As we walked along the cages at the city pound, this large, pale German Shepherd went insane with excitement! Thank goodness we had finally come to get him. I remember the pound staff looking astonished and asking us if he was our dog? He’d been with them for some time and they had never seen that reaction from him. The answer was “no, not yet”. But he was so determined from the second he saw us that we were his family, and finally we had come to get him.
We took him out to the car to meet Holly, it was vital they get along, she shrugged, he was ok, and from that minute, they were inseparable.
We never knew Chev’s background, all we know was that he’d sponsored by Dogwatch as they were sure he could be easily rehomed. Prior to that, who knows? We estimated he was probably around 2 years old and other than that who knows where he’d been or where his people were. Over the years he never gave us any hints, he was just happy to have found us.
He knew nothing when we got him, not even the name “Chevy” that Dogwatch had given him. It was a complete revalation to him that the noises we made actually meant something. We abreviated the name, and once we got to know him better wished we’d called him “Ted” as he turned out to be the biggest Teddy Bear ever, even groaning with delight when you hugged him.
He was ours from the minute he saw us. My Dad worked shifts and that first night we had Chev at home, Chev wouldn’t let Dad in the house. Dad muttered something about “%$#@ing dog won’t let me in my own home“. Chev had claimed us as his and he would have done anything to ensure his people were protected.
Although he was protective, he never showed any signs of aggression, he loved people. When going to the beach, he’d circle our group, including friends to ensure we all stayed together, a really strong herding instinct. Those he didn’t like or didn’t know well enough, he would cut out of the group. It was always funny to see who he did and didn’t include.
Trips to the beach and river were always popular, in the early visits, we had to watch him carefully as in his excitement, he’d drink the seawater and eat the sand. Then he’d spew in the car and be as sick as … well, a dog, on the way home. Not to mention shitting sand for the next day or so.
Watching him learn to swim was hilarious, he’d splash his front legs high up out of the water and we always joked he looked like a paddle steamer.
With such a big, gentle teddy bear, you tend to forget that a dog can also be a formidable predator. I remember one cold, winter night, Mum and I took both Holly & Chev out for a walk. We ended up walking longer than normal and my brother was concerned we had been out so long. He came around the corner as we approached and jokingly lunged at us. Chev hadn’t recognised him, he immediately hurled himself at my brother. He stopped instantly as soon as my brother spoke and went very submissive but it was a good reminder that no one was going to mess with us when we had Chev looking out for us.
Like many large dogs, his hind legs gave out on him, to the point where he couldn’t get up and down on his own. He was a beautiful boy, not smart but full of love.