Ponette, Australian Shepherd of my Heart
10 years ago my sweet GSD died and I had a sudden “need” for a dog. After some consideration, I contacted a friend who was breeding Australian Shepherds and asked what she had available. I was not looking for a young puppy, although I do love raising a pup. This time I wanted a dog with some of that first learning and growing behind her. Enter Ponette.
My friend had a dog just for me. A pup from a previous litter had been reserved for someone who then never picked her up. This pup was 7 months old and had spent all of those months with the same family and with her other pups and dogs. Perfect! A young dog well socialized with other dogs and not yet bonded with her own person. I saw a picture of her and agreed to take her.
I was living in Poplar, Montana at the time. My friend was going to be in Williston, ND so I agreed to meet her there and get the dog. We met on a Saturday morning, at a business just west of town. It was March, and there were snowdrifts and grass that was trying to green up.
Ponette Love at First Sight
My first experience with Ponette was seeing her running off leash on the grass, sometimes leaping into the drifts. She has 4 white feet and black legs, and I was a little mesmerized by the sight of her little feet which didn’t seem to touch the ground. To add to this impression, she clearly moved with a lot more “up” than “forward.” I was smitten with her from the beginning, and named her for this movie. I took her home and spent the rest of the weekend getting to know her and making sure she was adjusted to living in my home.
Prior to living with me, Ponette had no experience with a crate so one of my first tasks was to teach her about the crate. The first time I asked her to go into the crate she went right in and I gave her a treat. She was in there for a few minutes and then I let her out again. The next time I asked her to go into the crate she resisted. I pushed her in, gave her a treat, and let her out again after a few minutes. Later in the day, I wanted to put her in the crate again but I wasn’t sure where she was. I looked around the house and found her…. in her crate. Of course I gave her a treat! She has since been the best possible dog in terms of using her crate and being happy about it.
Quirks are what make a good dog exceptional. Ponette’s quirks:
*You know that little skin of ice that forms over gutter puddles? She loves walking on that ice and breaking it.
*She loves walking in water. Whether it’s a trickle running down the gutter or a river, Ponette loves getting her feet wet. But not swimming. No.
*She does not mind taking a bath. No. Ponette will help me out by lying down in the bath tub. She will even roll on her back so all that hair gets rinsed properly.
*She doesn’t lick, EVER. When she accidentally gets her lips on my skin while getting a treat, I swear the dog blushes.
*She loves to fetch a tennis ball. And it’s got to be a tennis ball. Ponette will fetch the ball until she can’t walk any more.
*She loves riding in the car. She will happily load into the cargo space of my CRV and has been in the trunk of an Accord. Ponette used to ride in the bed of my pickup but much preferred the passenger seat. She once loaded herself in the back of our Expedition through the open window. NOT going to be left behind.
*She does not need a leash. In the first summer I had her, I took Ponette with me on a trip to Kansas. Because she could be trusted to jump in the truck or into her crate when asked, I did not use her leash.
We’ve had some misadventures, like the time when I got another Aussie pup and completely broke Ponette’s heart. Those were some tough times, and it took a lot of work to get through them.
Another bad time was when we were in the mountains in snow and I noticed she was squatting every few steps. I checked where she had squatted and saw blood. A trip to the vet resulted in a diagnosis of bladder stones. The vet initially thought that the stones were a type caused by diet, so we started her on a special dog food. When the stones were removed and sent off to the lab, they turned out to be the type of stones that result from a long-untreated bladder infection. In a house dog, how did we not know she had a bladder infection? She wasn’t having accidents or asking to go out more often. Such a stoic!
Our most recent misadventure was when I picked Ponette and her sister dog up from the groomer and found them shaved. In early December. This was the result of a colossal miss-communication between my husband and the groomer, and I did not blame or berate either. We bought the girls coats to get them through the Wyoming winter. This year they are wearing their natural snow suits and are pretty happy about it.
So here we are, 10 years later. She still has more “up” than “forward.” I could not ask for a better dog, and I am grateful for her every single day.