We live 20 miles north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the suburbs. We have raised our three children with animals in our house and backyard/suburban farm. Dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, a cockatiel and various other critters have always been a part of our lives despite our proximity to the city. We have spent much time at one set of grandparents' mountain cabin near Lake Tahoe sailing and hiking in the Sierras and another’s small farm at the top of the Sacramento Valley near Redding. There, grandma raised sheep and always had sheepdogs (both guardian dogs who lived with the sheep and herding dogs.) Our dogs are part of the family. They kayak, sail, camp, hike and run with us. They lie at our feet and sleep on the bed. Our kids say they eat better than we do. They are our best friends and our canine kids.
Since the sixties and the first Shaggy Dog movie, I have lived with shaggy sheepdogs of various breeds. A dog isn’t a dog to me without a hairy face and a big black plastic nose. My mother and I started with Old English Sheep Dogs (like the dog in the original movie.) We later had Briards and then Bearded Collies. In 2007 while teaching one morning, a dad walked into the classroom with a merle Bergamasco puppy in his arms and I was instantly smitten. With two Bearded Collies at home and no need for a new dog, a Bergamasco puppy (Phaedra) joined our family three months later. Fast forward to 2015, four merle Bergamasco girls are the canine members of our family. We are hooked on the breed.