Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion pet insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, medications, and other treatments if a pet becomes sick or injured.
I have been a fan of the Sheltie ever since I was six years old and my mom brought a Sheltie mix home as an Easter present for my brother and me. My brother named her Rebel (he was 15 and thought that would be cool… sigh) and we soon discovered she had all the wonderful traits of the Sheltie. She was incredibly smart and quickly became quite devoted to me and my family. She was so gentle and sensitive and was the perfect companion for my young, shy self.
Shetland Sheepdogs like Dakota and Rebel have brought joy to people since they were first developed in Scotland in the early 1900s. They are herding dogs and it always makes me smile to see them taking that job to heart today, even when not in the pasture! Rebel used to herd anything she came in contact with, especially other dogs and children. It was a site to see her circling a group of happy children, who had no idea they were being ‘contained’ by the cute dog in front of them.
This breed has so much energy as well, requiring a lot of play time and exercise during the day. As a child, this was fantastic, as my dog could always keep up with me as I was zooming around the yard. But as I got older I remember thinking of it as a chore to walk her around the block. Poor pup! It must be hard to grow up with a girl who was once so active and who slowly decided reading books and watching movies was much more fun than playing tag outside.
But Rebel and I had other activities that kept us busy. We enrolled in training programs and canine good citizen classes to help keep us bonded and our minds sharp. Shelties are so smart and really need to have mental exercise as well as physical to keep them healthy. She was a star in her classes, picking things up so easily. She definitely made me look good!
Of course, like all dog breeds, Shelties are prone to certain ailments that can cause heartbreak in a family, including hypothyroidism (insufficient production of the thyroid hormone), Legg-Perthes (a degenerative disease of the hip joint), patellar luxation (the displacement of the kneecap), and allergies. Luckily, advances in veterinary care make it possible – even easy – to treat these conditions and keep these dogs happy and healthy for a lifetime. Of course, it doesn’t come without a cost. Veterinary treatment can be very expensive, especially when long-term care is required.
One way to offset the costs of treating medical conditions in our pets is with pet insurance. Pet insurance can be beneficial, especially for purebred pets like Dakota. Purebred pets are notoriously more prone to ailments because of the hereditary nature of many conditions and the long line of breeding that occurs. Pet insurance reimburses you a large part of veterinary bills so that you can rest assured that you can afford the treatment your pet needs. We all know there is nothing worse than sitting at a vet listening to a treatment plan your dog needs but you know you can’t afford.
But let’s not dwell on the less fortunate traits of the breed we love. We accept those traits and prepare for them so we can enjoy the characteristics and companionship this breed shows us every day. So what is your favorite thing about the Sheltie?