About a week ago, we took in a quartet of Shelties, all related. One was a female named Cassandra and another a male named Sherlock. They were the dam and sire, respectively, of the other two, 5½ month-old puppies Dakota (a smart and precocious boy) and Gypsy Rose (a darling, sweet, and smart-as-a-whip girl).
Cassandra (Cassie) is nine (9) years old — and just had that litter a few months ago! She’s terribly sweet, a bit shy, and very un-confident. We can cuddle and pet her for 10 minutes, stand up and merely turn around, and she shies away like she’s going to get grabbed or hit. She’s sable and white, too skinny, and not exactly conformation material. Right now, her tummy’s a bit upset and she’s having diarrhea, but we think she’ll be OK. However, it’s pretty unlikely that people are going to line up to adopt her at that age.
[photopress:Sherlock_2008_07_1.jpg,full,alignleft]Sherlock is a very small (probably 13″ or 13½”, but we haven’t measured) blue merle, about three (3) years of age, who’s really nice, but cowers when we reach to pet him. He loves attention and jumps up on our legs (which we’re working on with great success), but it’s clear that he’s been handled with less than tender loving care. When he got here, one of his lower canine teeth (can’t recall which side, and I’m too lazy to go check) stuck out at almost a right angle, and the matching upper canine was being displaced as a result. We discovered that he couldn’t even close his mouth all of the way…making eating a difficult proposition! He’s had the mis-pointed tooth pulled and now can eat without pain. He’s going to be pretty easy to adopt because he’s young and healthy and cute.
The puppies are both tri-colors (not unexpected, but it implies that Cassie is tri-factored…I think), growing like weeds, and get into all sorts of mischief. Dakota is at that teething stage where he wants to chew on anything and everything. He is a real charmer, that one. He, too, likes to jump up on our legs, but he’s quickly learning some manners. I’ve been working on “Sit” with him, and he’s picking it up quickly (4 one-minute lessons so far), and I get the impression that he’s going to be very good in obedience or agility if we find the right adopter. He doesn’t mind cuddling for a few minutes, but has always got other things on his mind. He does give kisses, but sporadically.
Gypsy is just as charming as her brother, but she expresses things a little differently. She’s intensely curious about everything, but hasn’t started chewing inappropriate stuff (yet!). She doesn’t jump up on our legs and was a little shy at first about coming to us when we called her. But she loves to come to us now and often half-rolls over for a tummy rub when she gets there. She adores being cuddled and gives tiny little kisses. I haven’t started teaching her any commands, but it’s time to get moving on that front before they get any older.
When we got the call from the owners who wanted to release them to us, it was clear that this was a dumping operation. They’d clearly bred Sherlock and poor Cassie “because we can sell the puppies and make money”. Surprise! Nobody wanted to buy the puppies (well, that was a bit of a surprise, since they’re cute as the dickens) and nobody would even take Sherlock for free! Unfortunately, when they dropped these four off, they showed us the third littermate that they were keeping, a cute but shy tri-color girl (also named Cassie!) whom they intend to breed in the future! Argh!!! There’s the next generation that they’ll be dumping on our doorstep!