In June of 2009, we adopted a 6 yr. old Alaskan Malamute mix from a shelter. He happened to be the spitting image of a German Shepard mix that I had to put down the previous year. He also shared the name of the other German Shepard mix I had for 15 years. His name and photo caught my wife's attention and she had to show me. He soon disappeared from the website she found him on but, every now and then I would look online anyway. A couple months went by and we bought a house. About a week after we moved in, I found him listed again on another website. I scheduled a visit that week to see him. A few days later I took the wife to the shelter for a look, and we brought him home. He had handling issues and small children weren't recommended around him. After contacting the head trainer with the previous program he was in, I found out we had apparently saved him from euthanasia. She gave me their training methods and I did a good bit of conditioning. With a bit of patience on both of our parts, and a lot of lunch meat, I could do anything with him and he learned to just give a look of disgust. From his first day in our house, he knew he was home. If we were in the house, he just wanted to be in the room with us and would find a place to watch everything from. Walk to the other end of the house and he'd be about 15 seconds behind you. Without fail, he would always come to our bedroom at night and lie at the foot of the bed until morning. If something were to be on the other side of the bedroom doors leading to the porch, he would growl like Lucifer himself were coming. It never turned out to anything more than a raccoon or opossum but, he was always on watch. He also had a prey drive that was off the chart. Small and furry meant squeeze and shake to him. I think his final tally here was one cat and five squirrels. He tried to take on a couple emus and a bull once. Yeah, I said bull. As in male cow. There was a mangled mess of what looked to once be a tubular gate lying on the ground and a chicken wire patch on the fence between the bull and myself. When I asked what happened to the gate, I was told the bull did it. Of course the dog went ape **** when he saw the bull and I had to drag him off as the future steak donor stomped his foot and lowered his head. Trips to Petsmart were always an adventure with him. He loved car rides. If you didn't want a 118 lb. dog climbing in your car and refusing to get out of the driver's seat, you didn't leave a car door open for more than 5 seconds in our yard. One night as I was getting ready for bed, he went to the door like he had to go pee. I let him out and he went right to the garage door and wouldn't leave it. I opened it up and he went right to the passenger door of my Mustang, which he hadn't ridden in at that point. I opened the door and he jumped in the passenger seat and sat there. He wouldn't get out of the car so I went back in the house figuring he would get the point and come in. Twenty minutes later I peeked in the garage and he was still sitting up in the passenger seat watching the door. I grabbed the keys and took him a couple miles down the road and back. After that he pranced in the house and went to sleep. He would sit in the passenger seat with his front feet in the floor and his chin resting on the dash when we would go for a ride. If he heard my truck start, he'd start whining and walking from window to window waiting for me to come get him. He knew if the truck was going somewhere, so was he. The wife bought him all kinds of chew toys. He just wanted to rip out the squeakers and kill them, then would have no interest in the toy. He preferred to play tug of war with leash and we ended up having to buy them two at a time because he would chew them in half. Eventually children came into the picture. When they got big enough to begin inspecting him and grabbing fur, he was cool about it. Just took it and looked disgusted. As my first born got big enough to try to play with him, he wouldn't because he knew she was too small to play the way he would play with me. He finally allowed her to play tug of war with him earlier this year. One twitch of his neck would send her to the ground. He'd wait for her to get up and start pulling against him for a bit, then he'd get a better bite on the leash and do it again. He ruptured a knee ligament last year and had a TPLO. At his age, and with the arthritis in his back legs, he never did fully recover. But, he still got around when he wanted to. The last couple weeks were pretty rough for him. He needed help getting in and out of the house, and only wanted to get up when it was a necessity. He knew the hardwood floor was too difficult to stay up on and avoided it. For a few nights he didn't even want to get up from his bed in the living room when we went to bed. Last night he wanted help up a few minutes after we came back in from his last pee break. I helped him up and he walked better than I'd seen him move for a couple weeks. He made his way to our bedroom to take up his usual spot between the door and the foot of the bed. I couldn't help but feel it was his last night with us. My 7 month old son awoke shortly after that and I grabbed him and went to bed in my daughter's room. I said a prayer for the dog and asked to not have to take him on that last ride the way I had to take the last two. I really didn't think I could handle it again. My wife woke me up this morning to tell me he wasn't moving and wasn't breathing. I said my goodbyes and dug a hole. I think I'm done with pets for a long while.