Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Marco is a 2 year old Anatolian Shepherd Dog (or mix) who is seeking a loving forever home.
As you can see from his picture, he is incredibly skinny.  So much so, that if his former owner had bothered to go to the shelter to reclaim him, workers were instructed to contact law enforcement because his condition constituted neglect charges.

Even though he has obviously not been well cared for, Marco holds no ill will to humans and is a friendly guy.  He even has the "Anatolian Lean" down pat.  He was good with the other dogs he was kenneled with in the shelter.

For more information on Marco please EMAIL US

Sunday, January 6, 2013

 A Memorial

Brian Anderson, here, writing to express my deep gratitude to you for your compassion and
dedication providing a second chance to dogs in need and also for allowing people the
opportunity to enrich their lives by using your service to adopt these dogs in need.
You provided me the opportunity to adopt two wonderful dogs; I am grateful for that gift.
While proceeding through the adoption process you informed me that the Anatolian was
unlike domestic dogs most of us are accustomed to. How correct you were. Me, a life
long dog owner was surprised to discover first hand how different these dogs are and
quickly realized my dog knowledge was about to expand. ln time as I learned the unique
behavioral characteristics I was undaunted and ready to embark on the challenging and
gratifying world of life with Anatolians.

I have also learned that most people should not own or breed this dog. With each
successive American line bred litter the domesticity increases, altering the original
characteristics, yet deep in the DNA the aboriginal dog resides. And, when the
aboriginal dog reveals itself, as you said years ago, in the blink of an eye, a frightening
and troublesome event may occur. I discovered this often, the change in a blink of an
eye, but learning early on, I had my head on a swivel and never left home with the dogs
without awareness of their full potential. Because I was prepared and constantly
observant and vigilant my relationship with my dogs was a relationship I shall forever
cherish. The dogs, Mack and Ruby, reinforced the idea of living in the moment and to be present in the moment.

Blessed was I to have the honor to adopt Mack in May, 2005 when he just turned 3. Mack was a Kangal, true to Kangal temperament and physiology. Mack was in North Phoenix, housed by a wonderful woman named Pat. Upon my visit with Pat I asked her to put him through his paces and then let me handle him. Mack allowed me to work basic obedience. I also tested his tolerance quickly by simple handling tricks. lt took all
of 5 minutes to gauge that Mack was a superior animal. After a test drive to assess his road worthiness Pat recognized and said that Mack had "chosen me"; when l told Pat
that I could not return to Arizona for 5 weeks and she "should look to find him a suitable
ranch home", she said no. Because of the way Mack related to me, she would keep
Mack for me until I could return. Pat thoughtfully remarked that Mack was an "old soul".
"Old soul", wow, I said to myself, unknown to Pat, I have studied world religions for
years and was practicing yoga for years and so her words "Old Soul" went through me,
striking my core. Then turning my gaze to Mack, he looked right into me and I knew, I
knew we were destined to be companions. And so I went home knowing that my life
would soon change.
Over the next few weeks I built a 8 x 16 foot sun screened kennel and put up a 6 foot '
chained link fence off the kennel measuring 12x 4O feet. When completed, I placed in 4
gates and could modify the run for one dog or up to four. I decided too that I would build
a small area as a dedicated dog bathroom. I built a raised bed inside keystone blocks
filled with compost. From day one Mack and later Ruby would use this site as their only
place to relieve themselves. lmpressive, if I may say so- This arrangement was inside a
6 foot redwood perimeter fence. I guess subconsciously I thought the Kangal dog would
need a companion as I lived alone and worked 12 hour days.

My house near the end of a court adjoins a green belt parkway. The green belt has a
year long stream in a canyon full of tall Oak, Bay and Eucalyptus Trees with thickets
and dense shrubbery, perfect for a dog to walk and explore.
For years I roamed the greenbelt trails with a pair of Weimaraners, outstanding trackers
and packers who experienced extensive wilderness excursions, and were the light of
my life. My Butch and Buzz were exceptional dogs. My daughters worked them to be
obedience champions but it was outdoors where they truly excelled.
After they passed on, I don't know how the thought of the Anatolian entered my mind. I
can only surmise it was divine intervention. Living alone, I wanted another dog, but I did
not want a needy dog, as the sporting breeds are, and I did not want a puppy because
of my odd work hours. I remembered reading about the independent nature of the
Anatolian years before and somewhere in the back of my mind the Anatolian idea kept
gnawing at me. I fought with myself over the idea then gave in to my desire to find an
"Mack in his favorite spot"

I looked at breeder websites. One day on an internet search l found NASRN. I looked in
and saw Mack, he had just recently been surrendered by his one previous owner. There
was a photo and brief description. I began to struggle with the thought of committing
myself to another generation of dog life. Over the next week I looked in everyday,
hoping he might not be there. Serendipity raised her will, Mack was in Arizona and I was
to travel to Arizona in the near future.
A friend and I were planning on a trip to Scottsdale the following week to see the Giants
play spring baseball and visit with others who were flying in for the occasion. On day
two of our visit I mentioned that I might rent a car and take a trip to look at a dog. My
friend and other companions in Scottsdale said "l was crazy and would not have time as
our schedule was completely booked". I said, "l know how important this trip is but I
have to leave you for a few hours and go see this dog and I can't explain it as you won't
understand". I said "give my tickets to the game away and I will meet up with you when I
I found a rental car at a nearby Scottsdale hotel about a mile walk from my hotel and
called Pat asking if I might visit. When Pat agreed to my visit, I walked off,
leaving my friends shaking their heads is disbelief that I would abandon long term plans
on a whim to look at a dog.
And so I drove to meet Pat and Mack. I returned to Scottsdale later that day,
found my friends and told them I was going to adopt one of the biggest dogs I had ever
met. This became one of the better decisions I have made in my life.
"Mack the Great"

Five weeks later I returned to Arizona. I thanked Pat for keeping Mack. I opened
the back door of the truck where I had folded down the seat and placed padding to
make the ride home comfortable. Mack, without hesitation jumped in and was calm and
well behaved for our first adventure together. The drive home was 16 hours. I stopped
at rest areas along the way and Mack seemed to know that all was well and responded
beautifully to my requests.

Crossing the Tehachapi Mountains we came to a turn out
over looking the verdant green of California's southern San Joaquin Valley. We exited
the truck, sat overlooking the valley together and I told Mack, "there you are my boy, no
more desert life for you".
Finally, arriving home, I was exhausted by the long drive. I opened the back door,
showed Mack his new dog house and kennel and said to him, "l will leave the back door
open you can sleep where you want, I am going to bed". Mack walked into his kennel, I
went to bed. When I awoke, Mack was sleeping at my bedroom doorway.
Mack had no problem going to his kennel when I went to work, he never protested.
When home, I let him have the run of the place. He was perfect. He could easily have
raided the pantry but did not. He could have climbed on the furniture but he did not. He
could have sideswiped food from the counters when I left the kitchen but he did not. He
could have soiled anywhere but he only used the small dedicated are I hoped he would.
When I picked up his collar and leash he would walk around me on the right and heal at
my left. Yes, his original owner spent time training Mack. On lead Mack was fully
obedient. Off lead, well Mack was a Kangal. He heard what you said and knew what
you said, but he was in zone Mack. When you approached to leash him he would sit or
stand and leash up without protest. Mack never ran off.

I worked him extensively from the beginning. Obedience on leash. Trail walking. Took
him into the High Sierra Wilderness. l took him to National Parks and to the red rock
country of the Colorado Plateau. We went to the pacific coast and to the hills and
woodlands. I had confidence in him that if let go he would not run off. He did not run off.

But, I discovered he would not be a great wilderness dog because off lead he was in
zone Mack and not my eyes and ears. On lead we were on the same page. Off lead he
was aware of me but had his own thing to do.

I came to see Mack as he was, athletic, brave, true, quick, strong, loyal, calm, good
natured, trustworthy. Then it dawned on me, other dogs may be great hunters, or great
trackers, or great packers, or great assistance dogs or great service dogs, but Mack,
Mack was just great. And so, from that time, for me he became Mack The Great!
Mack The Great and I had a wonderful life. lnside, though, I had the feeling that Mack
would benefit from having a canine companion, his own species to relate with,
especially in the long hours I was away at work.

With that reasoning I adopted from
NASRN in October 2006, Ruby, who was a little older than Mack, but close enough that
the pair would age together.
Another long hours drive brought Ruby home. Unlike Mack, Ruby was uneasy and
aloof. I did know that Ruby had bounced a few times prior to me finding her. One reason
for that I learned was Ruby is an escape artist and long distance runner. Ruby, like
Mack was an alpha dog.

The initial meeting between the two went poorly. l tethered Mack to a pole to prevent
him from attacking her. When he saw her, Mack wagged his tail and appeared happy to see an Anatolian girl. Ruby, showed no signs and when I brought her near she leaped at Mack, to dominate him. When she lunged at him she triggered his cobra quickness and he caught her by the neck in mid air and thrashed her.
First meeting and a veterinary bill. Fortunately, I designed the dog run to be subdivided and so I gave them independent quarters. Ruby would growl and bark at Mack
whenever she saw him which necessitated me placing a solid cloth screen to prevent Ruby from seeing Mack and working herself into a frenzy.
Over the next 6 weeks I slowly accustomed Ruby to her new world and little by little her aggressiveness subsided, Mack forgave her bad behavior and to my relief and satisfaction she earned her ability to come and go and have the run of the place without triggering any further incidents. Ruby, like Mack immediately began using the dog
bathroom as her only area to relieve herself. Definitely impressive and a benefit to any
dog lover.

On trail Ruby was aggressive and Mack would put her line as he let her know he was the boss. lf she attempted to go after a dog, Mack would nip her. lf she attempted to run, Mack would nip her. lf she was in the way when Mack needed to show dominance, he would nip her. lt took Ruby quite awhile to defer to Mack, she was alpha until the

Twice I was entangled by the dogs and Ruby's lead slipped my grasp. Ruby, in a blink
of an eye felt her freedom and ran off.

 Ruby would not respond to calls and she almost
ran me to death as I chased after her. Perhaps she was playing a game on me, she
would let me draw near and sprint away. I waited and she kept going and found myself
digging deep to sprint after her and closing until I was near enough to grab her. Ruby
stopped and looked at me as if to say "what are you doing here". After happening twice
on trail I never let Ruby go again.

"Ruby of the Hills"

Once, at home when company came over I was distracted and the front door was not latched. The wind blew the door open and Ruby, a far away look in her eye, stared at the opening and bolted through the door and down the road. I quickly kenneled Mack and with a search party went after Ruby. 30 minutes later I found her a few blocks away and when I approached she just walked over and jumped in the truck, like nothing ever

Ruby was not obedience trained when I adopted her. She learned to be obedient on
leash and at home was quick to come when called and do what was asked of her. Like
Mack, Ruby did not raid the pantry, remove food from the counters or climb on furniture.
Other than her desire to roam, she like Mack was incredibly good. She was a pleasure
to share time and adventures with. lf Mack was Great, Ruby was my Angel Dulce, my
"Ruby Sweetheart"
sweet angel.

Ruby had her own space and bed in the house and that was her area. Mack attempted once to use Ruby's area and to my surprise she struck him so
quickly she knocked him into a wall and off his feet, she towered over him and growled
as if to say, "this is where I draw the line, you may be the boss everywhere but here". He
understood and never violated her space again.
My work schedule has me working 12 hours shifts and with travel time I was away 13
hours or more on work days.

 The dogs never misbehaved when I was gone. From their behavior when I was home, the territorial, guarding instinct, wariness of strangers I imagine they were happy and at work when I was away.
 The good side to my schedule is that I work 7 out of a 1 4 day period which allows me
abundant free time.

"Ruby Angel"

The dogs were out trail walking almost every day I had off. We have close access to the San Francisco Bay Trail and miles of open space and trail near the
house in the Hayward Hills. On work day mornings they walked down to the green belt creek and around a loop trail before work. After work we repeated the morning walk and added more distance.  Mack and Ruby were out and about everyday and I believe were
Mack & Ruby
happy with the life and grateful of their second chance.

The neighbors at the rear of my house loved the dogs, especially Mack. From the dog enclosure the dogs had an unobstructed view of the neighbors yard and
front door as our yard was on a rise above the neighbors. The dogs knew who should
come and go and who was a stranger. The neighbors would call the dogs, the dogs
would near the chain link fence and from a distance of 40 feet or so and two fences of
separation be introduced to family and friends who were allowed on the property.

These people were tolerated warily. When the mailman, delivery folk or strangers came by the
dogs would alarm and angrily protest the incursion. The neighbors loved it and told me they appreciated the warnings by Mack and Ruby as the dogs made them feel more secure at home.

Writing this down, sharing a story with you was at first a way to say thanks and let you
know how your dedication has truly impacted the lives of others. Writing this as also
been a step to help relieve my grief.

I was not prepared to lose Mack. I was not honest with myself about how devastating
his loss was to me. Ruby's decline was more evident over time and I was prepared for her passing. Last February I was schedule to have cancer surgery and I waited until 3 days prior to euthanize Ruby. The poor girl would lose her footing and splay out onto the ground and struggle to rise. As long as I was there I could help her transition her decline. Then a week before my surgery I came home from work and found her lying on the kitchen floor unable to rise. So my decision was clear, I would care for her as long as I could. I had arranged for a care taker to be with us prior to Ruby passing and me going to hospital so Mack would have an easier time with Ruby and I not being there.


When I came home after a five day stay away I could see the effect on Mack of Ruby and I not being there. I had a long convalescence at home and was with Mack everyday, going out on our trail walks like before and spending everyday together. But I could see the emotional effect of his sense of loss was accelerating his aging process. Mack The Great was declining before my eyes, I could see it, but l just could not
process it. I guess I was in denial, or numb to what I knew was coming.

"Mack at Bryce Canyon"

 Today, writing this I still suffer a great sense of loss. Of all the dogs I have raised, loved, taken from
puppy to grave I have always had a sense of closure. With Mack, although I know he is
gone and pleased that the best life was afforded him with no regrets to offer, my sense
of loss is huge and closure remains elusive.

"Mack, the Old Soul"
                                                                                                  Often lately, I think of Pat's words years ago, "Mack is an old soul". I deeply
connected with that old soul. We had a cross species soul connection that is one of
life's blessings. And that gift, that bonding between the souls came about because of
the dedication of NASRN, for which I am truly and forever grateful.
Thank You,
Brian Anderson, Mack and Ruby