Abby, our nine month old has come into her first “season”. Yes that’s right, while women might say things like “ladies days” or “that time of month”, a female dog….I mean dam…goes into “season”.
This is our virgin experience with a dam entering her first “season”. Zoey, our 12 year old girl was fixed before she had the pleasure of this experience and before that we had male dogs. So this evening when we got the brushes out, prepared for the at least weekly back breaking task of pulling a brush through an Old English Sheepdog’s fur, we were concerned to notice that Abby had some bloody discharge.
Due to our ignorance on the delicate topic of our dog’s “coming of age”, we quickly dialed our breeder’s number and much to our relief, she answered on the second ring. After providing us soothing, reassuring advice that we are not actually terrible pet parents for not knowing what to do for Abby, our conversation turned to breeding, a topic we have been pondering for awhile. (https://sarcoidsoldier.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/to-breed-or-not-to-breed-that-is-the-question/)
Our breeder is an expert on all things Old English Sheepdog. And when I say this, I am not kidding. She has dogs who have won best in breed at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show. She co-owns show dogs all over the country. Breeders like these are very special because their goal, beyond winning, is to keep the breed thriving and healthy.
We’ve never had an interest in showing a dog so our breeder likes us because she needs good loving homes for pups that don’t end up being show quality…the “loser” dogs as we affectionately call them. She prefers to give her dogs, no matter their “station”, to people who already have experience caring for the breed because they are a tremendous amount of work. Owning one is a true labor of love.
Abby came from a litter of 8 pups…five male and three female. We really didn’t care which one we got and fully expected to get a “loser.”
Our goal in getting a second dog was simple…to ease the transition of my one day losing Zoey….something I remain in denial will ever happen! We also thought it would be fun to add a new family member to our little clan.
Last night in our chat with the breeder, she informed us that we actually took home a different dog than the one chosen for us. We were supposed to get a smaller female who was not show quality, one that was specifically temperament tested for a home with an older dog, but the woman who is the primary owner of Abby’s mother, a co-owner with our breeder, gave us the wrong dog!
And much to our surprise, we also learned that Abby was not only the wrong dog for us but was also the pick of the litter. She was supposed to go to a home in New Jersey and become a show dog. What a different life she would have had!
We shouldn’t be surprised though…I mean look at her. She’s beautiful!
She might have been the wrong dog but she was given to the right people and she will have a wonderful life with us. We couldn’t be happier to have her as part of our tribe.