my first day with Zada – also a long day of "firsts" for her. She'd never done a lot of things a dog owner sort of takes for granted when they bring a new puppy home...things like wearing a collar, walking on a leash (keep in mind she was 4 months old when I got her), going for a car ride, being used to meeting new dogs and seeing new places, etc.
Reading through my emotions of that day I'm definitely glad we've progressed to where we are now. Namely, I have a nearly-4-year-old German shepherd I can mostly trust around new dogs and kids and who motivates me to get out for walks. When I pick up her collar, she comes to me and puts her nose up so I can slip it on. I grab her leash out of the closet and she knows we're heading outside for an uber-fun walk (any walk is a fun walk for her). She rides in the car like a champ – she never threw up again after that first day – and is calm, doesn't whine or get excited and waits until I tell her she can jump out.
She waits at doors for me to tell her it's okay to go out (or come in). I never realized how NICE it is to have a polite dog until I see everyone else's dog rushing headlong through doors. I don't have to worry about her taking off to chase squirrels, rabbits, ducks or turkeys, though I do have to watch her around deer and cats. I can walk her off leash and trust she'll stick around (unless, again, there are deer...but we're working on that!).
She's been – knock on wood – healthy, with no major illnesses or surgeries (save for her spay and having to get her leg stitched up when she sliced it open 3 years ago). I did recently put her on glucosamine because historically she's been sore after a ton of exercise. She hasn't displayed that for a while (pre-glucosamine) so might not be an issue.
I get compliments all the time on what a good dog she is...and while she's not perfect, she IS such a great dog and I'm thankful – in spite of a few quirks – I have her. Here's to the time you've already given and those years left yet to give!