Shakespeare is a handsome Old English Sheepdog who came to Home for Life due to alleged aggression. Complicating the situation was the fact that Shakespeare is a monorchid meaning that he has an undescended testicle and displays some characteristics of an unneutered male dog.
Shakespeare's first home was with a family which included a husband, wife and many children. As the economy worsened the family did not believe they had the resources to care for Shakespeare any more, and they surrendered him to the Old English Sheepdog breed rescue in Minnesota.
Once at the rescue, Shakespeare was assigned to a foster home at a house that included other sheepdog rescue dogs with whom he got along. However, the home also included a teenage boy whom Shakespeare was skeptical of, and reportedly even nipped. Because of this incident, the breed rescue believed Shakespeare could not be adopted and considered euthanasia as the only alternative for him.
Through rescue contacts, the Old English Sheepdog Rescue learned about Home for Life, and began a dialogue that lasted over several months to determine if Home for Life would be a viable option for Shakespeare. After talking to several other individuals and rescues that had placed dogs with Home for Life, the Old English Sheepdog Rescue decided to surrender Shakespeare to Home for Life sanctuary.
Shakespeare has been a great dog at Home for Life who has never challenged or acted aggressively to any of our staff. He is very energetic and loves to run in our meadows. His roommate is Charlotte, a beautiful chocolate and white border collie.
Charlotte is a temperamental diva of a dog with a strong personality that dominated and overwhelmed any dog we tried her with, before Shakespeare. Dogs are pack animals and happiest living with a canine companion. At a sanctuary, we can get to know our animals' unique personalities to create successful groups or pairs, as with Shakespeare and Charlotte. We have found that the most successful arrangement for challenging dogs is pairing them with one other dog of the opposite sex. The strong personalities of Shakespeare and Charlotte balance each other and enable them to live peacefully in a spacious doggie townhouse with attached run.
Home for Life has many dogs who are herding breeds: dogs bred to herd and guard and protect sheep and other livestock. These dogs are energetic, independent, and very intelligent and above all need a lot of activity and a job to do. They are very often misunderstood when they display behavior characteristic of their breed: for instance being accused of biting when they are nipping to try to "herd" children or visitors. When they don't receive adequate outlets for their energy and intelligence they can develop behavior concerns like separation anxiety or misplaced guarding behavior. It is so important for those in rescue and any person wanting to give a home to one of these dogs to understand the heritage of these dogs and not condemn them for acting on their in-born natures.
Herding and guard breeds like Shakespeare are often found in rescue and left at risk, accused of "aggression" when they are only manifesting behavior very natural to their breed characteristics.
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