In the midst of all the tragedy & horrible images coming out of Japan, amazingly there are two instances of Sheltie hope.

A man holding a dog walks on a street in Kesennuma city, Miyagi prefecture on March 12. (AFP/Getty Images)

From the Wall Street Journal:

The massive tsunami destroyed most of the neighborhood in Sendai where Kikushi Kayo and her father live.  But somehow their two dogs, Toya and Melody, survived!

Click the link below to go to the WSJ page:


Many are focusing on helping humans right now, but for those interested, here are 5 ways you can help missing/injured/homeless animals in Japan.

1. Donate to the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support Group.

The Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is a collaboration of 3 No-Kill animal welfare organizations in Japan; HEART-Tokushima, Animal Friends Niigata and Japan Cat Network. http://japanearthquakeanimalrelief.c…ue-and-support

2. The Animal Refuge Kansai has also set up a fund for their shelters. They’re currently preparing for an influx of animals from disaster areas.

3. The Animal Miracle Foundation & Network is collecting cell phones to send to volunteers.

“We are collecting cell phones to send to the volunteers helping animals in Japan. Many volunteers don’t have phones and need them to effectively communicate with each other.”…16831644993948

4. The Search Dog Foundation is deploying six canine disaster search teams to assist with the rescues. You can find out how you can help on their website.

5. Join the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support Facebook group for up-to-date information on how to help.…9228979?ref=ts


In June 2009 my sweet BuddyBear passed and little Gracie and I went through some very tough times that followed.

One year later, here is GracieBelle visiting Buddy’s memorial brick at the Colorado State University Vet Teaching Hospital’s Tribute Garden. After a rousing game of Frisbee, she dropped it right beside Buddy’s brick and looked up at me with her trademark smile.

What a sweet face & touching moment Leesa!

This is Shelby, the Rescue Sheltie!!  He is 4 years old, and adopted me 2 years ago.  He has never had any rescue training, but on Wed. night, 11/24/10, he got help for me!!

I have been having blood pressure problems and my Dr. is trying to regulate it via meds.  He had given me new rx he wanted me to take at night, which I did.  I had been outside with Shelby, and when I walked back into the house, I fainted with no advance symptoms; totally loosing consciousness.

Shelby ran upstairs to my neighbors’ back door, and barked til he woke their dog up, who in turn, woke them up, (it was 1:30 AM).  They looked out, saw Shelby, and knew something was wrong.  When they opened the door, he immediately turned and ran back downstairs, where they found me and called the EMTs.  When they opened their back door, they say he only stopped once on his way back downstairs to look over his shoulder at them, as if to say “are you coming or not?”

I live alone and he is my constant companion, now he is my hero as well!!

What a wonderful story Theresa & we are happy to hear you are OK!

SadielookI went to a Sheltie rescue in Frederick MD looking for a companion sheltie for my other rescue – a young sheltie with some physical and emotional problems.

They had about 15 Shelties there, 8 of whom were up for adoption. When I asked about the blue merle hiding under a bush, I was told "oh that's Sadie. She is afraid of the other dogs. She won't play with your little Sheltie".

I wanted to meet Sadie anyway. She sheepishly came out from under the bush when coaxed, but ran right back when the other dogs rallied around us. We went up on the deck and the foster mom went inside to answer the phone.

With all of the other dogs jumping around my feet and barking excitedly, I stood there with my eyes closed praying that God would bring Sadie up on the deck, if she was the one for me. After a few minutes I felt a paw lightly patting my leg. There she was, braving all of those other dogs to paw my leg and let me know she was the one.

I was crying when the foster mom came back out. Sadie stole my heart that day. She is an absolute sweetheart and even though she is slowing down, she's still going strong.

Lucky you Debbie & Dale!

By Ann Compton

Journalist and Sheltieholic ~ Owned by Three Shelties

Annie-RingEach year, dog show fans and New Yorkers eagerly await the Westminster Kennel Club Show — the most prestigious dog show in the nation. In a city full of dog lovers, the canine visitors are very welcome. Westminster pennants flutter on each street corner, and news of the arriving dogs and favorites pepper local television and newspapers.

The Westminster Kennel Club show is the second oldest sporting event in the United States, only preceded by the Kentucky Derby, which began two years before the first Westminster Dog Show was held in 1877. The WKC show has taken place every year since it started in New York City at Madison Square Garden, even when it was called Gilmore’s Garden. It has been broadcast on live television since 1948.

Westminster has always been held on the second Monday and Tuesday in February, and seats are frequently sold out. More than 700 members of the media from some 20 countries vie for photographs, stories, and comments from breeders and judges.

But what makes Westminster such a wonderful spectator experience is that it’s one of only a few shows left in the U.S. that is a “benched” show.

That means unless the dog is being groomed for the ring or shown, it must be at an assigned position on a maze of wooden benches behind the scenes, next to the grooming area, where the public can visit with both dogs and breeders.

Dogs showing at Westminster must be in the building by 11:30 a.m., and remain at their benching positions until 8 p.m. on the day their breed is judged. There are signs posted above each aisle, much like a supermarket, listing the breeds in each. It’s important to check on which day your favorite breed is shown if you go, since dogs are only required to be there on the day they are judged.

There is a close parallel between dog shows and some horse shows in the way they are judged. One would think it would be easier to show a dog. There’s no trailer to pull, no tack, no thousand-pound animal. However, if you’re entering the Garden with a dog, you might as well have a horse.

The amount of gear that is needed to accompany a show dog is daunting. You’ll want two crates for each dog – one for the benching area and one for  the grooming space; a tack box that is at least as large as you’d need for a horse; a grooming table, various bags to hold supplies such as water, towels, leashes and other necessities; paperwork and documentation; a cooler for your bait–or treats that entice your pooch to perform, with everything packed and secured on a wheeled dolly.

Now, picture getting all of that, along with your dog, into and up to Level 5 in Madison Square Garden.

This is accomplished by the use of the MSG freight elevator, in which as many exhibitors, dogs and gear, can be fit. Minute organization is mandatory, and strong bungee cords to hold it all together are a must!

If you’re lucky enough to own a Sheltie, at least your dog can travel upstairs in a crate, unlike the larger breeds. Their owners have all the gear and the dog! It takes a village to get them inside.

Once in the Garden, finding a square foot or two for your grooming table and crate is a feat worthy of winning the breed, since competitors frequently arrive in the wee hours of the night before to stake out their spot, space being at such a premium.

A dog can be shown in a wide variety of disciplines–obedience, agility, rally, herding, flyball, and many others. Westminster is a show that judges conformation. Dogs must be proven champions able to breed to qualify for Westminster, since conformation judging is all about breeding lines. Championship is achieved when a dog has won enough shows to accumulate the required number of points to earn the coveted “CH” before its name.

Dogs are not judged against each other, but rather according to the AKC breed standards. So, essentially, the judge is looking for the most perfect dog in each breed.

The floor of the Garden, lined with the famous green carpet, is separated during the day for the breed judging into seven rings. Breed judging begins at 8 a.m. Monday and Tuesday and runs until late afternoon, when winners are chosen in all 173 breeds. The Group judging takes place Monday and Tuesday evening, culminating in the Best in Show finale Tuesday night.

Breed winners are awarded in three categories: Best of Breed, Best Opposite Sex, and Awards of Merit. The Best of Breed can be either a male or female, so if a male dog wins BoB, a female wins Best Opposite and vice versa.  The Award of Merit is given at the judge’s discretion to dogs who do not place in the top two spots but are deemed exceptional. There can be many or few entrants in each breed, since just earning the credentials to qualify for Westminster is a remarkable achievement.

Best of Breed winners go on to compete in one of seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding or Working.  Shelties, of course, are part of the Herding Group. Once a winner is chosen in each Group, they compete for Best in Show. Again, this is the dog who comes closest to his or her own breed standard.

An interesting Westminster statistic is that males win twice as often as females. And, although the dogs at Westminster are frequently shown by their owners in other shows, Westminster competitors are most often shown by professional handlers—people who earn their living by training and showing dogs. Indeed, it is rare for an owner/handler to win Best in Show, and has only happened seven times in the history of the event.

This year, there were three new breeds accepted by the American Kennel Club eligible to compete at Westminster: The Irish Red and White Setter, the Norwegian Buhund, and the Pyrenean Shepherd.    Both the Buhund and the Shepherd joined the Herding Group breeds. The group was won again this year by the Pulik.

There are always surprises at Westminster. Last year, the lovable senior canine, Stump, a golden-liver colored Sussex Spaniel, lumbered his way to Best in Show, becoming the oldest dog ever to capture the title at age 10.

On Tuesday night this year, the Westminster silver trophy went home with Sadie, the Scottish Terrier, named the best of more than 2,570 dogs that competed.  But the real story of Westminster may not be in those who won the ribbons, but in those who left without them.

A woman from Canada with her Old English Sheepdog told me the saga of her trip to New York as she was waiting in line to leave the Garden late Monday night. She’d booked space for she and her Old English on a Sunday flight, in plenty of time to arrive in New York, but when they put her dog in the hold where the large dogs fly, the captain told her he found the heat in the hold wasn’t working and they couldn’t take the dog.

She told him that they were going to Westminster to compete. Her dog had won 25 Bests in Show, and this was to be his retirement show. The captain polled the entire crew and the passengers in the last four rows of the plane, and everyone agreed. She and her dog flew to New York with the dog sitting beside her on the plane. Everyone cheered when they landed and wished her luck. Her dog didn’t win the breed, but he won just by getting there.

Lining up to leave the Garden this week with their dogs and gear, having failed to attain the Best of Breed slot leading to Best in Show, were people from California to Canada and beyond. There was no attitude of defeat, but rather one of eternal optimism—the hallmark of the dog show exhibitor. Almost universally, they each shrugged and said with a smile, “It’s just a dog show,” then began to talk about the show next week, next month or next year, when there’s always another Westminster.

What a wonderful lesson for all of us.

Here is my white Sheltie puppy Sasha “herding” sheep.  She was born deaf and partially blind, but true instinct shines through despite any handicaps!Herding1 Herding2 What a wonderful story Nancy!

A canine-do attitude drives 2-legged dog
By Adam

Dare1Among Tami Skinner’s three Shelties, it’s easy to pick out the youngest. He’s not just the smallest or the one knocked down by his brothers while playing catch in her backyard. Three-year-old Dare has a more obvious distinction.

He has only two legs — the front and back limbs on his right side.

“People ask me all the time, ‘How does he walk?’ ” said Skinner. “He just walks. He just goes because nobody’s told him he can’t.”

He has adapted to life with half the capacity of a normal dog without giving up anything in the process. For example, he leans against a wall to drink his water and eat his food. He uses the ground to help balance any bone he wishes to chew. And when he plays with his brothers, he’ll get tired from running a little quicker and lie down to rest before using his two limbs to push himself up and get back in the game.”I’ve never treated him as a disabled dog,” Skinner said. “He’s special, but he’s not disabled.”

Skinner likes to tell people that Dare stands for Daredevil. But the truth is that Colorado Sheltie Rescue, which saved him, wanted to dare people to see his face and hear his story before they would deny the reality behind the puppy mill where he was born. His back left leg was chewed off before he was a week old, and his front left leg was caught in a cage, fractured in multiple places and dislocated at the elbow. After receiving no medical treatment for weeks, he was given up by the breeder because no one would buy him.

“I can’t even imagine how much pain he was in,” Skinner said. “(Yet) he has the attitude ‘I can do anything (other dogs) can do.’ . . . He has a spirit you cannot deny.”

From the moment she adopted him, Skinner knew Dare’s purpose transcended simply playing with a tennis ball and that her obligation to him transcended carrying him outside to go potty.

They became an animal-therapy team through the American Humane Association and travel the Denver metro area to bring support, comfort and inspiration.

At the King Adult Day Enrichment Program, Rochelle Rotruck dropped her pottery clay — which she had been kneading to help joints stiffened by multiple sclerosis — to embrace her “grand baby.” He visits the Denver facility weekly.

“He gives you an incentive to try and do better no matter your disability,” Rotruck said, holding Dare on her lap. “Like the day I was feeling sorry for myself because of my (joints), and then Dare came in and I forgot all about it.”

Every other week, Skinner takes him to the Fletcher-Miller School in Jefferson County for special-needs children. She reads to the class, and Dare sits on kids’ laps — and when he starts licking faces, there’s not a frown to be found.

“He’s just like them,” Skinner said. “He accepts them for who they are and doesn’t treat them any differently because of their disabilities.”
Once a month, he visits an amputee clinic at Presbyterian St. Luke’s, where patients share stories about the loss of an arm or a leg.

“A lot of times, we can accomplish more than we thought we could,” said Dr. Howard Balan, a psychologist who facilitates the group. “(Dare) tries and tries and tries, not knowing he should stop trying. I doubt Dare has these obstacles in his own mind, while we humans, we can put these obstacles right in front of us.”

Skinner says the overall message Dare can share is this: In a world where there are all sorts of reasons to complain about our lot in life and to stress out about trying to solve our problems, if a two-legged dog can figure it out and live a happy life, so can we.

“I look at him and think, nothing I have ever experienced in life, ever, has met up with what he has experienced in life,” she said. “And he’s happy, wrestling, playing with his brothers like nothing’s wrong, so why am I being a sourpuss?

“Get on with life, enjoy it. You only get one.”