Monday Musings ~ March 9, 2020

OMD, Monday again? And an hour earlier on top of that? What the double dog heck? Yes, it’s that time of year again where we ‘spring forward’ and try to convince ourselves all is just groovy. The fact that it’s oh-dark-thirty in the morning gets fluffed over.

Hate to burst your bubble, Copernicus…but you still only get the same 24 hours a day. I know a lot of you like the time switch but I’m here to tell you you’re only fooling yourself if you think there’s an extra hour of sunlight. That said, those of you who like it, be my guest and enjoy. Those of us who think it’s the dumbest manipulation of time will grouse about it until our Circadian rhythms finally sync with the clock. Sometime in August if I’m lucky.

But enough of the ranting. Let’s move on to something different. Today we’re launching a new monthly feature, “Meet the Breed.” Elsa suggested it at our last editors’ meeting and the other half of the Old Couple, Brother Norman was on board once I asked him to introduce us to his tribe, the Old English Sheepdog. Take it away, Norman.

OES

Thanks, mum. As you probably know, I’m an Old English Sheepdog who arrived at the Ranch a little over a month ago after living in southwest Kansas. Mum may have fussed about DST but I’m quite ‘chuffed to the mitt’ about it because it means I can spend more awake time with my mum. Let’s just say I can get started earlier engaging in one of my favorite pastimes. Anyway, let’s take a look at my people.

OESWe are an affable bunch, us Sheepies. Some think we’re the canine comedians of the dog world. George Carlin aside, from where did we come?

Lush meadows, thatch-roofed cottages with wooded gorges from bonnie ole England are thought to be where we originated. ‘Course our origins are nearly as clouded as the mist-encircled, rugged valleys where we herded and/or drove sheep. Some historical paintings show sheepdogs being depicted as early as the late 1700’s but most breed authorities agree farmers in the counties of Devon, Somerset and the duchy of Cornwall in southwest England used a dog that resembled what we look like today. We weren’t bred for a specific purpose but were the result of a natural evolution of available breeding stock. Prized herding dogs were selected for breeding based on their ability to handle themselves well with the area’s rather rugged livestock that flourished in the craggy climate.

It’s been suggested we received the nickname Bobtail when farmers and the gentry devised a way to avoid paying taxes on us working blokes and docked our tails to prove the tax status. Drover dogs were exempt from being taxed due to their working status and tails were docked.There is some dispute with that notion however. Dogs with long tails tend to use them for balance and since we didn’t chase game, we didn’t need a long tail since there was no need for it when herding. Then again it could have been merely hygienic-there being less chance of ‘fouling’ the tail, if you get my drift. Bobtails are far more common in the US as England and Europe have generally abolished tail docking. Either way, with my handsome tube sock legs, who needs to draw attention to a useless tail? I can wiggle my bum with the best of ’em.

OES

No longer a breed for the wealthy or for farmers, us OES are big, furry, intelligent and even-tempered. We’re easily trained (but don’t tell my mum that; I rather enjoy all the treats she uses on training sessions and wouldn’t want them to be reduced). We are not an aggressive breed and typically get on well with other pets. We enjoy playful companionship. Playful being the operative word, Elsa. Just saying.

Sheepdogs are not for everyone though. If you’re not prepared to spend a fair amount of time brushing and grooming us, you should probably  choose a breed that doesn’t require as much time maintaining our woolly, profuse coats. We have hair (as opposed to fur) and as such do not ‘shed’ per se, but keep that full coat all year long (although hair does fall out so if you’re fussy about dust bunnies we may not be right for you). We adore people, especially the wee little ones and are often called the “Nanny” dog for good reason.

A couple of drawbacks to being owned by an OES owning a sheepdog is we tend to be a tad messy when it comes to drinking water (and we drink a LOT of water). Water collects in our beards so naturally that’s when we want to give you lots of attention, right after a good H2O quaff. Our manners aren’t quite as impeccable as our British heritage might suggest and we’ll always have stained beards unless you’re constantly grooming and cleaning us up.

We also tend to suffer from ‘unbridled’ enthusiasm. Remember, we’re not purse-sized dogs so we often bump into people’s legs because we’re natural herders and can easily knock over any unsteady uprights. In Britain when we say “mind the gap” it means look out where you’re going and that applies to us sheepies. We don’t mean anything nefarious by bumping into you, we are after all, herders. We’re jovial and have astute reckoning powers. You will not win many battle of wits with us sheepdogs because we’re terrific problem-solvers and get easily bored with rote exercises/routines. Because we’re natural athletes, we make great agility competitors. Just remember bored dogs can make life insufferable, no matter what the breed.

OESSince an OES can easily reach more than 80 lbs. (36 kg), we can take up a fair amount of real estate. We do not curl up into little balls, preferring to stretch out.

We sheepies have what’s referred to as a bark with a Pot-Casse ring, a particularly deep, booming (almost echoing) bark. Pot-Casse is French for “broken urn” or “cracked bell.” Which means our bark sounds like a couple of pots clanging together. It is the signature bark of sheepies so however you translate it, it’s going to be deafening. Mum says with my size, I should have a rich baritone voice but instead sound more like a puny tenor. Ha, ha, mum-you crack me up. Either way, she says it’s very loud at oh-dark o’clock when it’s the best way for waking her up.

Sheepdogs don’t like being separated from their family and can raise the dead with their barking. I think that’s what got me and my previous sister in trouble with the neighbors (Libby, the Weimaraner who still appears to be available for adoption here if you’re interested in rescuing her). She needs a loving family and I feel badly she hasn’t been adopted yet and hope she finds a home as nice as the one I found. Even with Elsa sometimes picking on me, I remain a proper British gentleman in spite of her shenanigans, my life is quite “tickety-boo” around the Ranch. A comfy sofa, tasty food/treats, multiple water bowls, frequent walks, a good “chin wag” with everyone I meet-how could it not be fab?

So “Bob’s your uncle” and now I’m kind of knackered after sharing all that info. I should probably go catch a few 💤 before dragging mum around the neighborhood again my next walk. Us sheepies are a lively bunch but we give loads of love. Hope you enjoyed meeting my breed.

If you’d like your breed featured, contact my mum in an email with a photo and some interesting facts. Elsa and I will pick next month’s next “Meet the Breed” post. Cheerio, mates.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

96 thoughts on “Monday Musings ~ March 9, 2020

  1. Norman, we thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you and your breed! We enjoyed the photos of you happy and comfy in your new home. We hope your former sister can find a home soon too. ♥

    1. Why thank you. Perhaps Luke and I are very distant cousins; we’re both black and white. 🤣

    1. Mum says I’m already too clever and having thumbs would be a right proper disaster around the ranch.

  2. So wonderful to meet you, Norman! I know you are going to keep your Mum nice and busy as you guys all settle in as a trio. I’m kinda glad you arrived when you did. Your timing was pawfect.
    Looking forward to more posts by you!
    Zeke – I probably would have fun with you too, even if I am an older gent…

    1. Well, mate…good thing I love just about everything and everybody. Hopefully mum will let me contribute more in the future. BTW, your mum could submit photos and info about your tribe. Just saying. 😉

      1. I have no doubt you do… it just shines off of ya!
        Oh, really? Yanno, I’ll mention it to her, see if she’s willing to play!

    1. Well thanks for noticing my cheerful chap disposition. People sure like us but sheep (and squirrels) not nearly as much.

  3. I want to give you a huge hug, Norman! Great description – what a wonderful adventure you and your mom have ahead of you!

    1. I may be British but am totally good with hugs. Yes, mum probably has no clue at all the future adventures I plan to drag take her on. 😇

    1. Thanks, Binky. The kitties in my neighborhood seem afraid of me, but I’m dying to checking them out. Maybe I’m too big for small kitties?

    1. Bwahahaha! Having owned a couple prior to Norman, that is a spot on acronym. Norman is so game for the tea party. Not sure how the Malt would feel about viewed as a potential biscuit guest. 🙂

      1. I think he would be safe enough…if the Thugs can tolerate the opportunist Zuniga they can easily accommodate the kindly Malt. Though the whole crowd would probably take Norman on a tour of the finca – at speed.

    1. So very true. Good thing slobber doesn’t bother me. Or those oh-dark-thirty wake up calls. LOL

  4. Oh, you knows Ma is goin’ NUTS over this! Ma’s Angel Panda was the easiest doggie she ever had, and she would gets another in a second! And the beard??? yes! why do you thinks she has my beard ‘regulation’? she is used to standing by the water bowl with a beard towel to dry mine off. Most peeps keep the Airedale beard short for just that reason, butts Ma needs a ‘handle’ BOL!
    Norman, you are one handsome gentleman! And I don’t thinks the hot weather bothers you with the long coat, at least it didn’t Angel Panda…she used to lay in the hot sun ALL the time! kerazy dog.Butts that was probably just her! BOL!
    Ma wants to send you stuffs about MOI…um, I MEAN, Airedales, so you can feature us!
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

    1. Woohoo, we can’t wait to receive your profile! Yup, those beards make for some terrific handles. 😂

    1. We’re excited to learn about all pupsters. Hope you have one you’d like for us to feature in the future.

  5. Welcome to the family, Norman. While changing family and home is a huge deal for anyone, your luck has changed moving in with Monika and family. You will be very happy there and might even make your fortune as a blog dog if you can sneak your paws up to the keyboard when Mom isn’t looking.
    We used to have an OES and he had a few issues but he was such a loving dog. Our dog used to ride him when he was a baby. So cute. I’ll have to post a picture of them soon.
    Hope you have a wonderful day.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    1. Thanks, Rowena. Norman is fitting in nicely. Couldn’t be happier with the new addition.

    1. Hi Shoks,
      Mom is looking forward to finding out if I like to swim. I’m thinking probably not, but we’ll see.
      Your fur-iend,
      Norman 🐾

  6. I remember a quote, attributed to a North American Indian: “Only a white man would cut a foot off the top of a blanket; sew onto the bottom, and believe that he had a longer blanket.” Interesting thought! 🙂

        1. It may have made sense back when the country was more agricultural but with corporate farms, there’s no need to child labor to pick after school.

          1. In UK,the explanation was “It was a war-time (WWII) measure to aid dairy farmers handle the milking cycles.” ! (Like the cows were confused or something?)

            1. Confusion only resides in the minds of humans. Animals know it’s not appropriate to try and fool nature.

  7. Mee-yow Norman you are so hansum inn yore glassess! Furry Purrfessor like!! Mee an LadyMew red yore hole post an wee leerned ALOT about OES!! One thing wee mew (knew) from THE bee-ginnin iss that wee liked you a lot!!
    Oh an mee Aunty Mary-Ellen used to breed an raise OES on er farm many yeerss ago.
    Thanx fore sharin ’bout yoreself! You did furabuluss!
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    1. Thanks BellaDhrama for the kind words. As a proper British fellow it’s easy for me to look like a professor. 😊

  8. Hi Norman, you are a handsome dude. We loved learning more about your breed too. The whole DST thing doesn’t bother us too much as long as we get our meals at a reasonable hour:) But we did do some extra snoozing today to catch up on that hour:)

    Woos, Lightning and Timber

    1. Thanks, Lightning and Timber. Mom not only lost the ‘spring forward’ hour, she apparently lost a day since she went to an appointment a day before it was set. Her internal clock is totally barmy! We hope you guys are interested in sharing about your handsome breed. We’d all love to hear about you guys.
      Your fur-iend,
      Norman 🐾

  9. Very informative! Are they giant slobberpups? That tongue looks massive, like a giant pink wet blanket. Are they “lickers?” Maltese are lickers but their tongues are the size of postage stamps, so no problem. Enjoyed the UK-isms, it was like visiting with Helen Devries at tea time. (hehehe, I’ll get in trouble for that.) Norman’s a lucky guy and it looks like he is well on his way to taking over command of the canine elements at the Ranch.

    1. So long as the sofa is command central, you hit the nail on the head (and for the record, I’m not to much of a licker, just pretty proper for a dog of any stripe. Well except for that loud bark. I’ll bet tea time with Helen and you could be such gobsmacking fun.
      Your fur-iend,
      Norman 🐾

        1. Boy, ain’t that the truth. I’m more of a bath person and sure don’t need a dog shower 🛁

  10. What a lovely post and I learned so very much.

    Thank you for the lovely thank you card. Made me smile.

    Have a fabulous day and week. Big hug. ♥

    1. Glad it arrived and particularly glad it made you smile. Thanks again. I look at that precious angel figurine all day long and smile myself. It’s as if it triggers another happy memory with my boy. 🥰

  11. The yearly griping about DST amuses me. Most people’s circadiaan rhythm is slightly less than 24 hours, so spring is an easy adjustment. It’s the fall, with 1 extra hour, that is more difficult. Personally I would rather have daylight at 8 pm than 4 am in the summer.

    1. Sounds like DST is perfect for you. For others who require medication at a specific time twice a day, it can be problematic.

  12. I didn’t know all about sheepies… and Norman you are too handsome! I love you already and look forward to any escapades with you and Elsa! You’ll win her over, it might take some time but she’ll love you too. Welcome to the ranch. Your sister is tempting but I don’t know if I can deal with a weim and a poodle at this time… but she’s a beauty.

    1. She really is pretty and with an attentive family will think she’ll make a family very happy. I think her breed is a lot like mine-not made for everyone but hope there’s someone just perfect for her out there. Milo would have a running mate who actually might tire him out. Maybe Milo and I can hang out sometime soon and I’ll tell him British yarns about me family being drover/herder dogs in the old days.

  13. Norman, you are a different kind of fella than what lives in this house. You sound like a load of fun. It’s really good you’re there to help your new Mom and sister. XOX Lucy and Xena
    Pee Ess, I want Mommy to send my breed info. She could talk about us being ratters, but first I think she needs to take me the two hour drive to a city called Knoxville so I can participate in “barn hunting.” I would get to sniff out a rat in a tube in a barn. The only “dang it” part is I won’t be allowed to play with him when I find him. XOX Xena

    1. Yup, my breed is not for the faint of heart which is why we love our ‘humums’ so deeply. Yes, please have your mum send photos and info about your breed. We should all get to know one another better. Maybe then the humans will get along better if we know about our favorite doggie friends.

  14. It was fun to get to know more about you Norman. We’re a couple of mixed breeds so we guess we wouldn’t be able to do a “meet the breed” post. It sure sounds like you are loving your new home. We hope your sister finds a new home soon too.

  15. Thanks Norm for that great rundown of what it’s like to be and live with an OES. I’ve always said we humans learn more from you pups than you from us. And M, one good thing about DST, at least for a few weeks, is that my girls sleep in a bit. This morning it was me rousing them out of their beds instead of the other way around. Have a good week at the ranch!

    1. If only I could sleep in…just to 6:30 would be heaven. Norman likes to get up and do a security check before the birds wake up! We hope you’ll submit some photos and info about Golden Girls. They’d be a big hit no doubt. Here’s to sleeping in…even if just a little bit.

      1. Truth be told, I am usually awake before the girls and ready to rise but if I do the entire pack gets up and the day begins. If I could figure a way to sneak out of the bedroom without waking them and read for awhile I would, yes, photos and Golden facts will be submitted!

        1. Super! Looking forward to seeing your submission. I have never figured out how to not disturb a dog. Their hearing is just too keen.

    1. Sam told me all about you Mr. Pit, so I’m glad you enjoyed my post. What’s not to enjoy about a mum who will anything for me and let me take over the sofa for myself? 🙂

  16. Norman — I really learned a lot about Old English Sheepdogs. Very informative. But you need to have a profile on Pembroke Welsh corgis. — Zoe.
    Tegan (I don’t know if you’ve met Tegan) wants to know if there are New English Sheepdogs? She’s just askin’…

    1. Well Tegan, I’m a New English Sheepdog to Denver. Does that count? We hope your mum sends a photo and some facts about Corgis who are almost half-cousins to us sheepdogs. We’re both herders.

  17. BEST, most INFORMATIVE and FUN POST!! Loved it and I am CRAZY about Norman!!!!!! I do have a question, are you going to let his fur grow long like many Sheepdogs have? Thank you for sharing those facts about the breed, that breed has always been one of my favorites! A woman I worked with many years ago had about 3 of them……..she was crazy about them! Do you remember the super old show “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies”? They had a sheepdog on that show…..also I think in the movie “Billie” that starred Patty Duke there was a sheepdog in that too and of course the original Peter Pan with Mary Martin (I believe had a sheepdog) I love them! This is a brilliant idea to showcase different breeds, love it! I emailed you some info about Shelties, no obligation! xoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks, glad you liked this new column. I think it could be fun and informative about our fur-babies. It’s a good bet I won’t be letting Norman’s hair get too long. I just don’t have the time to brush him to keep mats at bay and with summer coming, it would be cruel to leave him wearing a full fur coat with our intense sun. You’re right, OES have been featured in a number of films with both major and minor roles (The Shaggy Dog, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Serpico, Private Benjamin, Hook, Housesitter, 101 Dalmatians). Paul McCartney owned one named Martha.

  18. we love ya!!!! the mama even wrote a love letter to a tv guy named benny schnier (don’t goggle that please) just because of his OESD. he never wrote back and the mama was terrible sad … her friend suggested to buy an OESD and to furget the idiot but like always … the piggy bank was empty LOL

    1. We tend to stop traffic whenever we’re out and about. People are drawn to us shaggy guys-they can’t believe their eyes, even my fellow country-mate, Paul McCartney had one he named Martha.

    1. Hi Kosmo, I think I like cats, haven’t seen any yet but mum seems to think I would since I like everyone and everything. Hope you and your mum are well.
      Bum wiggles,
      Norman

        1. Glad to hear your a-okay. I’m quite positive you and I would be good mates. Tell your mum not to work so hard. Hopefully sunshine will be coming soon.

  19. Hi Norman! Loved learning more about you and your breed! I think its a great idea that Elsa came up with about sharing about different breeds, smart sister there, eh! 🙂 Have a wonderful day with your dear Mum and sister!

    1. Why thank you very much. We hope people enjoy this new column so we can all learn about canine buddies.

Woof any thoughts...but no growling, please.

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