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3/23/2023 8:14 AM




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It is with heavy heart that I write these words. No other friend and companion of mine has ever deserved greater recognition for loyalty, companionship, or love. Gus joined our family shortly after my wife and I married. Gus was about 6 months old and eager to be a good boy. Coco, our dog who Karen (wife) had before we married was eager to show him the ropes, taking the alpha dog position. She taught such skills as barking when someone knocked or the doorbell rang, walking your human (to maintain their health) and puppy push-ups. After an exhaustive 2 weeks, Coco (not made for leadership) relinquished her duties as alpha to Gus who led dogs in our house until November 15, 2022 when he crossed the rainbow bridge to be, once again, united with Coco.
Gus served our family and everyone in it, every day of his life. Ever the walk companion and protector of our home, no delivery guy left wondering if anyone was home. Gus never lost the joy of patrolling our backyard garden for bunnies and squirrels. Most nights I sat downstairs on the couch with Gus at my feet. We ended our day with a walk through our home turning off lights, locking doors and placing Gus’s bed at the bottom of the stairs. The last few months I would take an extra moment to kneel down with Gus. As he leaned hard against my body I would pat him and tell him about how he was such a good dog.
Gus’s last night on earth was spent by my side. The next day he rested easily at my feet after a gentle walk through the woods. He passed comfortable in my lap, getting the best ear rub I could give him.
I am so happy for my time with Gus that I feel wrong being so sad.

It is with a heavy heart that we had to have Izzy put to sleep at the age of 13. She went to be with her brother Buddy on May 10th 2022. It has taken me this long to build up the courage to write this. She was such a good girl and so loving. She listened and followed us around outside. We are still heart broken.


With broken but grateful hearts, we said goodbye on 8/27/2022 to our fierce, loving, and utterly unforgettable little warrior, Malakey the Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd mix we found through the GSRA in March of 2015. For the seven years she lived with us, she loved, herded, sprinted, delighted in, ordered around, played, cuddled, and blessed us with her energy and spirit.

My husband John was looking online for a shepherd to rescue and found Malakey's picture and this description: "Sometimes you meet a dog that is so shut down that you just want to give them a hug and tell them everything will be OK. Sweet little Malakey is one of those dogs. Malakey had a rough start to her life. She was one of the dogs seized in a puppy mill raid. Malakey had spent her entire short life locked in a 3x10 enclosure with no gate, with very little human interaction or stimulus of any kind. She was in a chain link cell basically. GSRA stepped in to help, as we felt Malakey needed a chance to see what life is all about and find a family to love her."

Well, we became that family and love her is what we spent her whole life doing. Times were tough at first. Although Mallie's incredible foster moms - first Veronica and then Connie - had done an AMAZING job getting her less feral and more able to trust, Mallie was also growly, withdrawn, unsure, and mistrustful for the first few months with us in Northern Virginia. The magic ingredient to her gradual change was primarily our loving and patient older hound Reggie, a Labradoodle we'd had from a pup who was secure and showed Mallie she had nothing to fear with us. Our three sons and John had a harder time winning Mallie's trust than I did as her mom, but eventually she was a 100% "Papa's Girl" and shepherd sister to our sons, sleeping with them, cuddling and playing for hours as they grew from teens to men.

After we lost our beloved Reggie in Feb 2020, Mallie was listless and lonely. We wondered whether she would welcome being a mom or big sister and decided to adopt a "pandemic pup" in November 2020, when Roxy the Lab-Rottie mix joined our family. At first, Mallie wanted nothing to do with her. She'd go upstairs and sulk by herself, and ignored the puppy nipping at her, eager to play. But that didn't last long. Within a few months, Rox and Mallie were inseparable - chasing in the yard, sleeping in side-by-side dog beds, sharing toys and treats. Roxy became Mallie's personal groomer, lovingly licking her face and cleaning out her tall, shepherd ears until Mallie would playfully bat her away. After raising a houseful of boys, we had "our girls," and they had each other.

We found out she had kidney disease a few years ago and bought time with a special kibble and very little protein so her kidneys wouldn't have to work so hard. But time caught up with her, she gradually slowed down, but then she went very fast as her kidneys finally gave out in less than a week. We had time to arrange for a home vet to transition her at home, on her favorite couch, with us and Roxy by her side. She was peaceful, beautiful, calm, and loving as she closed her eyes for the last time.

We will never ever forget this remarkable girl who allowed herself to trust, to love, and to be loved. She's an example of the power of love to save even the most damaged creatures, and to embrace a second chance where she could be safe. We will never, ever forget our fiesty, resilient, and utterly loving little shepherd. Thank you, GSRA, for saving Mallie's life and blessing ours.


It is with immeasurable pain that we report the unexpected loss of our beloved Anya to Hemangiosarcoma this month. After an extended stay with her foster mom and two failed trials, we were the lucky ones who adopted Anya from GSRA in 2014. She was a treasured member of our family and provided confident loving support for her timid adopted sister, Vada, GSRA 2013, who just passed a couple of months ago. Anya never quite recuperated from the loss of her adored sister, but not in a million years would we ever think that she could pass so quickly and unexpectedly – this was not supposed to happen. Perhaps her sister came to take her – we so very much hope so.

Anya was a “busy body,” the “energizer bunny” and wasted no time giving her opinion, she could be quite vocal, but she was also known for her cute silent “bark”. She was always ready to meet new people in hopes of giving them her butt for a good scratch! People wouldn’t remember us, but surely, they remembered Anya. She became a certified therapy dog and visited patients at UNC hospital for many years. She was an all- around amazing girl that will forever be deep in our hearts. Our lives will not be same without her and her sister—What a pair! What a blessing! Until we can hold our Anya again, may she chase and roll over the rainbow with her sissy, Vada! You girls loved us your whole life, we will miss you the rest of our lives. Our loss has been heaven’s gain.

“A Dog is the only thing on earth that LOVES YOU more than she loves herself”


Erin was the sweetest girl. She didn’t let the bad that happened early in her life affect her. She was loving to every human she met and every fur friend. Her gentle spirit and soft kisses will be missed by her family and her fur brother Cylo.

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