Adopted by Marianne & Family , October 2011, Perth, Ontario, Canada

In the end of October, 2011, I saw a picture of one of the most beautiful dogs that I have ever seen. I am not a stranger to beautiful animals given that I have had some of the rarest large/giant breeds on the planet. After losing one of my dogs, another awesome creature.

A one blue-eyed, one brown-eyed, red-merle catahoula (Andromeda was her name, after the constellations on her back), in North Carolina in a freak ice storm in Feb, 2010, and nursing my white shepherd back to health after her shattering her leg in 8 places between the knee and hip from the same accident (my eternal thank you goes to the awesome surgeon (Dr. Jack Gallagher, North Carolina, you will NEVER find a better orthopedic surgeon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we got a Bernese-Golden here in Canada (from the local rescue, Lanark Animal Welfare Society, or LAWS).

One year later, my white shepherd (Komiko, named because she had the courage, dignity, and presentation of a Geisha) was diagnosed with cancer. After all the horrifying tribulations that that poor girl went through, which was so totally unfair (She was two years old), I decided to look into a shepherd breed that was less prone to genetic issues. I found the Anatolian Shepherd. And I started looking for one.

I found Ashley. She had the most beautiful expression on her face and her eyes were so trusting. She came to Canada over 3 long days of travel, from pillar to post, from air planes to cars, across oceans and continents. She was put in small cages (NEVER AGAIN), and made to stand up to the most rigorous of testing to come here.

I don’t know if she was meant to be with us, but from the first time that I saw her picture, I thought so. I think she does too. I talk to her about Maysam (THE most generous of foster parents  that TRULY took his responsibility to heart that our animals are not here for the good times, they are here for the long run……., and he put everything he had into making that true when he knew he could no longer look after her. That takes GREAT heart.).

When we got Ashley, we started calling her Shadow because she followed us everywhere, her name now is Strider. Because that is what she is. She was shy, scared of everything, and I do mean everything, paper bags, toilet paper, people, dogs, EVERYTHING!!! Now she takes cats, dogs, people, paper!!!, in stride. She looks, doesn’t freak, and doesn’t run. With those long legs (no kidding, she’s got a long drink of water legs that don’t quit and I originally thought that her sway back was an issue……..(no, no, no……it’s the way that she is built), it’s like watching an antelope, she strides, with no fear………….. it’s AWESOME!!!!!

Strider now lives with us (Marianne and Lucy) and she’s still the most beautiful creature. I no longer have to look at her photo to see those wonderful trusting eyes. I get to look into them every day, from the moment that I wake up, to the moment that I go to bed. She is Strider.Thank you Vafa Team  for letting us bring her into our world. We will cherish her and protect her for as long as God decides that she is with us. And she does the same for us.

Marianne, Lucy, and Strider.


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