As Halloween approaches, I am sadly reminded that we no longer have our live-in, year-round Halloween decoration – our black cat, Maui. We lost Maui to the highway last fall, and we were devastated. He was the smartest, most personable cat I’ve ever owned. Honestly, I thought he was too smart to cross the road …

The kids wanted another pet, but my husband and I knew no cat could replace Maui. So, in our grief, we went a little overboard and acquired a GERMAN SHEPHERD.

I swear, when we brought her home, I got nervous. I looked at those markings, those ears, the shape of that head – and I felt like Little Red Riding Hood. “What big teeth you have, Sorcia …”

We’d never owned a dog before, and I admit to making some rookie mistakes. I quickly learned not to talk while the dog was licking my face, unless I wanted a French kiss. And although Sorcia loves chasing a red dot from a laser pointer as much as Maui ever did, an 80 lb dog crashing around the house produces a lot more destruction than a 10 lb cat.

When we first got her, she spent her early days trying to “herd” us all into one room and keep us there by lying across the doorway. She’s gotten better about that now, but she’s still very protective. The one time my husband went out to the hot tub without me, Sorcia barked and whined at him continuously, her feet up on the side of the hot tub, staring worriedly down into the water where I usually sit. Sorcia clearly thought that Bob had carelessly let me slide under the water and drown. He had to bring her back inside to show her I was safe (writing on my laptop, of course).

With Sorcia at my side, door-to-door salesmen don’t stay long. I’m pretty sure she would just put her paws on their shoulders and lick their faces if I let her go – but they don’t know that.

And one of the more amusing things about Sorcia is her guilty little secret … Her favorite flavor of dog food is … wait for it … LAMB.

I’m pretty sure German Shepherds aren’t supposed to eat the sheep. But I guess all that baa-baa-baa can get on your nerves after awhile, and the temptation might just become too much!

Sorcia says: “Is it dinner time yet?”