ID MyHorse

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

It has been less than two weeks since this little bundle of energy joined my already dog-rich household. I have a very solid understanding of the fact that she isn’t a replacement for my beloved Reilly. Nevertheless, she does have big paws to fill in terms of my memories of her deceased big sister.

Right or wrong, I was looking for a particular classic color marking, coat length, and gender. I wanted a classic black and white rough coat Border collie, preferably female. I first reached out to the breeder that lives within an hour of me, which is where I found Reilly 15 years ago. Those folks are like gods in the Border collie sheep herding world. They were expecting a litter this spring. However, both parents were tricolor, and the sire was smooth coat. The odds were not in my favor to get the exact pup that I wanted. So while I waited for that litter to be born, I did additional research.

Hanging out with me at work

The local litter was born and as I expected, there was no perfect pup for me. I was considering driving to Texas to get a pup that met my criteria when a breeder (Candace) two hours south of here offered me Kara. She was one of two rough coat black and white females in her litter. The other female had considerably more white than Kara. Candace planned to keep one female and she actually liked some things about Kara more than the other pup, but one of her criteria was a pup with as much white as possible. You see, Candace had lost her “Reilly” last summer in the form of Tess, a predominantly white BC bitch. Kara’s mom Rosie was Tess’s pup. Ultimately, Candace decided to keep the more white pup and thus Kara was available to me.

But here’s the really good story… Kara was not the “front and center” pup of her litter. She was the one who hung back and scoped things out. Candace told me a story about one of Tess’s pups named Lynn who behaved much the same way. No one chose Lynn over her littermates because she didn’t seem assertive enough, and who wants a shy Border collie, right? Candace still had Lynn when the pup turned 6 months old, and Candace figured she’d just pull her off the “For Sale” page of the website and keep her. But at the 11th hour, a lady expressed interest in her. This lady raised bucking bulls and she used her BCs to work her cattle. Lynn went off to her new home.

Six years go by, and Candace gets a call from this woman. The conversation starts with, “This isn’t the call you want to receive…” The woman tells Candace the following story…

“I headed out on my ATV with several of my dogs along to work cow/calf pairs. It was a routine we had followed countless times. But this time, something went wrong. I got myself in trouble with an unhappy cow. All I remember is a flash of black and white leaping past my shoulder. It was Lynn. She was the only dog that came to my aid. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you right now. She saved my life, but it was at the expense of hers…”

Candace said that Kara reminds her of Lynn. I was hesitant to have a “hang-back” pup, but I needn’t have worried. Kara is a thinker, there is no doubt about that. But she’s no wallflower. She finally has been accepted by all the dogs (Leah was the final holdout) and 3 of the 4 thoroughly enjoy playing with her. (Not Leah!)

She immediately stops what she is doing if told “No!” She’s got the dog door figured out although she still needs a little bulk to push past the magnets. She solves that problem by just entering and exiting with the big guys. I don’t think we are too far away from her understanding that she can take herself out to the run to do her business, and she’s not even 10 weeks old! She has found the automatic waterer but has to stand on her hind legs to reach it. No problem, she just dunks her paws in the bowl while she drinks…

There is still much to discover about her personality, but she will be what she will be. I am already teaching her basic dog manners and, like Reilly, she’s an Einstein. I am thoroughly enjoying her!

The weather is finally changing and high on my priority list these days is to get my horses in the round pen. I have no idea how much cooperation I will get after a winter of doing nothing. However, I am anxious to get riding again! I also have several dogs blowing coats (with Finn the white fur monster chief among them!) Hopefully today before we go for our 2.5 mile walk and 4 muddy dogs get hosed off, I can brush out some of that loose hair. Are you gearing up for spring animal activities?


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