BC’s Anonymous

Owain's FIrst Day at Home

Owain’s FIrst Day at Home

If I had a blog, today I would write about my secret addiction. They say the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one, so here goes: I am addicted to border collies. When my fourteen year old BC, Owain, passed away a few weeks ago, I knew I would eventually get another dog, but I had no intention of getting another border collie. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that life with a BC was unfulfilling, its just that these are seriously high-maintenance dogs. They are brilliant, energetic, and demand entertainment from everyone around them. I thought one small consolation to losing my dear Owain would be a quieter, simpler life where I could do things like watch TV without also playing catch, sit at the river without my dog asking for a running commentary on the sheer awesomeness of the hold he’d dug in the sand, or have breakfast without shouting, “Wow! You’re the man!” every time my furry friend chased off a flock of songbirds. I thought life would be easier that way, but boy, was I wrong.

Finding the First Leaf

Finding the First Leaf

It appears that once a BC has installed himself in your life and become your best friend, workmate, and entertainer, you simply can’t live without that glorious energy humming around your life. I know I am grieving for the individual who was Owain and regardless of what kind of dog I get, it won’t be him, but even in studying other breeds (labs, corgis, golden retrievers), nothing but a BC can fill the empty place in my heart.

Ordinarily the solution to my problem would be: Get a border collie, but our farm has changed since Owain came along and I worry he (or she) wouldn’t have enough to do. At present, the only livestock we have are five horses, two old Jersey cows, one ancient sheep, and an assortment of poultry. We might get back into sheep in a few years, but would that be soon enough? Would I be able to provide enough stimulation to satisfy a border collie’s startling intellect. If an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, then a border collie without a purpose is the inner ring of Dante’s Inferno.

Owain Working Sheep

Owain Working Sheep

So here’s the issue: Do I go with my feelings and look for the next BC of my dreams or do I wait? My thought is to approach this as I have all my animal friends: I will send out a request to the Universe and trust that when the time is right, a border collie will fall into my life. It has happened with all four of my cats and my horse, so there is a good precedent to work with. I will set my compass towards all things BC and follow the arrow as it flies from my heart.

7 thoughts on “BC’s Anonymous

  1. Julie, I think you’re absolutely right. Animals have a way of finding you. I do know someone who’s had much luck adopting border collies who found themselves in homes not suited to them. They’re so smart they don’t seem to have trouble adjusting to a good home and learn new rules fast. In lieu of animals to herd, they seem happy playing ball and Frisbee, but definitely need, love, attention, and exercise–all of which you seem to have to offer in spades.

    • Melissa,
      Thank you for the compliment. I actually got an email from a sheep-friend who wants a home for one of her stock dogs, who prefers to be a buddy rather than a working dog. I think he’s going to be older than I’d like (can’t go through another loss for a good while), but even this tells me the Universe is sowing seeds for me. It will be interesting to see what takes root. 🙂

  2. As I watch my Border collie companion of almost 11 years slowly succumb to arthritis, diminishing eye sight, and loss of hearing, your comments about the wonderfulness and amazingness of the breed made me smile and appreciate the days to come. Cody has maintained his wonderful personality and sassiness, and his resiliency does not surprise me. But, I, too, am pondering the “what’s next?” as far as a successor to Cody. Border collies are unique and special creatures, and I have been a VERY proud owner of a VERY special dog. I just cannot imagine life without one. -Cody’s Dad

    • You have all my compassion. I have had lots of dogs in my life and I think losing Owain was the hardest. He was the most “human” dog I’ve ever met. While he looked to my Mother as his Alpha, Owain and I operated as playmates and right up to the end, we played catch and tug-of-war every evening while we watched TV. I hope Cody is with you for some time to come. Peace – Julie

  3. Julie, I know Bob and I are prejudiced towards a Border Collie mix, but you might check some rescue organizations that have off-spring of accidental pairings of BCs and other, less high maintenance, breeds. You get the look and most of the smarts, but hopefully a more mellow companion. Just an idea to check out AND you get the satisfaction of taking in a rescue dog.

    We continue to revel in the joy of being Cooper’s people. He can be a little too sensitive about some things; possibly because we indulge him so much when he has “issues”. At our age, we are happy to have a companion that doesn’t require too much activity and attention. I also don’t need a dog that is smarter than I am!

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