Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Many of you were followers when we got McIver back so you know his story. If you don't know his story, here is a quick summary. McIver came to us through Dogs for Autism. We were his puppy raisers which meant we were to raise and train him for about 18 months. Then he would go to a family with a child of autism. Our service dogs act as extra eyes and ears for parents. Our dogs are trained to protect children with autism, not in a bite-a-stranger way, but in a way that highlights their herding skills so that our dogs can guide the children to not bolt or fixate on a "stimming" behavior. Long story short, McIver only had eyes for about 5 people in this world and really has no use for anyone else. He is not aggressive until someone tries to engage him. He prefers to be ignored by anyone except the chosen 5. Oh yeah and little people are VERY strange to him. So our precious little McIver flunked service dog academy and was placed in home with an experienced GSD owner. After about eight months, this "owner" decided he couldn't handle McIver. Again this "owner" wasn't in McIver's top 5. In those eight months, one of DFA's breeder dogs was placed in our home- Nikki. The only reason they took McIver is because they wanted to keep us in the dog-handling pot of volunteers.

Anyway, so at this point our director basically begs us to take McIver back. A local police department had evaluated him for potential K9 police work but found him "too serious". He doesn't really have the necessary play drive for that line of work.

So despite the overwhelming panic of having 4 BIG dogs in a relatively small home with two adults and two cats, we decided that we would take him back. After all, we had fallen in love with the sweet boy the moment they brought him into our home! We cried when we had to take him back.

And when I say cried, I truly mean sobbed like 2 adults should not sob over... well... anything.

I mean check out these pictures, wouldn't you have fallen in love?

McIver around 3 months at work with me. January 2009

Again at work

Playtime with Calhoun and service dogs in training are not to be on furniture but I couldn't NOT get the pic.


TREATS! with Lucy

If only I were a bit taller... McIver in the food bin.

Can one get a tan in February at Hilton Head Island?

Don't eat the sand!

WHY is this water moving?

McIver was here 2009

sunset walk with Daddy

sleeping in my crate at the hotel

but for a brief- really cute moment- I had to get Mamma comfy on the bed.

I really don't get the whole tanning thing...

beach baby

The day we had to take him back to DFA- NOT a good day and McIver knew it because he hid under the kitchen table.

We take our guardianship of McIver very seriously. He is a large GSD weighing in at about 100 lbs. He could do some serious damage if the situation presented. But oddly, our job is to protect him at all costs. We don’t put him in situations that he would make him uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean that he is confined to our home. We take him on many outings but we exercise extreme caution. When I run with him through the neighborhood, I rarely stop to chat with a neighbor. After a recent storm, I did stop to chat but opened the conversation by asking them to ignore McIver and not even look at him much less touch him. He laid by my feet for about 25 minutes while I discussed the storm damage with neighbors. We don’t allow him to be around children at all. I frankly don’t care if I hurt people’s feelings by doing any of this. I absolutely trust him to listen to my commands. He has never failed me in that regard. His obedience skills are probably the best in our pack. His loyalty and devotion is immeasurable.  

McIver- February 2011

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this boy!!


  1. What a beautiful boy! I've never seen a black GSD! Thanks for sharing his story, it sounds like he's right back where he is meant to be!

  2. Thanks for sharing his story! I haven't been following your blog long enough to have heard the story. McIver sounds like an excellent companion to you! We're glad that he got to come back to you even if he wasn't going to be an assistance dog.

    Elyse and Riley

  3. We didn't know McIver's story either, but now we must emphatically say he is right where he belongs. Welcome home, McIver!!!

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  4. I'm so glad you accept McIver for who he is.

    I just love the "don't look at me" aspect he has. I wonder where he gets that from.

  5. You know, us shepherds has our peculiarities - it do be wot makes us unique. I has a flight response, not a fight response, so whenefur something would freak me out (just about efurrything) I would hide ahind mommy's legs and say "If'n you make one false move, my mommy is going to beat you up!" Well, it taked many, many years but I is now mostly ofur all of that and I is pretty much bomb proof with efurryone, even childruns, unless they are just plain acting weird, that still freaks me out. Anyways, my point is, peeples is the ones wot duss not want to lissen when you tell them to ignore the dog. Mom has had many a conniption ofur that. Us dogs lissen so much better than peeples.

  6. Mu cousin Dillon has some of those same issues and would have been sent over the bridge if my auntie hadn't agreed to take him in. He has been a lot of work but she wouldn't trade him for the world. And he plays just fine with me so it works out just fine by my book :)
    Thankfully there are people like you and my auntie!

  7. McIver, you are sooooo dreamy!!!

    I used to freak out a lot of with strangers, but now, magically at 2.5 I seem to be more sure of myselfs. Plus with added hiking trips and running into peoples I've learned that peoples aren't that bad...exept for the pizza delivery boy. I bark at him a lot hoping he'll drop the pizza for me to luck. :(

  8. Those are wonderful pictures!
    We are so glad McIver is in a home that loves and understands him:)

    He is a very handsome dog:)
    We love him too,
    Wags, ginger,buddy n Shadow

  9. What an interesting story. I never realized they had guide dogs for autistic children, but it does make so much sense. What kinds of things do the dogs need to know/how are they trained?

  10. What a great story and handsome boy
    Benny & Lily

  11. He has gots some seriously awesome ears!
    Dis was such a great storey bouts McIver!
    You has every right to tells peoples to stay away or whatevers you needs to do to protect him or da peoples cuz you just nevr knows. But anyways, I is so happy he is withs ya'll. He will come along ways withs your guidance and love.


  12. Well, you know we're big McIver fans here! I actually considered trying to talk hubby into it when you had that first post about him needing a home. I have a huge weakness for those black Shepherds, and I have really grown to love the devotion of the breed. *snicker* I found out that Morgan is actually MY girl instead of hubby's last night. I went with them to obedience class and on her recall she decided she'd come to me instead! Oops! Now he's talking about needing to get another Shepherd of his own! I think Mac and Nikki are two of the most stunning Shepherds I've laid eyes on. We have some friends on Facebook with a black one and a white one and I just swoon over them!

  13. Well, we didn't know McIver's story either. He was so clearly meant to be YOUR dog all along! He is just beautiful.

  14. McIver's story is so special, mom and me is so very happy dat he found his way back to you!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  15. Your story of McIver really hit home. Nyxie is a sharp-tempered shepherd with a "large defense perimeter". Basically, she loves us, adores us , and would die for us - her pack (3 adults, 1 dog and a ferret). As you said, we take her life and her way of being very seriously, too. It is a great responsibility to have a dog like her, and like you, I don't put her in risky situations. I'm glad to have found another black GSD owner who understands right where we're coming from!

  16. What an amazing story! The best have listened to your heart! Trust me, this will pay off! Why do I say this?
    My angel "Max" also flunked his 'therapy' work....and unknowingly eventually became my own, personal therapy dog. Little did I know (at the time) just how much I was going to need him.
    There is a reason for everything!
    For what it's worth...I love your boy too!
    Sending lotsaluv

  17. Oops!
    P.S. I love all your pics of him - he's stunning! And that one of him snuggling on the bed with you - Nyxie lays in the EXACT position every night before Daddy comes to bed!

  18. Welcome home boy !! You are the second black GSD i've seen.. and I guess you guys are born with attitude!


    PeeS: I think you are extremely handsome..

  19. I am kind of crying too because the ending of the story is so happy making. He is home where he belongs after giving it a go out in the big world. I can relate to only liking a few people and not wanting strangers looking at me. Sometimes I wish I could go on normal walks like Pea and not always have momma on alert, but its just the way I am. Welcome home Mciver!


  20. Nice to meet you.

    Wow, dos are some big ears! Has he ever tried to fly? He's b-u-t-ful!