A neighbour relayed this story to me, about a young friend of his who was thinking about getting a sheep as a companion for her german shepherd puppy. Odd, you might say? There’s a few things wrong here, apart from the obvious… it’s illegal.
Why would you think sheep instead of another dog?
- Since the covid lock down and the rush on animal shelters, it is hard to find a dog to adopt. Dogs are too expensive to buy from breeders (up to $3000 for a purebred pup).
- This young person is a bit silly or, a kinder way of describing her… totally ill informed about the needs of dogs, but at least she realises her dog is lonely and there are many friendships across species – I have a video of a rooster and a pup playing together, and a kitten and a crow etc etc.
However, she acquired this pup when she broke up with her boyfriend to avoid being lonely. He has no exercise because she works and studies all the time, he is overweight, untrained, an unfortunate combination of boisterous, bored, lonely, and a big puppy with no training. This situation is unfortunately common and results in many human/pup relationships being short lived.
Point is, know why you want an animal, what sort of pet you are getting, and how to look after their needs and wellbeing… and as animal welfare groups keep saying, pets are for life, and some lives are very long. Many dogs live well into their teens so it’s a big responsibility acquiring an animal. Another big fear of welfare groups is that people will dump these newly acquired pets when covid goes and they return to work. I am more optimistic, I think covid has changed us for the better… hopefully a little more humanitarian and less selfish.
To solve this problem of a bored lonely pup? Acquiring a sheep is not the answer…
- Get him another dog (the right fit, of course (you would introduce them and make sure they’re compatible etc)
- If not another dog, perhaps take him to doggy daycare a few days a week, so he has company and socialisation
- Invest in a few lessons with dog trainers so the owner/dog relationship is more harmonious
- Pay a dog sitter or walker to take him out while owner is at work, get a neighbour to look in on pup, pay someone or ask someone to walk him (plenty of people would like the exercise and company a dog provides, if owners are working long hours), or
- Give your buddy a bone to gnaw on or a kong stuffed with treats, this will keep pup busy for a few hours.