Adoption

So… You want to adopt an Old English Sheepdog?

Thank you for your interest in our organization. We have been placing dogs for several years, and over time have worked out a procedure that seems to work well. We hope the following information will help you understand what we are about, what we are trying to do, and how we go about it. Hopefully, this will answer your questions. If we missed something, please feel free to contact us.
The first step is for you to decide if you really, really, really want an Old English Sheepdog. They are like owning a classic car – sure they’ll get you a lot of looks as you go down the street, and you will meet a lot of new people who are interested, but behind the scenes, there is a tremendous amount of work involved. They have wet chins. They are big dogs with lots of enthusiasm. They have a high energy level. They can be “in your face” a lot. The number one reason people fail with Old English Sheepdogs is just not realizing how much time and effort their coat takes. One alternative is keeping him trimmed down, but if you decide to maintain a full coat, figure on about two to four hours a week for a house dog; it goes up dramatically if he spends much time outdoors. The expenses of food, vet care, grooming, toys and treats must also be factored in.
 
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OES Adoption Application

 
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OES Volunteer Application

Once you have worked through the practicalities of ownership, it’s time to submit an application. You can submit your application here. Once your application is received, it will be filed, and we will let you know when a dog comes in. This can be the slow part of the process. Sometimes we have too many dogs and not enough homes, sometimes we have a dry spell and the applications pile up. If you don’t hear back from us right away, it does not mean that you have fallen through the cracks – it just means that we have not been able to find a good match for you yet.

To us, placement of the Old English Sheepdog in a correct home is paramount. When the dog comes in, we look over the applications, and contact those who appear to be appropriate parents. Our primary goal is to get a good match for the OES and the home. This means that the order in which your application was received has no bearing on your consideration for any given dog. For example, if we receive a dog that does not enjoy children, we would not consider any home with children for that particular dog, however, the next dog may be a perfect fit.

Dogs generally come to us through two sources — shelters and owner turn-ins. We work with several shelters along the front range, and will be notified when an OES comes to them. With owner turn-ins, the owner will contact us. This most often happens when some mishap is encountered-moving to smaller quarters, moving long distances, failing health, family problems, etc…

Once we have physically taken possession, he will be taken to our veterinarian for evaluation. Here the general health will be checked, neuter/spay will be performed, and inoculations given. Arrangements will be made for grooming. It’s a busy time for the new arrival!

One of our volunteers works at the veterinarian’s office. She will be taking care of the dog on a daily basis, and soon will have a pretty good idea of his personality, his strengths and weaknesses, and generally what makes him tick. It is then that the prospective forever home is contacted.

Throughout the process, we will be asking you a lot of questions. Some of these are covered on the application, and with others we may want more information. For example, if someone is home during the day, we want to know who and how old they are; or we may want to know more about who will be taking care of your new friend while you are on vacation. We will want to know your previous experience with dogs, and especially if you have been around Old English Sheepdogs.

Also during the process, we will be making a home visit. We are not interested in going through your dresser drawers or looking in your closets, but we want to know what sort of a setup the dog will have – is the fence tight, can the gates be made self closing, does the yard and house appear safe for him. Where will he be kept when you are not at home? We try to meet everybody living in the home, including other pets.

Probably the most crucial part of the process is meeting the dog. Usually this is done at a kennel in Colorado Springs. This moment is often the first time we have met you face to face, that you have met us face to face, and that you will have a chance to meet your prospect face to face. It can be a stressful time for both you and us. Probably the least stressed one is the dog – he is just happy to see new faces! This is a time when we can get to know you better, you can get to know us better, and the OES gets to know everybody better.

There will probably be a time when you know you are getting a Sheepdog, and when he actually arrives. You might want to use this time to lay in stuff you’ll need after his arrival. Some of the things you will need are:

  • A crate (if you elect to go this route)
  • Collar and lead
  • Car safety harness
  • Identification tags
  • Blanket and toys
  • Water and food bowls
  • Food
  • Pooper Scooper
  • Grooming supplies

We can help guide you through the purchase of these items.
Once the new arrival is in your home, we will be checking from time to time. We are always available for questions you might have, and just as importantly want to know you are happy with the dog, and that everybody is settling in well. You can anticipate several calls in the first month or so. To be successful with a companion means you have to get off to a good start. We want to help you through this time of adjustment. Remember that part of the agreement you sign says that at any time in the future that you can no longer have the dog, he is to be returned to us. We want to avoid this scenario.

You may end up taking the dog home yourself. Some thought about the trip will make the whole thing a lot easier. Consider the following before you get the dog in the car and are on your way:

  • Schedule a trip to your vet as soon as possible when you get home.
  • Have the collar and lead close at hand for stops along the way. If you are not crating, a harness is a must. Do not plan on keeping
         him loose in the car.
  • Check ahead with motels to make sure they accept pets.
  • Keep your new guy cool. Never ever leave your dog in a closed car. Bring some towels to put over the windows to keep the sun off.
         Bring some water, and offer it often.
  • We can help you if he might have motion sickness.
  • Schedule lots of stops. There is a tendency to make a “hell bent for leather” trip on the way home. Both you and your new charge
         will arrive relaxed if you take it easy.
Suggested Readings

Walker. J.H. Old English Sheepdogs: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training; Complete Pet Owners Manual, July 1999. Barron’s Educational Series. Paperback: (ISBN 076.4107356)

Mayfield, M. New Owners Guide to Old English Sheepdogs, March 1999. TFH Publications. Hardcover. (ISBN 0793827957)