Shelter pic
FEMALE IN A NUTSHELL: Young (under 2 years of age) and friendly purebred female with tons of personality but zero training. She's definitely a diamond in the "ruff."
Gemma comes to us from a shelter in the San Gabriel Mountains area in San Bernardino County, California. She was found as a stray and brought to the shelter to give her family the opportunity to find her ... sadly, they never did. When we contacted the shelter about Gemma, they couldn't have been kinder in providing a wealth of information on her, as well as two videos.

Shelter Notes Indicated: "Gemma is a great girl who also did well on her assessments. She would do well with some basic training and manners.

Weight: 57 lbs

Initial Observations: Rushes up to greet in yard, jumps on handlers. Needs work on manners but is social. Very sweet all accepting attention and petting. Would benefit immensely from some basic training and manners introduction.

Affiliation: Social - no manners

Handling and Manipulation:

Massage & Tail: stands still, accepts, neither soft nor stiff. Easily distracted.
Ear, Mouth, Muzzle hold: ear = tolerates with high movement; mouth = allows; muzzle = stands still, accepts Feet: stands still, licks and flea bites assessors hand.

Toy and Rawhide: Toy - no interest, does not take possession. Rawhide - takes possession, handler is able to remove dog and maintains neutral loose body. The same occurs when the dog lays down to chew. She relinquishes to handler and does not attempt to follow or regrab.

Food: tolerates putting over spine and head, loose head and ceases eating with loose relaxed body and Tailwag. Let's head and ceases eating when hand pets cheek. Does not interfere with movement of bowl when pulled, keep nose down in bowl when hand applies pressure to cheek. No further escalation. Allows bowl to be removed with no interference body carriage loose and neutral.

Dog to Dog: Rushes into greet at fenceline, immediately in play position, bouncing up and down and play bowing repeatedly. Allowed both dogs to meet in yard, excitedly she rushes in and bops helper dog in the anus with her nose and then in his face. Lacking doggy social graces. Once she calm down, she politely inspected and continuously solicit play.

Dog to small dog: For small helper dog proved to be inappropriate. Gemma rushes into fenceline initially with playful body language, small dog immediately became defensive and postured with a growl. Gemma responded to this by stiffening up, then bouncing side to side with hackles up. Remove her from fenceline. When doing a walk-through, the small dog postured again, and Gemma was more vocal and leash reactive this time. Able to maintain control easily. Brought out a calmer helper dog, again Gemma greeted at fenceline and play position body loose and wiggly. She was able to greet small helper dog in yard, so again lacking doggy social graces is very rude and her inspection bopping and pushing the small dog all over the place. Was able to settle and inspect more calmly later on."

Happy to be out of the shelter

UPDATE 2/25: Gemma was picked up at the shelter by our good friends, Chuck and Jon, from Husky Camp. She will spend the night at Husky Camp and be transported to Phoenix tomorrow thanks to Chuck and Jon and our friend/volunteer/adopter Betty.

Waiting at the truck stop for Betty

UPDATE 2/26: Thanks to Chuck, Jon and Betty, Gemma has made her way to Phoenix!

Safe and sound in Phoenix ~ Thanks, Betty!

Upon arrival, Gemma did not hesitate to approach our staff member to say hello. She ran into the resident cats when she came into the house, and it was pretty clear that she had no idea what they were or what to do with them! We'll try a formal kitty intro when she's had a chance to settle in. We are also weaning Gemma off the medication the shelter had her on for "kennel stress." All GSDs get stressed in a kennel environment! Playing ball with her for half an hour a day would have done a lot more for her well being than a bunch of drugs.

Gemma is settling in to her temporary foster home with one of our staff members. She has met several of the other (male) rescues in the household without any problem at all. Once we confirm that her sutures are completely healed, she will be visiting the groomer for a day of beauty.

UPDATE 3/3: Gemma was evaluated by trainer Lynn at Soldier's Best Friend this afternoon.

After the evaluation, Lynn said she was truly impressed with Gemma's calm demeanor and asked if we could bring her back for a second evaluation once she was completely off of the medication that the shelter had put her on for stress. Lynn viewed the videos of Gemma at the shelter and agreed with our assessment that Gemma had not truly "arrived" as yet and that she needed time to settle in to her new surroundings, as well as being taken off the drugs that she was on. We agreed to keep Lynn apprised of Gemma's progress and to bring her back as soon as she was truly herself.

Gemma makes a new friend

Kitty tested and approved

UPDATE 3/30: Gemma was re-evaluated by Lynn and Danae of Soldier's Best Friend this afternoon. She was her beautiful, calm self and duly impressed everyone who met her. She showed almost ZERO interest in toys until Lynn brought out a squirrel attached to a pole and string -- she simply HAD to have it! She hesitated going into a restroom with Lynn, but walked right in when our staff member took the leash and walked in with her. She was quick enough to leave, but she made it all the way in on her own.

Lynn begins the eval

Toys ~ really not interested

Food! Now you're talking!

No reaction to the fake hand

Treats, too?

Gemma with Lynn & Danae

"Baby proofing"

I heard you had chips

Listening to a recording of screaming children

Toy on a stick ~ got it!

UPDATE 3/31: Soldier's Best Friend has decided not to accept Gemma into their training program. According to Lynn, who evaluated Gemma on both occasions, "After a lot of thought, I don't think we'll be able to take Gemma. I think she may make a good therapy dog and definitely a great family dog but not a service dog." We had to concur.

UPDATE 4/23: We took Gemma over to Doggie District this afternoon to have some fun and make new friends.


Adoption fee $395.00.

If you are interested in Gemma, please fill out our PROSPECTIVE ADOPTER'S QUESTIONNAIRE. You will be contacted by return email. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours, please Email Nancy at This questionnaire link is only for Gemma or other white German Shepherds on our site. WE WILL NOT CONTACT YOU until a questionnaire has been completed.

Please familiarize yourself with our adoption policies by reading ADOPTION BEGINS HERE. THANK YOU.