Of all my medical issues, the one that scares me the most is vasovagal syncope. Mine is near syncope as I haven’t actually passed out. But boy do I come close! And it’s a scary feeling. Especially when I’m not sure if this will be the time I actually do pass out. And it’s the only medical issue that made me think that I needed some kind of plan put into place in case I actually did pass out. If that happened, I would need help immediately, especially if I hit my head or hurt myself and couldn’t move. Didn’t take me long to decide that I needed a dog who could be trained to assist me in a time of need.
I started researching what dog breeds would be best for training. I also had to make sure the dog would not be over 40 pounds as an adult. I finally settled on a Shetland Sheepdog as they are extremely intelligent, being one of the top 10 smartest breeds. I also had a soft spot for these dogs as they always reminded me of a loving collie named Misty that I had when I was a child. And they were right within weight restrictions.
But where would I find a Shetland Sheepdog? I had only seen one in about twenty years! So my search began…..
The first place I looked were animal shelters in my area. Even if I hadn’t set my sights on a Sheltie, there were not any dogs that were under the weight limit I was allowed.
For some reason the Sheltie rescue that I kept calling and emailing never got back to me.
I found a few breeders but none of them had puppies or would have puppies any time soon.
Then my neighbor told me about a pet store a few towns over where she had just purchased her puppy. I told her I really didn’t want to buy from a pet store. But as weeks went by I decided to at least check out this puppy store. What would it hurt to just look? What were the chances of a Shetland Sheepdog being right down the street from me when I had been looking all over for one?
Here I was opening the door to a place that I had mixed emotions about visiting. I hadn’t been in a pet store in maybe twenty or so years. Last time I was in one the puppies were either in a window display or in metal cages. I always thought the metal cages were cruel but not as cruel as the small concrete-like boxes that these poor puppies were in. If a puppy wasn’t tall enough it was spending their days and nights just looking at a wall! I approached a woman and asked her why the pups were being kept in crates like this. She told me that it was better for them as they couldn’t see each other or what was going on around them. That it cut down on their anxiety!
As I was standing there not believing what I was seeing I hear barking. I turned and saw two Shetland Sheepdogs who were big enough to look over the top of these terrible boxes. They were the only dogs I could see from where I was. As I made my way toward them, I looked in every box. The boxes were clean and the dogs looked well kept. But I just didn’t believe that being in these types of boxes was good for them. I am thinking that it’s the people who run this place that just don’t want to be bothered dealing with puppies who might want to play with each other!
So now I am standing in front of the Shetland Sheepdogs. I ask how old they are and I am told almost 4 months. I notice that one is sitting quietly, just looking at me and the other is going crazy. Jumping around, tail wagging a mile a minute and barking. So I reach in to pat them only to be yelled at not to touch the puppies. I pull my hand back but the excited puppy grabs on to the scrunchie I had on my hand and won’t let go. I’m laughing while trying to get my hand (well scrunchie) back while this woman is staring at me like I just did something terribly wrong.
I left the store empty handed for a few reasons. I really didn’t plan on buying a puppy from this place and after visiting it I really didn’t want to. And I would have felt bad taking one Sheltie and leaving the other to be all alone in that situation.
Over the next week I often found myself checking out the website of this pet store to see if that “overly excited” sheltie was still there. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Maybe her grabbing my scrunchie was a sign. Maybe she had picked me?
When I checked out the website and saw only one left I quickly called the place to ask if the male or female was still available. When I heard “female” I knew I had to go get her.
On September 13, 2018 I left that pet store with a four month old overly excited yet very scared Shetland Sheepdog who had just spent the beginning of her life in a box!
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I understand your scare for using a pet shop to find a puppy. Many of the puppies are coming from puppy mills/factories and no story are told about the puppy. They can be a huge job to make calm and trust feeling.
Yes, my heart goes out to those poor dogs in puppy mills. Don’t know how a person could be so cruel. Misty has a lot of anxiety. We’re working with her.
Congratulations on finding your fur-baby. I hope you will be happy and I adore the Shetland Sheepdog, very intelligent what you need to help look after you. Keep you in order.
Thank you. She certainly keeps me on my toes.
Socialize that little girl like crazy. If she’s fearful, it’s even more important because it sounds as if it was a puppy mill store. Good luck with your new baby.
The poor pup has noise and separation anxiety. Have been working on these. She gets socialized a lot. She’s now going to doggie day care two times a week. I have been told she is doing well and has a pug friend…LOL
That’s awesome. These poor puppy mill dogs-Elsa is one-and they try so hard being normal.
It’s a sad way for a pup to start out in life. A few months ago I heard on the radio that Massachusetts had proposed a bill that would stop pet shops here from selling dogs from puppy mills. Not sure how that bill is going, but I think this would be great and would probably put pet shops out of business. From what I have been told reputable breeders do not have their puppies sold in pet stores.
No, reputable breeders do not sell in pet shops. They want future owners to see how the puppies live and to be able to check out the parents. Shutting down puppy mills hits a raw spot in me. Elsa lived in a cage the first 4 years of her life and had little contact with anyone other than the male dog that bred her over and over again. It’s probably the same that happened to her mom and why she has epilepsy.
The stories and pictures I have heard about puppy mills just make me sick! Sorry that Elsa had to start out her life that way. But now she is with you, safe and loved.
Hi Cheryl! Loved what you wrote. BTW, I have two friends with the same birthday as yours. 🙂
This is going to be wonderful. Shelties are awesome! You did a great thing for giving that puppy a good home. She will love you to pieces! A wonderful story. Thank you.