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My New Old Dog



I was on a phone meeting with a co-worker when my other phone line rang. Very few people have that number. I always take the call. It was from my veterinarian's office. I told my co-worker to hang on, I needed to take the call. It went something like this:



"Hi, I'm calling because I know you have a soft spot in your heart for herding dogs. We have a really nice Border Collie here. He has this mass on his face that we were scheduled to remove but now his owners want him put down instead. We'd like to find a rescue for him. ......."

I don't remember the rest of the conversation but the bottom line is that they had one or two days to place the dog or the owners would put him down. At that it was dicey. Apparently they changed their minds a couple of times between agreeing to place him or euthanizing him. They had not chosen to get a dog in the first place. They took him in after a relative died. All was good until they added a child to the family. Border Collies and kids are often not a good mix. The dog ended up in the backyard. So when he was 13 and was going to need surgery after care they didn't feel they could, or wanted to, deal with it.

Obviously I took him in as otherwise I wouldn't be writing this story.


The dog's owners did pay for his surgery (I think). And part of their reluctance to place him was fears from things they had heard about rescue. I might not agree with their decisions BUT I do know that people who never intended to have a dog in the first place still face harsh judgment and many hurdles if they decide to place the dog. This leads people to keep a dog on .... reluctantly. We could argue 'til the cows come home about those issues. Instead I'll just move on to what is. He is alive, and a spry 13 year old on his way to make the best of a new life.

I met him for the first time on June 22, 2012. He had a big plastic cone on his head. He had a drain leaking on his cheek, and stitches ... well it looked like all over the side of his head. After I got a better look it wasn't quite that. Still he was quite the sight.

Since he was an outdoor dog with little attention his coat was a mess. It was heavily matted in some areas. It had a harsh feel to it ... something like sheep's wool when it is still on the sheep. He had more undercoat than top coat. There had been some attempt to remove his mats. It was effective, perhaps, but not pretty.

My other dogs Turbo and Freeway have seen him, had chances to get a good look and a good whiff, but no direct interaction yet. I do not think it is a good idea to have a meeting with the physical impairments. Turbo could, if he wanted, obsess about Worf because there is a cat door between the hall and the room Worf is in. It is an excellent beginning that Turbo looks but does not obsess.

This weekend should be interesting as I am going to an agility trial with all three dogs. It will be an exercise in juggling to keep all three comfortable, secure and safe. It isn't, however, an entirely novel experience so I don't expect serious problems.


And how did it go? Perfect. When we got to the agility site I set up a wire crate and an ex-pen (aka exercise pen). I tossed a rug into the crate and one on the ground. Put shade over the whole thing and we were all set. The first thing that didn't happen is when a clueless person started tossing a toy for her dog ... right toward our set up. Nothing happened. I put up some flagging tape which successfully encouraged the person to play with her dog in the other direction. The rest of the week-end went the same. He could have been attending competitions for years for all the excitement he didn't cause.

At night I had him sleep in Turbo's traveling crate. The other two were loose with me in the car as usual. Since then we did one more trial with the same results. He chilled out in his ex-pen most of the day. He got his first opportunity to run off leash with the other two. He sniffed in one direction, Freeway sniffed in the other direction, Turbo ran around like a maniac after his ball.

Worf's Commen It was all so ... normal.

The other day I took Worf to the groomer. His coat was trimmed to even it out, and his feet were trimmed to eliminate the snowshoes. He looked beautiful. I quick ran him down to the vet's to show him off before he could roll around in the dirt or whatever.

I've seen great progress. He is initiating play with Turbo. Turbo is not ready for a full blown wrestle but they are definitely more comfortable with each other.

Turbo and Worf

One thing that Freeway and Turbo appreciate about Worf is that Worf doesn't see certain delicacies as food. So I had him a carrot, and he drops it. Turbo dives in and grabs it. I just handed each dog a slice of watermelon. Worf dropped his and Freeway got seconds. The other day I noticed his teeth were pretty grungy. I decided to treat them to chicken necks. To prevent arguments each dog gets their treat secure from each other. Freeway was thrilled to find out that when I opened the door to Worf's room bonanza! more chicken neck! Unfortunatley for the other two Worf is begining to explore these new tastes and finding them quite satisfactory.

See more pictures and a story on all three dogs in my ramblings about our summer vacation.


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Copyright © 2012, Diane Blackman     Created: June 28, 2012     Updated: August 9, 2012

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