Orla is my all time favorite female. She did it all!
From the moment we met until the day that she died in my arms, she was my partner, my friend, my teammate, and sometimes my co parent. Unlike most, Orlanda carried more than her share of our load.
I purchased Orlanda as a puppy in Germany and let her remain their until she obtained her working titles. When she was around 16 months old her breeder sent me a message that translated to, “She makes good bites. We go Bundessieger”. When she was 24 months old I flew to Nuremburg to attend the HZS and pick her up. It was a highly anticipated trip and meeting. Ultimately, Orlanda’s handler was unable to attend the show and she was sent with another team for me to pick up. As soon as I met her and grabbed her leash, I felt hope that she and I could still make it through the performance portion. I don’t know, we just were very team like right then and there. After 72 hours I knew we could be a team, but was certain that between us there would be no “OUT”, so I pulled. It was not so much of a loss, because I still had the rest of her life to get to know her and learn how to get an “out” so, I took my Orla (and Hanz) home after the event. In Texas her excellent bitework was confirmed at club. She needed no encouragement, she needed no help, it was there always, just looking for an excuse to get gnarly. She did go, seamlessly from family pet, in our home and with my children, to “There is that bad MF’er, let’s get him” on an IPO field. However, we did learn early on that her protection was just that, protecting us (and because she really liked to dominate people she perceived as dominant). And so began our many social working hours together. Looking back, it was the best problem that I could have hoped for.
The years passed with seminars, helper classifications, helper colleges, trials, and shows. She competed in three countries. We hit every show that I knew about and entered any trial that needed an extra dog to make their numbers. But, we had the most fun at national sieger shows because they had the performance prerequisite and that was our favorite activity together (getting the bad guy). At the Dallas Sieger Show Orlanda won her first two trophies with me. One was for her performance and the other was for her conformation. I can no longer count the trophies that she has won with both my daughters and myself, but I remember the first two as if they were handed to us yesterday. As time passed and I bred Orlanda, I learned that she passes on some of her very best traits to her offspring. She was genetically a dynamo and for that, I fell in love with her even more. Orlanda gave me V Athena von Zauberwiesen IPO3 Kkl, Canadian Siegren (working class), Performance award (National level), 4 Country competitor, and V Token von Zauberwiesen IPO3 Kkl BHOT HIT, 3 country competitor, National Championship Competitor.
As the years rolled along Orla’s strength and attitude remained strong. Her IPO career was cut short by training transitioning helpers for the long bite. We both were okay with this cut down on work. She spent the main portion of her prime years as a ready and available dog for helper training activities and classifications. She was a value to her community in this way. I can’t remember how many helpers Orla classified with, but I know that I was among the many, and am extremely grateful of that.
In her twilight years she was even still strong and relevant. At one Regional Championship, there were no capable dogs available for the event’s helper tryouts, so I walked to my trailer, looked in her box and asked, “Orla, do you want to get a bad guy?” Boom, she was lit, sparking the whole trailer to get excited. She was always ready to assist in situations such as this and she was the leading example that excited my whole trailer at most events. Even after her diagnosis and in her final year, she was happy to classify one last helper.
Orlanda’s last few years with our family have been everything that I picture when I say, “Yes, I do own a German Shepherd Dog”. She was able to go from bitework with my eleven year old daughter in the morning to a neighborhood party with dogs and children in the evening seamlessly. She was equally happy in a show as she was at a pool party. She was a natural grandmother type figure to both puppies and children and could be trusted. When I wasn’t available for my daughters to cry on, she was always there to wipe their tears away with her soft fur. Orla performed every task given to her with dedication. She loved play dates with dress up and tea, movie nights and training days. She is the biggest reason that I enjoy tracking. I could write volumes about all of the wonderful things Orlanda has done for me, my family, USCA, and the German Shepherd dog and still miss some of it. So, I will leave it with this:
I am tremendously sad to announce the passing of Orlanda von Nimbus. She follows VA Sky v Eichenplatz Sch3 IPO3 Kkl to their place in the Heavens. She leaves behind her daughter V Token v Zauberwiesen IPO3 and grandson Dexter v Zauberwiesen along with her humans, Gabby, Morgan, and Windy. Orlanda played a pivotal role in each of their lives and she will be deeply missed by all.