy. These bring back all the emotions that you once felt. Anger, fear, sadness, happiness all in a muddle and often overwhelming.

Let the emotions come and go on their own. If a tear comes let it. Recognizing that you have these feelings rather than supressing them is the key. As you recognize and acknowledge them they actually lessen in intensity.

It is all part of the natural mourning process. Time and acceptance help, you do not forget with time you just don't suffer the deep pain anymore.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kong Toys

Your German Shepherd dog is a very intelligent dog.

They can quickly become bored and this boredom can lead to destructive behavior in even the best behaved dog.

All of my German Shepherds have loved Kong toys to keep them mentally active and free of boredom.

Kongs are made of heavy duty rubber and are virtually indestructable even for the heaviest chewer.

You can fill many kong toys with treats such as peanut butter which encourages the dog to lick inside the toy to extract the treat and occupy its mind with a real puzzle.

For a selection take a look at our Kong Toy Store

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dog Friendly Dining at Dockside Too, Morro Bay CA

The Dockside Too  Restaurant in Morro Bay, CA is  a great place to go if you are taking your pet to the beach in Central California.

The restaurant lies on the dock at Morro Bay, only a few minutes walk from the wide expansive beach which stretches over five miles from Morro Bay to Cayucos.

Morro Bay is a small city a few miles north of San Luis Obispo and about thirty minutes drive south of Hearst Castle, San Simeon . If you are travelling on Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, in either direction you will not faile to see either the three massive chimneys of Morro Bay Power Plant or the great granite mass of Morro Rock, an ancient volcanic plug rising from the ocean.

Morro Rock

The Dockside Too, is across the street from the Morro Bay Power Plant, if you keep driving downhill and towards the chimneys and the rock you will see a string of fish restaurants along the dockside. Dockside Too is closest to the rock footpath behind the Harbor Office.

Food at the Dockside Too is served fast food style, you order in the fish market portion where you can also buy fresh caught fish to take away. Your name is then called as your meal comes ready and you return to collect the food yourself. The food is very good and reasonably priced.

Dogs are very welcome to sit at your table outside and you can also get bowls of water and a basket of dog treats is close at hand for you to share a meal with your companion.


After you havve eaten you may want to walk down the path towards the rock, this path will eventually lead you around the car parking lot to the beach.

The walk snakes along the inlet and you will almost certainly see several Sea Otters along the walk as they dive for clams among the seaweed.


      You may be able to see the family of Sea Otters near to the Boat on Morro Bay inlet

For More Dog Friendly Places visit our Bookshop