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Kiera is a female I acquired through rescue as a puppy and who got me back into Shepherds after several years of working with other breeds.  She also is the reason I entered and now love the world of competition obedience, rally and agility.  Kiera is highly independent and prefers doing things her own way, so, although we did earn our CD and RN, RA and RE, obedience competition was not really her thing.  She loved and did well in agility, however, especially any course that involved jumps and tunnels.  Unfortunately, Kiera was diagnosed with narrowing of the vertebrae between C5 and 6 and C6 and 7, so her agility career had to come to an end.  She is now happily the ranch dog and enjoys playing ball, running in the sprinklers and irrigation ditch, and bossing the other dogs around.  Kiera’s dam was bred while in rescue to the rescue’s male and produced her litter while still with the rescue organization.  The litter was spayed and neutered at 8 weeks of age, which caused their growth plates to remain open much longer than usual.  Kiera stands over 27 inches at the shoulder, more than 3 inches taller than the breed standard for the German Shepherd Dog.  Whether this over growth contributed to her neck issues or whether it was bad genetics will never be able to be determined, but, whichever it is, it is very unfortunate and one of the main reasons we discourage the spaying or neutering of dogs before they reach maturity.

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