Panzer by the river, his favorite place

??? (March 15, 2011) – Present

Panzer is a Petfinder find from All Shepherd Rescue in Baltimore, MD. We adopted him in mid-August, 2012. He kind of fell into our laps. We were still grieving when we saw this skinny little all black shepherd whose story broke our hearts.

Panzer was most likely a bait dog. He is reactive to strangers and the bully breeds. He came with a boatload of fear and some behavioral problems we weren’t quite expecting. I joke that he completes our repertoire. He has added resource guarding, submissive peeing and “too smart for his own good” to our list of successfully rehabbed problems.

As his foster mom puts it though, what he really is is “impressionable”. He is one of those rare dogs who works to please. He will work for kibble, toys, treats, steak and a “good boy” with equal vigor. Despite his scars, physical and mental, he is by far the most trainable dog I’ve ever encountered.

Something about Panzer and his story has inspired me in a way that no other dog has. Maybe his life matches my own more than I’d like to admit. Panzer is different from the rescues you read about in books and magazines. He’s more real. He didn’t come out of a fighting ring with a wagging tail and a smile for everyone. He came out like I feel many of us would – damaged. He requires patience and care and modification. After so much pain, he beckons for a gentle touch, but he’s afraid of it too.

I know Panzer can be rehabilitated, though some days it seems an impossibility. I also know that when we’ve put in all the footwork he’ll be an even more remarkable dog than he is now. Saving Panzer from himself will be my single greatest achievement up to that point. And in turn, he’ll have saved a lot of me too.

Quick stats on Panzer to help you navigate this blog:

1. Born on, well, who knows (we estimate he’s around 2, so we put his birthday at March 15, 2011)

2. Rescue from All Shepherd Rescue

3. Suspected former bait dog

4. Aggressive to people and bully breeds (for now)

5. Trained by Carolyn Wilki and Fran Kramer

6. Crazy ball drive

7. Ridiculously intelligent


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