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Living With A Sheltie

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There’s never a dull moment when you’re living with a Sheltie.

Bailey has been a member of our family for almost a year and I have to say that life with her can be pretty darn fun. However, there are those days where she makes me want to pull my hair out by the root, and slam my head into the wall because of some of her quirky Sheltie traits, all while wondering why I brought this tiny (sometimes) demon-possessed pup into our home.

My Inner Child Is Crying Tears Of Joy

Whenever I do get to the point where I want to pull my hair out and slam my head into the wall, I just stop and think about my inner child and how happy she would be.

My 5-year-old self would be so happy to know that one day I wouldn’t just have a dog, I would indeed have DOGS. Multiple. Not all at once, but at least a dog a decade.

Then I think about about my sad and lonely 7-year-old self, who had a cat and loved her dearly, but still wanted a dog. Because no matter how cool cats are, and they are, you can’t just slap a harness and leash on them and take them for a walk. I mean, you could, but then you get some really strange looks from your neighbors. Not to mention your cat may just kick your ass for making them look silly in that harness.

The Love Affair Begins

Anyway, it was at the age of 7 where I started to fall in love with this breed, but really it was with the often mislabeled larger version, the rough collie.

I had access to a rough collie named Laddie who belonged to my dad’s best friend, Richard. I can remember being a little scared of Laddie at first, but that was because my dad told me I had to be gentle with him because he didn’t like kids very much. But he liked me.

Two of my most vivid memories of Laddie were sitting on the floor in Richard’s apartment while watching Saturday morning cartoons, and Laddie putting his head on my lap. I also remember sitting at the kitchen table at Richard’s, eating McDonald’s and passing a French fry to Laddie under the table.

Not Laddie, or Patrick. Just two beautiful rough collies smiling at someone.

After Laddie passed away, Richard brought home another rough collie pup named Patrick. I have more memories of him because I knew him from a small pup. I even remember crawling into Patrick’s crate with him because I didn’t want him to be lonely in there all by himself. Gimme a break, I was a kid!

My Love For Laddie Almost Led Me To A Life Of Crime

I have to momentarily bore you with a story. I apologize. I’m not even sure if it has any relevance, or maybe I just have this need to purge myself of this guilt.

No, not really! It’s just that I was such a boring, nose always in a book, kept my eyes on the ground kind of child that I like to tell the tale about that one afternoon, in July 1980, where I took a walk on the wild side.

I attended a summer day camp at our church when I was 7. I loved going to church with my mom on Sundays because we got out of our cramped little apartment, and I got to see and play with my cousins.

The day camp was fun, but I was almost always the last kid to get picked up because I had to wait for my mom, who had to take public transportation.

My Plan For Fun

I remember it was a Thursday, and I didn’t want to be the last kid standing at pickup. So I snuck out of the church yard, which wasn’t hard to do. This was back in 1980, and I was a bona fide latchkey kid.

I walked the two or three blocks to Fishbein’s, which was a local convenience store. And it was there that I went rogue.

This is where I walked my 7-year-old self back in 1980

I don’t remember if Laddie was still alive or if he had just passed, but I was thinking about him when I went over by the books and magazines. And there he was. Well, not really. It was this book:

I wanted it, because the dog looked just like Laddie. I didn’t have any money with me. I did, however, have this ridiculous little shopping bag I took everywhere with me. So, I looked left, looked right, and then left again, and I simply dropped this book into that little shopping bag. I then scurried my little thieving 7-year-old self right the hell on out of there because I didn’t want to get caught. Duh.

Attack Of Conscience

Thinking back on the potential start of a crime spree as an almost 50-year-old adult, I can’t help but laugh a little.

Was I really going to high tail it back to church and sneak back in (again, not hard to do) with a stolen book in my bag? And then how was I going to explain my ill gotten gains to my mom? She would for sure notice this new book! And that’s when I realized I couldn’t keep this book. Even if I did, I could never enjoy it. I would have to perpetually keep it hidden from my mom because, again, how would I explain a brand new book?

So, I went back into Fishbein’s and tried to casually put this book back on the shelf. I mean, what could go wrong?


I got caught trying to put stolen merchandise back on the shelf, that’s what went wrong! It was a little old lady that worked there. First she lectured me about the sins of shop lifting, and then she threatened to call my mom. Hand to the heavens, I still don’t know how I convinced her not to call my mom. Maybe it was when I told her my mom would beat me to a bloody pulp if she found out about this.

Yes, I really did say that. Was it true? I really can’t say. I mean, the woman did once go to smack me for mouthing off, and in the process she gave me a bloody nose.

Back To The Shelties

Again, I apologize for that story. Maybe I felt it was important to show just how much I loved this type of dog. Maybe I was just a stupid kid trying to get away with something.

Anyway, I didn’t find out about Shetland Sheepdogs until I spent a summer on a dairy farm and made a new friend, Lady. She was a larger Sheltie who was an amazing herder, and protector. She stood between me and the farm’s bull while barking to get the attention of the farmer’s wife, who came and chased the bull away from me.

I was sold on getting a Sheltie, but I would have to wait until I moved out of my mom’s house and in with my boyfriend (now husband).

My First Sheltie

Bailey is my second Sheltie. My first one was a male I named after the first dog I fell in love with, Laddie.

Laddie was my only Sheltie, and he would be for a long time. We mostly had Pekingese pups over the years. They’re my husband’s favorite breed, so I figured if I had any hope of having a family dog, I better make the Pekingese breed my favorite too.

Then I met Maggie.

Maggie was my first dog sitting client when I finally started putting my John Bowne High School Aggie education to use and started dog sitting/walking in the fall of 2018.

She was a sassy Sheltie pup who reignited my love for this breed.

Maggie in all her sassiness. Just look at that face!

Living With A Sheltie

So, what’s it like to actually live with the small, yet mighty, Shetland Sheepdog?

I love life with Bailey, and so does the rest of my family.

Shelties are fun loving, adventure seeking, loyal and affectionate dogs who are very devoted to protecting their families.

Shelties are smart. Like super smart. In fact Shelties are the smartest small dog breed. They have been recognized as the world’s sixth most intelligent dog breed. So, you might say that Shetland Sheepdogs have a lot going on in the brains department. They have exceptional watchdog and agility skills thanks to their working dog history.

I Hope You Like Barking

My first Sheltie, Laddie, was a quiet boy. We lived in an apartment with him and he may have understood that we didn’t have the luxury for him to be yappy. Bailey on the other hand, well that’s a different story.

There are days where she does nothing but bark. At anything. The wind, our other dog Nugget, a sneeze – it doesn’t matter. With Bailey, any sudden sound or change in movement is a reason to celebrate, with a yap!

Side note: As I wrote out this little paragraph about their need to bark at life, Bailey has been barking nonstop on our deck out back. The culprit? Our Door Dash delivery.

You WILL Be Herded, And You WILL Like It

Shetland Sheepdogs belong to the American Kennel Club Herding group. Their herding instinct is strong.

We have each been herded to different rooms of the house. She has even herded us together outside in the yard. She often herds Nugget when he starts to wander. This is a good thing because he is a senior dog and is prone to wandering off.

Be prepared from day one to have your ankles nipped and your rear end head butted. You may not like being herded, but you will get used to it.

Is A Sheltie The Right Dog For Your Family

If you would like more info on the Shetland Sheepdog, check out what the American Kennel Club has to say about this smol yet mighty herding dog.

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