I adopted Sashi in December 2001 from Shetland Sheepdog Placement Services of New Jersey (Aneita Frey). She had been turned over to an all-breed shelter because her original family couldn't deal with her "excessive herding instinct". Thankfully, SSPSNJ took Sashi from the shelter and kept her safe while interviewing applicants for her "forever home". Shelties were bred in the Shetland Islands [north of Scotland] to herd sheep. They make a wonderful companion dog ~ funny, loving, full of zest ~ and extremely intelligent !! They love to please their owners and are easily trained in obedience, herding, agility, and nose work. Because of their breeding, they are very vocal (barky) and are hard-wired to chase anything that moves (running children, joggers, bikes, of course sheep and, unfortunately, cars). Obedience training can help them control these urges when directed at less desirable objects.
In Sashi's case, her first 2-1/2 years of life weren't happy. She had never been socialized as a puppy or exposed to much of anything that could be considered positive. She came home with me as a terrified bundle of fur ~ wouldn't let me near her for petting or cuddling. I soon realized that she didn't know how to play or go up/down stairs, was terrified of trashcans and other objects on the sidewalk, even decorative flags flapping in the wind would cause her to bark and cringe. Anything she considered new or strange in the house would send her running to the safety of whatever she could hide behind. It was very stressful to walk her because she'd lunge and bark at people, animals, and cars. She was extremely afraid of being petted by anyone she doesn't know REALLY well.... backing away from the 'open palm' even when approached slowly, down on her level and with a treat. This is the result of being hit during her 'previous life'.
Time, patience, training, and most of all love helped her conquer a number of these problems. We did a number of classes at Wonderdogs in Marlton NJ and Allens Kennels in Moorestown NJ. Sashi came a long way in her first 18 months ... learning to trust, gaining the self confidence to try new things. It can take 2+ yrs to rehabilitate a rescue dog, depending on the degree of physical and/or emotional trauma they've gone through. And my little angel had more than her share.
Please ~ Do research on a breed before buying that cute little ball of fluff. Know what to expect in terms of temperament, energy level, size, amount of coat care for any breed you select. Sashi's first family didn't like her "excessive herding instinct". That's like getting upset with your golden retriever for retrieving ... or your blood hound for following a scent !!
.... and PLEASE don't buy your puppy from a pet store .... they come from "puppy mills". For information on what a "puppy mill" is all about, go toLucy Blue's page .
For information on sheltie personality traits, click on the sidebar link ~ Is A Sheltie For You?
Our 1st Christmas, 2001
Rainy Day ... The Princess doesn't like to get wet
Indoor agility lessons
our backyard agility course
Summer 2002 ~ looking happy and confident !!
summer 2002 ~ Visiting mom at work ~ lots of fun ~ LOTS of cookies
As you can see from the various photos, Sashi puts up with a lot from her mom .... dressing up for each holiday goes with the territory when you are just SO CUTE !!! Aside from learning to sit/stay for the camera, Sashi also became more confident as she was exposed to new situations. What would send her into an anxious barking frenzy the winter of 2002, for example, might cause a raised/stiffened tail ~ but nothing more by the time September rolled around. It was a slow, sometimes painstaking process ~ and other times it would seem that she'd leaped ahead to a new level of maturity.
Attending the rescue picnic in late September 2003 was an amazing experience. The terrified/untrained sheltie of December 2001 won 2nd place in a Sit-Stay contest that started with over 25 dogs !! The barking/lunging maniac of winter/spring 2002 was able to tolerate a venue with 60+ people and probably over 100 shelties.
Were there times that it was so frustrating that her mom would be on the phone with Sheltie Rescue begging for advice ? Absolutely !!!!!
Knowing what she knows "now", would Sashi's mom still have adopted her vs. an "easier" dog? In a heartbeat !!!
Has it been worth the effort, the dollars spent for one-on-one, as well as group obedience lessons? Totally !!!
Is her mom proud of Princess Sashi ~ you bet !!
This is what it means to adopt a rescue ..... patience, commitment, and most of all .... LOVE.
So, before you consider buying a fresh, brand new puppy that is guaranteed a home .... please ~ consider a rescue :)
St. Patrick's Day 2003
July 4, 2003
Our 1st Sheltie Rescue Picnic
Sashi a.k.a. THE Princess [and don't you be furgetting it]
Has 'hosted' a number of fosters since February 2003. She adopted Buddy in January 2004 to be her forever brother.