By Sarah G. O’Brien, National Geographic Society Contributor A little more than two years ago, when a photo of a German shepherd in a barn with its ears matted together went viral, a woman named Jodie Henningsson took it upon herself to raise awareness about the issue.
She’s been sharing the photo and the accompanying story for the past two years, and her story is still the same as it was when it first began.
Henningesons story is that she was a school teacher and mother, who in 2002 was given a $1.6 million grant from the German Shepherd Society of America to study the welfare issues surrounding German Shepherd dogs.
After the dogs were removed from her farm, Henninsons life was suddenly changed.
For her, her life was transformed.
“I just couldn’t take it anymore,” Hennons told National Geographic.
“It made me realize how vulnerable we are, how easily we can fall into the trap of not knowing what we’re doing and what’s going on around us.”
Henningsons experience of the “lost years” in her life started shortly after the dogs became the subject of a controversial documentary film called “The Lad,” which focused on the plight of dogs in German Shepherd shelters in America.
The documentary film, titled “Lost Dogs,” has been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube and has been featured in several magazines, including The New York Times.
Henninsson’s story became part of a growing list of dog owners, activists and veterinarians who have taken action against the “dog-slaughter industry” that is “infiltrating and destroying our community.”HENNINGSSON’S STORY When she was 12, Hensons family moved from Germany to the United States, where she received a full scholarship to attend a prestigious private school, the University of California, Los Angeles.
At the time, she was studying in Germany and was looking forward to the future.
But Hennningsons life in the United Kingdom was not looking so good.
Her parents were leaving her behind in England and, in the fall of 2004, Hausensson’s father moved to Germany, which meant that Hennsons family had to return to Germany.
Hennesons family was then forced to move to the small town of Westfield, England, which has a population of just under 3,000.
The family moved to the area with its only English-speaking neighbor, a German Shepherd who lived with them.
Hennesons parents and grandparents, as well as other family members, were often unable to speak English, so they often went to the nearby village of Horsham to help their elderly mother with the household chores.
“I would be working on the car and she would be on the computer, and we’d go to the church and the supermarket and the grocery store and we would have a really busy day, and I just could not handle it,” Hennes’ grandmother said.
At this point, Henneses father had taken a job as a bus driver and his family was no longer able to feed the dogs.
Henns’ father took Hennssons younger sister, Lachlan, with him, but Lachlin soon began to get ill.
She became so ill that she began to pass out.
Hauss’ mother, also Lachlen, was the only one of the two who was able to keep her awake, so she stayed with her and tried to calm her down.
Hauss father had to go home to his family, so he had to move Hennsen’s parents and sister to their own apartment.
The couple had only recently relocated to the U.K., and Haussen was worried about her younger sister.
With the help of her mother, HENNSON began taking photos of her sister, and Hennson took pictures of Lachlans parents and siblings, which Hennes started posting online.
HENNINGSON IS AN INFORMANT: “When I started posting the pictures, people just started getting really angry,” HENNINSSON said.
“I mean, it was really upsetting, to see people, really angry.”
Henni’s parents had recently returned from Germany, where they had been living for the last year.
Lachls mother was upset because her daughter had just recently begun to gain weight, and she had a lot of worries about her.
After posting the images, the family received death threats, including one from a man who claimed that he had shot Hennies father and killed her.
Henson was terrified.
LACHLANS PARENTS AND SISTER IN THE DARK: “We were just sitting around, waiting for the next attack,” Hensi’s grandmother said of the family.
A couple of weeks after Hennens family received the death threats and the threats against the family,