May 20, 2024



When strangers approach Richard the German Shepherd’s enclosure, they may be initially intimidated by the large German Shepherd running back and forth behind the fence, barking. But it’s worth a second look. As soon as zookeeper Jurgen Nitsch opened the door, the barking turned into happy meows.

German Shepherds are so happy to have a visit that they don’t even know what to do first. He will get his belly scratched, jump around familiar people, or rather cuddle.

“It’s the same with Richard. At first he’s reserved, backing away and, of course, barking. But once he thaws out, he becomes a really whimsical little playmate,” says Nitsch, noting that his protégé’s sudden change of heart explain.

German Shepherd Richard with an unknown history

Nitsch, who is in charge of the dog area at an animal shelter in Cottbus, had known the energetic German shepherd since the beginning of 2023. At the time, Richard came to Cottbus from his friend’s animal shelter in Oberhavel. Zoo keepers know little about their lives before entering an animal shelter. “He was just dropped off without anyone knowing anything about him.”

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One thing is clear: when a German Shepherd comes to Cottbus, he is very shy and scared. “For a while, even we nurses couldn’t reach him. A lot has changed since then.” Richard’s heart melted and he regained his confidence, says Jürgen Nitsch. continues. The animal keepers at Cottbus have given him a lot of training for this. He added, “Especially the commands such as “sit” and “sit.” But he also goes to his house and takes off his clothes if necessary. ”

There is still a lump of energy left in Frausen’s head. “He’s really a jack-of-all-trades. He’s totally cocky and can run around and play all day long. Despite all the excess energy, German Shepherds also have very friendly personalities,” continues Nitsch. Masu. “When thawed out, he definitely wants to please and protect humans.”


Richard is sitting in front of the shed with animal keeper Jürgen Nitsch. With the necessary distance and support from someone he trusts, Richard will also be excited to have strangers in front of his kennel.

Richard is sitting in front of the shed with animal keeper Jürgen Nitsch. With the necessary distance and the support of a trusted person, Richard will also be excited to have a stranger in front of his kennel.
© Photo: Luise Messle

Five-year-old Richard currently spends most of his day alone in his kennel. “Unfortunately, that’s the case. There’s no other way, it’s impossible,” Nicci regrets. Richard doesn’t get along well with other dogs.

This is not ideal for a playful German Shepherd. “It would be best for him to live with a large fenced property and two adults he can work with,” says Nitsch. This includes a lot of exercise for your German Shepherd as well as mental training.

How did Richard the dog get his glasses?

“His new owner will also have to accept the fact that Richard will have to wear glasses,” continues Nitsch. German Shepherds suffer from keratitis, an eye disease specific to this breed.

According to the specialist portal, the exact cause is unknown, but it is thought that the immune system overreacts, causing inflammation in the eyes. If left untreated, this disease can lead to vision loss.

Keratitis: what is it?

The medical term for the eye disease is chronic superficial keratitis or pigmentary keratitis. It is an inflammatory disease of the cornea or conjunctiva that can lead to blindness if left untreated. It is thought that the eye’s immune system overreacts and attacks cells in the cornea and conjunctiva. In principle, all dog breeds can be affected. This disease is especially common in German Shepherd dogs.

This disease cannot be cured, but it is very easy to treat. Nitsch said Richard is being given eye drops for this purpose. “That’s enough. When you sit down, he cuddles up and puts his head on your lap, then you can put the drip in his eye.”

Richard needs glasses because the ultraviolet rays in sunlight can cause flare-ups of inflammation. “The glasses look like ski goggles with UV protection,” he explains. German Shepherds don’t have glasses yet. I’m currently adjusting it to fit my head.

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Once the glasses are ready, Richard should slowly get used to them. Nicci reassures us that German shepherds don’t necessarily have to wear glasses. “You only need to wear glasses when you’re in the sun, such as when walking your dog. “If you’re in the shade, you don’t need them,” says the zookeeper.

From his shady spot in the doghouse, Richard watches with interest what’s going on outside. If Jürgen Nitsch is nearby and maintains the necessary distance, a stranger in front of the kennel is no longer scary for the German Shepherd, but rather interesting.



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