The relationship between human and dog is unique. Over a period of 14,000 years, humans have been selectively breeding dogs for particular strengths and skills -- moulding the dog's sociable nature and extraordinary senses to make a versatile, useful and indispensable companion.
Today we have a dog breed to suit every conceivable need. There are dog breeds to suit most types of people living all sorts of lifestyles. We must remember, however, that no single breed suits everyone. Therefore, choice of breed is an important decision.
Over the years, we've enjoyed the companionship of Irish setters, Labradors, Great Danes and German shepherds. We've also bred and worked Border collies as sheep dogs. At this point in time, though, two German shepherds are our chosen breed.
German shepherds are an intelligent active breed that need a lot of exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation and companionship. A cardboard box full of toys gives hours and hours of pleasure. Of course, we enjoy the play too, frequently laughing and smiling at our dogs' antics. Major is greedy with his toys, snatching them from Del if he sees her with something he wants. Tugs of war usually see Major as the winner.
Major's favourite toys are his soft puppies, whereas Del's favourite is a tennis ball. Many years ago Del initiated a game whereby she threw the ball to me and I kicked it back to her. It's a game we have every day with her concentration lasting up to 10 minutes.
One of the first things that Doug and I found we had in common was a love of dogs. I knew I could never be truly content without the companionship of a dog, and Doug felt likewise. So we're grateful to be in a position where we can both enjoy their companionship -- Del for Doug, and Major for me!