SANDRA and Darnall Oliver chose a Doberman pinscher for their pet because ''when we watched them at dog shows, we just liked the way they looked and showed. Their mannerisms were classy. You just knew that there was a dog . . . not some little sissy,'' Sandra says.
Even so, Sandra refers to 8-month old Sheba as ''my baby doll.''
L The couple purchased 8-month-old Sheba from a local breeder.
''Sheba sticks close to us and doesn't want strangers,'' Darnall says. ''She is the only puppy I've ever heard of who actually listens, and I believe she is the only one that has never chewed up anything in the house. She is a very private dog.
''She won't relieve herself on anything but grass, and when we took her to New York for the day recently, we could only offer her ground, not grass, and she could not find a spot that suited her. We stopped time and again going up and coming back home, but she waited until she got home to her own spot,'' he says.
The couple moved from their hometown, Brooklyn, New York, about eight years ago and came to Baltimore three years later. ''We went to York, Pennsylvania, first because I am a printer as well as a minister. In York I was a pastor at the Faith Tabernacle Church of God and Christ. Also, I had a prison ministry and taught in the York County Prison,'' says Darnall, 40, who has been a printer for 15 years. For the past year he has worked for Red Cross, running the press in its printing shop.
Sheba has proved to be everything they were looking for, says Sandra. ''I even call her compassionate because she is so attentive to feelings and moods.
''There is no aggression in her at all, but she wants only us. When we come in from work she lies on the couch with her head in my lap or she settles at my feet.'' Sandra is a customer service representative for United Cable.
During the day, Sheba has her own quarters. ''We have an area blocked off in the house which affords her space for her food and water and an area to move very freely. At night she sleeps with us at the foot of the bed on one of her three blankets,'' she says.
The family and Sheba enjoy taking day trips. They have visited Rehoboth and Virginia Beach, and ''We love shopping malls because my hobbie is shopping and cutting coupons,'' laughs Sandra. ''I am super at shopping. Darnall is a reader. He's not much on television, and he calls himself a fisherman but he won't fish and he says he's a hunter but he doesn't hunt,'' she adds.
Sheba, on the other hand, is a frisky hunter. She chases and shakes an old sock with her rubber hamburger stuck in it. Her toy basket is full of bones and toys plus a gray mouse that she is afraid of, her family notes.
''She's a sweetie pie and I'd like to take her to work with me. Everyone brings in their children to show off, and she is my showoff,'' jokes Sandra.
* Pet events coming up.
* On Saturday, an all breed and obedience match will be held at the Deer Park Middle School, Winands and Kings Point roads in Randallstown. Registrations will begin at 10 a.m., judging begins at 11 a.m. Entry cost is $3 pre-entry and $4 at the door with $1 for second entry of same dog. Bring your own chairs; food will be available. The match is sponsored by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks. For information, call the Arbutus recreation office at 887-1453 or the Woodlawn office at 887-1357.
* A two-day all breed, miscellaneous and rare breeds match will be held Oct. 20-21 at State Fairgrounds in Timonium in both the 4-H and the Exhibition buildings. For information, call Herb Rosen, match chairman, at 252-7555 evenings or call assistant match chairman Shirley Merrill at 922-9465. The National Committee for Dog Agility will sponsor an agility event on both days. For agility event information, call Suzanne Garrett, 356-3492.
* The 50th annual All-Bird Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Holiday Inn at Cromwell Bridge Road in Towson. Species will include cockateels, lovebirds, finches, canaries, parakeets, parrots and more. Admission is free. For details, call 823-4410.