I get asked a lot why I have this breed and what drew me to them. The easy answer is my husband. He had one when we met. His name was Bailey (the dog…not my husband) and I might have fallen in love with him before I did my husband.
By the time Bailey died, my husband and I were married. I had the honor of living with Bailey for several years before his death. When he died, the house, as often becomes when a beloved pet leaves, was eerily quiet. And we did what people do…debated if we should get another dog and if so when and what kind.
My husband felt like we should get a mutt from a shelter. I understood his point but I could not get Bailey’s personality out of my head or my heart.
So, I did what I do…research. I had not been a dog person growing up. Bailey was my first dog and my husband had him well trained by the time I met him. I hadn’t realized there were so many breeds or so many different breed characteristics. But every time I thought about getting a different breed, I felt like something wouldn’t be quite right for us.
Eventually when time eased the wounds of losing Bailey, we contacted a reputable OES breeder. Fortunately she lived near us because good OES breeders are hard to find. So, we went to see her. She had six….yes that’s right, six Old English Sheepdogs at the time and all of them were currently or had been show dogs. She interviewed us as if we were adopting one of her children. She watched how we interacted with her dogs with a careful eye. Much to our relief, she put us on the wait list for a puppy.
Not long after that, Zoey entered our lives.
When I got sick with sarcoidosis and had to quit work, Zoey and I found ourselves joined at the hip. We did everything together and she was so happy to finally have someone home with her all day. She rescued me from a dark time in the early days of my diagnosis. She gave me purpose and a reason to keep moving.
But then my husband realized that at 11 years of age, Zoey was getting old and I would likely be devastated when she died. This was when he decided that we needed another dog now!
Abby enters the picture in 2014.
Now the three of us do everything together and I’ve been saved again.
I love Old English Sheepdogs because they are all about their families. They are smart dogs. They are incredibly loyal and they are hilariously funny. They are loving and sweet and on a bad day, there is nothing like hug from an Old English Sheepdog. It’s truly enough to turn your day around.
Yes, they are a lot of work. Keeping their coat mat free and clean is a daily chore and sometimes the grooming is back breaking. It’s a labor of love.
Sure, I spend a lot of time cleaning and sure, my vacuum has been to the shop for repairs a few times because of daily rug cleaning. And, yes I have a lint brush at the ready every time I leave my house. But these are small hardships in comparison to the love my girls give so freely.
They love everyone they meet and no one is a stranger to my dogs. They make instant friends everywhere they go!
So, why Old English Sheepdogs you ask? Because they are the closet thing to heaven on Earth. They are as near to perfection as a dog will ever be.