The good news first: this dog has been adopted, after a Facebook plea spread word of his plight. And a good thing, too, because the pup had been surrendered by his owner to a high-kill shelter. He was picked up on Thursday morning, just under the wire: he was scheduled to be euthanized at 1p.m. that day.
Shetland sheepdogs, so sweet and fluffy, may seem like ideal gifts. And yes, in the right circumstances, they certainly can be. If you’re considering giving a dog as a gift, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Does the recipient really want a dog, and everything that goes with pet ownership? A beautiful dog like a Sheltie can seem very appealing, yet bringing a dog into a household can be almost like bringing in a child. Before giving a dog as a pet, talk to the recipient and make sure they are on-board.
The Shetland sheepdog will require walks, feeding, grooming and vet care, and can easily live to be 16 years old. This intelligent breed thrives on training, and loves to spend time with its family. Is the recipient able to provide all this?
Another question to ask is whether the recipient will have this ability in the foreseeable future. An older teen may love getting a Sheltie, and may take excellent care of her pet, but what will happen to the dog if she goes off to college? Are the teen’s parents willing to provide a home at this time?
When giving the gift of a dog, it’s also important to think of the timing of the gift. Ideally, the recipient should have extra time to spend with the Sheltie when the dog first comes home. This is especially true when talking about puppies, as they will need plenty of potty breaks until they become physically mature enough to have bladder control.
It’s also nice if the new owners have extra time to help the dog get used to the family’s routine. Time for exercise and training can also make the difference between a well-behaved and happy dog, and a neurotic, destructive one. Many people like to choose their own dogs, so if that is the case, consider providing a “gift certificate” that you make up that allows the recipient to meet the dog before making a lifelong commitment.
The joys of living with Shetland Sheepdogs can be both strange and simple. One of the things I love so much about the breed is their abundant fur. I love the luxurious feeling of running my fingers though Sasha’s sable coat, and caressing the top of her head with my face, feeling her ears flicking against my cheek. When you have a Sheltie, even with minimal grooming, you’ll always be able to drink in the sight, and feel, of beauty.
Shetland sheepdogs usually have loyal hearts, and they love their families like no other. You can be gone for two minutes, two hours or two weeks, and you’ll get a joyous greeting when you return, making you wish that you never need to leave again.
If you live where the weather gets wintry, you can start enjoying the cool nights when you have a Sheltie or two as foot warmers. They are the perfect size; large enough to be warm, yet small enough that they can fit on the bed with you. And you might even get some sweet and gentle Sheltie kisses when you awake.
The simple act of walking becomes more interesting when you experience it through the eyes, (or should that be nose?) of your Shetland sheepdog. Watch your Sheltie sniff the ground and imagine what wild animals she may be scenting.
Even housework can become a new experience, if your Sheltie likes to herd the vacuum cleaner as mine do. I whisk it around the room, and they circle around the vacuum’s head, occasionally dashing in to take a nip at that noisy beast.
So simple, and yes, strange, but Shelties can bring joy to your life in many ways.
As I was still asleep, early Sunday morning, I heard one of my Shelties pawing in her crate. I scolded her, “Stop it, Maddie!” But the pawing got worse, and it started to sound like she was flopping her body in her crate. I was still half-asleep, but it eventually sunk in; something was seriously wrong with Maddie. I turned on the bedside lamp, and saw her lying on her side, her jaws caught in the crate’s wires, her body wracked by convulsions.
My husband ran to get wire cutters and a pliers so we could free her as I kept watch. Before he even returned, Maddie yelped, then she jumped up, freeing herself from the wires, and sat back in her kennel, obviously confused and shaky.
In another few moments, Maddie was able to walk out of her kennel, and she and my husband napped for a couple more hours. I was too shaken by what had happened to go back to sleep.
Naturally, I had to research Shetland Sheepdogs and seizures. The breed is not prone to them, but they do occasionally happen. Seizures might be a symptom of epilepsy, or triggered by low blood sugar, toxins or vaccinations. Some dogs are genetically disposed to them. They seem to occur more frequently in the morning, and I have awakened with a sense of dread since learning that.
It’s possible that this seizure could be a one-time event. I dearly hope it is. It’s painful and frightening to watch a beloved pet in this condition. Have you had a dog who suffered from seizures? If so, where you able to determine a cause, and did you seek treatment?
One of my best friends watches National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer" religiously. She is fascinated by the transformations that host Cesar Millan makes with out-of-control dogs. Every week, she shares with me how an unsocial husky was turned into the perfect family dog.
When I took in my first dog, this friend was the first person to give me advice on how to raise and train my pooch. What's the problem you ask?
She has never owned a dog.Reality television shows are very popular, and they don't seem to be going away. Sure, it's fun to peek into the lives of other people, but that doesn't mean you are an expert on the subject.
If you have never owned a canine companion, then please don't tell me how to become the pack leader. Of course I know that my dog needs to see me as the alpha. Sure, it's best that I'm the leader in my household. However, if you have never tried to train a dog of your own, then you really have no clue how to do it yourself.
When my dog is acting rowdy when I get home from work, I know that I should take her out for a walk. I really don't want a lecture about how her wild behavior is a sign of pent up energy. I know it is, but did you forget that I spent the last eight hours at work? Trust me, she gets plenty of attention once I'm home again.
If my dog begins to chew up all the socks in my laundry room, don't tell me it's because she is bored. My dog has more toys than most toddlers. She just likes the way my socks feel and taste. I make sure to discipline her when I catch her in the act, but that doesn't mean she will instantly stop this behavior.
Yes, I am aware of all the various pet food recalls in the last couple of months. I do appreciate you forwarding them to me, but don't act more educated than me at the pet store. I'm perfectly capable of selecting a healthy and safe food for my pooch.
When and if you finally decide to add a four-legged friend to your house, I may start taking your advice more seriously. You are not the "Dog Whisperer" until you actually work with canines on a daily basis.
My rant is over. I'm going to relax with my dog now.
When we live with dogs, and especially it seems, when we train them for sports, we develop such a bond that our dogs seem to read our minds. I love that feeling of connectedness, and although two of my Shetland Sheepdogs are tottering around the 10 year mark, we still train for agility. We might not run as fast as we did years ago, but assuredly, we run with even greater joy.
I no longer have the aspirations of greatness in the sport of agility that I once did. I had hoped to be one of the areas’ top handlers, and frankly I’m not. I stopped competing several years ago because of lack of time and funds, but we’ve enjoyed training, and we’ve continued to do that.
As we’ve all heard, each day is a gift, and that is brought home to me each training day. When the dogs do well, which is often, I cherish those moments. When they decide to stop and sniff, all I can do is smile, and encourage to come back and finish the course. I realize all too well that this run could be their last.
To accommodate their aging bodies, I set their jump heights to half the height they jumped when they were in their prime. They seem comfortable and happy at this height, and the lower height should extend their careers.
Agility is not only a physical game, it is also a mental game, and in that respect, the two older Shelties are as strong than ever. We run advanced level courses in training, I’m so impressed by how quickly they learn new skills.