Welcome to the
online home of
How did Sheepa get adopted?
Sheepa was on the Save-a-Life Foundation web site (http://www.save-a-life.org/) and a woman called one of the owners of the shelter to have her bring Sheepa down to a local PetCo in Westwood, CA where she was supposed to come and see the poor animal.
Sheepa had already been in the shelter system for 2 years and both his appearance and his demeanor had fallen by the way side. He had ticks & fleas and he hadn't had a bath or a grooming in a lonnnng time. He was already 10 years old or so and ticks had sapped his strength to the point where he just slept most of the day. His attitude had become hardened after living with other dogs and having to have fought for his meals - some of the volunteers really didn't like him because he'd gotten so ornery. The woman never showed up and sadly, Sheepa was kept in a closed kennel away from the rest of the dogs, sleeping quietly.
My wife and I looked at the animals every weekend. I stumbled upon Sheepa who was looking quite pitiful in his kennel in the back. He looked like a sheepdog of sorts and as a result, the folks at the shelter called him, "Sheepa". He was clearly not the "showcase" of the bunch - there were Pomeranians, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. We took him for a walk, pet him, and he just kind of slowly ambled along, looking at the ground, dragging his shaggy dirty fur coat along as he lumbered across the grass. When it was time to go home around 6PM, we put him back into his cage and just as we closed the door of the kennel... he closed the deal on me: He stuck his neck out quickly, gave me a big lick on the cheek, then retracted back into his cage and collapsed back to sleep.
He said, "Thank you."
I walked home with tears in my eyes but by 8PM that night, I turned to my wife who was cooking in the kitchen and said, "Honey - I'm going to go get the sheep dog." She couldn't believe I wanted to get the dog being that we had a 2 bedroom condo, but we went anyway.
How did we adopt Sheepa?
To adopt him we:
(And for the record - for the spay & neuter psychos out there - Sheepa was already fixed day 1. Y'know, certain spay & neuter advocates really need to tone down the rhetoric. It wouldn't hurt for all Animal advocates to take a Sales 101 course and learn how to be positive advocates for their causes, like what Best Friends does, instead of negative crusaders. A word of advice to all of you spay & neutering zero-tolerance crusaders: It does your cause absolutely no good to alienate people.)
That was a year ago. He required a lot of grooming (a full shaving actually), a flea dip, training and patience, and a lot of love. He's very well-housetrained, he doesn't bite, he rarely barks (unless he's gotta "go outside"), and he's a great companion. Not to mention the ladies love him. What a hound.
I characterize only a few things in my life as having been "some of the best moves I've ever made". Going to a major university, getting a job with my current employer, buying property - right before the housing boom, getting married to my wife... these are 4 of the best things I've ever done.
Getting Sheepa is the fifth. We love you, pal.
UPDATE: August 22nd, 2008
We finally did something
that we've been intending on doing for years: We had Sheepa's
DNA tested! That's right - we got a swab and took a DNA sample
by wiping his cheek, and sent it to
http://www.canineheritage.com/ to be analyzed for breed typing
and guess what?
It turns out that Sheepa is a POMERANIAN POODLE (with a bit of labrador retriever)! This of course makes complete sense when you consider that he's always smiling with his tongue hanging out, he's incredibly "licky", and yaps at dogs bigger than him. God bless our beloved Pom-Poodle!
What's Sheepa like?
Sheepa is very soft. Like most shelter dogs, his coat was
horrifically tattered, matted, and dirty. We shaved him
completely to get rid of the old fur and once he got healthy his
fur was as soft as a sheepskin.
Sheepa is old. He's not as young as he looks and is
usually mistaken for being a young pup. For example, he
can't run very fast. It took over 4 months to even see him
"gallop" once. Most of the time he just "walked quickly".
We attribute his lack of speed to his age and what we believe is
an injury to his hind legs from a past incident. He can't
"beg" nor can he jump much at all... he's just generally weak in
his hind legs.
SENSITIVE: Sheepa hates people touching his paws,
particularly his hind paws. Again, we think something
happened in a past life that has made him very sensitive about
his paws. While he lets me handle his paws these days, he
will bite anyone else that attempts to reach for them unless
he's "shaking hands" or "high fiving" someone.
is nearly completely deaf. Sadly, something happened in
his past that has made him very hard of hearing. He's
completely deaf in his right ear we believe and he can hear
somewhat in his left ear. He can hear loud noises like
very loud clapping (which is how we call him) but he can't hear
whistling or voices. All commands issued to him, like sit,
lie down, roll over, shake, etc. are given through sign language
and hand gestures.
Sheepa is fat. Well, sort of. He came to us as
17.5lbs and is now 21lbs. He's got a belly of sorts and
lies around the house like a big living "speedbump".
(Which is his nickname) He really enjoys sleeping on the
carpet which is funny because he's the exact color of the carpet
in our condo. Some days he's a little hard to find because
he "blends in". We get the feeling he thinks it's a lot
more comfortable than the dirt he used to sleep on at the
EYESIGHT: Sheepa can't see very well - his eyes are cloudy.
He can see movement and he can see things close up but very
often he will miss a thrown ball because he didn't see it
actually get thrown. He really has to see the actual
movement of an object to track it down. He doesn't have a
very good sense of smell either making it hard for him to track
down thrown objects like his teddy bear unless he actually sees
Sheepa is VERY affectionate and he's constantly got an
expression on his fact that says, "I've very happy to see you!"
He licks Anne's legs endlessly and will "kiss/lick" on command
if you bend over and point to your cheek. He really likes
people and will roll over on his back to let you rub his belly.
Sheepa, although he loves them, is allergic to Greenies.
For those unfamiliar with Greenies, Greenies are a green dog
chew that is kind of like a big "sucker" for dogs that most dogs
absolutely love. (I've heard it said that when dogs "cross
the rainbow bridge", they go to place where there's an unlimited
quantity of bellyrubs and Greenies.) They're apparently
very tasty however they make Sheepa barf so we can't give him
any. Instead we give him
Dingo Dynostix which are rawhide with chicken inside of
Dynostix can tie him up for 2 hours... it's like giving a
kid a GameBoy.
Sheepa, as you can see in the photos is very expressive.
He smiles, laughs, frowns, makes sad faces, looks sleepy, gets
Sheepa gets grouchy - dare I say it, he cops an attitude
sometimes. He will constantly push the boundaries of what
he is and isn't supposed to do. For example, he knows he's
not supposed to go down the hall to the bedrooms but we catch
him sneaking down there every so often and he runs back when he
sees he's been caught. He then if he gets scolded, he
putters around. Sometimes he'll act out by scratching the
carpet, which he knows he's not supposed to do. Also he'll
snap at you if you think you're there to do anything other than
Sheepa whines. Ohhhhhh boy, does he whine. When he
thinks he's being left alone and he's feeling insecure, he
starts to whine softly but if we're in a foreign place (like if
we're on a trip) and we leave him somewhere just for a moment,
he whines VERY VERY LOUDLY. It's as loud as a bark and as
high pitched as a tire screeching to a halt.
We've discovered (accidentally) that Sheepa likes Japanese sake.
We only give him a tiny dish - it's a soy sauce holder for sushi
actually - with a little sake in it. He laps it up for the
most part but we've noticed that he doesn't like Fuutsushu,
which is generally low brow, poorly crafted sake. He's
more of a "Junmai Ginjoshu" or Junmai Daiginjoshu" dog which are
more refined. Who knew that our dog was a sake snob?
TRICKS: Sheepa knows tricks! He can sit, stay, lie down, shake hands, "high-five", & fetch. Recently, we've taught him to "up", as in put his paws "up" on our knees or on a table on command. His crowd pleaser "party trick" is "roll over" which Mommy taught him using a bucket of chicken nibbles. (Sheepa will do anything for chicken nibbles.)
...more to come...
Sheepa says 'Bye'!
Sheepa thanks you for visiting his web site and hopes you come again soon.