Question by Bailey Girl: need Sheltie “adoption” advice?
We lost our Sheltie in December. Had her from 10 weeks to 10 years old. She was a beloved member of our family (me, husband, Sheltie).
We’ve overcome the grief enough to start feeling the hole she left. She can never be replaced – I don’t think I’ll ever find a dog so incredible. But we are left with such a void that it’s time for another Sheltie to join the family.
Lately we’ve been looking at adult dogs – there are so many in need of rescue. We came across a juvenile (1 1/2 y.o.) “for sale” that is in an environment that’s unhealthy for a Sheltie. She’s not been physically abused that we can tell. There is an overbearing lab-mix, 3 attention-seeking cats, various caged animals, 2 young kids, a husband who resented her appearance (and completely ignores her), and a daycare run out of the house. She’s skittish, nervous, barking, nipping at heels, wary of strangers… you can imagine.
She will be fine given the proper environment and attention. We could totally do that for her. But I have 2 concerns that I need advice on:
1) By taking her out on a lead, I was finally able to touch her. However, she will not look me in the face. She’s so preoccupied with scanning her environment – constantly looking all around her, orienting to every little sound. But she’s not responsive to her name or any other “attention” noises (like kissing or tongue clicking), so I know there’s a training need right there. But is her eye-contact avoidance just a training thing? Or is it a nervous thing? (I am still a stranger to her – been with her less than 2 hrs total.) Or is it something else altogether, and something I should worry about?
2) I know in my heart that the bond that developed with our last girl started in the puppy years. I LOVE the puppy years! For those of you who have taken in a juvenile or adult dog – will they get just as close? Or will there always be a bit of distance because we missed those puppy years with her?
This is a long post, and I thank anyone who’s gotten through it! ANY ANY ANY experience or knowledge you can pass along is MUCH appreciated!

Best answer:

Answer by junebug
We adopted a 4 yo shih tzu that was rescued by animal control from her previous home. In response to your #2 question…. yes you can bond just as close with an juvenile or adult dog! We have and I don’t think our feelings toward our shih tzu could be any different if we’d raised her from a puppy (we’re crazy about her and I think she is of us too!)

In response to #1, does she respond to other noises? I would be concerned that she has some hearing loss or may be deaf.

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