Pregnant and stranded in a high-kill shelter, Gem’s transition to motherhood was a challenging one. She was scheduled to be euthanized when a German Shepherd rescue stepped in to change her fate forever. And through the power of one simple word—“yes”—Gem’s life and future changed forever. But even though she was out of danger, poor Gem was still so frightened she had to be carried to the rescue van and into her foster home.
One week later, Gem gave birth to nine adorable puppies, six of whom were claimed by adoptive families as soon as they were old enough and three of whom, like Gem, waited patiently for a forever home. The rescue’s “yes” had saved nine more lives.
Gem was a beauty, a pale blond shepherd with a frosted black saddle and a thin black strip on her forehead. Her eyes were soulful and kind, and underneath her quiet demeanor lived a regal soul. I asked her to describe herself and what she wanted in a home. She said simply that she was humble and shy and that her only desire was to feel safe. And while she was cautious, she warmed up to people once she became comfortable with them.
I asked Gem what she had gone through at the shelter, pregnant and alone. Her response: People don’t realize that we understand our plight and our situation. I knew I was pregnant and stranded. I knew my puppies depended on me and on the kindness of people I had yet to meet. It was a desperate time.
In her foster home, Gem worked hard on building her confidence. She gained emotional strength and support from the two resident dogs, and she followed them everywhere when she wasn’t tending her puppies.
At the same time Gem arrived in our rescue, a husband/wife team put in an application. They had always had GSDs and their most recent, Schatzi, had been imported from Germany to join their current fur family that consisted of three small dogs and two cats. Schatzi was a character. He stole beer, carried the small dogs around in his mouth like lollipops, and toted a Barbie doll crown in his teeth. He visited dog parks frequently and attempted to play with his other pack members, but within weeks, his family knew that something was missing from his life. And they knew he needed a dog his size to play with. So we scheduled a meet-and-greet for Schatzi, Gem, and the original five furry family members. Gem was a pro. It was like she knew she was home. Her shyness melted away, and she greeted the new “furmily” with grace and reserve. No feathers or fur ruffled in the process.
Gem was welcomed into the family and became Lily. Now, the “yes” that transformed ten lives expanded to touch seven more. The family reports that Lily fits in like she’s been there forever. Schatzi no longer is tempted to enjoy a lolli-pup, has forsaken his Barbie crown for good, and has stopped stealing beer! And Gem’s life is no longer desperate.