She is my shadow; wherever I am, she is by my side. She looks like midnight, no white or gray on her. She is intimidating, because you have trouble seeing her face, so you cannot judge intent. Part Labrador Retriever, part German Shepherd, she is the best of both worlds. When properly introduced, she can be the most loving dog. That would be the Lab in her. And yes, she is the first dog that I can trust with children. She will protect and defend them. That part is the German Shepherd in her; she herds and she is one mean (and she means it) protector and defender of her terrain. And she knows every one of those 185 acres because we walk them throughout the 3 seasons.
She looks like a bear when she walks uphill, and she has stopped several cars wandering through our rural retreat. One actually parked to look at her. She has almost eaten the UPS guy, and her reputation has spread to include all delivery people. They do a drive-by and fling the package quickly. I was home one day when I saw the UPS man actually leap sideways when he saw and heard her barking behind a locked glass door.
Is she the best dog ever, among my many. Depends how I would define best. Overall, no. That would fall to our first Miss Emmie who was the most intelligent and perhaps most protective of me ever. But for guarding the llamas, for letting us know every move they make, even at 3 AM, she is unbeatable. And she is my great protector. She is starting to show her age, and so perhaps there is another dog is my future. I think I'll do what my friend Jennifer Brinson did, and get a puppy so this dog can train the new kid on the block. Something sad about our pets aging; still, she has, God willing, years left, and time has not dimmed her ability to protect and defend.