If you're a GSD owner who has a fence, you can't imagine life without one. A volunteer once stated, "Who the hell wouldn't want a fence?" I had to giggle in my response because it makes complete logical sense to us fence owners. The ease of opening your door to the wide world of freedom is never taken for granted. Watching your shepherd safely run without a tether provides a deep sense of satisfaction. There is little worry of anyone coming into contact with the dog, the dog making contact with another dog or stranger, and they get to enjoy their wild sense of wander.
Those who cannot have a fence due to HOA regulations, afford to install a fence, or simply don't want a fence, cannot understand why the rescue has a fence requirement. Oh, and what about the underground electronic fencing system? That is another topic in itself.
A few years back I received a lovely message from a woman who recently lost her 8-year old female shepherd. You see, she had been following the rescue since it begun back in 2011. She admitted she was not keen on my fencing requirement. Her and her husband owned over 5 acres of land and their home set back quite a distance from the main road. For 8 years, her shepherd roamed the land and always returned when called. You are starting to understand where this story is going, aren't you? She called her name. She never came back. Her sweet shepherd was killed by a passing motorist. She expressed that in all the years, she never imagined she would go off the property. Maybe she saw a cat, a squirrel, a...? She'll never know. This woman humbly thanked me for my diligence in asking for a fence. She told me to never cave in to pressure from those who don't have a fence.
I receive a lot of push back from those who don't have a fence. To ask me to forego this requirement is asking me to allow the shepherd to go to a home that is less safe than another. I normally get this type of response about not having a fence, "Oh, I'm not going to leave him/her out alone! I'll be out with it the whole time." I don't know about you, but I cannot run as fast as a German Shepherd...even being a runner for 26+ years. Ok, let's forget about the dog running off. What about the danger of strangers or other animals entering your vulnerable yard? There are so many irresponsible pet owners in this world that your chances of coming into contact with one is greater than you think. A wonderful family who adopted from the rescue experienced what no pet owner should ever endure. A neighbor's small-breed dog made it's way into their yard. They have wrought iron fencing around their entire backyard area. This dog was being "walked" by its owner who was just a short distance back from the small dog. The adopter's two GSDs were in their yard and killed the poor small dog.
I receive many phone calls that start like this,..."My dog bit the neighbor's kid but it wasn't my dog's fault." Folks, you cannot trust that your neighbor is going to care about the safety of your dog anymore than the next person. You must protect your GSD as he/she would you. Sadly, this is a world where you cannot depend on common sense of pedestrians, neighbors, or pet responsibility. There is no safer yard than one that is contained. With so many dogs that I rescue who were once strays, I don't want to take a risk. Too much care, love, and time have been dedicated toward the shepherds who were once lost. Underground fencing is another topic that will be addressed as it has it's pros and cons especially for the GSD breed. Have you ever seen a dog at the shelter with it's electronic collar still on?