Chance is a male German Shepherd puppy born to Lakota x Rex on December 17, 2018. He will be ready for his new home by Valentine’s Day 2019.


A new family and a new name … meet “Rocky” - because he’s a fighter!

Chance’s Unique Story

Chance is a special puppy. This is why we have not listed him on our website until now. At Trusted Guardian German Shepherds, we will only place puppies that we are confident are healthy and ready for their new homes, and while he is ready now, Chance had a tough start in life.

In case you don’t know about dog heat cycles, here’s an interesting fact: It is possible for dogs to release eggs at different times during their cycle. This is why, technically, puppies within the same litter can be fathered by different males. (This is not something that can happen here because we only have one male dog.) But, this means that, if the female is bred at different times in her cycle (even to the same male) and happens to have eggs that drop or ripen near the end of her cycle, the puppies - while all from the same pregnancy - can have different gestational ages. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. And, as you can imagine, since dogs’ gestational periods are only 63 days long, every day in the womb is a very important day.

In Chance’s case, he was conceived near the end of Lakota’s heat cycle, which technically made him premature even though he was born at the same time as his littermates. He has hit all of his developmental milestones correctly (opening his eyes and ears, getting teeth, etc.), but did so about a week after each of his littermates did. This, combined with some of the challenges he has faced along the way, is how we and our vet knew he was a preemie. We are calling him “Chance” because, with all the struggles he initially faced to survive, all he needed was a little chance to make it. And make it he has!

Chance began life seemingly the same as his littermates - about the same birth weight and born at the same time. But we quickly noticed differences. His chest cavity was very flat - something people refer to as a “swimmer puppy.” This made his rib cage completely flattened out and, if not treated, he would not have been able to walk normally as his legs would have splayed out to the sides like a human swimming through water. No one knows exactly how this happens - some speculate that it has to do with the puppy’s position in the womb (on the bottom of a large litter, which puts pressure on the rib cage). The good news is, because newborn puppy bones are pliable, it is a correctable condition if caught early. We noticed it within hours of his birth and we are proud to say, that with the work we did and God’s loving grace, Chance’s rib cage is now correctly positioned and he has no problems whatsoever with his gait. Hurdle 1: Resolved! Watch Chance run in this slow-motion video. We are so proud of Chance … his gait is beautiful!

Because he was premature, Chance also had problems breathing and eating at the start. And, when he was placed on his mom, he had trouble nursing. He would try, but never really got the hang of it too well. We didn’t know it initially, but this was caused because he had a very small cleft palate. So, while his siblings were eating aggressively, he was only getting a little at a time. It is important - very important - for puppies to get their mother’s early milk which has colostrum in it; this gives them critical germ-fighting antibodies. So we allowed him to nurse whenever possible, even moving his littermates aside at times to give him better access. But we also had to supplement his nursing by tube feeding him multiple times a day. We did this for several weeks until he was able to eat solid food.

Once he began eating solid food, his growth really took off. And now, at nearly eight weeks old, he is a happy, healthy beautiful little puppy. Our vet has given him a very thorough exam and he has told us that Chance’s prognosis for long-term health is very good. While he is still significantly smaller than his littermates (about half their size today), we expect over time that he will catch up. He may never be the largest German Shepherd in the litter, but we expect him to be a normal size as an adult. We do believe he will be a long-haired dog, like his mother. And we can tell you that he is bright, friendly, smart and very vocal (he “talks” to us all the time - and his vocalizations sound surprisingly human-like!).

He has had a LOT of attention, which has made him extra-friendly. Everyone who sees him just loves him. This is a DARLING puppy who had a rough start to life, but has overcome his obstacles. He is a fighter. He wanted to live and he fought all the way to good health. And now, we are so very proud to say, he is ready for a new forever home!

If you are interested in Chance, there is still one hurdle to overcome: As mentioned above, Chance was born with a cleft palate (the cleft is very, very small) and he has an umbilical hernia (which many puppies do). Both can be completely corrected with surgery. We are planning to have our vet do the surgery, which will cost $500 or less.

Because of his unique start in life, Chance will be offered as a pet only, not as a candidate for breeding, and will have a limited AKC registration. This means he can be registered as an AKC dog, but can’t be bred. We are not going to be charging full price for him since he has had challenges and we cannot predict his future with certainty. Therefore, we will sell him at a reduced rate of just $500 (instead of the $1,500 we normally charge). All we want is to be reimbursed for his surgery. Alternatively, if you are interested in Chance and would like to take him now, we will give him to the right family at no charge, but we will require you to have the cleft palate and umbilical surgery performed at your expense and to send us verification that it has been completed within one month’s time. Let us know what you would like to do and we will be happy to talk about that with you.

Chance is available now and ready for his new home. Contact us today to talk about making this handsome little guy your own!

UPDATE: CHANCE HAS FOUND A NEW HOME! And his new name is “Rocky” … because he’s such a fighter. He has had his cleft palate and hernia surgery and is doing great. And he is growing fast. He is so loved by his new family and we’re so proud of the way he’s turning out! Darling puppy with a happy, wonderful personality!