Thursday, April 17, 2014
Three sheepdogs on Ludlow Ave. (Mike, Sophie, Duffy)
Sophie -- Mike and Duffy’s younger sister -- came for a weekend visit last Saturday. That’s always fun. Two Old English Sheepdogs in the house are enjoyable, but three sheepdogs are an absolute circus. I don’t know if it’s gender or socialization or simply genetics, but Sophie is perkier than her old brothers, and everybody livens up when she appears on the scene, even the humans. Sophie likes to play more than the boys do, and, whenever I read the newspaper, she brings me a tennis ball to play tug of war. Then she pushes on Mikey’s nose with her paw. Mike growls like a grumpy old dog, but I think he secretly enjoys it.
All the dogs are older. Mike and Duffy turn twelve this month, and Sophie’s just six months behind. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I came home and saw two little black and white balls of fur in our kitchen doorway. At first I thought they were baby raccoons, but, when I came closer, I realized they were puppies. After the death of our Bedlington Terrier, Katja and I had firmly decided not to get another dog – at least that’s what I’d thought. However, Katja had seen an ad in the paper and, with no other plans for her afternoon, had gone to see what sheepdog puppies are like. She claims she had no expectation of buying. However, two of the puppies were so cute that she brought them both home. At first I was shocked, but it took only minutes before I was completely attached to the new puppies.
Passersby are always surprised to learn that the sheepdogs are twelve. They’re good-looking and could easily by mistaken for young dogs. They are, however, showing signs of age. Mike was born with bad hips and now suffers from severe arthritis, which contributes to his reluctance to go for walks. Recently we’ve decided that he’s stone deaf as well, since I can’t rouse him when he’s sleeping by shouting at the top of my voice. The dogs always leapt into bed when they were younger, but now I boost them up. Most veterinary web-sites estimate the typical life expectancy for Old English Sheepdogs as ten to twelve years. We worry a lot about our twelve-year-olds and take the time we have together as a blessing. We just enjoy each day as it comes. There aren’t many options. Here are a few more photos of the sweeties.
Katja walks three dogs in front of our house (Mike, Duffy, Sophie)
Mike on the back porch with flowers
Dogs milling and sniffing on the patio
The bed gets crowded with two dogs, not to mention three
Sophie and Duffy on the porch steps
Sophie with our new bear, Alfonse
A portrait of Duffy
Mike sunning himself
Alert watchdogs on the front porch (Sophie, Mike, Duffy)
Dave with three dogs (Sophie, Mike, Duffy)
Sophie on the sofa
-Donna D (4-17): this was so much fun and a bit sad. :(