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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Treasure the Rescue Sheltie

Photo by Norma Boeckler

We adopted Treasure and Precious from the Sheltie Rescue group in Phoenix. We only wanted one dog, but both Shelties were together since being taken from a backyard breeder in Tucson. No one knew for sure, but they thought the two were mother and daughter.

Both were extremely shy and remain jittery. They do not like being out in the public. Their foster mother said, "They are bed dogs."

Treasure has a cute, funny personality, so we are glad we gave her a new life when no one wanted either dog. More than one family called them "incorrigible," probably for their off-and-on housebroken status.

Treasure has several tricks that animate her unique qualities. Early on I urged her on the bed by commanding her. "Get on that bed, right now." She always broke into a big Sheltie grin when she jumped up, so I wondered if she would learn a new one.

Chris taught her to do "paw-paw" when she wanted to be petted. If we say "Paw-paw," she sticks a paw out for petting. She learned quickly and began using that to make us laugh. Sometimes she raises a paw in a stiff military salute. At other times she sweeps it in the air, using one front leg or the other. Another trick is to move one paw just a millimeter, to ask for more attention. She grins with each gesture, so we laugh with her a lot.

Shelties often win agility trials. Treasure showed off that trait when she learned to jump on the bed while Chris was making jewelry. Treasure was able to jump up and walk among the bead containers without disturbing anything.

Treasure follows Chris everywhere in the house, night and day. Treasure is tiny but has an abundance of beautiful black hair, perhaps more than most Shelties. She shimmers as that coat bounces up and down, following Chris around the house.

Sassy is the big dog and likes to be in charge. Treasure does not want Sassy touching her, although Sassy likes to throw her rear leg over us or the Shelties to keep track of her flock. Treasure responds to this by curling her upper lip and showing red gums and white teeth. She can huff but not bark. Sassy acts dumb about all this. She simply gets up and adjusts her position, making sure no other dog is left on the bed when she settles down again.

However, when Treasure jumps on the bed and Sassy is already comfortable and in position, Treasure walks across her fur-sister with a big smile on her face. Sassy's lightest touch is a canine felony, but Treasure can step on Sassy while grinning. That is entertaining to watch.

Treasure loves eggs and grilled chicken. Our friend's Uncle Roy asked, "He scrambles eggs...for the dogs?" Yes, and I also grill chicken for us and the dogs.

They have studied my habits carefully. The dogs know the first step in grilling and immediately begin to supervise, stopping by on the deck to make sure I am getting the fire going. When the aromas begin, their attention goes up several more notches. During that first food break, their eyes are wide with anticipation.

As Luther said, dogs always expect the best from their owners (so we should expect the best from God). An owner can say "No" to a dog a dozen times in a row and that dog never stops assuming that a "Yes" is coming soon. They wait with puppy smiles. They love our glass table, because they can look up through the glass at us while we eat, their starving orphan dog look or loving puppy look aimed at our tender conscience.

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