I got my first "purebred" GSD in 1991 as a gift. She was from a backyard breeder and she had a very poor temperament. Square pegs for hips and no sockets to put them in. Due to her aggression, I put her down at only 3 years old after biting two children. My next GSD was an American Showline...I had no idea back then about the difference in lines. Rommy was her name. She had EPI (Pancreatic Insufficiency), UAP both elbows and a nerve malformation in her hind quarters. By age 2, she was about 15 pounds underweight due to the EPI and refusing to eat anything and she was incontinent from her nerve issue. I could not do the $4,000 worth of surgery she needed because her body couldn't support it. So at 2 years old, I lost her. I also had gotten a rescue GSD during this time. A beautiful showline male named Lukuss. He was my dream dog in every way, except one. He had severe dog aggression. While living in Chicago, he jumped through my front window to attack a dog walking by. He attacked several dogs over a couple years time. I sought help from trainers. Behaviorists. Acupuncture. Herbal remedies. Until one day he turned on my other female dog and ripped her face open. At 4 years old, I let him go. I could no longer manage his aggression. My dream dog was born in 2000. My perfect little black and tan female. She was a firecracker and always rearing to go. She was my first experience with a working line dog and boy did she want to work. The upside...I titled her in AKC and UKC Obedience. Agility. In 8 months I put a BH and SchH1 on her. But her biggest love was flyball. She lived for Flyball. I took Jamie Lee from a puppy to the # 1 ranked GSD in NORTH AMERICA. She was the highest pointed GSD. She ran as fast as the border Collies easily putting up 4.0s an entire weekend. The downside...Jamie Lee had horrific allergies and it was a constant battle to keep her healthy. Around 6 1/2 years old she developed Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). I was broken hearted. My top athlete was now going to go crippled. I continued to race her as long as I could because she lived for it. At 8 years old she really began to deteriorate. She'd drag her back legs to me, drop her ball at my feet and give me that look like "well, throw it stupid!". While she laid on her hip b/c she couldn't stand. She got vestibular and within 48 hours, I suddenly lost my girl who was once so athletic, full of life, full of sass...she was 8 1/2 years old. It's pretty safe to say, I lost my heart dog when I lost Jamie Lee. During this time I had bought my boy, Ruckus. He struggled with temperament issues as a pup and by 10 months, stranger things were happening. Aggression, not eating and weird behaviors started. After many vet visits...we concluded that maybe Ruckus just wasn't wired right. At 11 months old, I had an appt scheduled to let him go. The day before his appointment, I was surfing the internet and came across a case about dog who sounded just like Ruckus. I printed it and took it to my appt and we decided to give meds a try. Ruckus was having focal seizures and was then placed on seizure meds. It took many years of money, time consumption, managing, etc to help Ruckus lead the most normal life he could. He LOVED to race Flyball as well and he raced for a few years earning over 30,000 points. One week ago, I lost Ruckus to DM at 10 years old...just like I did Jamie Lee. Add Ruckus seizure issues to things, there was nothing more I could do. My once athletic dogs who loved to run, swim, hike, race...who in the end could only drag their feet to get from one place to another. I hadn't had the best luck with GSDs and sure am tired of losing my dogs I love so much. But THIS is why I breed. In breeding, things can go wrong. You can breed an OFA Excellent to an OFA Excellent and get issues. If any breeder says they've never had something pop up, they are liars. It happens. It's mother nature. But when I decided to breed and seek out getting the right bloodlines, dogs, etc...I made one promise to myself to keep me grounded and ethical. I told myself "I want to be the kind of breeder I'd buy a dog from"...and I am. I do not do things to compromise my program. Sometimes, that means changing breeding plans if a dogs tooth doesn't come in. Or selling a dog to a family home if something genetic pops up with them. But I will tell you that I do the very best I can. I health test all my dogs. I do not have one dog on my property that people can't come meet. Temperament is a must. My dogs are my family. They live in my home with us...with cots, bedding, toys, warmth in the winter, AC in the summer. Lounging on the couch with us. Training almost daily. I work my own dogs so I know my dogs and have more to say than just how nicely titled he/she is. Titles don't necessarily make the dog. For one, I enjoy my dogs and I LOVE training. I love molding them in to whatever they may become. But during this process, I learn about my dogs. Strengths, weaknesses, temperament, drive, energy levels, etc. While I am so saddened about my losses of dogs over the years, they were my stepping stone to help me learn about genetics, bloodlines, drives, etc. I breed DM Clear dogs only. I have a lot of breeder friends who give me grief for this. Not because I test but because I won't even breed carrier to clear. All I can say to that is...that's my choice. I alone am not eliminating dogs from the gene pool because I don't want to use them for breeding if they are carriers. I'm choosing to breed DM Clear only to ensure that any client who gets a pup from me will never have to face the pain of losing a dog to DM. Many of you have chosen me as your breeder because of this choice. Many of you have lost dogs to DM and you know how it hurts. I had a hard year this year with breeding. I got a couple dogs returned. One who was neglected and extremely malnourished. But I was able to get him in a new loving home. Randy was not so lucky. Abused on an "E" Collar as a pup...I spent months trying to help him feel like a dog again. I lost the battle and had to euthanize him. I lost a pup to some unknown illness. Thank you for choosing me for your dogs, as your breeder and putting your trust in me. For those of you who don't have a pup yet or are checking out breeders for a puppy...my best advice is make sure the breeder DM tests.