At left on day of rescue ~ at right three months later
ONYX IN A NUTSHELL: Onyx is a senior boy who does not lend himself to casual friendships -- those he does let in to his "inner circle" are in for life. He is good with other dogs when properly introduced. He's just looking for a warm, loving home to live out the rest of his days in love and comfort. His medical issues have been resolved ~ he will be on medication (supplied by WGSDR) for life. Best as an only dog.
When we saw Onyx posted on the internet, we only saw the above head shot and knew that he needed us. We really weren't set up for an older boy with skin issues, but we kept going back to his picture and knew we were hooked. We asked our Tucson volunteer/adopter/friend, Sara, to go to the shelter and meet him and, within moments of their meeting, she called and said, "He's ours." Apparently Onyx had met Sara and immediately given her a kiss. We think he knew why Sara was there, and he was asking for help.

The shelter described Onyx as a " well-mannered gentleman" that "enjoys petting," is "affectionate, easy to handle and walk."

We asked Sara to try and get some initial photos of Onyx, and when we received them, we were shocked. We were simply not prepared for what the photos revealed. If ever there was a picture of neglect, this is it:

We were speechless, but knew we had done the right thing in agreeing to take him. We can only imagine what this sweet boy has suffered ... but that ends NOW.

Onyx will be making is way to us on Monday, and will take up temporary residence with one of our staff members. He will be seeing our vet ASAP so that we can get him on the right track. We're definitely looking forward to posting his "after" photos, that's for certain.

Onyx has a long road to hoe before he can begin the search for his forever family. If you'd like to help him along the way:

Click to help Onyx via Paypal:


Checks made payable to WGSDR may be mailed to:

White GSD Rescue
2807 W Michelle Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85053-1732
(No dogs at this location; mailing address only)


If you would like a tax receipt for your donation, your donation must be processed through CABRA (Coalition of All Breed Rescue of Arizona), a 501c3 to which we belong as a participating member rescue. You can send your payment to CABRA in one of 2 ways:

  • Check: Please make your check payable to "C.A.B.R.A." and mail to:

    c/o Bill Ferrell, Treasurer
    116 Pioneer Street
    Gilbert, AZ 85233
    Note on the check "For the benefit of White GSD Rescue (Onyx)"


  • Paypal or credit card: Please visit CABRA's website and click on the "Donate" button on the first page. PLEASE BE SURE YOU DESIGNATE YOUR DONATION TO GO TO "WHITE GSD RESCUE" and the dog's name ("Onyx") that you are donating for once you are logged into PayPal. Please note: If you use a credit card, Paypal will take a percentage of your donation and we will not receive the full amount.
Sara A
Christina D
  Suparna D
Marlene A
  Claudia M
Mike & Dianna C
  Cali & Caduceus B
Tom Z

To all of Onyx's generous supporters, we are eternally grateful...


UPDATE 9/21: One of our staff members traveled to Casa Grande to meet Sara and Onyx this evening. He is, as described, a sweet and gentle soul that wants nothing more than your love and affection. As of this writing, he is resting comfortably in his temporary foster home, with chicken and rice cooking on the stove. He has an appointment with our vet tomorrow morning. His road to forever has begun. He will never again be picked up as a stray by the county "dog catcher," and suffer the indignity of waiting in vain at a shelter for his family to show up and claim him.

UPDATE 9/22: Onyx saw our vet today and to say he captivated everyone in the office is an understatement. Eating is definitely not his problem as he weighed in at a somewhat overweight 86 pounds. Our vet thought his teeth looked good and put him at somewhere between 5 and 6. You could see where his hair was trying to regrow in spots. Other spots, like his underbelly, were completely devoid of hair. What's going on? Our vet suspects that this is not a case of simple allergies.

The weigh-in with Amanda

Candace wanted to meet him

Doc starts his exam

Moral support from Candace

Skin scrapings HURT!

And finally an ear check

Our vet did deep skin scrapings in 4 areas on Onyx to check for mites -- negative!! We also repeated his bloodwork (a full panel this time) to rule out thyroid disease (which our vet suspects, rather than allergies because he's not scratching himself) and any other underlying conditions. We should have the bloodwork results in a day or two and, in the meantime, Onyx is going to be given the best care we can provide.

UPDATE 9/23: The initial results are in and Onyx's thyroid count is so low it didn't even register when his bloodwork was run by the lab, which completely explains his hair loss and (over)weight. We're going to start him on a thyroid supplement immediately. He is still slightly anemic, but his numbers are higher than they were at the shelter, so they're heading in the right direction. He's eating well and seems to be settling in at his temporary foster home. There are still further results to come in, which we should have by the end of the week, but we're hoping that this will get Onyx on the fast track to healthy. We have discovered that he is very touchy about where he is touched, so you have to proceed with caution. He just has so many places that he's sore, it's tough to know where you can pet him without hurting him.

ADDITIONAL BLOODWORK RESULTS: Onyx's bloodwork was normal. No tick or valley fever.

UPDATE 9/24: Thanks to our wonderful fosters, Dave and Jackie, Onyx will be moving to Globe this weekend. He will rest and recuperate as an only dog and be afforded a lot more freedom than he currently has in his current multi-dog foster home. Onyx will need to have his thyroid monitored to make sure he's on the proper dosage.

UPDATE 9/26: We took Onyx to his new foster home today with Dave and Jackie. He will be given free roam of the house, walks if he wants and as much love as he can handle. Onyx will be returned to Phoenix in about 30 days to have his thyroid levels rechecked.

Dave and Jackie put out the welcome mat for their 7th WGSDR foster furkid

He wasted no time at all in making himself at home ~ we think he definitely looks happier already

Onyx thanks Michael, who brought Onyx to our attention

Dave checks in on his new charge

FIRST FOSTER UPDATE: "Onyx went to empty his bladder out back as you were leaving. He's more carefully explored the yard and house. He is now gnawing half heartedly on a rawhide bone. He's alert, but not excessively stressed. No worries. He's fine."

FOSTER UPDATE 9/27: "Morning update. He went out just before bed and did both jobs, came back in, then slept all night. He didn't eat last night's dinner and only ate his wet food this morning. He dug 2 of his pills out and left them in the bowl, so I wrapped them in cheese and got them all down. I put down some more wet and dry food mixed together for him. He refused at first but did nibble a bit later. I will use cheese on his pills until he eats better. I figure the meds are more important at this time than eating well."

FOSTER UPDATE 9/28: "Onyx has been with us for 48 hours and I think his eyes are brighter. He sleeps a lot, but when awake he has been intent on exploring his new environment, inside and out. He has also taken the lead on getting us trained. I was very cautious about petting him with his sensitive skin, but he taught me where to pet him and then pushed my hand into the arm of the chair so I knew how much pressure he preferred.

Onyx has been very interested in the sculpture I'm working on. Some would say it is the smell of the wet clay, but I choose to believe he is a fine art enthusiast. We've moved furniture to force our AC to blow up[ward]. Onyx was showing signs of distress every time it came on. I think the cold air blowing on his hairless skin was uncomfortable. Whether stress over a new environment, adapting to his new meds, lack of activity or a combination of things Onyx wouldn't eat for the first 24 hours, not even treats. Fortunately he took his meds like a champ. He ate some of his breakfast so we just need to be patient."

FOSTER UPDATE 9/29: "The air in the new AC comes out at 59 degrees. No sane being is comfortable with a 20 degree drop, especially one who lost his fur coat. We need to do something more permanent before next summer. In the meantime Onyx and I are both happier with my pillow blockage configuration. ... Onyx is having a good morning...eating, Investigating, snuggling ...."

FOSTER UPDATE 10/2: "I know you are anxious to hear how Onyx is doing. My take is that he is better, but it is baby steps. He is more alert and more active. Some days he has paid for a really good day the next day by moving more carefully. He wants something every night after dinner. I'm wondering if he's used to a walk. We haven't tried it because I don't want to carry him back. I just don't think he's strong enough yet."

FOSTER UPDATE 10/3: "Onyx and I took a mini stroll, just the distance of Groves house and back. We'll see how well he moves tomorrow."

FOSTER UPDATE 10/4: "Onyx is having a good morning. He's moving well with no ill effects from our mini walk yesterday. He's so much better. At first if he moved much one day he was fragile the next."

UPDATE 10/14: Onyx is already showing improvement!


Before - October 2nd (left) / After October 22nd (right)

UPDATE 10/23: Our thanks to Michael and Bob who brought Onyx to Phoenix this morning for his one-month checkup at the vet. We are awaiting the bloodwork results, but if his appearance tells us anything, he's definitely on the right track.


Onyx has gained about 3 pounds and is up to 89, so we've sent instructions for Jackie and Dave to slow down a little on his food intake since more weight is not a good thing.

Foster Mom Jackie reports that Onyx ate his dinner when he got back from Phoenix and crashed. It's been a long day for this boy, that's for sure.

UPDATE 10/26: The results of Onyx' recent bloodwork are in. He's still just a bit low in his thyroid level, so our vet is going to increase the dosage slightly starting with his next refill. In the meantime, he's doing and looking very well thanks to his wonderful foster folks, Jackie and Dave.

FOSTER UPDATE 10/4: "We had the yard dug up for repair to our septic system and Onyx is loving the soft dirt. This is after his morning walk.

He still has serious issues with being petted or touched on his back and he sits very carefully. He's eating about 2 cups of kibble a day and 2 chicken jerky treats with his other supplements. He's content with that right now.

He's something of a dictator about his routine and has a great sense of time. He gets very vocal about 11:30 for his glucosamine treat and at 4:00 for dinner."

FOSTER UPDATE 11/18: "You now how sometimes you know something is off, but don't know what it is until it's fixed? I felt something missing with Onyx, but didn't know what. The last 2 days he's wagged his tail more than he has the whole time he's been with us. That is what was missing."

UPDATE 11/26: Onyx had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Soaking up the attention

How does a fella get a seat at the table?

Good boy

Pumpkin Pie? Yes, please!

Is this self-serve?

UPDATE 11/28 FROM MICHAEL: "We elected to take Onyx to the park for a play session with Biscuit this afternoon (verses his afternoon walk). He needed help into the car, but jumped out of the car with no problem. His initial meeting with Biscuit was not a problem; they wanted to play and they engaged in a little chasing, bouncing and running. He was very active and animated and initiated play with Biscuit. They eventually broke up to sniff and explore the park. Onyx would get a little vocal when any of us would pet Biscuit. Nothing serious, not at all aggressive, more like 'Hey! I'm over here! Pet ME!' He rode home with me in my car and leaned against me for pets all the way.

Onyx and Michael

Biscuit, David T, Onyx and Bob

Hard to tell Biscuit and Onyx apart now
(Onyx is at right)

He is a little less touchy about where you pet him. He readily accepts pets down to his rib cage, but gets a little vocal any father south. I'm sure you can tell from the photos that all his hair has grown in and he is very handsome!

Dave and Jackie stayed home. Bob & I and our friend David Torgerson (one of my dog sitters) went to the park."

UPDATE 11/28 FROM BOB: "We put the two boys together today to run at the park, and they were great. Onyx was very active. He and Biscuit growled at each other a few times, especially when Biscuit was guarding a ball he found, but it was just posturing, not really what I would call aggression. I think Onyx will be fine around other dogs as long as they don't get out of hand. For some reason I can't attach pictures to this message, so I will send them separately."

Onyx (at left) and Biscuit

UPDATE 12/13 FROM FOSTER MOM JACKIE: "It's past time for an update on Onyx. And it is really all good. I was looking at a photo I took when he came and the fur ball in front of me doesn't look like the same breed, let alone the same dog. His skin is still sensitive, but much better and we watch his hips carefully. Some days are better than others, just like the rest of us. Most days are good. Dave takes him for a short walk in the morning and David, a friend, takes him for a walk every other afternoon. Days David doesn't come, we take him to the park.

Watching Onyx's emotional health has been an education. He could be the poster child for an OCD dog support group. He lets Dave put his coffee on in the morning, smart, then he expects his cheese (meds), Nupro, glucosamine treats, and food in a very specific order.

He knows his tribe and has exhibited jealousy when Dave or David have given attention to Biscuit, a dog you have to love.

He really is a different dog, with far more energy. Sometimes he runs at the park, sometimes he skips. Best of all his tail is still wagging."

FOSTER UPDATE 12/24: "Onyx had a great Christmas with the Sotklas family. He happily greeted everyone at the door with his tail wagging. Then he made the rounds introducing himself to everyone. When he was tired he laid down on his bed in the living room or in the laundry room. He asked to go out when he needed and asked to come in when he was ready."

UPDATE 12/24 FROM MICHAEL: "He was especially happy to see me. He jumped for joy around me and demanded lots of attention."

FOSTER UPDATE 2/4: "Had Onyx at ball park. Couple came by with small dog and let them play to together. He ran and played for quite a while. Was good with small dog."

FOSTER UPDATE 2/28: "Onyx' skin is still very sensitive. He lives his head petted, but we stay clear of his back. Usually the glucosamine treats are all Onyx needs for his hips. On days he's a little more fragile we give him an aspirin wrapped in cheese.

Onyx is a beautiful dog and he's ready for a forever home. He would do well with a playmate. His favorite at our local park is a pocket sized mixed breed who doesn't come up to his knees. He needs a routine, not just for his meds and exercise, but to make him feel safe."

FOSTER UPDATE 3/24: "Dave took Onyx over to the park where they met a family of 5 kids probably 8 and under. Onyx was in heaven. The youngest didn't seem to understand gently and only on the head. He pet Onyx in a way Onyx would not tolerate from an adult and Onyx just kept wagging his tail with a sparkle in his eye."

FOSTER UPDATE 11/22: "Onyx came to us a year ago. He was without hair on much of his body, weak and without spirit. The first words of all who saw him were, 'Oh, you poor thing.' His spirit recovered much faster than his body and 'Oh, you poor thing' became 'Yes, your Lordship.' Despite his shabby coat and limited strength, he projected an air of royalty.

Today Onyx is a gentleman. He has an amazing amount of hair and is a bit portly despite a careful diet. He has his own opinions and is not shy about sharing them.

Onyx's day revolves around his morning walk and an afternoon trip to the park, where he often meets Monster, who is knee high at 8 inches tall. Lucy and Muffin are also frequent playmates. They are hip high to Onyx, but he will follow Lucy's adventures with pine cones and just run with Muffin. Monster, Lucy and Muffin don't seem to realize that Onyx is royalty, but the adults he meets do."

Adoption fee is a freewill donation to WGSDR.

If you are interested in Onyx, please fill out our PROSPECTIVE ADOPTER'S QUESTIONNAIRE. You will be contacted by return email. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours, please Email Nancy at WhiteGSDRescue@AOL.com. This questionnaire link is only for Onyx or other white German Shepherds on our site. WE WILL NOT CONTACT YOU until a questionnaire has been completed.

Please familiarize yourself with our adoption policies by reading ADOPTION BEGINS HERE. THANK YOU.