Happy Anniversary Aggie!—Ten years ago, my folks trudged up to Vermont after I saw an ad for a one-year old Old English Sheepdog. My family had owned several of the breed over the years, and is fond of their clown-like exuberance.
Turns out ol' Ags was coming from an abusive home, shy around most people, and terrified of children. She was 20 pounds underweight, and she had a number of infections, plus wood worms.
The first year was spent aclimitizing her to the leash, people, and putting weight on and her health stabilizing.
The second year was spent dealing with some puppy-like naughtiness. Nothing bad.
After about 5 years or so, she started coming out of her shell around new people more quickly. And now today, there's almost no hesitation indoors. Outdoors, she's still leery of people.
About a year ago, she started being a bit Ok around children. Last week, she let a two year old hug her even.
I don't draw her much, though she is a constant source of laughter and joy for me. This sketch I did after the poor girl was victim to static electricity. Adam Leveille inked it.
Pic 1 was about a month after I got her. She is rail thin, but her hair started to grow finally, and she looks a bit happy. Pic 2 is just after her grooming yesterday, enjoying a dog biscuit. Pic 3 is lounging on the shag rug she's taken a shine to.
It's bath weekend once every three weeks. It begins with clipping her nails, and trimming the hair between her pads and other places (30 minutes), then the bath itself (30 minutes), then towel drying her and cleaning up (30 minutes). After a break of some time, it's on to combing (1.5-2 hours). I estimate in the past decade 510 hours (or, 21 days) have been spent grooming her. Of her 170 baths, I've had assistance for about 15 of them.
She's a sweet girl though. Average life expectancy is 8, so she's doing alright for a dog with such a shakey start to life.