My dog, Sita, is a rescue German shepherd. Her litter was abandoned in rural Virginia near the West Virginia border. I drove out to pick her up with my daughter, Ruchi, in February 2012. She was the only girl in the litter. I knew instantly she was the dog I wanted to take home. In the picture above I am holding her for the first time inside the house of the person who took in the abandoned litter. The other picture was taken a couple of days ago by my wife, Laura.

This January, Major, a rescue German shepherd, will be in the White House and on the grounds. That’s a big day around here. Sita has never had such high profile representation. What’s more, there’s a second German shepherd, Champ, who will be there, too. So German shepherds are likely to be roaming the halls now and then. They are a beautiful sight to behold. I am sure these two will be appreciated when they walk by.

There is a special joy in a rescue dog. I have had non-rescue dogs as well and I loved them no less. But, when you rescue a dog two things come into play. One is that you have a relationship that would not have happened if not for separation. The very fact that the dog needed rescuing makes possible the relationship. So, it’s a form of kismet. The second is the haunting question, Who rescued who? A dog brings so much to the relationship. It’s not one-way by any means.

Then, on top of the rescue status, we have two German shepherds. Of all the dogs I have had, including beagles, retrievers, cairn terriers, fox terriers, Heinz 57s, I have to say German shepherds and Heinz 57s are my two faves. I cannot justify this, of course. I can only chalk it up to my individual sensibilities. The shepherd is the guardian, the one who learned how to work with humans from hundreds of feet away herding live animals and carrying out activities that took them so far from the observation that for all practical purposes they were unsupervised. They are amazingly tuned in to their humans and always alert, ready to guard the perimeter or protect the pack at the drop of a hat. And so smart. When I brought Sita home, I left her in the living room and went up our stairs, through the dog gate so she would be kept on the first floor. She followed me and went through the dog gate, too.

And yes, I like the total mutt just as much. When there are too many breeds involved to make sense of the animal, there is something amazing that shows up in the canine’s spirit, something I find hard to describe… but that’s another mojo.

So, when Major moves in I will look for videos and I will show them to Sita – she watches dogs on tv with curiosity. We will be tracking those dogs, looking to see how they settle in and what they are up to. After all, Sita and I have the opportunity to take joy in her never-before, highly esteemed representation!

What are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

“How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” – Abraham Lincoln