A decision was made one cold and rainy December day to bring the most loving female German Shepherd into our family. After making several calls in our search for a black female German Shepherd one was found but she was more than a state away.
As telephone arrangements were made the breeder asked us to give her a name for the AKC registration. After a moment of thought it was decided that her name was to be Stonewall's Lonesome Dove. A short pause came on the line and finally the breeder remarked at what a nice and appropriate name. None of us knew that this loving relationship that was about to begin would be one of the most haunting and sad experiences of our lives.
As the day approached where I was to make the trip to pick up our new addition our house was struck with the sadness from the loss of a beloved thirteen year old who had filled our lives every day with more love then we knew was possible. Our young German Shepherd male seemed to share the loss and walked around our home aimlessly searching for his friend. To keep our young one happy my other half decided it would be best for her to stay home while I picked up the new addition.
Then the day cam for the trip. As I headed out the door the weather turned for the worse with a cold driving rain and even colder wind. As I pulled into the arranged meeting area the winds and rain subsided at least for a while. Walking in the lot waiting for the arrival of our new addition I started thinking that I would finally make a long awaited dream come true and would be able to breed this female some day with our solid black male.
The arrival of the breeder in the lot caused my heart to take a jump. As she brought out our new prospect and she turned to face me it seemed like everything stood still for an instant. There sitting in front of me looking up into my eyes was the most beautiful black female German Shepherd with a perfect silohette of a white winged "Dove" in flight dead center on her chest. I was speechless so much so that the breeder thought that I did not like the looks of what I saw. Infact I said nothing until this little girl came right up to me and as I knelt down put her head in my lap and looked at me with the most haunting eyes I'd ever seen.
Within minutes we were bonded and back on the road home. Of course I had to call my other half and announce that our new arrival more then fit her chosen name which she didn't quite believe.
Our arrival home was met with mixed emotions of wonder and Iím sure a little doubt. Needless to say this little girl fit in liked she belonged here from the minute she was born.
As our girl grew her haunting ways seemed to grow as well. Many a night she would sit outside and just stare into the sky almost in a trance and seemed to be talking to maybe some higher authority that we hadnít a clue of. I could go on here for hours of oddities but the most important one of them seemed to say she knew something a lot more then we could ever.
As this youngster grew into adulthood it seemed that she would be the dream we waited for and would bless us with a fine line of German Shepherds to be proud of.
Just as there are so many twists in life another one came our way but this time to her owner. After being struck with a serious illness all plans of breeding our girl had to be put on hold. As the months of recuperation set in this girl laid along side of me daily with no thoughts of leaving me but for a brief moment or two.
She was so caring for me in that time that I thought what a wonderful mother sheíd make and the love of many puppies she could give to the world. When it was time and arrangements were made tragedy struck again this time to her. Rushing her to the Vet with what we thought was a scratch to her eye proved out to be a terrible disease of the eye called Pannus. Even after a third opinion from the professionals we were still in disbelief. Our long standing dream to have her produce beautiful offspring had come to a sad ending. From there it was a two year battle to keep the disease in remission daily.
As another female came into our home our black wonder seemed to know that this girl would give us and the world what we so hoped for. She seemed to instill into this new arrival several motherly instincts even though she would never be a mother herself.
Time passed quickly but not without its consequences. This disease progressed and turned our girl fearful and timid. As our first litter arrived "Cheyenne" sat outside the whelping box for hours just staring at the activity from a the little ones. Little did we know that she could no longer distinguish what these moving shapes were.
With the event of the new puppies moving outside we all saw what the disease brought to Cheyenne next. Fear, aggression to everything that moved created a literal time bomb waiting to explode. Even after taking her to experts to help her learn to readjust we knew what was to come but could not yet face it.
After the loss of all pheriphial vision her manuverability was lost and she began biting at what she couldn't get away from. Still we forgave her acts because it was the disease that made her do these things not her. Still we knew it couldn't be allowed to go on.
A final decision was reached and as she and I left the house that rainy cold December day there were tears all around even from her four legged companions who couldn't understand why she was leaving. At the chosen place she was held tightly until her last moment. She stared at me with so much trusting and love until the light went out of her eyes forever.
The trip home was in a cloud of tears just as it is every rainy cold December day. As I put her collar and name tag into my momento box I kissed it saying how much I would miss her.
As sad as her story was it was not to end there. On the event of our second litter in February of 1997 our "Cheyenne" was to give us her final gift. There was one female born to this litter who no one ever paid any attention to as they came to look for new additions to their homes. This shunned little female had the brightest eyes of all of them. On the day when all of her litter mates left she was allowed to come into our family room. During the course of that night she started doing strangely familiar but haunting things. As she was let outside she would sit and stare into the sky. When she came back inside her first action was to come and rest her head on my lap where she would drift off to sleep. There were so many other things she did during that first night it was amazing.
Before retiring for the night I looked over at my other half who with a tear in her eye said softly "who does this little girl remind you of?"
Although I'm not a very big believer in strange happenings this time things were different.
Waking from a fitful night of sleep where I saw just a pair of eyes staring at me all night was the last straw. I went directly to my momento box pulled out our beloved "Cheyenne's" name tag walked to the breakfast table and very calmly announced this girl is staying here where she belongs and she will be named Dakota's Lonesome Dove, and nicknamed "Cheyenne".
As I placed her predecesors name tag on her collar I then became a believer in the fact that we were given a gift after death of the spirit of our "Cheyenne" in this new little arrival. This little girl will for many years to come keep her spirit alive for all of us.
In Loving Memory
Stonewall's Lonesome Dove
August 5th, 1991
You can see again and you are running happily with all we have loved before.