Friday, March 6, 2009

Puppies on the brain

I have puppies on the brain. I don't know if my biological clock is ticking and since I don't particularly like children it's manifesting itself this way or what, but ever since I saw an ad for Border collie puppies in the paper I've been thinking about getting another dog. (Let me clarify: I like children. Other people's children. In specific situations. But I don't necessarily want any more in my house.)

I don't need another dog. In fact, I'm not even sure I really want another dog. David is lukewarm (mostly cool) on the idea, and I haven't even asked Scout yet. Murphy might be up for it if we got a dog that stayed out of his way. I'm waiting to hear what our vet thinks.

I think the whole think kind of kicked off when I started surfing around the website for Glen Highland Farm in Morris, NY. The farm is a Border collie rescue facility. You know, people see Border collies on TV and in agility competitions, think they're super cool dogs, get one and then find out they can be a big, giant (albiet loveable) pain in the arse.

You have to really understand a Border collie to own a Border collie. I use the word "own" loosely. When you get a Border collie, you will begin to eat, breathe and sleep Border collie. Eat, meaning that in your house dog hair is considered a condiment. Breathe, meaning that if your face gets too close to the dog's, you will immediately find his tongue in your mouth and up your nose. Sleep, meaning be prepared to surrender the best part of the bed to a furry footwarmer.

You understand that your time is not your own. Your hours are counted soley as free time between bouts of throwing a glow ball or frisbee. Your cat gets herded several times a day.

It takes a special family to welcome that kind of canine dynamo into your house. A Border collie is not a dog for people who aren't home all day. It's not a dog for people who just want a pet. It's not a dog for the impatient or weary, or those who think a veterinarian is someone you see every few years for a rabies shot. It's not a dog for someone who eschews training classes as a waste of good money.

If I'd known back 16 years ago what I know now about Border collies, we might not have gotten our first. Natasha came to us as a puppy, and we got very, very lucky. She was a great dog for 14 years. Her job was to protect Cassie, and Natasha not only knew it she took it very seriously. We never took Natasha to training, but I can see how, after numerous training sessions with Scout, that even a good dog can benefit from classes.

And Scout, for all of his quirkiness, is a great dog. Amiable, albiet anxious; well-behaved, albiet energetic. I feel like he's my shadow. Which makes me wonder why I want another dog.

Like I said, I'm not sure I really do. But when I see those rescue dogs abandoned by people who don't understand Border collies - and I do understand them - it makes me wonder if maybe we have enough love for another one?

David says we don't have enough yard or money. He's probably right.

But on another positive note, Glen Highland Farm has a camp where they take kids from the inner-city and bring them to the camp for a week to work with the dog. I really, really like that idea and have asked for information about volunteering.

Maybe that's what I really need. To be around people and dogs and do some good for someone else.

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