My friend Penny raised German shepherds for over thirty years. She bred dogs from traditional German bloodlines; with generations of titles in Schutzhund. Her dogs were beautiful, athletic and smart. Penny donated entire litters to Leader Dogs for the Blind, which headquarter in Rochester Michigan. Over thirty litters of her puppies went into the Leader Dog program.
Unfortunately, the German shepherd’s intuitive protective nature put an end to their use as guide dogs. The dogs understood that they were caring for someone with a disability, and their self-appointed duties sometimes went above and beyond leading the person around. Leader Dogs has settled on the mild-mannered Golden retriever as their breed of choice.
Callus is an aging female originally acquired for breeding; unfortunately after several unsuccessful attempts, she was retired. She remains as Penny’s loyal companion. I was honored to paint this beautiful dog, not only as a portrait of a loved pet, but as a tribute to many years of service by this devoted breed, the German shepherd.