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Onza 2005 – 2017

We lost our beloved Onza, a Kirschental line of German Shepherd Dogs, on March 31 due to complications from cancer which was diagnosed 6 weeks prior. Onza was always a very happy dog. She was stoic, strong-willed and so determined to live. She did many things in spite of EPI, double hip dysplasia, elbow surgery, autoimmune disease and bloat with volvulous last summer.

Onza was diagnosed with EPI at 4 years old and we were devastated to realize our young GSD could die because of this. Finding the epi4dogs website, Olesia and the forum as a support group gave us hope and support. With the help of our vets, the epi4dogs website and keeping a log of medications, food, meals and enzymes, we were able to successfully manage her EPI and make adjustments in her regimen when indicated. Never once did we dread or get frustrated at having to make four meals for her each day for seven years because we knew this was giving her life. We knew she realized the extra care and love we gave her, and she returned that love ten-fold each day of her life. Onza loved all our friends and family and was quite sure they always came to “see her” and not us! She really loved and was always excited to see everyone, even both of her vets.

We have always tried to spread the word about EPI and the website. We have handed out countless pamphlets and talked to total strangers about EPI. Through the forum we became friends with people we never met, even in other countries. At our mountain cabin 200 miles away, by telling the local pet shop owner about EPI and the website, she relayed the information to a client. The German Shepherd Dog, Ranger, tested positive for EPI, and we have become very close friends with Ranger’s mom. She reminds us often that we “saved her dog’s life”. Unfortunately, Ranger passed away this past December at 11 years old due to hip issues. With our dear friend, we continue to share stories and things about our experience with EPI and now we are sharing in the loss of both of our German Shepherd Dogs.

We did Schutzhund training with Onza to help focus her intense alpha-female energy, and she always loved to work and please us. She was an excellent tracker and liked bite work as well; we enjoyed the obedience. She always amazed us with her intelligence and ability to figure out things.

At 11 years old we knew her time was limited on this earth. At night when we wanted to relax and read or watch TV but she wanted to play, we’d look at each other and say ‘let’s get up and play because she will not be here forever’. It is impossible to believe that now she is gone. Onza was our once in a lifetime dog of 47 years with German Shepherd Dogs in our family. She was the closest thing that we will ever have to a child and the loss is devastating. Our house now feels very empty and is missing the heartbeat that gave us so much joy. So please hug your dog or cat for us and never once regret having to do the extra things for them because they have EPI. They are all so worth it! Onza, forever in our hearts, Donna and William