Seventeen years have passed since I lost my beloved spaniel Alix, who lives on in my heart and in my series as the inspiration for Sweet Pea. For seventeen years I didn’t believe I had enough heart left to offer another dog. Until now.
First came this photo, taken at the time she was surrendered to a rural county sheriff’s office:
I looked at that sweet face and felt a little tingle. And I wondered…
I put everything on hold to make the trek over the hills and across the prairie plains region, where I took one look into those eyes and lost my heart all over again. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Sasha here at dogmysteries.com:
She’s a young Sheltie, likely less than two years old. She charmed everyone at the vet clinic and didn’t fuss at all about the exam, the blood tests, or even the inevitable medications needed to combat various minor maladies. She was a bit less sanguine about PetSmart, where I quickly realized she doesn’t like noise, probably hasn’t been socialized to men, and apparently didn’t want the bed I chose—although that might be revenge since I won’t allow her on my own bed, which is the domain of Buddy the Cat. Her coat is too thin in places and she’s in serious need of a groomer far more professional than I could ever be, but overall she’s in reasonably good health.
So far I’ve figured out that she knows sit, shake hands, speak, and has a passing familiarity with down, although that tends to have her springing straight up a few seconds later. She can manage stay for almost a minute. Plus, she can sneeze on command. (Really.)
She’s vocal (and then some!) when she sees another dog, which makes neighborhood walks a noisy adventure. She’s also clueless about walking on a leash, but in our two days together she’s already realized that heel is not an invitation to gallop! This gives me hope she’ll make quick progress in obedience class, which is a “must have” for us before we can even think about the Canine Good Citizen test.
Never having had a Sheltie before, and being the total research geek that I am, I’ve ordered the breed guide and training book Shetland Sheepdog by award-winning author Sheila Webster Boneham and have turned to Sheltie owners, dog experts, and fellow dog writers for advice. I already owe special thanks to Susan Conant and Susan J. Kroupa (both award-winner authors and dog lovers) for their wonderful support and guidance.
After 17 years I feel like a novice again, and am grateful for all comments, suggestions, and recommendations. (To share in the comments, you can either click on the word “comments” at the bottom of this post, or click on the post title and scroll down.) You’ll be seeing more of Sasha in future posts as I document our merry adventures in training. And count on seeing a Sheltie in a Waterside Kennels mystery sometime soon!