Puppies: Bree, Owain



Friends: 9

Member Since: August 29, 2008

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Bree is my best friend. She came to live with us in 2004 and her job was supposed to be living with and guarding our sheep. Bree had other ideas. Even though she was raised at the barn with the lambs, she wanted to be a house dog. No matter what field she was in, she dug out and came home. We considered letting her become a house dog, but we really needed her to protect our sheep and keep her sister, Emma, company. In 2007, events conspired to give Bree her wish: In May, she became very ill. We rushed her to the vet and blood tests revealed she had a tick-borne disease called ehrlichiosis.We were puzzled, because we had been faithful to treat her with Frontline every month, but the vet said all it takes is one bite from an infected tick and Frontline doesn't keep ticks from biting. He said her recovery would be slow and her prognosis was uncertain. At that moment, it became clear: Bree would have to come live at the house. For three months we nursed our Big White Dog through fevers, weight loss, and seizures. She was remarkably easy to housebreak and we decided even if she recovered fully, she could stay at home. Today, Bree is a big, 125 pound house-dog. The ehrlichiosis left her with two permanent conditions: Periodic mild seizures that cause her head to shake like a human with Parkinson's disease and weak ligaments. She tore her cruciate ligament and has to limit her activity,but that doesn't seem to bother Bree. As long as she has a place on the couch, she's a happy camper. What about Bree's sister, Emma? Emma is a devoted sheep dog and she doesn't seem to miss her sister at all. Emma is happy and Bree is happy and that makes us happy too.

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Owain is the man in my life. He was born in May 2001, on a sheep farm in Pennsylvania. We were looking for a border collie to work our sheep and when we visited the farm, we fell in love. Mom and I made a two-day trip from Missouri to Pennsylvania and back to get Owain when he was old enough, and by the time we got home, we were head-over-heels. Owain (pronounced Owen)truly is the smartest dog we've ever owned. He learned all the traditional sheep-herding commands by the time he was nine months old but he didn't stop there: Today, at nine years old, Owain's vocabulary is huge. He knows all of us by name, he knows several football plays (crossing-pattern, go out for a long one, and button-hook), he can tell his toys apart by color and type (if you ask him to get the "baby dragon," he'll get it, but not the bigger "Mommy Dragon). He knows Christmas means presents and from the day the tree goes up, Owain checks to see if any of the presents are his. If he finds a bag he thinks has a toy in it, he'll bark to ask if he can open it. The list of things Owain knows is almost endless. Owain's favorite passtime is watching movies with animals in them. Naturally, his favorite movie is "Babe." He will sit on the couch and watch the whole movie by himself. When the movie gets sad (a sheep is killed by dogs) he finds Mom and asks to be hugged. All dogs are like people to our family, but Owain is so close to being human he can almost speak. Being a border collie means being energetic and even at his age Owain needs lots of activity. He barks at Mom's birds, chases squirrels, and plays endless games of catch with me when we watch TV in the evening. Its a marvelous life!

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