Here’s baby Willow! She is my 7 week old Australian shepherd and Bentley’s baby sister. I will be [hopefully] training her to be my PSD, as well as involving her in some dog sport and other adventures that come our way.
My mother wrote this on her site as a sort of ‘disclaimer’ before people go contacting her. With a lot of people on the internet adoring the breed’s beauty, I felt I should post it here:
“1.It’s tempting to get an Aussie because they are intelligent, trainable, athletic, fun, and beautiful. I receive a lot of inquiries from busy professional people who want to add an Aussie to their home. They think that they will walk the dog during their lunch hour and that should do it. It won’t! A lonely Aussie is the cruelest fate. They are bred to stick by their flock to the death, and short of sheep, YOU are their flock. You will always have company in the bathroom if you own an Aussie. He is not being an insecure pest, but doing his job of keeping a close eye on you. If you don’t have the lifestyle or profession where the dog can be with his human MOST of the day, it is not the right breed for you.
2. They are farm dogs bred to run, not walk, and cannot handle an indoor couch potato lifestyle. Fat Aussies break my heart! If you live in the city, you will have to visit the dog park several times a day to compensate for this need to run off leash (they need the equivalent of a three mile run per day). Fenced in backyard is nice for a French Bulldog, but an Aussie will not get ANY of his needs met back there all by himself. Additionally, many Aussies are complete escape artist, and they will negotiate that fencing easily to get back to your door, or wrestle the neighbors dog when bored. You will blame the dog, call him crazy, but it is you who has failed him. Please be honest with yourself and whether you can meet the needs of the dog.
3. “Aussies are like potato chips, you can’t have just one”. Well, you can, but they are happiest with another Aussie buddy to chase outside, because they will herd each other. Some of my Aussies “herd” my labs, and my labs hate it, so consider this fact. It actually makes it easier to own two Aussies (unless you are seriously committed to a sport you share with the dog, like agility, or herding trials, etc). Some of that “herding the flock instinct” as well as the need for the three mile run, is met by the other dog if you yourself will not be filling that need. When I let one of my Aussies out, he barks at the door until I let another one out, and then they are off and running. It’s a beautiful thing to witness such joy :-)
4. Do you have children who have difficulty self calming themselves? From 8 - 16 weeks, a puppy needs a home where his trust of humans can be established. If he cannot trust your children, he will NEVER trust any child. They are wonderful companions for children, but NOT the right breed for children with severe behavioral issues.
I love this breed like no other. They are a gift to the right family and a disaster to the wrong one. I tell you this because I want my puppies to be loved and adored by you. Relationships require two individuals each providing for the other’s needs. Your Aussie will do his part. Can you do yours? If so, contact me!
I own other breeds. Aussies have different needs than they do.”
Judy Guth doesn’t care if you have great references, pay your rent on time, or are as quiet as a mouse.
Without a dog or cat, you’re not getting one of her cherished apartments that come with new carpeting — in lieu of a security deposit — for an extra $100 a month.
When it’s paid off — usually in about a year — the carpeting is yours. If you decide to move, which few people do, you can take it with you. Nobody ever has, though.
Most of Judy’s tenants in her 12-unit apartment house have lived there over a decade — a few more than two. If a pet dies, she takes the tenant to the animal shelter to adopt a new one. It’s either that or move.
No pet, no apartment. Those are the ground rules at Judy’s place.
“This is the first I’ve heard of a landlord renting to only people with pets,” says Terri Shea, operations manager of the 3,000-member Apartment Association of Southern California Cities, based in Long Beach.
People have accused her of discrimination, and maybe she is biased, Judy says. But she doesn’t care.
“My experience has told me you get people with a lot of love in their hearts when you get pet owners,” she says.
A spokesperson for the L.A. City Attorney’s Office says there is nothing in the law that prohibits someone from refusing to rent to people with or without pets.
The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, and disability, but pets are given a pass.
Mary Rickettshas lived at Judy’s place for almost 25 years. Sadie, a shepherd mix mutt she bailed out of the shelter, is her second pet since she moved into this quiet, well-kept, neighborhood of single-family homes and nicely landscaped apartment buildings in North Hollywood.
Mary lived in one of the large, one-bedroom apartments upstairs that now rent to new tenants for $1,200 a month (two-bedroom’s go for $1,500), but Judy noticed her having trouble getting up the steps one day.
The next week she invited Mary to lunch and a movie, then they stretched it to dinner and a long dessert. Judy was stalling for time.
While they were gone, Jerry Schiess, whose been managing the building for nearly 12 years, got a couple of guys to help him move all of Mary’s furniture and personal belongings to a newly refurbished apartment on the ground floor with a little patio area.
“How many landlords would do something like that for one of their tenants?” she asks. “She’s a very unique woman.”
Maybe, Judy says, but it’s really a no-brainer. More landlords should wise up about pets, she says. If you want people with a lot of love in their heart, who pay their rent on time and seldom move, make sure they’re carrying a leash or bag of cat litter under their arm.
“I’ve talked to other rental property owners about it, but they just laugh,” she says. “They’re stupid. The only vacancies I’ve had are when people had to move because the economy forced them out of state for a job.
“Within a day or two, there’s a new dog or cat moving in. I can’t remember all the people, but I can remember their pets.”
When I first met Judy 11 years ago, she was sharing an apartment with her German shepherd, Jezebel, a rescue. He’s since died and her new roommate is an Australian miniature terrier she’s named “I Love Sushi.”
“He’s my man,” says the 84-year-old, Hungarian-born, widow, and extremely sharp owner of the apartment building at 5053 Cartwright Ave. that she bought 40 years ago for $260,000. A couple of weeks ago she got an offer for more than $2 million.
She started her “pets-only” policy shortly after she bought the place and saw one of her tenants — a retired school teacher — hiding her cat because she thought the new owner would evict her. Judy told her not to worry.
“The next time I walked by her apartment, her cat was sitting in the window sunning itself. It wasn’t hiding anymore,” she says.
Each tenant is allowed one or two dogs of any size (she’s had Great Danes), but they must be vaccinated, and wear an up-to-date ID tag. Incessant barking or bad behavior is prohibited. They actually “interview” the dog before the person to check for that.
Dogs have to be on a leash when they are outside the apartment. As many as three cats are allowed, and they must be neutered.
Every day, Schiess, the apartment house manager, gets a few phone calls from people asking if anyone’s planning to move soon? He has to tell them, “sorry, no.”
Schiess owns a shepherd-mix named Shadow who was rescued after Hurricane Katrina, and wound up in an L.A. animal shelter. The first time they met, Shadow bit him.
“I thought to myself I better take this dog because nobody else will. He’s changed a lot since then. A little love goes a long way around here.”
Dennis McCarthy’s column runs on Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com.
My wife and I took our mini Aussie, Zeppelin, hiking with us for the first time this weekend in the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana! She loved it! More photos from the hike will be up soon at my blog, adamintriago.tumblr.com.
Zephyr my 2 yr old miniature australian shepherd. He loves to do agility, scent discrimination, tracking and protecting his family and home. He hates new people and when the cat steals his treats and toys. He can be a pain at times, but I can’t imagine my life without him.