Posted by: Susan | May 22, 2008

The Best Shaggy Dog Story


Only one of our three dogs is a purebred, our Old English Sheepdog.  Like most purebreds, Sheepies have their idiosyncrasies, and so I belong to an on-line group of Sheepdog owners and lovers.  People from literally all over the world share all kinds of things in the forum, some deeply personal, as this is a true community.  And I have learned many things – from how to groom, feed and train the dog to how to give doggie CPR, induce vomiting, and what to do when the dog eats glass.  (Sheepies are notoriously mischievous and are able to reach lots of things with which to make mischief because they are BIG!)  But the best thing I have learned (well not really, I already knew it) is just what awesome people dog lovers are.  Case in point —

On Tuesday evening, a sailor named Stephen posted a plea for help for his dog.  Stephen is in Maryland and his dog, Arthur, is in Minnesota where Stephen’s sister had agreed to care for him while Stephen completes his sea duty.  But Stephen just learned that Arthur had some problems adjusting (Sheepies are very, very attached to their uprights), and the sister kicked him out of the house and into a goat pen over a month ago.  Stephen’s mother, who lives in an assisted-living facility, was unable to take Arthur herself and alerted Stephen that the dog was in trouble and not being properly cared for.   Stephen is going to Guam in the fall and was unable to get an immediate leave from the Navy to go get Arthur, so he asked a bunch of complete strangers for help.

Within less than an hour, a woman who lived nearby offered to help.  Wednesday afternoon, Christina drove to meet Stephen’s mother, picked up the dog, and happily took him into her home already filled with dogs, cats, and kids.  She said he was dirty and matted, full of ticks, and emaciated, but “a joy to be around.”  By Wednesday night, he’d had a bath, a good meal, a bunch of ticks removed, and was sleeping happily with Christina’s daughter.  And there he’s welcome to stay just as long as he needs to.  I’m sure the rest of Arthur’s story will be a good one and will be followed eagerly by the forum members.  And I’m just as sure how grateful Stephen is to a person he’s never met who dropped everything to help a dog in need.

This story is not unusual on this forum.  Reports are posted almost daily of dogs being advertised on Petfinder, Craigslist and elsewhere, and there are often sad stories of neglected and abused dogs.  They don’t have to be Sheepies to get our attention, and within hours people are jumping through hoops to get the dogs out of kill shelters and other bad situations and into new, loving homes.  Some of the stories are so heartbreaking, I can’t even bear to read them, but there is always someone willing and eager to lend a hand and even money to help our best friends.  This is truly an awesome group of people.  There’s a link to the group over on the right if you’d care to check it out.  Lots of people check in for advice and recommendations for their dogs, regardless of breed.

I can’t help thinking that if your car broke down on the freeway and you needed help, you could sit for days before anyone would stop.  But dog lovers + internet = problem solved in lightning speed!



  1. Susan, what a great story!

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