Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Muse, Oklahoma, United States
Posted June 8, 2016
Wiggles was born a stray; her mom was homeless and gave birth at a water treatment plant located at a lake in a very rural area. The plant workers easily rehomed all the pups, but when the owners came to pick them up, Wiggles was not willing to go! She ran and hid. She was such a cute little wiggly ball of fluff that the workers decided to raise her at the water plant as a companion and a guard dog. They made sure she always got her shots, and they used their own resources to pay for her spay.
Wiggles was happy there for four years, and the workers loved her. They shared meals with her and long, quiet nights. They always made sure she had a comfy place to stay warm and dry when the weather was bad. In other words they let her sleep on the couch in the office lol.
Wiggles was very skittish around everyone except the workers. She patrolled the water plant and the lake perimeter. They valued her for her companionship and for being a great watchdog. One of the things they appreciated about her the most was her ability to detect snakes. The lake has a lot of water snakes, but Wiggles always barks to keep you safe before you get too close to one. One of the coolest thing about Wiggles is that she is an avid water dog. Not only is she a great swimmer, but she can actually catch fish in the lake.
Eventually the workers got a new boss who did not like animals and insisted that they get rid of Wiggles. Everyone was heartbroken! I stepped in to offer her a new home, but the challenge was that she was scared of strangers. The even bigger problem was that she had never been around women.
I had to get the workers to help me confine her in a generous space at my place initially. I needed time to get her comfortable with me, and so that she would understand she had a new home. I was surprised at how quickly she relaxed! It only took a few days.
Now I've had Wiggles for a little more than a year, She is absolutely adorable! Wiggles is very smart and highly energetic. If you are considering an Australian Shepherd for a family pet, there are a few things you should consider. Wiggles is very demanding of attention at all times. There is no such thing as down time or personal space with an Australian Shepherd. Wiggles wants all the attention for herself, and she is really pushy with my other dogs when I give them attention. I haven't been able to get her to stop the behavior. I don't have kids, but if I did, I'm not sure how she would behave around small children. She might be fine, but I worry that she would be too pushy, especially when the kids got a lot of my attention.
Wiggles is very hardy with no health problems and no special dietary needs. Her coat is very high maintenance though. She requires frequent brushing and trimming to prevent hair matting. I think an Australian Shepherd would work best for a family with no small kids and one or very few dogs.