German Shepherd Dog

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)

Gender: Male

Training: Friends

Quick to learn and train


Emotionally stable


Family oriented


Child safety


Safe with small pets


Doesn’t bark a lot




Easy to groom


Great watch dog


Great guard dog


Sgt. Magnum


Granger, Indiana, United States

Posted July 20, 2014

As a poor, struggling college student, living in a run down flat on the wrong side of the tracks, life was a constant challenge. The neighborhood had suffered several break-ins, and everyone in our building was looking over their shoulders and jumping at random noises throughout the night. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the hand written flyer taped to the front door of Crusty's Pizza parlor..."Large guard dog, FREE, to a good home." I called immediately and was surprised that the number on the flyer was actually the non-emergency number to the Dallas police department. As it turned out, several of their fully trained police dogs were being decommissioned, due to budget cuts in the K-9 unit. I made the appointment to interview with the Sargent in charge of that department for later that same day. I was so excited at the idea of owning an actual police dog that I skipped class and got there early. I had adopted several pets before, and so I figured it would be a short meeting with a few pieces of paper, and I would be on my way with my new friend.

I could not have been more wrong.

The Sargent in charge interviewed me for over an hour, asking me all sorts of personal questions, and even more questions about why I wanted to own a police dog. Apparently there are some criminals who would love to get their hands on a trained police dog and commit all manner of foul deeds. Finally, after almost two hours the Sargent must have realized that I was not one of those evildoers, because he brought me back to the K-9 department and let me choose my dog.

I never got the chance. Magnum beat me to the punch. He chose me.

German Shepherds are magnificent animals. They present themselves as if they are members of K-9 military hierarchy. They stand proud and tall, and give you the impression that they are fully in control of whatever is happening around them. They are large, strong dogs, that exude a sense of quiet, controlled power. They know, that you know, that they could rip an enemy to shreds, and they seem to relish the idea that it is their choice whether or not that happens. As a single, Italian, male student, I had found my soul mate. As I walked into that room, his eyes locked onto mine in a way that words will never fully describe. As powerful as they are, they are surprisingly expressive creatures. They communicate their feelings with relative ease. They have a definitive head-tilt, that they perform at exactly the right moment, as if to convey a question or concern with the activities of the day. I walked right up to him, not even considering any other dog in the room. The Sargent commented on it, telling me that he was much more comfortable approving me for the adoption having seen the connection that Magnum and I had, right off the bat.

My youngest son came across a picture of Magnum and me at the park, wrestling over a frisbee that was basically demolished. I am a big guy, so when my son saw the giant dog I was holding, and how he made me look so small sitting next to him, he was shocked. He asked me about twenty more questions about the "giant dog" I used to have, until he finally fell asleep next to me. As I looked around my home, with my son sleeping peacefully and my tiny little cocker spaniel sitting on the couch next to us, I realized how carelessly safe I felt at that moment. It made me remember a time when feeling safe, seemed impossible.

Magnum stood by my side for years, never wavering, ever vigilant. He was a friend and companion that got me through many hard times. He made me feel safe, in a very violent world. He made me feel safe, when I didn't think that was possible. He's in Heaven now, watching over my mother and father, and tearing up frisbees like they are going out of style. But knowing Magnum, every night he is still making his rounds, and checking his posts. When I get there, I know that he will be standing there, big and proud, and he'll be the one that is guarding the gate.

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