Compiled from the Border Collie Mailing List
Don't Give Up Hope
Patches? We Don't Need No Stinking Patches
Always Expect the Best and You'll Get the Bess
Marcus Welby, M.D. (Miracle Dog)
From: Melanie Flesberg and Bandit
Bandit is my 8 yr. old tri-colored rescue. He happens to
be one of those more mellow and laid back BC's but still has some of the
BC characteristics that can drive you crazy if you don't keep him occupied.
I guess I'll start the story before I got Bandit. His 1st owner found him
dumped at the side of the rode in Pennsylvania at the age of 7-8wks. She
only had him until he was 9 months old. In that time, he managed to get
loaded with buckshot. The story passed on to me was that he got scared
one day and ran off. His owner looked for him and found him under some
guy's porch; when she called Bandit to her, the man came out of the house
and shot him. If you look at x-rays of him, there are tons of white spots
(buckshot) everywhere. One piece even managed to work its way out of his
back about 4 years later.
When he was 9mo. old, she was going on a year long trip and couldn't keep
him. She drove him to Colorado and dumped him on a friend of hers. This
person had him a month before she and a friend thought of me. I "was"
going to wait until I was done with grad. school before getting a bc. My
friend called and said she had a proposition for me. She described him
to me and then I found out he had the same name as the bc we had had as
kids. (Fate?). I basically said a tentative yes sight unseen and went out
and looked at him that weekend. When he came and shoved the top dog of
the foster home out of the way to sit next to me it became an instant "Yes,
I'll take him". Monday morning I turned in my graduate housing notice
and went house hunting.
I'd say he had a very deprived childhood and never really played with people
or dogs much. When I got him, he didn't know what a ball or toy was and
had to be taught to play with toys and people. Even now he doesn't play
with people quite like a dog who has done this since puppyhood. It took
a long time to get him to pick up and squeak a squeaky toy. Now he is somewhat
obsessive/compulsive about it. Rescues sure make wonderful companions.
Sorry to be long-winded, but what can I say - he's my baby and I wouldn't
trade him for anything.
From: Mary Lou Priest, Robbie & Hope
I will first say that months ago I noted to someone on the
list that I probably would choose to go back to our BC breeder whom we
trust implicitly rather than rescue, because of the possibility of problems
with rescues, getting along with our young BC, etc., etc. Well, have I
eaten my words!
It seems about 7-8 weeks ago I received a call from a rancher in the area
who uses BCs and Aussies to herd cattle, and sometimes sheep. (He had greatly
admired the herding ability of our male BC.) It seems he had obtained a
couple of now year-old BC female pups three months previously from a sheep
rancher in Bakersfield, CA, with the prospects of training them to herd
his cattle, then breeding them, selling puppies, etc.
After three months of owning these two girls, it seems one of them "just
didn't turn on to the cattle," and he wanted to provide her with a
loving home -- hence his call to us. His wife added that the pup was "rather
shy," because she had spent most of her life in a kennel!!!!! I can't
imagine a BC spending most of her life in a kennel! I told them at that
time I couldn't consider another dog -- we had four -- and I would try
to find a home for the pup.
Oddly enough, our GSD 11-yr. old male became so hip-impaired, along with
a number of other old-age problems, and was suffering, so we decided to
have him put to sleep. This occurred on July 10. On the way home, I said
to my 14-yr. old son that I just couldn't get this young BC pup out of
my mind, and he said, "Why don't we just get her?" Funny how
simply 14-yr. olds think. My husband certainly doesn't think that way and
vehemently argued that in no way should we consider this idea. Dave (son)
and I said we'd "just take Robbie -- our 18-mo. old male -- out to
see her and see what she was like."
Of course, you know how this went.... They let "Dot" out of the
kennel and she flew around their yard FREE! Robbie hardly knew how to play
with her, as he had lived with three older dogs most of his life, but she
sure tried! She's a beautiful, B/W rough-coated girl with perfectly "flipped
to the front" ears, and a little more white on her back than I've
seen. She didn't seem to know her name, BTW. She was quite dirty and her
hips looked extra high and wide -- turned out I don't think she'd been
brushed all winter!
We took her home, of course, introduced her to the two older dogs, an 8-yr.
old Bichon and a 7-yr. old Lasa Apso mix (also rescued years ago) and she
hasn't quit smiling since! We changed her name to Hope, which she apparently
liked much better than Dot, because she looked at us immediately upon our
trying out of that name.
She has taught Robbie how to play, even though he's still quite work-oriented.
While she's happily tossing a sock or ball into the air to show off, he's
begging us to kick his soccer ball, so things get quite active in our back
yard. She loves the field behind our home where she and the gang get to
run freely, chasing rabbits (she had to be taught to come, but learned
She loves to be brushed (Robbie still just tolerates it), is a little "grabby"
for treats (we're working on it), and is a joy to behold.
Unfortunately, two weeks after she came to live with us, she came into
season!!!!! We immediately called the vet and had her spayed. Interestingly,
the rancher hoped we'd keep her whole and breed her to Robbie. I told him
that there were too many BCs in rescue and that with her lack of herding
instinct (of course, who knows? We're going to test her anyway) it would
make no sense to breed her. Also, I didn't want to have to find homes for
puppies -- I'd be unable to live with everyone who took a puppy -- ;-).
Keeping Hope quiet after surgery was a joke; she kept herself rather quiet
for a day or two, then went right back to leaping into the air, racing
about our, fortunately, small back yard, etc. Now the stitches are out
and she's in great shape, back to running with us in the field.
Well, for a non-rescue-for-me-thinking-person, I've eaten my words over
and over, and enjoying two wonderful BCs. BTW, my husband loves her (he
always ends up loving them, even though he protests loudly).
Now I'll have an agility dog, if my son doesn't take her over. He's involved
with Robbie in agility and doing quite well, but, seeing Hope run even
faster than Rob and jump higher than Rob, his mouth is watering with temptation
to work with her.
She isn't at all shy, as far as I can tell, but soft and easy going. I'm
planning to do obedience with her to build confidence and acquaint her
with other dogs, then start agility.
From: David Sonnenberg
I was brought up in a home in which we had a steady stream
of rescues. There were dogs, cats, assorted birds, hamsters and fish; all
have the common bond of being discards. The first of my adult rescues was
Apollo. I found him in a shelter and I soon as I saw him knew he was the
one. He was with me for 13 years and I still miss him. Apollo was a huge
square headed yellow lab. I have never owned or seen a better dog. He came
perfectly trained for anything- obedience, tracking, bird hunting and never
did anything that he knew he shouldn't. Apollo was pure pleasure.
A few months after we adopted Apollo, a doberman pup was dumped on our
doorstep. Victoria was always a little strange but extremely affectionate.
She thought she was a lap dog. She and Apollo chased each other endlessly.
Unfortunately. Victoria "snapped" and tried to kill one of our
children for no reason. He was watching tv, with us, and she jumped up
and tried to tear out Eric's throat. Apollo saved him. She had to be euthanized.
Next my son found Muffin wandering the streets and she has been with us
for 11 years. No one can tell what Muffin is, she's a dog. Muffin is now
deaf and partially blind and stuck with 2 bcs.
Shortly after, Apollo died, a rescuer came to the stable where we boarded
our 2 horses ( both rescues) with a bc figuring that bcs would be a good
stable dog. We adopted Loki a 75 pound black 2 year old male. He had no
training, no herding instinct (he thinks that he is a horse and hangs out
with our horses) and low energy but he's definitely all bc. Loki is the
most affectionate animal I have met, too affectionate. His goal, in life,
is to lick people for as long as he can. Loki became very attached to Muffin
which led us to Patches.
We decided that since Muffin was ancient we needed to get another dog before
she left us to keep Loki company. We wanted a female bc and contacted Mary
Ann O'Grady via this list. Mary only had males and one that needed immediate
placement; we went and looked (Loki too). As soon as we drove up Mary's
drive we saw numerous bcs. Loki was amazed to see all these dogs that looked
like him plus one white bc with helicopter ears that looked like a clown-
Patches. My wife fell in love with Patches immediately and after Mary successfully
introducing him to Loki, Patches joined our family. Patches is the exact
opposite bc of Loki and our "ranch" was perfect for him. Patches
has his own herd of horses that he can herd all day and see from any room
in the house. He has Loki to wrestle with for about six hours per day,
Loki gets tired. In the few months Patches has been here I have never seen
him sleep, he watches his herd. But he is also very cute, funny and extremely
loveable. He came with training and is a fast learner.
From: Debbie Sheppard and Bess
My name is Bess and this is my story....
I used to live with a man and woman in a flat. I used to get shut up in
the kitchen. I had no toys and my bed was made of plastic and I didn't
have a blanket to make it nice and comfy. My toilet was newspaper in the
corner. They were hardly ever home and I was very lonely. When they did
get home I wasn't loved or played with - I was kept shut away. Before bed
the man used to put a choke chain on me with a piece of string attached
to it and walk me round the block. Those 15 minutes were the only time
that I was let out of that awful kitchen.
Then a man came to visit and he talked to me and stroked me and took me
away. I was very frightened. We drove for quite a while and then we stopped
at this house. A woman answered the door and we were introduced. After
a while the man left me with this woman. The woman is now my mom and I've
since discovered that the man is her brother. My mom gave me lots of love
and took me into a big field and let me off the lead so that I could run
around. It was very strange and I wasn't really sure what to do to begin
with. Then my mom started to take a ball with her and she would throw it
for me and I'd take it back - that is really great fun. She's not a very
good thrower so she takes a tennis racket with her now.
I really loved all the attention but I wanted it all the time so I used
to sit and shout at my mom so she'd come and play. Sometimes it worked
but sometimes she had to do some work. Then after a while we drove a long
way and stopped at this house. Mom disappeared inside for a while and then
came out with this bundle of fluff. Apparently the house was an animal
shelter and this fluff thing was another one of me. I was very grumpy for
ages coz she was butting in on my territory. Mom named her Millie and she
was a real bully to me....she still is but not half as much. Mom said that
the animal shelter had german shepherd dogs and that Millie was used to
playing rough and tumble with very big dogs. I feel sorry for Millie coz
she was taken away from her mom at a very early age. I know she still misses
her coz she suckles in her sleep sometimes.
I like playing with Millie now and running in the field with her. I can
run faster than her though.
From: Barbara Rogers, Marcus, Ista
Last year I took to heart that 2 dogs are better than one,
and Ista the Corgi X sure needed company when we were at work. Checked
out co-owning another Corgi one night, was a hostile female (another story),
1/2 Ista's size, so decided it was more important to have a dog that would
be good friend to Ista, not necessarily same breed. Decided needed to probably
be another herding dog, though, similar size (47 pounds), similar wanting
to play, run, be friendly, etc. I obsessively called the taped message
for weeks at the Humane Society. Went a couple of times, no dogs, really
none appropriate for us. Then I hear it one Monday - Border Collie Cross.
Run right down at lunch. Very sad looking dog, tricolor, lots of black,
not well-kept, but oh, those eyes! Even though sad and fur not groomed,
comes up slowly to me and licks my hand through the cage. I go thrashing
around trying to find out info. Nobody around to help, almost whole staff
went to some party together, but receptionist is there, she is fond of
him too. Single mom and bawling young boy brought this BC male in, 11 months
old, wrote down "No time" "Chews everything" "Loves
Cheweez" and "Allergic to Bee bites." Evidently he had done
the "one more thing and you're out." Old owner didn't even know
what BREED he was, you can just imagine. They decided BC-X at the H.S.
I couldn't even take him into the little yard where you check prospective
dogs out. So I call in an hour, the staff guy says, oh that one? He's so
fearful we can't even give him his shots, we might not even be able to
place him (read: will put him down), I say "what on earth are you
talking about, he licked my hand, I don't know what you mean!" Plus,
if they do let him go, another woman already has first bid on him. My heart
sinks. They know me already, cause Ista's from there only a year ago, and
her success story and picture are on their bulletin board, so my begging
and pleading result in my name going down as runner up. I can't stop thinking
Five days later, it's the day of our office Christmas party, everybody
including my bosses are gone already, but I'm not going, so I figure I
can sneak off for a longer lunchtime session at the Hum. Society. I walk
in there, head down, shuffling my feet, whining "Why couldn't I have
Buster, I want Buster" I approach the cages, and there he is. He licks
my hand again. I RUN to the staff, demanding what is going on, you told
me I couldn't have this dog and here he is, etc. etc. They say yes, the
other woman was supposed to come, and she called every day saying tomorrow
she would be there, she never came, we were gonna call you no kidding in
another 10 minutes at work. I am ecstatic, but try to calm down to make
an intelligent choice and decision. I take him out to the little yard,
check him out, he is happy to be out there, nothing wrong with him that
I can see, except he is a little shy, a little hesitant to play, etc. They
were getting lots of dogs in then, and didn't want to keep him an extra
lousy two hours until the end of my workday, I say forget it, I'm not letting
him out of my sight, I take him, put him in the truck, drive to work, shut
down my computer, and that was that (nobody around to ask if I can take
the rest of the day off, right?)
Buster becomes Marcus, and yes, he did have some problems. Kennel Cough
within days, cleared up immediately with meds, but then the emotional problems
started to emerge. Any time you even looked at the door, he begged to go
out. Obviously past owner never walked him enough, but as soon as he figured
out we ALWAYS go out certain times each day, this stopped (about four days
total learning). Also had "abused child syndrome," seriously
did not know that doinh "good" things get attention, so did "bad"
things cause he had learned that definitely would get attention. Other
problems, too, some days I was really in tears, and didn't know what to
do, so I go on Internet at CyberCafe (didn't have our own yet), I look
up BC home pages, and voila, every little problem we were having was EXACTLY
well-known BC behavior, PLUS ... there they were ... BREED SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS!!
Like sensitivity to voice level for instance. Tried them, worked IMMEDIATELY,
immediate improvement. I find BC list, learn even more. To make long story
short, Marcus is like a totally different dog now, we all love him to pieces,
including Ista, they are best buddies (we worked hard on the first introduction,
and it clicked), and Marcus just graduated from Intermediate Obedience
Training, we did beginner ourselves (after learning a lot from 2 classes
with Ista). He has NEVER chewed anything he wasn't supposed to at our house.
He also wouldn't even walk through a puddle at first, but now swims like
a lab (result of peer pressure). He is not shy any more. Loves babies,
even the smallest reach right out for him. I am now seriously considering
some herding with both, or agility with Marcus, because he loves jumping
and any challenge. We are going to just watch our first ever sheep herding
trials next weekend.
And yes, Marcus is extremely clever, always goes through the door first
(although Ista is the alpha dog still), will hog the whole bed if you let
him, doesn't understand why he can't climb the tree if the squirrel can,
can outrun Ista (but not outcorner!), steals all her toys, excels at ball
playing, and search and rescue the treat, wants to please, is very sensitive
to people's emotions, etc., etc. ... in other words, he is a typical BC!
Except, you actually CAN tire him out after a two hour running-free hike
in the woods, so I do now refer to him as a somewhat more "mellow"
BC, maybe cause he's got a little mix in him, but he looks like a BC except
his nose is a tad longer.
Picture of Ista and Marcus at Marcus's first year birthday party (complete
with a little cake made out of Oinker Rolls and one candle) went with a
second success letter to the Humane Society. No apologies this time for
a long post, I just am so proud he has come so far, plus he's been nudging
me with his nose for the last five minutes, and, one thing has NOT changed
about him --- OH THOSE EYES!!
From: John Lapham & Abbey
Ft. Myers, Florida
I have wanted a dog most of my life, but mother doesn't particularly
like dogs, so I was forced to grow up without one :( I told myself that
once I graduated from college I would get a dog, but with a new job, new
car, etc. I didn't have the time to get one. Also during this time, each
time I told someone I was thinking of getting a dog, they would discourage
me. Well, off-and-on during the last two years, I did some cursory research
on dog breeds, and had tentatively decided on the Border Collie. Then,
this summer, I finally decided that I was going to get a dog, and it was
just a matter of finding the right one.
Since I had previously decided on a Border Collie, I decided to get serious
and do some real research on the breed. I went to the local library and
bookstore, and read everything I could find on the breed. Each book was
good in it's own way, but I still could not find the *practical* information
I was looking for.
My work requires me to have Internet access, and I use it quite frequently
(a couple times a day). One day, I decided to see if there was any good
information on the Net about dogs and BCs. WOW! Did I ever find information!
There is more practical information on owning a dog on the web then anyplace
else. Through my searches and surfs I finally came across Dr. Nick's rescue
page. Until I read his excellent web site, I was considering getting a
puppy. But after reading his collection of really good rescue stories,
I decided that for me, a rescue was the way to go.
Also at this time (about 6-8 weeks ago), I joined this list and have really
enjoyed reading the sometimes voluminous postings. I have definately learned
what it is like living with a BC from the stories told here :) I went to
my local rescuer to visit her dogs.
While there, I met Gilley, a wonderful 2.5 year old smooth-coat female
BC. Since I can only handle one dog, I had to leave the other wonderful
rescues with Jerri (so if anyone else out there is looking for a nice rescue,
now you know where to go!). Once I got her home, I changed her name to
Abbey, and we both started adjusting to our new living conditions.
Abbey is a wonderful dog! She is great in the car, and has great house
manners. She has no problem with baths, and does not mind being handled
by the vet, etc. Once outside, however, she is easily distracted and only
realizes I'm there when she gets to the end of her leash :) This doesn't
particularly bother me since we will be starting obedience class in a couple
of weeks (I want to give her time to adjust to her new surroundings). I
really haven't found any reason why someone would give her up. She is nice
to other dogs (although she seems a little intimidated by dogs bigger than
her). One thing she does excel at, though, is being cute! If someone walks
up to her, she wags her tail and smiles broadly until someone pets her!
The only physical problem with her is her skin seems a little red, and
she is missing hair on her front elbows, and a little missing on her ears.
It looks as if she had been scratching real hard. When I took her to the
vet, she checked for mange, and it wasn't that. Therefore, we decided that
it was either caused by an allergy of some sort, or it was caused by stress.
The vet gave me some antibiotics to give her for a couple of weeks. I still
think, though, that it is caused by stress. Since I've had her (two weeks),
she has almost stopped scratching, and one of her elbows is starting to
grow hairs back.
Well, this turned out to be a little more long-winded than I had originally
intended, but I wanted to let everyone know that what you are doing is
Go on to Volume V
Go back to Volume III
Page last updated March 7, 1997.
All material Copyright © 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc.
Contact via email