Schön became known as the "referee," and later as the "hunter." She would referee the play fights between dogs by getting right between them and barking to high heaven. She would spin around and nip at them until they stopped their play fights. She usually was not aggressive, but one time while we were away, Pheobe and Schön got into their pack mentality and decided to pick on Molly, who would never hurt a flea. They ripped her up pretty badly, and were kept separated when unsupervised thereafter.
Later, she started hunting Senshi when we would be out mowing the lawn. She would get in the hunter's crouch and start sneaking up on Senshi, eventually bounding towards her at top speed. Senshi always stood her ground, so Schön would just run up on her and try to get her to play. As Senshi got older and did not want to play, Schön continued to hunt her, just for the sport of it. Schön also liked the water, and would frequently retire to the pond for a cool dip after a long hunting session. When she stayed in the house, we noticed that she groaned and moaned a lot. We often called her "groany, moany Schönie.Around September 2010, we noticed that she was dragging the tops of her back feet when she ran. A trip to the vet confirmed that she had a disease of the spine called Degenerative Myelopathy, a disease common in German Shepherd Dogs and which causes symptoms similar to Muscular Distrophy in humans. We were told that the condition was not painful, but would progress to immobilizing Schön's back legs, then her front legs and eventually total paralysis. Loss of bowel and urine control would come near the end as well. We ordered her a cart to help with her mobility, but by the time it arrived in February 2011, she did not like using it much and preferred dragging her back legs behind her. In late February, she was almost immobile and started becoming incontinent, so we made the extremely difficult decision to euthanize her.
Schön gave us nine and a
half years of smiles, love and affection, and I'm glad we could provide
her a good home. She will be sorely missed.