For our dogs, we do wild and crazy things. Besides the normal, take them out, walk them, feed them, play with them, we do a whole lot more. For Dusty, I changed my life. I woke up at 3 a.m. to feed her, then again at 5 a.m. Joe got up at 7 a.m. to repeat the arduous process. We left work early and took days off to attend her medical appointments. We stopped to let her play in the snow even after six hours of driving in less than twenty-four hours. We built her contraptions to allow her to live to the best of her ability. I spent two and a half weeks caring for her every need, but she gave back ten fold. As much of a roller coaster as those two and a half weeks were, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Those were the best two and a half weeks I can remember.

That’s why I want to take a moment to clear the air here. I know that there have been a lot of things circulating about my breeder, a lot of very nasty and inconsiderate things. I think it’s time that I express my personal feelings and experiences about my breeder and her dogs.

When Dusty first got sick, I was very leery about creating this blog, about announcing to people who my breeder was. First of all, I didn’t want there to be any bad blood between my breeder and me, because I wanted another dog from her, and also because I like her very much, both personally and professionally. I also didn’t want any bad blood, because as a general rule I don’t like people to not like me.

So I did my best to keep my breeder out of this blog, to keep it as anonymous as possible. But after speaking with her and several other people who have wonderful dogs from her, I realized that I have no reason to keep it a secret where I got my Dusty. Dusty was the best dog that we ever had, she was a ray of sunshine pelting in on our drab, monotonous lives. She was the reason that I kept fighting, a reason for every day to be exciting and fresh.

My Dusty came from Omorrow German Shepherds, just outside of Belleville, Ohio. She was bred by Rhonda Sellers. She was exquisite, just like her breeder. She was a beautiful specimen, a stunning example of her breed, who just happened to come equipped with a grotesque anomaly, one that Rhonda was certainly NOT responsible for, and we don’t blame her for.

When Dusty was diagnosed with megaesophagus, Rhonda was the first person I called. The third word out of her mouth was “Sorry”. The fourth word out of her mouth was “Refund”. At the time, I didn’t much care about the money, I just wanted my dog to get better. What I did care about, however, was the next hour, where Rhonda proceeded to tell me everything she knew about the disease (which was a considerable amount), help make suggestions and comfort me when I began to break down.

Rhonda and I have met only once, for a brief four hours or so when we went to pick up Dusty. We talked over the phone and via email a few times before we met, but those lightning quick encounters don’t exactly establish a friendship as I would see it. But what Rhonda shares with the people who buy her dogs, is something vastly separate from a business relationship. Of course, we sign contracts and discuss paperwork and AKC registration, but while we were visiting the Omorrow Farm, we talked about our lives, our experiences, we told stories, laughed, and played with puppies. With Rhonda, we were more than a paycheck, or a number, we were friends. When we took Dusty, she held back tears and gave me a hug. When we lost Dusty, she sat on the phone with me while I sobbed. There was no one in the world I wanted to talk to more than her. Because we had, somehow, become friends. Dusty wasn’t a business transaction, Rhonda loved her personally, like I did, and that love had brought us together.

But my Omorrow shepherd didn’t just come with Rhonda. She came with a whole group of people who have quickly become my friends. We trade emails and stories, we talk on the phone and send texts. They know more about my life than some of my blood relatives. And that is irreplaceable. In the competitive world I live in, where it is hard to make a single friend, being introduced to someone who provides me with dozens of them is worth more than the money we pay for a dog. It is worth everything.

I think it’s fair to say that not everyone would see things the way I see them, that some people would be bitter, angry and distrustful after being dealt the hand that my family was dealt. Maybe that’s why those people didn’t get to have Dusty. But I would like to point out that that is my personal decision, to love Rhonda and the Omorrow pack like family. Call me naive, or blind or ignorant. I’m American, and it’s my right to think how I want. But besides all that, it seems to me that it’s just the right way to think. There is enough hate in this world propounding all the time without having to drag a hardworking, loving woman who just wants to breed dogs that people love into the picture. As Rhonda said to me, “I breed dogs to make people happy, not to make them miserable.” I think there’s a lot to be said about that statement. We should all be so lucky to conduct business in such a fashion, where others’ happiness comes before our profit.

So as much as it might make sense to question motives and intentions, unless you were there, and it was your dog, and your decision, I don’t think it’s appropriate to question Fate. As a matter of fact, I don’t happen to think it’s appropriate to question Fate at all.

As for me, I have every intention on getting another dog from Rhonda as soon as the opportunity presents itself, because she is, by far, the most respectable business woman I have ever met, she has been a wonderful friend and confidant, and, of course, her dogs are extraordinary. I encourage anyone looking for a German shepherd, or any dog, to do the same:  But of course, that’s just my two cents.