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JACK SIMPSON: Fond farewell to loyal friend

We had just finished a real nice birthday family lunch. The ladies were clearing off the table when I made a casual remark. “Has anyone seen Wolfie lately?” Wolfgang was my former very special German shepherd and I had been forced by circumstances to give him away. He now lived in the neighborhood where my daughter lived in Middle Georgia.

“Wolfie passed away recently,” my daughter informed me. “We didn’t want to make you sad so we delayed telling you.” I admit I was taken aback. I missed my former pet.

I remember the first time I saw Wolfie. He was among half-dozen or so puppies running around in a pen where I had gone to see about buying a police dog. My quest happened in this way.

I was at a local restaurant when I encountered a retired police officer I had once worked with. I asked, “Mac, what are you doing in retirement?” and he told me he was training police dogs.

Having previously owned German shepherds, I asked Mac if he knew of anyone who had quality dogs for sale, and he directed me to the residence where I first saw Wolfie.

Wolfie stood out. I observed him and he was responsive. We bonded rather quickly and he seemed to be the kind of dog intelligent enough for some training. We played together for awhile. Wolfgang, aka Wolfie, became my pick of the litter of AKC registered pups, and I wrote a check and took him home. He was then our family pet.

As I observed the newest addition to the family, I found him to be self-confident, of good temperament, strong with no evident health problems, loyal, intelligent, fearless and quite sociable.

Of course, from my brief observation of him originally, I hoped I had not chosen a neurotic animal but one who would accept discipline and be well-behaved.

Wolfie learned quickly to stay, sit, come and respond to voice and hand signal commands. He was loving and we catered to his needs. He became a special dog, and we loved him.

Years later as I was walking Wolfie on a leash, he spotted the arrival of my visiting son. The dog ran toward our visitor, jerked the leash I was holding and caused me to fall on the concrete driveway, breaking my shoulder in three places!

After surgery and rehab, I found I could no longer handle my 100-pound beloved German shepherd, so I found him a new home in Middle Georgia. That is where he was residing when I asked about his welfare and found out he had passed away.

I am sad to this day about the loss of my old friend, but have many fond memories of a man and his dog. They say every dog has his day. Wolfie certainly had his and positively touched the lives of many people who loved him.

Goodbye, old friend.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer.