Tag Archives: Border Collie

She Was, a Lady

Lady: Border collie: March, 1998 to June 3,2014 She belonged to my son, Danny. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck. Lady's story begins below Lady: Border collie: March,1998 to June 3,2014 Lady was my son’s dog. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck. Here she is looking down the lane as Danny drives away. I’ll write Lady’s story, in segments. If you are not a pet person then pass on by. I’m not a writer. I once read that if one is going to write, it should be in one’s own voice. I’m still in the process of re-doing parts of my initial writing effort. When I wrote this in WP I could not get the italics to work in the proper places so I wrote it all in italics. I’ve edited this post countless times. Now, I think, most of the italics are correct or maybe not but this post needs much more work. I’ve done just about as much as I can muster for a non- writer.

Part 1 “She Was, a Lady.”

Early one morning in 1998 or 1999, DP went out to his red “92” 4×4 Chevy truck to retrieve his cell phone. Dressed in casual garb of faded starched jeans, a denim shirt and, Roper boots he had not bothered to grab a jacket or wear a cap.

The cold and damp March morning air was laden with a foggy mist. “Yea, he thought, the weather feels just like my brain.”  It was not yet spring. He was glad that maybe winter was nearing an end. He shivered a bit as he walked to the driver’s side of Ole Red. Standing there he began ruminating on a relationship that had ended.  His mother was right about many things, but he was not one who would ever admit that, “Mama often know best.”

Making matters worse was the prospect of no jobs- no money. This time of year was worrisome. Income tax time was about a month away and people held back on extra spending for their home or property. No calls had come in for bids on any custom ornamental iron jobs for the past two days. March and April were slow months which meant that he had to be extra frugal. He and his ex girlfriend often argued about money. She liked to go out and be a part of the local nightlife. She loved to dance to country music and much to his chagrin, she could “drink him under the table.” They argued about that too. Too much beer and she flirted with the guys in the bars. Too much beer and twice she had become an embarrassment. Those times she was more than three sheets in the wind. Too drunk to drive to her house, he and a buddy drove her home, placed her on the den sofa, locked the door behind them and left her to sober up. He wondered how in the world he had let her into his life. She worked for an insurance company but spent all her money on clothes and her fancy car. He thought that just maybe she was an alcoholic or maybe not. DP was a man who was always giving folks the benefit of the doubt.  But he knew his mother thought differently. “You’re too good-hearted for your own good and in all the wrong places” How many times had he heard those words and how many times had he been warned? “Why, did I not listen to my mother? “ His now ex-girlfriend left him for greener pastures. Those were her words, “Greener pastures!” Somehow the words didn’t seem to hurt.

He felt devoid of any feelings that morning. “Oh, I’m just ticked. But I feel empty and in a bottomless pit. Anyhow, I’m glad and relieved our relationship ended.” Before opening the truck door, he made a cursory survey of his tree-lined three acres and noticed that he had forgotten to close the sliding iron gate. He unlocked the door to his truck, reached for his cell phone, took a few steps back to slam the truck door and, then felt something brush against his jeans. Quickly he looked down. Sitting near one boot was a waif dressed in a long black fur coat, with grayish brown trimming around the collar and down the front of its chest.  Stunned for a few moments, he muttered, “What in the world? A dog?” It was a pitiful thing with sad, dark brown eyes that seemed to plead, “Please don’t make me leave. I’ve come a long way. I’m tired and very hungry.” He continued to stand and stare and think. “I bet that once upon a time it was real pretty. It has long jet black fur. Maybe that dingy collar is really white. Its ears fold over at the tips. It looks a bit scared but not bad. Wonder where it came from? Now what I am going to do with this dog?  I know that I’ve not seen it across the road or in the general area.” Finally with cell phone in his hand, he quickly dialed a number for an answer to his dilemma. “Mama, some stray dog came from out of no where and must have slept under my truck last night. I found it when I went to get my phone. It looks awfully dirty and skinny. Its coat is matted with pieces of sticks and burs. What should I do with it?” Mama did not hesitate to answer and gave her son instructions. “Take off your belt and put it around the dog’s neck. Lead it into your office and throw one of your old sleeping bags on the floor. You know you have a couple in the storage room. No dog in distress is going to hurt your precious old sleeping bags.  Get a couple of eggs, bread and milk and, stir that all together and pour into a hot cast iron skillet that you’ve coated with Crisco. Stir it until the egg mixture looks done. It’ll give the dog quick energy until I can get there with some canned and dry dog food. We’ll need to take it to Dr. what’s his name, for a microchip scan. I’ll bring a stack of the past two months of newspapers that I’ve saved for recycling. We can look in the lost and found ads. It might have an owner. However, it could be a dog dumped miles from your house. It clearly is a lost dog. Funny that it found its way to you.”

Yea, Mama thinks it’s funny. I’m not laughing and I don’t want the responsibility of a dog. I’ve not had a dog in a long time. Andy was my last dog and that was a long time ago.”  If only I’d closed my gate last night….” Within a few minutes, he had put his belt around the skinny neck of the waif, led it inside and placed a dusty sleeping bag on the floor. Without any coaxing, it plopped down on the bag with a soft groaning sound. He watched the dog for a moment as it moved its muzzle back and forth on the bed. He could see the dog was watching him as much as he was watching it. He took a few steps back to get a better look as the little dog’s eyes followed his every move. “I reckon when it’s cleaned up and has gained a few pounds, it’ll be a good-looking dog. It seems really glad it’s out of the damp cold. Dang, I think those eyes are talking to me.  Huh! I don’t even know if it’s a male or female. What am I thinking? I’ll have to find a home for it if there’s no owner.”  

He was unaware that his mother was smiling and thinking, “Lord, thank you for sending the dog. It’s just what my son needs. He sounded angry and I know that he doesn’t want a dog.  This will help get his mind off that break-up even if it’s a brief reprieve. Maybe the dog doesn’t belong to anyone. And, I seriously doubt that it has an owner. That much I know. People dump their pets when they become too much trouble or they just don’t want them anymore. I’m glad it’s a dog and not some ding-a-ling woman like the last one whose elevator did not go all the way to the top and was detrimental to his ego. She secretly referred to her son’s latest ex-girlfriend as the “gold-duster in conversations she had with her husband about their son’s choice of girlfriends. Mama cringed as she had visions of the Gold duster who always seemed to have every finger of both hands, sans her thumbs, adorned with a gold ring. “Gee monyetti! That girl could put some alcohol away. I know she wasn’t good for my son. I don’t think she cared one iota for him. How in the world did that co-dependent relationship survive that long?” As mama drove the 12 miles to her son’s house she thought that it’s a lucky Friday. It was the beginning of her two days off. And, just maybe a new beginning for her son. Today she had the time and energy to help her son or was it the dog she would be helping or, both?

To be continued.

Please do not copy my work and no rebloging.  Property of Yvonne Daniel

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The Herding Group: Part I Border Collie Original post: November,2011

Rocket walking toward me

 

In Texas, the most popular of the herding group appears, at least in my area, to be the Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog,(Blue Heeler or Red Heeler) and the Australian Shepherd.
I love dogs that belong to the herding goup. But I am drawn to these dogs in a special way. I suppose that I like their agility and intelligence. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
A little knowledge can help you make the right decision about whether to adopt a herding dog. Will the dog be suitable for his/her/family’s life style? Can you meet the demands of these high energy dogs?  If you adopt a herding dog please make a  COMMITMENT FOR THE LIFE  of these wonderful dogs. Don’t be guilty of adding to the number of animals surrendered to a shelter.

Rescue groups try very hard to save as many dogs as possible from almost always a sure death. But even rescue groups have limits and most times can only pull (take an animal from the shelter) as many, as these individuals can care for in their homes.

The number one issue with the herding dog is that (almost) all of them are extremely smart, highly energetic, agile, love to play, and require some type of activity that provides an outlet for their energy. Simply put, most of them need a job or an activity that gives the dog and the owner fun and satisfaction. IF THESE NEEDS ARE NOT MET- 98% of the time the dog becomes bored which leads the dog to become destructive,  bark incessantly, dig up the yard, might become a biter, and in essence will have become a nuisance and no longer a pet but a pest. At that point, the owner, will be tired of dealing with a dog that appears neurotic and is too difficult to manage.

1.  BORDER COLLIE-  These dogs are quite different from other dogs breeds mainly because their PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR IS HARD WIRED. This incredible dog comes in different coat lengths and various color combinations. The most popular color is black and white. Other colors include merle, white with spots/patches of black or brown, solid black, and red and white.  Some  Border Collies have been taught to follow more than 200 plus voice commands. One Border Collie in Europe can follow 500 word commands.  CHASER:  A Border Collie (in the USA) that is 7 years old and knows 1,022 words (nouns).  

This breed was developed  for herding sheep.  Arguably, the Border Collie is the best all around dog for herding sheep.  These dogs are said to possess the ability to make rational decisions: “think for themselves” or figure out what move to make that will result in a favorable outcome. And, as many people know, this dynamo is adept and excels at frisbee and agility. Some of the champion frisbee dogs in the U.S. were adopted from a shelter.

The Border Collie is rated as highly trainable, possesses a high degree of intelligence, and is  quick to learn.  These are dogs that are very sensitive and punishment or a harsh voice will get you no where fast. Good basic obedience is a must and if you do not have the time to train this dog and/or enroll the dog in an obedience class and give it plenty of exercise with a job to do, then PLEASE DO NOT GET A BORDER COLLIE. The Border Collie can become an integral part of your family. They make excellent pets and like being around people but always give them something to do:  catching a frisbee, chasing a ball, herding some sheep or goats or agility for at least an hour or more per day will keep your dog happy.  I can not stress enough, the importance of proper socialization and at least basic obedience combined with sufficient exercise.

The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge is shown on TV about 2-3 times a year. I watch the program each time it is aired. The dominant breed in agility and frisbee continues to be the Border Collie. The dogs, to me, are unbelievable. But so are their human owners/trainers. These dogs display a level of skill that takes years of training:  The winner of the frisbee contest was a BC from Japan whose owner/trainer is just 21 years old. Human and dog worked as one.  This dog performed some incredible tricks that were jaw dropping.

Where to find a Border Collie puppy/or adult dog?  Look no further than your local shelter or rescue group for a BC. PLEASE NEVER BUY A PUPPY FROM A PET STORE( these puppies most of the time come from puppy mills).  If you want to spend lots of money then do your homework and purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder. Never buy a puppy unless you can visit the breeder’s home and ask to see the mother and the father of the puppies.  The condition of the adult dogs speaks volumes.  Are they clean and free of ticks and fleas? Is the living area or the kennel clean?  Does the owner have a relaxed manner and does he or she make direct eye contact when answering your questions? Has the puppy received any kind of socialization ?  Can the owner produce authentic records of vaccinations?  Ask to speak with the veterinarian who handles health issues for the breeder’s dogs. Make sure that you are really speaking with a veterinarian or better yet visit the veterinarian in person and ask for proof of vaccinations, de-wormings, and other health issues. Unscrupulous breeders are known to give false vaccination and registration papers. (See story of “Saving Annie” and you will get a good dose of reality from this post). How does the puppy interact with you? Do some research on the Internet and learn as much as you can about dogs in the herding group.

Rocket in his favorite place      10/13/2011  12 years old in this photo

My rescue of sorts:  I read the pets ads in the paper each  day as well as the lost and found. About 6 years ago I noticed an ad for a BC to be given away. The ad said he loved to play frisbee.  Why would someone give away a frisbee playing dog?  They are such fun to play with and to own!!! I noted that the ad would be in the paper for a few days, disappear and then reappear. Of course that peaked my interest. Mystified- I watched for the ad for about two weeks or more. I finally called the number and the owner said she had given the dog away three times but that he was not working out for the latest adopter. She told me that he was (7) years old, loved to play frisbee, was terrified of riding in a car, and that ” we are giving him up because we are moving to a house next to a golf course.”  I could see that the family had little regard for the family pet. Her five year old daughter, she said, loved the dog and she wanted the dog to go to a really good home. “We don’t want to give him up but he just can not go with us to our new house.” I thought this was a poor excuse to give up a dog, so why not, I thought, continue to live where you are so that the dog can remain a part of your family? However it was not my place nor my intent to question the woman.  There was one thing for certain- she was adamant that the dog would not be moving with the family.

I had always wanted a Border Collie and even though I had four other dogs, I for some ridiculous reason thought I would be the one to save this dog from a  terrible fate that the owner could not envision. I reasoned that if he had not worked our for three other people then the woman would just give him to anyone and the outcome would surely not be in the dog’s favor.  So over the phone and sight unseen I said, “I will take him and give him a good home.” I  gave her a brief history of some of my  pet experiences and rescues, etc. and the woman seemed relieved. “A farmer has him right now. He was about to bring him back but I don’t want him back anymore. I’ll give him a call and tell him to bring him to you.”  Believe me that farmer and his wife brought the dog over within an hour. I was waiting in the front yard when the people arrived in a pickup with the dog in a crate in the back of the truck. I helped the man get the “orphaned” dog from the crate and the first thing that I noticed were his eyes: wild-eyed and glassy which to me denoted utter fright: a fear of the unknown and desertion- from living in a home where he was cherished by a little girl and then suddenly going to live at different homes all within a few weeks.  “Well, I’ll tell ya. This fella runs off and he barks at my wife’s cat.  Won’t stay at the house. No, I didn’t put him in a fenced yard. He acts wild.”  Thought he might be good company but he just don’t seem to like me. ” The farmer handed me a small bag of dog food,  leash,  frisbee, and a stainless steel food bowl.  As the man got in his truck his parting words were, “hope ya have good luck with him. I reckon he needs patience and we don’t have none of that. Too  much trouble to deal with a dog that acts  just plain stupid. ” And with his parting words, he and his wife were soon out of sight.  I stood in the driveway looking at a beautiful  black and white Border Collie who was very traumatised. He was shaking and I assumed it was from the ride in back of the pickup as I remembered the woman saying that he was afraid of vehicles.

I knelt beside him and looked into his eyes that seemed to speak volumes: sadness, fear, trauma; the whole works of a dog that had been thrown into the unknown. I ran my hands through his thick glossy fur and stroked his head for a few minutes. I hoped with all my heart that he would believe that he was here to stay. So, I was now the owner, of a very fearful Border Collie who was probably trying to understand what the past two weeks were about and why he was no longer with the family that he had known since he was a puppy. 

 I learned quite a few lessons from Rocket. He gradually adapted to his new home and eventually bonded with me. He was a quick learner and I wish that I had had more time to work with him. One of the first things I did was help him overcome his fear of getting into a vehicle. I used treats as a reward. Within two days time he was jumping into my vehicle and ready for a ride.  It was just as simple as that.
 
Rocket continued to bark not just in the morning but throughout the day. I had to do something about the barking- so I purchased a large metal crate from Tractor Supply ( which had the best prices). I put Rocket in a crate in a spare bedroom. This stopped the barking. It seems that Rocket just wanted to be in the house and to be part of a family again. I did not trust him with my cats so he was always supervised when out of the crate. I put him in the crate while I was at work.  During the day he was free to roam the fenced yard with the other dogs. It took several years before I felt he would be okay around the cats.
He goes wherever I go in the house and at night sleeps beside the bed near me. I am sure that all of this would have transpired much sooner had I not been working at the time. Rocket is not a perfect dog but then I never expected perfection. I just know that I have given him a good life- he gets to play ball- no more frisbee because he began limping and I realize d that his age was a factor. So, he gets to chase a ball around and doesn’t have to jump. His biggest love was to catch a ball or the frisbee but now, I roll the ball so that he doesn’t make any jumps to retrieve it. For the past 5 years the golf cart appears to be his favorite activity. Sometimes he beats me to the cart and is the perfect gentleman as he sits down opposite me and eagerly waits for the  ride to begin. Our property is a hill and a  shallow valley, so I use the cart several times a day and Rocket is always on the cart ready for a ride. I find it ironic that his former owners moved to the edge of a golf course and now the dog they once owned rides in a golf cart several times a day.
 
Rocket is now about 12 years old. My vet said he has the heart that sounds like a young dog. I really was happy to hear those words. HE DOES GET HIS EXERCISE. When I go out to feed the animals he races around and around the yard as if he is rounding something up. He has worn a path that looks like a cow trail. The trail  is quite visible. At any rate he is getting his exercise and he is a happy dog. He always comes when I call him to the house. That look of fear? Well that vanished after a few days. I believe that he knew he was here to stay . I am so glad that I made that rash decision to take him- sight unseen that day.
Photos and post:  Yvonne  
 
 Addendum: This post was written in the fall of 2011 about the same I learned that Rocket was in renal (kidney) failure. I was able to keep Rocket going for approximately 8 months. I used Ringer’s lactate IV fluids ( which is also given sub cu (subcutaneous) under the skin with the needle inserted between the shoulder blades. I also gave him vitamin B12 and B complex under the skin.  There are  two medications that can be used but one is very expensive. The other medication Rocket, could not tolerate at all. In June, 2012 Rocket was euthanized after 2 days of not eating and not  being able to stand up. I know he was ready to go to doggie heaven.  I miss Rocket a lot. He was not my dog for his entire lifetime but I think he liked his home with me. And, I would like to believe that he loved me, as much I loved him.
 
                                                                                                                      

Rocket: declining in health but still very alert

 

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Rocket, The Border Collie -15 years Old is Now in Renal Failure

 

 

Rocket in his favorite place- the electric cart
Rocket in late afternoon sun. 2011
Rocket. Pic taken after diagnosis of kidney failure.

That dreaded condition has now hit my truly special Border Collie, Rocket. There is not a whole lot one can do about the kidneys slowly failing. There are a few things that one can do that will extend a pets life. Dr Daniel prescribed Phoslo which inhibits the absorption of phosphorus.  Too much phosphorus in the system “fries” the kidneys that much faster. There is one other med to inhibit the absorption and I will ask Dr. D. about it. I called quite a few pharmacies in the town where I live and only one pharmacy, a privately owned pharmacy (not a chain pharmacy) said that “they” could/would obtain the drug for me.

I disguised the huge capsule in a pill pocket and gave it to Rocket as he ate a low protein diet that Dr. Daniel prescribed.  The food is called NF  made by the  Nestle Purina company. Dr. D. had it “dropped shipped” to me by UPS. I got the food within 2 days time. Rocket prefers the canned but at times I give him the nuggets that I have softened in hot water. I add just a tad of canned cat food so that he will eat which ever one I decide to feed him. I switch it around for the dry food lasts longer and there is more food for the money.

Unfortunately the Phoslo did not agree with Rocket. I even opened the cap to try to guess-timate emptying half of the med drain the drain. The cut in half dose did not work either. He completely lost his appetite and energy as well. I tried 2 different times and each time it was the same reaction.

The other medications consists of B12 and B complex injections  every 3 days to keep his appetite and energy going. The vitamins are also supposed to help the kidneys out some- I read that some place- actually it was an add in Veterinary Practice magazine/journal. I need to look at that ad again and ask Dr. D about it. The med, I think contained several things to help out the kidneys.

And last but not least, I give Rocket 250ml of Ringer’s Lactate subcutaneously every day. He has more energy than he did a month or so ago. Probably the B vitamins are helping with energy and appetite.  And the fluids are helping as well.

Rocket was a rescue of sorts. His humans were giving him away because they were moving to a golf course. He had been given to three different individuals when I stepped in to give him a permanent home 8 years ago. He was a scared dog by the time I got him and he came with a few issues. We have worked on his problems but a few still remain. I don’t mind his problems at all. For the most part, I can control his actions so that his issues are actually pretty minor. I did not expect a perfect dog- I just wanted to give him a home, love, and help him adjust to a new way of life.  

As I type this post he is at my feet under the kitchen table. He generally goes where I go and sleeps in his bed beside my bed. He readily comes when called.  I consider him a very good boy and I love him dearly.

I don’t know how long I can keep him going but I am hoping for at least a year.  That might be an unreasonable time but I can only hope and pray.

I’m posting some of pictures of Rocket. I think they are pretty good. Wish they were better. I am aiming to take some”formal” pictures of him in a few days. I’ll use a solid back drop or a wall of one of the small sheds on our property for the “formal”  and more posed photos of him.

Post and photography Yvonne

 

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Do You Allow Your Dog/s to Sniff the Ground When Outdoors?

 
 

Rocket on his way to find another pace to sniff

 

Rocket having fun sniffing
Rocket. Must have found an enticing scent
Rocket found a “lovely” scent
Rocket enjoying a good sniff

   

Several weeks ago I read that we, dog owners should allow out pet/s to enjoy themselves more- such as sniffing for all the various scents that our dog/s love. I thought that was rather odd since I just have never given sniffing much thought other than to watch my dogs have fun with their nose to the ground.   

I read this on an Internet site and their were some comments from readers that, we do not allow our pets much freedom and fun. According to the article, it was the writer’s opinion that sniffing is one huge pleasurable activity in which our dogs should be given more time to engage in and thus have more fun.  

For some dogs such as the Beagle and other hunting breeds one would think that the dog would constantly have its nose to the ground or concrete- whatever the case might be. I think most dogs- no matter the breed love to sniff.  

The comments went on to cats where some individuals believed that they were depriving their pet of the wonderment of the great outdoors. I, for one believe that is taking the subject of deprivation to whole new level. Several commenters said they had begun letting their cat go outdoors.  Guilt was the deciding factor. Apparently these people did not even begin to realize the perils of letting their cat roam around at will. From experience, I can tell you that many eons ago, my husband would let any cat go out the door that wanted out.  I then would chase the cat and bring it back inside. Sad, but true, I “lost” several cats to coyotes and two that were killed by cars.  I was finally able to add an addition to the back of the house with a large wire run and have not lost any cats since. My husband did not approve of the addition but I paid for all of it myself.   

I do not understand the justification for letting an animal roam which can not think for itself anymore than a toddler has the ability to realize all of the inherent dangers of what is lurking at just about every corner. I compare free ranging cats to letting your small child play unattended which could result in the child being kidnapped, killed, or run over by a car. Same thing goes for pet owners who let their dog  “potty” anywhere in the neighborhood or cat owners who have never considered the fact that your neighbors might just not like having a cat use their flower bed as a litter box or have paw prints that can clearly be seen going across the hood of their car.  

 I strayed from the original topic- sorry for the digression. I’ll stop with the lecture and get on with the sniffing thing. I am very lucky to live on an acre in the city. Our property was purchased many years ago when there was no one around. Now we are surrounded by homes but our acre is fenced and gated so I can let my dogs run, play, and sniff about every 2 hours or so during the day. I just happened to take some photos of Rocket my old Border Collie as he sniffed his way across our yard one day.  

Post and photography Yvonne Daniel   

   

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