Not too long after we moved to Montana, we decided our German Shepherd Dog, Daphne the Itchy Dog, could use a friend. So, we contacted the Bitterroot German Shepherd rescue, where we tested a couple of candidates. Daphne didn’t really like anyone except The Amazing Sleeping Man (ASM), but she tolerated a big guy named Hasso better than the others. So, to Daphne’s great dismay, Hasso came home with us and settled in to stay.
Now, The ASM is a huge WWII history buff—we couldn’t have a dog named Hasso. That was the name of one of Germany’s generals during the Battle of the Bulge; a new name was necessary. We quickly discovered that, despite Hasso being five years old, and brought over from Germany as a puppy, no one had taught him any manners. He knew nothing. He also loved to eat. My sister immediately suggested “Schultz” from the TV show Hogan’s Heroes. He’s been Schultz ever since and lived up to the name—he can eat a twelve-ounce Naps burger in three bites.
He was incredibly easy to train (for a German Shepherd,) quickly learning his new name and that jumping on people was not allowed. Daphne learned to eat her food when it was served or it would disappear. We learned that he had an extremely high prey drive and was scared of heights. We never did get him to walk on top of a log, no matter how many times Daphne did it. He’s the only ticklish dog we’ve ever met–you could pet and scratch him, but only for a short time, then he’d jump and run away. We purchased a ‘zapper’ collar to stop him from chasing the deer because he would chase for miles and come back thirty minutes later with his tongue dragging on the ground, soaking wet and muddy.
Slowly, Daphne adjusted to him, although she was never really happy about his presence. Or mine, for that matter, unless I had something really good to eat. Schultz understood he was at the bottom of the pack and following Daphne’s every move was critical. And The ASM and I learned to adapt to his ear-piercingly loud puppy squeals, a very deep and menacing bark in addition to Daphne’s lighter, but vicious one, and stepping carefully in the bedroom at night because you never knew where poor Schultz might end up. Hiking with Daphne and Schultz could be challenging because neither one of them liked other dogs, but it was a ton of fun too.
When Daphne passed, Schultz indulged his inner male lion. Lazing on his bed in the living room was his absolute favorite thing to do, preferably with a bone. It took a big threat for him to thwack through the dog door, like some critter actually in his yard or someone at the door, rather than every car driving by. We put him on diet dog food and made sure he got a walk every day; he never did like chasing balls. He was always happy to chase critters, though. And snore away the morning, noon and night. Loudly.
As the years went on, he slowed and lost his hearing, becoming less of a threat to the local wildlife, but he had an excellent nose right up to the end. His fur silvered beautifully and he always loved to eat.
We’ll miss you, Schultz. It will be too quiet without your snoring and whining, too clean without black and tan dog fur everywhere, and we’ll miss you every time we close the bathroom door, knowing you won’t be poking your nose in to make sure everything’s okay. Have a great time chasing deer and squirrels in the next life—we’ll see you on the other side.