Kimberly Robinson
Kevin Nolan hopes to develop his dog Gunnar into a therapy dog because of the dog's calm demeanor and presence.

Pet of the week: Gunnar is a pup with presence

"Gunnar is the third pup we've gotten through the German Shepherd Rescue Program," said his owner Kevin Nolan. Gunnar joins two other older dogs in the Nolan home.

The Washington State based organization's mission statement reads,"To find loving homes for surrendered, abandoned or neglected dogs and puppies. Washington GSD Rescue hopes to ease the problem of the population overflow occuring in many of our shelters today. We educate the individual on the importance of sterilizing the pet and providing superior care."

"They do their best to find homes for German Shepherd dogs," said Nolan," and puppies are very rare but evidently they had a breeder that got sick and couldn't take care of her dogs. She had one last set of puppies before she closed down her business."

At seven months Gunnar weighs 60 lbs. so, "he's going to be a big boy," Nolan said.

"It was time to bring in some new blood," Nolan explained because the the older dogs, at 13 and 9 are, "getting up there in age." German Shepherds typically live around 15 years maximum.

"My wife watched him grow up on the website and we kept saying to ourselves, 'we just can't do a puppy,' and finally after five months he was still there. It turns out that the organization is very particular about the type of families they put them in and they had put him in a home and pulled him out because they didn't like the way the people were raising him. They make you sign a contract. So he was back with the foster mom and I got to meet him. We said we'd foster him for a weekend. He got along pretty good with the older dogs though it was little crazy around here. So we decided to bring him in and now we're back to three."

Nolan described Gunnar as, "One of the calmest, sweetest German Shepherds I've seen. He's very self assured. He just wants to play and he's got a really really good temperament. I hope to bring him up so I can take him into nursing homes and have him be a therapy dog in his spare time." Nolan had hoped to do that with his other dogs but one is suffering from a degenerative condition and the other one "has always been a little bit of an 'Alpha' and she's been a real challenge. She's ok around kids but she can be a little unpredictable so she's not quite right as a therapy dog. But Gunnar has such a wonderful temperament I think he's going to be great."

They treat Gunnar well feeding him, "the best dog food and my wife supplements it by cooking for him. We don't have children so these are our children and they are exceedingly spoiled."

Costco dog bone treats are on the menu too and as a measure of how the Nolan's treat all their dogs he said, "I'd like to come back in my next life as a dog taken care of by ME!"

How to nominate your pet for Pet of the Week:

Want to nominate your pet for Pet of the Week? Stop by the VCA West Seattle Animal Hospital at 5261 California Ave. S.W. and just ask for a form. A nomination is not a guarantee of appearance and your name and photo may appear in our newspaper and online.

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