Lady is a member of this family because of an American author and ecologist I've never met. Anne LaBastille wrote the book Woodswoman as a memoir of her experience building a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains and living completely devoid of modern conveniences such as electricity, running water, or telephone. In it and her next book Beyond Black Bear Lake, she chronicles her friendships, romances, her close bond with her German Shepherd dogs, the ebb and flow of nature, and her conservation efforts. I was in my 20s when I read these books, and I was captivated. I wanted to build a cabin in the wilderness and live there with my German Shepherd dogs. Never mind that I had a perfectly good job in the city, and no dog at all. But the seed was planted.
I never built that cabin, but I did fall head over heels in love with the German Shepherd breed. I felt like I knew Dr. LaBastille's shepherds Pitzi and Condor. When I was finally at a place in my life where having a dog made sense, I knew exactly the type of dog I wanted.
Jessie turned out to be everything I'd imagined a German Shepherd to be. Her intelligence astonished me. Growing up, we had what I'd considered smart dogs, but Jessie was way beyond "dog-smart." She was "people-smart." She understood English, and was perceptive in a way that amazed me. Lady is a completely different dog than Jessie, but she has many of the same characteristics I've come to love in this breed. She's beautiful, sensitive, and loyal beyond all reason. I love the way she watches out for every member of the family, human and furry alike. She seems to sense that kitties and children need a higher level of supervision, and acts accordingly. I am grateful that the thread of Annie LaBastille's life touched mine through her writing. My journey has been richer because of the German Shepherds sharing it.