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Magic’s Birthday–9 Glorious Years!

by | Jul 17, 2015 | Dog Training & Care | 16 comments

Greta-Magic-Baby

Magic with his littermates and Greta, his mom. Guess which one is him?

Today, my baby-dog Magic celebrates his 9th birthday! I can’t believe the puppy I fell in love with now has a gray muzzle, and am so very grateful he remains the funny, energetic, loving bundle of furry delight. He doesn’t act like an aging dog at all.

We had been without a dog for about 8 years before we got him. After I lost my heart-dog, another wonderful GSD who inspired me to become a pet writer, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to adopt again. Part of that was my travel schedule at the time, and then Seren-Kitty came along. There came a point that the hole in our lives could only be filled with another GSD.

We were incredibly fortunate to find a fantastic breeder (Fernheim Kennels) in our neck of the woods, so close that we got to visit the Mom-Dog before Magic was even a gleam in Greta’s eyes. After being on the waiting list for two years, the “M” litter was born. We got unprecedented visiting and photo ops during his early weeks of life. Here’s little “orange collar” at 17 days old, our boy who became Magical-Dawg.

17daysold

Magic at 17 days old.

7weeks

Magic at 7 days old, probably during his temperament test.

These days, I get to help Gillian with temperament tests when she has a new litter (her “Z” litter just went to new homes). I was told Magic temperament test indicated off the charts for Schutzhund potential.

Magic was night-and-day different than our first silver and black GSD in so many ways. Our first boy had hip dysplasia and such bad skin/allergy disease (atopy) we couldn’t have afforded to keep up with vet bills if I hadn’t then been working as a vet tech with a discount on services. Our first shepherd also was fearful of strangers, and a “soft” doggy eager to please and easy to train.

Magic’s breeder does all the tests, and then some, on the doggy parents. He came to us already knowing a “potty command” and crate trained.

He was never shy or “soft” by any means. He’s smart, but hard headed. A smart aleck. A challenge. Driven. Healthy, thank doG, with sound elbows, hips, eyes and skin. A canine athlete willing to throw himself into every game, to such an extent that torn dewclaws and sliced paws and other such accidents “dogged” his early years. Easy to train–he did “puppy pushups” (sit-down-sit-down) on TV at age 9 weeks–and went to HARVEY (play) rehearsals and hung out with the cast at about 5 months of age. We were grateful when he outgrew the 9-month-old delinquent phase. The fact he adored us–BOTH of us–and still does, made it possible to put up with his few challenges.

1stDayHome8weeks

First day home–8 weeks old. You can see his tattoo in his right ear which by now has faded. He was microchipped, too.

My husband didn’t grow up with pets, and our first shepherd wasn’t close to my husband at all. So I think he was surprised to fall so hard for Magic. It was a treat to watch the relationship develop between them. Today they’re still best friends.

MagicMahmoudBestFriends

Puppy kisses!

Seren-Kitty was not amused. During our long dog absence, she’d come into our lives and been an “only” cat for seven years. I planned the introduction and set up gates and schedules and relocated litter boxes and food 6 months in advance, and then more step-by-step intros once Magic arrived. He weighed 11 pounds when he arrived–and Seren never tipped the scales at more than 7 pounds. So from the very beginning, Magic was taught that “Seren is the BOSS…don’t care if she started it, she is the BOSS!” I wrote a case study published in the IAABC Journal about the introduction process that also won writing awards. Even then, Magic inspired my work. And nine years later, he still knows to bow to Seren’s rule.

MagicMeetsSeren

It took 5 months before Seren would willingly come this close to Magic when he was awake. Philly cream cheese helped.

MagicEarsUp

It took a while for the floppy ears to go up. And then it took another while for Magic to grow into the donkey-size appendages.

My first shepherd’s health issues inspired me to write about pet care and health issues. Magic’s joy and delight in everything inspired me to return to fiction-ing.
MagicOfficeMagic has never met a ball or toy or Frisbee he didn’t love. He is all about the PLAY!
MagicFrisbeeDoes your dog find ways to make you laugh? Magic does, constantly!
MagicChickenMagic also has patiently helped me with photos and product reviews. Here he is in the Thundershirt which he’ll be the first to tell you, he does not need. He loves loud noises! (Maybe it’s the puppy-party and treats he gets with each thunder-boom that helps, hmnnnn).
MagicThundershirtMagic had to wait 7 years before he got to sniff cat butt up close and personal! I think Karma-Kat was the best gift he’s ever gotten and the pair of them are inseparable.
Magic-Karma
If you’ve read my fiction, you’ll recognize the character Shadow patterned after Magic as a youngster. I wrote the first book LOST AND FOUND using the name “Magic” and then changed it once the book was finished.  Here’s Magic and Seren celebrating the arrival of my debut thriller (the old cover featured one of Magic’s doggy relatives…)
Magic-Seren-BooksMy boy does love his “treats” and especially people food. He’s cleaning up the last of the yogurt.
MagicYogurt
Writing fiction is addictive. When it includes pets, it’s joyful. Magic again inspired some of the scenes in our play STRAYS, THE MUSICAL–and helped us promote it by serving as a model. GOOD dog!
MagicStrays

MagicKarmaI took this picture (below) about an hour ago. There’s more white in his muzzle now, and he’s a wee bit calmer. But Magic will still play Frisbee-Fetch forever, if you let him, still loves games of hose-tag, adores his BFF Karma-Kat, can’t wait to play and hang out with me and my husband–

He’s the perfect dog. And I am so grateful, and hope that he has many more healthy years ahead. Today, we’re spending lots of playtime together, and (shhhh! lotsa treats!). We’uns got lots more stuff to do together!
Magic-9-bday

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16 Comments

  1. Jody Miller-Young

    Amy what a beautiful post. Happy Birthday, Magic! Love seeing the journey in pictures. I had a beautiful German Shepherd named India for close to 14 years. She was such a gem of a dog. I lost her in 2003 and I still miss her. You have a lovely fur family and Magic looks very handsome with his touch of grey. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Thanks so much Jody. My first shepherd lived just over 13 years, so I’m hopeful Magic will meet or surpass that.

      Reply
  2. Dakota/Caren/Cody

    What a precious baby!! Happy Happy 9th sweetie!!! Dakota and Cody are going to be 9 in 2016! Great number!!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Great age, indeed! Thanks for the good wishes–and pets back to Dakota and Cody.

      Reply
  3. patriciasands

    Happy birthday, Magic! Lovely, lovely post, Amy!

    Reply
  4. Amy Shojai

    Thanks to everyone, he had a marvelous day…and will of course continue celebrating.

    Reply
  5. Karyl

    Happy birthday, Magic! Anubis says as a gift he will not, in fact, attempt to eat you. Even though you are a dog.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      LOL! That is indeed a thoughtful gift. Thank you Anubis!

      Reply
  6. curiocat

    Happy Belated Birthday to Magic Dawg! He’s a handsome guy and blessed with an awesome family.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      awww….thank you so much! He’s still celebrating because…well, for 9 years, why not?

      Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Awww…thanks so much Paula and Rein!

      Reply
  7. Patricia

    Happy Birthday Magic! You’re such a handsome guy even with that touch of white. Amy I so much enjoyed the blog this week about Magic’s life story from puppy to now. Can you explain about the temperament test and Schutzhund potential means? Just curious. I know these dogs are exceptionally intelligent. It’s no wonder most canine police officers are these type of dogs. And what a wonderful love story for your husband since he grew up with no pets to find the unconditional love they give.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Patricia, thanks so much–I think Magic is very distinguished with that white mustache. Temperament tests are a series of challenges designed to measure personality/predictability. For instance, a puppy is called by a stranger to see how eagerly he’ll come. He’s held gently on his back to measure the reaction–does he allow this for a time, or struggle immediately, or somewhere in the middle? What about noise–or scary objects? Typically an umbrella is opened while the pup watches, and dropped on the ground to see if the pup will run away, or be curious and boldly explore. Will the up chase and fetch a wad of paper, or grab hold and tug a cloth lure? Based on the test scoring, breeders are better able to match an easy going pup with the best owner, or a “driven” more think-for-himself pup with more experienced owners. Guess I need to write a blog post on this at some point!

      Reply
  8. Patricia

    Great idea for blog post. Even though I’m a cats only person I still love learning about the different dog breeds.

    Reply

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