A German shepherd raised in White Salmon has made history this fall by claiming two big awards.
The 28-month old male shepherd, named "Bungee," won "Grand Victor" honors not only in the United States, but in Canada as well. Bungee was only the third dog in the history of the breed to take the title in both countries, and the first since 1948.
"This is the dog of the decade, right here in White Salmon," said Mary Stoll, one of the dog's three owners.
Bungee won the United States Grand Victor award at the German Shepherd Dog Club of America's National Specialty show, which was held Nov. 10 in Perry, Ga. He won the Canadian Grand Victor title at the German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada National Specialty show on Sept. 20. That event was held in Vancouver, B.C.
Bungee's owners are Gail Hardcastle and Mary Stoll, who live near Northwestern Lake. Andy Tesiorowski, who bred the dog and lives in Toronto, is also an owner.
Stoll and Hardcastle obtained the dog in Canada, when he was just seven months old.
"The minute we saw him, we knew he was a really good dog," Stoll said. "We're just honored to have him, and honored to have judges in both countries bestow this on him. And he's also a great dog to live with."
An excerpt from The German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc., a book that describes what judges look for in a shepherd and what the breed's ideal characteristics are, highlights some of the reasons why Bungee won.
"The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility," the passage read. "Difficult to define, but unmistakable when present."
Stoll said that despite their immense appreciation of Bungee, they were nevertheless surprised when he won his first Grand Victor award.
"We were totally shocked when he won Canada," she said. "He's so young. He's a credit to the breed, everything a German shepherd should be. I hope he can pass on to future generations some of what he is."
Stoll added that she admired the breed in general.
"German shepherds are wonderful family dogs," she explained. "They are good tracking dogs, good search and rescue dogs, and are naturally protective. They understand when there's trouble."
Despite his size and strong-minded capabilities when it comes to defending his owners, Bungee is a very gentle dog. Hardcastle and Stoll have three cats in the house, and Bungee not only tolerates them, he chooses to sleep alongside the little cats.
"He's just a good boy," Stoll said. "He's done everything we wanted him to do, and he's basically retired now. Now he'll just be a regular good dog."