The Border Patrol
(News and Information for Border Collie Rescuers, Support Staff, and Adopting Families)
Border Collie Rescue
"Where Every Dog Has His Day"
Join Us At the South Florida Pet Show
Border Collie Rescue will be taking part in the 6th. Annual South Florida Pet Show. We will have our own booth at the show to help us raise both money for our rescue efforts, as well as awareness of the plight of Border Collies in need of rescue. We will be selling Border Collie T-shirts, postcards, cookies, and lots of other stuff to help us raise funds and we will be asking for donations from all those that pass by. Additionally, we will be handing out lots of brochures and pamphlets promoting Border Collie Rescue and tons of information on the breed itself (their demands, activities, instincts, etc.)
In that light, we will be needing volunteers to man the booth and pass out information, collect donations (O.K.... beg for them), sell the Border Collie goodies, and answer questions about the breed and ownership of these dogs. The show runs January 12 - 14 and will be held out the Coconut Grove Convention Center. Show hours are: Friday (5 - 10pm), Saturday (11am - 10pm), and Sunday (11am - 7pm). We will also need people to bring in their dogs to show people what the breed is like and especially their rescue dogs, to show people just how wonderful they can be. We would like to schedule people in shifts, so that you won't have to be there for long hours and the dogs won't have to stick around all day.
We also need things to sell at the booth to help raise money. This can be anything that people might be willing to buy at the pet show - obviously a Border Collie theme would be great. Items you might want to donate could be things like: homemade dog biscuits, needlepoint art, paintings, rope toys, or even snacks for people to munch on while they wander through the exhibits. Use your imagination and dust off your creative side. Whatever you can think of. You can always have the items back if they don't sell. Even if you can't volunteer your time or donate something to sell, be sure to at least drop by and see us (and maybe pick up a homemade dog biscuit or two) and pass the word about our presence at the show.
We need your help to make this a successful event and we'll have to get several donations and T-shirt sales just to make up for the initial exhibit fee.
Call South Florida Border Collie Rescue at 383-0137 to arrange time slots for volunteering, to donate items, or for further information.
Border Collie Rescue News and "Thank You" s
It's been very busy lately in the Border Collie Rescue world. We've placed lots of dogs this year but the number of rescue dogs looking for homes is still increasing. We are seeing more and more Border Collies in the South Florida area, as the breed's popularity rises (thanks in part to television commercials and movies like "Babe"). A sampling of some of our recent placements are: Chelsea, Cane, Twister, Chaos, Tess, Gus, Ollie, and Ashley - just to name a few. Congratulations to all the new adoptive families and thanks for taking a rescue dog into your lives. At last report, all of this year's placements were doing wonderfully. Not a single major problem to report. Wow!
The Rescue Vet
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Mitsie Morales and all those down at the Gerson Animal Hospital for their generous and caring help with our rescue dogs. Without their reduced costs and marvelous support, most of our rescue fees would be much higher and somewhat prohibitive for people. They certainly deserve a big pat on the back as well as your patronage in return for their generosity. They are located at the intersection of Miller Dr. and 137th. Ave. Their phone number is 382-2000.
Rescue Dog Training
If you weren't aware of this, those of you that have adopted a rescue dog are eligible for a free basic obedience course at Bayside Dog Training (246-0206). Though almost all of the dogs leaving South Florida Border Collie Rescue should have basic obedience training already in place, if you would like a refresher course or need to know how to train and work in obedience yourself, Myndi Sorrell has graciously volunteered her services. Give her a call at the number above and tell her you got your dog through SFBCR.
Border Collie Rescue Goes High-Tech
Border Collie Rescue has made its way to the Internet and the World Wide Web this year. Thanks to the donated server space at the University of Miami, people from all over the country and the world can visit our rescue pages and view available Border Collie descriptions and pictures, find rescuer contacts, read lots of information about the breed and Border Collie Rescue efforts, and even fill out an adoption application over the Internet. You can find the Rescue pages at (http://fig.cox.miami.edu/Faculty/NickCarter/ index.html)
We Need Your Continuing Help and Donations !
Please don't forget our rescue efforts when it comes time for giving during the holiday season. Think about what a special gift a donation made in someone's name would make for not only that person, but also a rescue dog in need. Don't forget that rescue dogs require food and medicines, and the advertising, transport, mailings, etc. for our rescue group require money as well. Even more so, we can expect to be inundated with new rescue dogs not long after the holiday season, as some families soon realize that a Border Collie was not meant for them. Please send in your donations or you can contribute food, supplies, or medicines - or even volunteer your time. Every little bit helps.
From the Editor
What's So Great About a Rescue Dog?
The greatest thing about rescue dogs is that almost inevitably, they are out of the puppy stage. Yeah, puppies are cute and all, but they are also a lot of work and assuredly will get into some kind of trouble, no matter the upbringing. Not only do you avoid this with a rescue dog, but most importantly, we already know what the dog is like. If you have children, are looking for a dog to do something particular, or have some idea of what you would like in a dog, rescue is the way to go. If I give you a pup, I cannot tell you exactly what that pup will grow up to be like, personality, working ability, etc. With a rescue, I can tell you exactly what to expect from any particular dog. You want one to play Frisbee - we got it. You need one that is great with kids - we got it. You want one that is ball crazy - got it. With so many available across the country (though I wish we couldn't say this), you can almost custom order your particular dog, right down to the weight, sex, color, and paw size. You may have to wait a bit or ship it in from several states away, but what a bargain. For a rescue fee and shipping costs, you get the exact dog you want. No guesswork and no uncertainties as to how it will grow up. Some come with papers, most are perfectly healthy. The nightmares that are talked about are out there (and we don't even try to place them) but there are TONS of perfectly wonderful dogs waiting in rescue right now. With a pup, you have to raise, train, and housebreak the dog yourself. With a rescue, I can teach them basic obedience in two to three days before handing them over to you. Lots of them are already housebroken. What a great deal - each dog can come with basic obedience and fully housetrained - and loaded with options (do I sound like a car dealer here?) The thought that you are getting someone else's nightmare is probably off base as far as most rescue dogs are concerned. If you have kids, you don't pick one that nips at children. If you can't handle a hyper, intense, or dominant dog, pick one a little more your style. There are certainly enough to go around. The original owners never had that luxury - they were stuck with what they got. And if you need one to herd sheep, we got those too. And some are excellent at it already. What more could you ask for?
Who should we blame for the dogs in rescue?
The breeders or those that get the dogs? I put the blame solely on the breeders (or pet shops, or shelter placements). Most people who turn their dogs over to rescue are well-intentioned and caring people. The breed turns out to be too much for them to handle, or the dog winds up being incompatible with their lifestyle. They agonize over turning in the dog, but simply cannot take the situation any longer. What about those people that turn in their dogs because they are lazy and simply can't handle the dog or don't want to - the so-called "loser" owners? Aren't they to blame? No. If the breeders had done their job - informing potential buyers, screening out those that are incompatible with owning BCs, or warning them of hazards of owning a BC, then these people wouldn't have gotten the dogs in the first place. And where should every dog that doesn't work out go? To rescue? No. Straight back to their breeder. If breeders were willing to stick by their "product" and take back faulty or incompatible dogs, then we would be out of a job in BC rescue. Since many see the old dollar sign at the end of the rainbow, I don't foresee that happening any time in the near future. Foregoing breeding a dog (whether genetically, temperamentally, or physically faulty) or refunding the purchase price of a returned dog does little help in making a profit. Depends on what you are truly interested in, I guess. This becomes very evident with your actions.
Remember - Rescue Border Collies, just like any other Border Collie, can....
1) Win trials
2) Give kisses
3) Win Frisbee World Finals
4) Be trained to do tricks
5) Save lives
6) Comfort the sick or elderly
7) Herd sheep, cats, or geese on a golf course
8) Win Obedience competitions
9) Act in television commercials
10) Love their owners
Save a life and make a new friend - rescue a Border Collie.
Don't Be a Heel - Try This Approach
There are three schools of thought on the subject of heeling. The first is the yank the leash and a firm "NO!" correction approach. The second is the "positive reinforcement - don't hurt their self-esteem" method that very often uses treats as motivation. Both methods have their pros and cons, and either will work given enough time and patience. But the final result, even if the dog heels, may not be what you ultimately want.
There is a third school: the "negative environmental reinforcement" school. Basically, the environment causes the negative consequences of not heeling, not the owner. The dog learns that the only comfortable place to walk is right next to the owner and it must pay attention. The idea is to walk and ignore the dog, forcing the dog to focus on you, not the other way round. Most people just want a dog not to pull or drag behind. If the dog learns that it is uncomfortable to walk anywhere else than next to the owner (and any negative reinforcement comes from external sources), then that is where it walks.
The idea is simple. Place one end of the leash in your right hand (assuming a left-side heel) and with your other, give the dog some slack (depending on how well it's doing, how young it is, etc.) by holding the leash against your left leg with the palm of your hand, part-way down the leash. This keeps YOU from yanking the leash. Then just start walking. If the dog drags behind, don't slow down. Force the dog to keep up with you. If it doesn't, it's awfully uncomfortable walking slow back there. If it speeds ahead or off in another direction, then do a 180 degree turn (or any other angle you prefer) and continue to walk in the other direction. You look awfully stupid doing this and in the early stages, you never seem to get anywhere other than 50 feet in each direction. Neighbors will laugh, point, and stare initially but after a week or two, they'll all wonder in amazement at a dog that walks nicely next to you. No negative reinforcement from you, no praise necessary (though you can to some degree) - it's just you walking. The dog must pay attention to you because you could change direction at any time. Get the dog to focus on you and you won't have the dragging/pulling/wandering off problems. This isn't a perfect obedience heel but it works wonders for most people.
Negative reinforcement from you (leash popping and "NO!") and the dog begins to resent walks with you. Too much postive reinforcement and the dog begins to expect it in order for it to "perform" the heel. In the end, most people just want a dog that walks next to them.
Just another school of thought.
How To Contact Us
South Florida Border Collie Rescue
14811 SW 110 Terrace
Miami, FL. 33196
Phone: (305) 383-0137
FAX: (305) 383-0137 (call first)
We welcome any comments on this newsletter or contributions for future editions. Please spread the word about Border Collie Rescue.