For the love of a black german shepherd

by Tania Ginoza on August 11, 2011 · 15 comments

Midnite was born in Kailua.  Mom was a brown and black german shepherd (GSD) who had been recently adopted by Sue (Sue’s backyard was incredible by the way, I can still picture it).  On the evening of August 10th, 2000, Midnite’s mama went into labor and he was the first pup born, right at the stroke of midnight.

Six weeks later Sue put an ad in the paper for “black lab puppies”.  Why the lab ad? To deter unscrupulous types looking for a guard dog. Since part of the litter was black, she thought the father might have had lab in him.  After passing Sue’s phone interview screening process, pupdaddy and I got the thumbs up to drive to Kailua to meet the puppies.  The black and brown ones pretty much ignored us but the two black males, Midnite and Hula cuddled with us. Midnite curled up between me and my messenger bag and fell asleep.  I was really hoping for a lab, not a GSD so I definitely wanted one of the black pups.  Midnite and Hula looked almost identical except Midnite had this abundant, beautiful, soft & perfect fur.  Hula’s fur was kind of messy, coarse, going in all different directions.  So, yeah, that’s right, you got it, I chose my puppy cause he had the nicest fur.  Typical…

As Midnite grew up, it became obvious that we had adopted a GSD with very little signs (if any) of lab.  First one ear went up, then the other.  There was the deep chest with the narrow behind and muscular upper back legs. The mane of long and super soft fur around his neck. He was protective, alert, anxious and had a sensitive stomach.  He could learn to open any gate, starting with his crate the first day we brought him home.  He couldn’t fetch to save his life, he’d drop the ball juuussst out of your reach, the same way I’d see other GSD’s do at the dog park.

Midnite needed a ton of activity so we began to hike, the Pali, Aiea Loop and the Manoa Trail System.  The three of us were regulars on the monthly Paws on the Path hikes hosted by the Humane Society.  I took Midnite walking for an hour every day around Kahala Mall. But his favorite activity was going to the dog park.  He even had regular friends who’s doggie faces would light up once they spotted each other.  There was the great dane who played chase, the lab/basset hound mix who drew Midnite out of his shell on his first day at the park and the white GSD that he worshipped.

Midnite was the first dog I raised from puppyhood, all the dogs I grew up with were adults.  To say I was attached to him is an understatement.  Midnite was my constant companion at home, sleeping on his bed right below me and giving me kisses when I cried.  He often predicted when pupdaddy would get home, waiting by the front door fifteen minutes before we’d hear the familiar sound of the garage door opening.  A close friend once told me I loved my dog so much because I didn’t have children.  I disagree, I’m an animal person, always have been and I believe the heart has an infinite capacity of love.  After all, I’m my mother’s daughter, in many ways I’m the brunette version of her. I don’t feel her love of animals was diminished because she had my sister and I.

In October of 2010, Midnite had a heart attack and passed away quickly.  Except for the greying fur, he hadn’t aged.  He was still the strong, proud and athletic GSD we had always known.  I wasn’t there. Midnite was no longer my dog.  Pupdaddy and I were now divorced.  When I left our home the year before, I had to find a rental so I wouldn’t be able to take care of him.  In many ways, I had also felt pupdaddy and Midnite would need each other.

I still tear up with a lump in my throat when I think of Midnite, because I miss him and feel a huge sense of loss but also because of what his passing represents, the end of what was the most difficult year of my life.

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