My Dogs…

This week being fitness and health week at K9 Pro has inspired me to share with you information about my dogs, the present Belgian Malinois and the past German Shepherds.

I haven’t talked publicly about my German Shepherd Kayne since he passed away over a year ago. He was 17 and really taught me so much about dogs, drive, training and a lot about myself too. I miss him more than I thought I would and think about him most every day.

Kayne watching Tyler in the bath

He was extremely special to me as we seemed to form a relationship through drive that I hadn’t shared with a dog before him. He was very good at bite work and being a very big GSD (over sized actually) he had a lot of power and presence. In all of that he was incredibly gentle with my children, always and with any child he came across, he had a head on his shoulders and was remarkably intelligent but also bull headed if he didn’t want to do something!

Like the way he lived his life, he chose to finish up his way, his internals were still in great shape but he was unable to walk and it was clear to me that he was ready to go. I always said that although he was old he was still enjoying every day and I will let him continue until he wasn’t.


In his true style he couldn’t drift off in his sleep, no not Kayne. It had to be his last message to me to teach me one last lesson, to let him go.

I had to call my vet and stay with him until the vet came and let him sleep. His last action was to lick my face as he had done since a pup when ever I was in a bad mood or feeling sick, I can tell you it was one of the hardest things I have had to endure in my life.

You get the dog you need they say…

A few years after I got Kayne I got my current German Shepherd, Kandy. Whilst a different dog in many ways, she is also very special to me. At around 14 now I come to wonder how long she has left.

About 7 months ago we came home from being out and she didn’t meet us at the gate, I went to find her and she was on our back verandah and could walk, she was disoriented and in real bad shape.

On initial thoughts it looked she had been bitten by a snake, I rushed her to the vet and although we could find no evidence of a snake bite site. My vet said that he could give her the anti venom but it was very expensive and she was a very old dog.

There was no hesitation and I said do what ever you need to, the cost isn’t a consideration.

He went ahead with the treatment and she was still alive 24 hours later but it was also evident that it was not a snake bite, but she had suffered a stroke.

I brought her home and she could not walk nor hold her head up straight, it was heart wrenching to see such a demise of such a confident and powerful animal.

A few weeks went by and she was able to walk again, very wobbly but she was up at least, she looked at the world now through eyes that were on a slant due to her head tilt and she walked in circles.

There is no real treatment and so I looked after her as best I could. She remained much the same until two months ago.

I started her on the FitPAWS Peanut with a little bit of work and also we started to test the Animal Natural Supplement Young at heart.

I have had my dogs on diet supplements for years and whilst “I” always felt I was doing the right thing, it was never visually obvious that it was doing anything. The absence of health problems their whole lives and the longevity they have had speaks volumes, but it wasn’t clear of the benefits.

Within three days on the Young at Heart Kandy was visually better, clearer eyes and happier in general. She got better on the ball and she was moving around a lot more.

Steve and Kandy 2012
Move over Malinois!

Something sad that I had noticed after her stroke was that she used to love chasing a ball, but she had watched me play with the Malinois pups plenty and never made any effort to join in.

Last week I was out playing ball with Venom, and out of no where came Kandy belting in looking to join in on the game…

I see her recovery improve day by day now, she physically looks and behaves younger now than she did 8 weeks ago. This was just one of the reasons that the Animal Naturals supplements have really impressed me.

I still don’t know how long Kandy has left, but I appreciate her every day for what she too has taught me, her commitment to me and her acceptance and gentleness with my children.

I have both Malinois pups Venom and Wisdom on K9 Super Fuel, these are super hard-working dogs, harder working, more driven dogs than I have owned in the past and they push themselves hard.

I have an exercise regime with these pups that is aimed at fitness, health and injury prevention, and I want them to have the right diet and supplements to make that as possible as it can be.

Can we play some more?

We recently posted some pictures of Venom with my daughter, he is gentle with her and will play fetch with her, he winds his drive right down so he can play with her ensuring not to hurt her. He outs the ball for her and patiently waits for her to pick it up and throw it for him. This must be hard for a dog with his level of drive…

These dogs are a reflection really of me, I can see both Venom and Wisdom taking on the same attributes as Kayne and Kandy, and I really couldn’t be happier about that.

Nordenstamm Venom and Wisdom

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  1. I really do have to stop reading your blog at work, this is twice now I’ve had to hide the tears from my work mates (engineers and heatherns the lot of them!)

    I find it interesting that you say about you learning from Kayne. All animals do that in their way, but every so often you get “the one”. For me, raised on a grazing property, from an old grazing family, I thought I knew cattle… Until I had the sense to buy Pinkie, the first Brahman our family had ever owned. She was a white 16 month old heifer when I bought her and nothing really special until she was about 2 1/2, then my lessons began.

    Of her own accord, she befriended me, taught me how to make a sook out of an animal that had previously lived essentially a wild existance, taught me that cattle have brains, think, and if you treat them right (again the sook theory), but using their own social rules, they will reward you with not only being quiet and very easy to handle, but put on weight better, produce quieter calves and just make life simplier in the long run.

    So what I’m saying is, every animal is there to teach, you just have to open yourself to learning. I’m so glad I’m not the only one out there who gets lessons.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I love the stories you share about your own dogs and it is truly inspirational to hear (and see) the fantastic bond you share with them.
    Totally agree with Naroa – it is not the titles and trophies that matter – it is the relationship you have with your dog that will get you to your goals and it doesn’t happen overnight.
    For Skye and I, the relationship gets stronger every day and with that is coming the results. Gone (almost!!) is the “fun police” attitude and I am totally enjoying my hard nut wild child. We are custodians of our dogs for such a short time of our lives but the impact they have, and the memories they leave, is priceless.
    So pleased to hear Kandy is still enjoying life and keeping the Mals in!

    • Thanks Heather, Skye is the dog you needed lol. We had such a lovely German Shepherd here the other day, I picked her for a client that is doing something special with her, would have loved to keep her!

  3. Hey Steve,

    That put a tear or two in my eyes too – I remember very well how you mentioned Kayne to us when we first saw you some 18 months ago. The way you spoke about him and the relationship you described you had with him sounded out of this world to me. I still remember you telling us about his last lick on your face and how much he had taught you. I share your sentiment in so many ways as I feel so lucky to have a great doggie teacher too, and although he is still very young he has taught me the world about dogs and myself. Something about the bull-headed-ness sounded familiar too. I remember you saying that Kayne just wanted to be with you and you could walk across Sydney with no leash on him and he would just follow your footsteps next to you. I am lucky enough to related to some of these comments now (Not the Crossing Sydney off leash yet!!) and can see the meaning behind them. At first I thought you would have to be kidding! 🙂

    If there is anything I’ve learnt from you in the last 18 months or so is about the relationship you have with your dogs, what a dog can mean to you and how much you love and care about your dogs. It is contagious. Never mind about the sit and heeling exercises, I have learnt to enjoy, value, respect and build the relationship I have with my dog today and is still developing. What a great gift to give to someone Steve – thanks. No ring title will ever substitute the bond I have been able to develop with my dog.

    I love Kandy’s pictures, great to hear she is improving every day!!


    • Thanks Naroa, you will have your own stories to tell just like that in a decade or two, Jeiki is an awesome dog and he has more ways to make you laugh and cry up his sleeve yet.

  4. Great article as usual Steve bought back memories of my first shep Ranger . Probably the ugliest and most genetically imperfect dog I’ve ever owned. I rescued him from a backyard where the tenants had moved out 6 weeks previous and left him for dead. ( later prosecuted by RSPCA ). He was that hungry he charged me and bit the bottom of the small bag of dog food I was carrying and he was feral , unsocialised and completely without boundaries. He unfortunately passed at 9 due to complications from malnutrition as a pup wich had caused long term problems. He became my best friend , my protector had a heart like a lion . He slept on the floor at the end of our bed till the day he passed . He developed a love of people and kids even after what they had done to him but had a intensity in bite work that’s NEVER been matched by any of my dogs since. Miss you hair bear.

  5. Oh dear, I shouldn’t have read this at work, I’m still teary and sniffling away. Our canine friends are such a blessing, the way they enrich our lives are just beyond words. Your story of unconditional love and loyalty is very touching and something that I hope to come close to building with my pup when he arrives in 11 weeks. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  6. Oh, boy – A very emotional read but an enjoyable one, too. I can really empathise with your loss of Kayne, Steve. It’s one of life’s hardest knocks, losing your best friend. I lost my treasured Daisy Miller coming up two years this Xmas – she was just shy of 14. I still can’t talk or think about her without getting very emotional but like you, Steve, I had some warning that her health was fragile and felt very grateful for that knowledge,. During her last year, I made conscious efforts to spend as much time with her as I could and show her how much I valued her and appreciated every day that I was blessed to have her by my side. We watch our dogs grow up, grow wise and grow old. The process seems to happen way too fast – they just aren’t with us long enough. So glad that Kandy has bounced back so well – she’s an amazing dog with powerhouse stamina and obviously has a solid foundation of good health behind her. It’s very unusual for a large dog such as Kayne to live to 17 – I’m sure good genetics were on his side but I also believe that his diet and lifestyle counted for alot, too. Kandy must have her work cut out for her living alongside two Malinois pups – I’m sure they are helping to keep her young and on her paws. Here’s to you Kandy!

  7. Steve,
    What a great article brought tears to my eyes – thank you for sharing. Your older dogs are lucky to have you and I am sure you feel you are lucky to have had them – they teach us so much. Your story of Kandy reminds me of a friends rottie, Max, who suddenly developed total paralysis at the age of 9. My friend was told that he possibly had some broken off cartilage pressing on the spinal chord and that he would most likely not walk again and have to be put down. However, my friend persisted, he learnt to catheterise Max for the few days until bladder control returned and then in the middle of winter he took max swimming in the local river until slowly over the months Max learnt to walk again. Max had another really good year until unfortunately the paralysis returned for good but it gave them time to say goodbye. Every day we have with our ageing dogs is precious and I try to make sure I remember how much I appreciate Jake every day as he nears the age of 10. Hopefully he will follow the path of your dogs and live to a ripe old and age. Thank you again for a thoughtful article.

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