Sassy Sue wows the bark park visitors with her catching and retrieving.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sassy's First Day with the Incorrigibles - Precious and Tresure, Rescue Shelties

Precious is probably Treasure's mother. They are best buddies.

Treasure has perfected the cuteness routine.

We missed Old Precious, a Shetland Sheepdog we bought as a puppy. She died suddenly and left a hole in our lives, even though we had Sackett, a wonderful Australian Cattle Dog.

Precious and Treasure

We looked into buying a new puppy when someone said, "Try a rescue dog instead." We did not realize every breed had a rescue society in Phoenix. We checked out the Sheltie group (Mid Arizona Shetland Sheepdog Club Rescue) and found out about Precious and Treasure.

No one wanted them. The foster caregiver had tried them out in various homes. They were branded "incorrible." They had been taken away from a backyard breeder in Prescott, stuck with the improbably names of Fergie and Pinty.

When they came over to visit, we held them right away and put them on the bed. We already heard they were bed dogs. They were still thin and terribly shy.

We renamed them Precious and Treasure. Precious had the sparkle and tricks (like stealing a bone from Sacky). Treasure had the cuteness, which included tucking herself under Chris' arm while she was beading.

Little by little the Incorrigibles calmed down and learned their canine lessons. Soon we found out they played tag every night at midnight, zooming in and out of the doggie door, snapping in the air at each other and grinning.

They did well with Sassy on the first visit, but they were a bit intimidated by her loud bark and larger size. They had their barkers removed by the breeder, so they only huffed.

Sassy and the Incorrigibles

Sassy's first 24 hours were great for everyone. She wanted to befriend Precious, who had been top dog. Precious was anxious at first, but we got a dog puddle going by the end of the first day, January 2nd. All three dogs were on the bed watching TrueTV with us. Every dog was being petted.

Precious and Treasure get extra attention by lining up for lovies. Treasure lifts her front paw for more petting. As soon as the attention stops, she lifts it again. Sometimes she just nudges it forward. Precious lines up against a leg and has her face stroked repeatedly. If the stroking stops, she pulls forward for more. Since I work at home, she stops at the desk for face stroking and compliments.

They call Shelties love-sponges, but Sassy makes them look like icebergs. She murmurs, whistles (Dingo dog-like), licks, hugs, chews lightly. For those unfamiliar with herding dogs, the nibbling is a greeting and a way to get attention. My elderly aunt said, "Precious is biting me!" when Precious was saying hello with her teeth around my aunt's hand. Sassy has a big German Shepherd head and a formidible mouth, but she has a gentle mouthing touch.

Sometimes we see a petite German Shepherd posing, attentive, with huge ears listening for every noise, a vague Bentley (Cattle Dog mark) on her head. Other times we see a big Cattle Dog, agile, active, ready to chase a ball. Sassy is a perfect combination. Chris likes having a guard dog with a voice.

I thought Chris went out to the garage because I heard the security system say, "Garage door open." I heard Sassy barking in the front. I went out and saw Sassy baying at a father who decided to try out skates - across the street. Sassy thought it was a danger and began her baying.

Some other threats warned by Sassy were:

  1. The steamer. She did not like it at all, but satisfied herself with growling at it.
  2. The overhead fan. I turned that off, and she barked it up and down until the blades stopped. Then she barked some more until I comforted her and told her to cool it.
  3. Outside noises. She lets loose and comes in, threat vanquished.

Old Precious was so smart that she took me outside and pointed (never taught that skill) until I saw the line from her head and tail. She aimed at smoke from a fireplace lit for the cool night in Phoenix. She held that pose until I told her it was alright. She looked at me again to be sure.

No Office Chair Left Vacant

We fixed a bed for Sassy and put her blanket on it. She picked my office chair instead. Sassy put her head on the armrest and looked at me watching TV. She is happy to jump into the chair when I am working, too. She is one big lovable lapdog. I can do some computer work with the mouse alone, so we talk and hug while I do some editing or check out news sites.

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