The lovely Shannon has taken some time out to answer some questions about Fostering with Sweet Shepherd Rescue. Have a read below to see what Fostering is all about, and why you should get involved if you can!

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

My partner and I decided to become foster carers as we’d love to be dog owners but can’t afford the costs that come with it due to having other animals. We also only rent our house and don’t want to commit to owning a dog until we own our own home

How did you prepare your home for potential foster dogs coming through to you?

We didn’t have to do much preparation, our house is already dog friendly with high fences and a large backyard. We do have to remember to put our shoes away when we foster puppies!

What are some of the challenges you face as a foster carer?

My main challenge is saying goodbye to the dogs when they go off to their new home. All my fosters have gone to the BEST homes and that does make it easier for me to know they’re going to be happy and looked after for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes the dogs we get don’t have a lot of training, however it never takes longer than a week to learn how to sit and some basic manners!

What’s the best part?!

The dogs always have so much love to give! Even though I get sad when a dog goes on to their forever home I get really excited to meet the next one.

Why Sweet Shepherd Rescue?

I get loads of support from Sweet Shepherd Rescue, if I ever have any questions or a problem someone is always ready to help me. They’re also very acommodating and have other volunteers to help take the dogs to vet appointments if you can’t make them with your own transport.

Why is fostering so important?

Fostering is SO important! It gets dogs out of pounds where life isn’t that great for them and they’re often on a time limit there. It also helps to get the dogs back on the rehabilitation track, to get ready to start their new lives in their forever homes. Having dogs in foster care allow us to get to know more about a dogs personality than you would visiting them at the pound. The more foster carers Sweet Shepherd Rescue have the more dogs they can save!

This all sounds so awesome! How can I get involved?

Please click here to go to our Foster Page  – Here you’ll find more FAQ’s and our Foster application form. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and considering fostering for Sweet Shepherd Rescue!


We are in the community grants program which is judged by votes of people to be in the draw for some much needed funding to help SSRAI, thanks to the Leader.
Please Login, select the BAYSIDE leader and vote for us!

Please click here to sign up and vote for us

By filling this out we will gain enough for votes for our grant to be accepted and funding to come in for the shepherds
Voting finishes in 11 days !! Please get this urgent msg to your friends or family

A successful adoption story, by James Kent and Charlotte Callander

How did you come to adopt a dog from Sweet Shepherd Rescue Australia?
My partner Charlotte and I adopted Xena (formerly Gigi) in early April 2018 after months of researching different rescues and breeds. After ten days in the pound and three weeks in foster care with Sarah, Xena’s journey with us began.

What were the first few weeks like?
The first three to four weeks were the hardest. Xena was anxious and didn’t know who to trust or listen to. We spoke to Sweet Shepherd and asked to extend our two-week trial for a further two, just to make sure we were ready to commit to Xena.
Having fallen fast in love with Xena, we decided we couldn’t let her down!

Rescue dogs have often already developed certain behaviours, sometimes these can be a challenge. How did you deal with this?
One of the first things we did was enrol her at the German Shepherd Association of Victoria. I can’t recommend this organisation enough. For roughly $100 a year for membership, we could attend weekly classes for only three dollars.

How did Xena react to training?
When we took our initial class Xena was terrified, lunging fiercely and barking at other dogs. Specialising in German Shepherds, the trainers there reassured us that Xena was a perfectly normal young dog who had just never had boundaries or structure.

What recommendations did the trainers have to help you and Xena?
They recommended a Halti to stop Xena’s pulling and lunging. The transformation within minutes was amazing. Xena went from barking ferociously at every canine interaction, to being subdued and focused. Making training a positive experience was also crucial, and we always kept treats handy.

What’s something you feel proud that Xena has achieved in her time with you?
Xena has already advanced to level two at German Shepherd training, the head trainer says she’s in the top ten rescue dogs he has ever seen!

What have you discovered over your journey so far that Xena has loved?
After she overcame her initial fear of other dogs, we would take Xena to dog parks where she would run around wildly, having the time of her life!

What are the differences of rescuing a dog rather than buying a puppy?
Adopting a rescue dog is quite a different experience to buying a puppy, but they still need the same long-term commitment to training. Rescues often have an unknown history. It’s impossible to know what the dog has been through before they come home with you, and this requires tolerance and empathy. Neither of us had ever trained a dog before, yet gradually we began to see results; not only did Xena’s behaviour improve immensely, but we also started to bond very strongly with her. We began to trust Xena, and she us.

How do you feel about the journey so far?
We’ve had Xena for six months now, and though she is still a work in progress, seeing her go from scared and reactive to happily playing by the Merri creek with her other dog mates has been a real pleasure. Rescuing a dog requires commitment and a realistic understanding of the initial work required – the same as with any puppy. Putting the hard yards in and seeing Xena develop into an increasingly relaxed and confident dog has made it absolutely worth it.

Without Sweet Shepherd Rescue, Gigi, now Xena’s story may have been very different. This is why we do what we do, seeing our rescues go into forever homes and hearing just how well they’ve developed into beautiful family members makes it all worth it. Thank you James and Charlotte for adopting from us and sharing your story!


You may have already seen our posts to welcome young Rango who is 2 years old. As we mentioned Rango’s story is a rather unpleasant one. Rango was roaming and was then found just before midnight after he had been hit by a car. His owner was not interested in providing any care for him even though his back leg was very obviously broken.

After suffering for 5 days with his leg still broken and then a messy surrender process RSPCA Sydney had a surgeon pin and plate his femur. Poor Rango is still so full of love and cuddles and energy. The shelter environment is not at all ideal to heal a broken leg as well as the general concern of a young shepherd being confined in a kennel environment for the minimum 8 week rehab process.

Unfortunately this sweet boy still has a few more months of rehab to finish up. We would like to get him into a forever home with our full medical and financial support so he bonds to his new family during his rehab.
We are on the search for this neglected boys new family. Preferably if you have another dog it would be an older female. He would need someone home with him so they can assist the gentle rehab and care. Rango would not be good with cats or pocket pets. Older children would be fine but younger children could hinder the gentle rehab process this lovely boy needs.

Do you want to give Rango his second chance????

Lets get this boy into a home to be spoilt beyond belief 

Lotti’s sad history was at a puppy farm being used for breeding.

Her original name was “Shots!” one that was immediately changed to “Lotti” after Helga took ownership of her newfound dog.

On being surrendered by an apposing family member, Sweet Shepard Rescue had been informed of her age, breeding status and conditions she had been forced to live under.

This poor animal had already had 7 litters of puppies by the age of 6 years old, she had mammary tumors, which were in desperate need of removal, she was malnourished and very thin.

Her ears had suffered from a form of fly strike infestation and she was incredibly timid – almost manic!!!!

Her life consisted of breeding puppies, whilst living her life on a chain.

She was quickly assessed and treated by veterinarians and not long after the removal of all her mammary tissue and desexing, she was fostered out to 2 to 3 different foster homes one after the other.

She was not an easy dog to care for as she had many worrisome issues due to her deprived existence breeding on a chain and mistreatment of her past owner.

Black Shepherd’s appear to strongly bond to certain members in the family and this seemed to present as a problem in foster care with some!

Helga was finally introduced to Lotti, with a meet and great arrangement through the Sweet Shepherd Rescue Australia and it was clear that this relationship would work!

Within 2 days, despite Lotti’s nervous disposition and overwhelming anxiety, she strongly bonded with Helga, not leaving her side.

Helga wasted little time with pampering and exposing “Lotti” to Helga’s busy, day to day lifestyle.

Lotti’s first trip was to the Hairdresser, where by Helga was allowed to bring her into the salon and have her sit by her side.

The next day was Bacchus Marsh Old Age Care Centre, where Helga volunteers once a week with the feeding, socializing and game playing of the aged ones, bringing some joy and interest to their day.

The following day was Blackwood Senior Citizens Club day, where she was also exposed to many who admired her beauty and her devotion to her new found owner.

Helga also has frequent visitors to her own home, where ones socialize together while playing cards.

Helga by the way is currently 86 years of age and has owned Lotti for nearly 3 years.

She walks Lotti 3 times a day for half an hour at a time as Helga doesn’t quite walk terribly fast any more due to a previous heart condition.

Since owning Lotti though! Her heart specialist has basically said that she no longer needs her pace maker, as her heart has taken its normal rhythm and no longer is of concern now.

Many good things have come from this saving, to say the very least!

Lotti has had a second chance of life, one where by she is able to be the devoted astute dog she was bred to be!!!!

A life every dog deserves……!

Helga; who is a widow, has more joy in her life than she can ever remember and a healthier existence through her genuine care and nurture of this dog.

And for those who live in the Old Age Facility, have a peaceful interaction with an animal, which has no hidden agenda and can admire her Poise, Beauty and Grace.

And for the public that Helga comes in contact with, she shares Lotti’s story with profound overview of inspiration from others.

I wish for Peace Love and Happiness for the wonderful system in place by the Sweet Shepherd Rescue Australia.

With many thanks to Helga for sharing her story!

Written by Helga’s daughter Sylvia Deppeler

1. You Don’t Like Dog Hair Everywhere

This is a very important point. “If you don’t like hair everywhere… YES everywhere”. Then a GSD is not for you. Hair is a major factor that must be taken into account for this breed. They mault and require regular coat maintenance especially if you have a long haired GSD in which case you will also have to deal with knots. Often these dogs come to us matted and full of dead undercoat. If this doesn’t deter you, then make sure you make good friends with your groomer.

2. You Are a Neat Freak

Mud might be great for improving beauty, but it’s not so great when you have a trail of muddy paws or the smell of wet dog wafting through the house. If your are concerned about the effect a dirty / wet / smelly dog can have on your home, then a GSD isn’t for you. Oh, and don’t expect newly purchased items to stay in one piece. GSD’s personally tell me of tales of how their dog beds explode with fluff!

3. You Like Everything to Stay in its Place

GSD’s were created perfectly!! Their tail is the perfect height for sweeping the coffee table and of course there goes your cup of coffee. Kitchen tables are the perfect height for them to rest their heads on while you eat. They also require the large size pooper bags for cleaning up after. Leaving them alone in the backyard with your newest acquisition isn’t so smart either. So if you like to put things down and be able to go back later to pick them up, then perhaps a GSD is not for you.

4. You Want an Outside Dog

Dogs are pack orientated and German Shepherds are no different. They can get separation anxiety from being separated from their pack (and that includes you). They are happiest as a family unit and being left outside unattended only leads to mischief. If you don’t want to share your inside space with a GSD, then they are not the ideal dog for you.

5. You Have No Energy for Play

GSD’s are very active, both mentally and physically. They require both mental and physical stimulation to be happy functioning members of society. Your dog needs to feel useful and needed and be an active member of the family. If you are unable to walk, play and be there for your GSD then they are not the right dog for you.

6. Your Circumstances May Change

Extremely smart and loyal, a GSD remembers their bond with their original owner. When separated a GSD suffers mental and health issues which is exacerbated with being locked up in a pound. Dog ownership is a commitment for the life of a dog. If you plan on having a GSD only for a little while or you think that their size could be an issue. Don’t get one. Rescue is full of dogs that have lost their homes as a result of changes in life circumstances.

7. You Are Looking for a Guard Dog

The perception that all GSD’s are aggressive and make good guard dogs is a myth. They protect their owners as they love and cherish their owners. All dogs, including GSD’s have instinct to guard and protect. However if you are purchasing a GSD to place into the back yard to keep your car and possessions safe may I suggest getting a home alarm system instead.

8. Your Puppy Will be Small Forever

As cute as pups are when they are ‘pup’s they grow up, they get taller, fill out, have huge feet and can weigh a bit, so they are no good as lap dogs. GSD’s can grow quickly and can weigh up to 50kg. Do NOT purchase this breed of dog if you think it will stay small. We see so many surrendered simply because the owner did not think ‘they would grow that big”.

SSRAI is run exclusively by volunteers. Due to most of us working full-time, the quickest way to gain a response is to send an email.
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© 2019 Sweet Shepherd Rescue Australia Inc.
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