Holy cow, I just realized Dean’s birthday was on Tuesday! He’s officially a whole 2 years old. Lily’s birthday is coming up pretty soon too! Luke and I aren’t sure if the exact date, but we do know she was born in February. So she’ll be 7 years old next month. That just seems crazy! I remember the day we got her…oh boy,that’s an interesting story!Before I get to that whole escapade and the less eventful but still adorable story of how we got Dean, I need to go back a even farther to when I was about 11 or 12 and became absolutely obsessed with border collies.
I’m not exactly sure how the obsession started, I probably saw some program on Animal Planet about them (I used to watch Animal Planet all the time haha). Once it started though, I got my hands on as much info about the breed that I could. I would scour the internet for hours, beg my mom to buy me books (I have quite the little library going on, and I have a pretty respectable amount of border collie/dog related books), and of course I would check Animal Plant’s show line up everyday, because they had a few programs about different dog breeds, and would show agility trials and what not every once in a while. 😉
As I got older I picked up a few more obsessions; Pokémon, Stephen King, Green Day, stuff like that. But even with my new interests, my love for border collies never faded. By the time I got to high school I was dead set on getting one and I actually ended up becoming really good friends with a girl who’s dad bred working border collies. And these weren’t just any kind of borde Collies, these were cattle dogs (as opposed to sheep dogs, show dogs, etc.) which was exactly what I wanted! I suppose that’s basically where Lily’s story starts.
Yet again, I don’t remember exactly how we got on the topic, but one day at school we were talking about dogs and how border collies are my favorite, and my friend mentioned that her dad bred working dogs, but he would give me one for free since I was her friend. Cue months and months of me begging my parents to let me get one.
My begging and pleading never swayed them though. The answer I got was always “no”. Until they let my younger sister get a dog, that is. They let her go to the shelter and pick out any dog she wanted, and that’s how she ended up with Ace (I’ve probably posted other photos of him before).
Of course my whiny teenage self thought that was totally unfair, so I argued my case once again and this time I finally got the answer I wanted! So I talked to my friend and she told me her dad’s youngest bitch just had her first litter of pups and that I was more than welcome to one! Hell yes!!
That didn’t end up happening though. Unfortunately this bitch wasn’t a good mother. She wouldn’t nurse the pups and it eventually got to the point where she had to be tied up in the barn with her litter so that they could eat. All but one of the puppies ended up dying. But the one who lived was a tough little thing and he was mine if I still wanted him and of course I did! A few weeks later, at my friend’s graduation party I asked her about my puppy. By then he would have been around 4-5 weeks old, which is still too early to take a pup from his mom, but since it was officially summer and we were out of school I would have been able to bottle feed him since his mom didn’t want to nurse him anyway. That’s when she told me an owl had gotten into the barn and attacked him a few days earlier and he ended up dying. That’s right, a fucking owl killed my puppy. I cannot even begin to describe to you how pissed I was.
Now as it just so happened, a few months before had, this friend’s dad had had another little of puppies that did live (they had a mother who actually took care of them) and her dad had given one to her boyfriend at the time. Now this guy was a good friend of mine too (we actually still talk on Facebook every once in a while), he lived a few minutes from my house and we carpooled to school for a while. He’s a good guy, but he had no business owning a border collie. I saw this puppy every morning when I would pick him up for school and she was the prettiest little thing you’ve ever seen. But she was so so so so so ill behaved. She wasn’t allowed in the house, so she just ran around the property with this guy’s other dog. She had no training and was bored out of her mind. She constantly chased this guy’s dad’s pony and two sheep out of their fence, she dug holes, barked, and the biggest problem of all; she chased cars. This was a huge problem, because they lived (actually, they still live) really close to the highway.I guess it all became too much for them to handle and they obviously didn’t want her to get hit by a car, so my friend posted on Facebook that he had to give her away and whoever wanted her could come and get her. Luckily I saw the post a few minutes after he had posted it. Not so luckily that was the night that my grandpa Jim was in one hospital and had to be transported to another, and a whole bunch of stuff was going down with him. I don’t remember if that was the night he died or if it was a few day’s later, but obviously with all that going on I couldn’t leave to go get her, even if she was only a few minutes away. So eventually I convinced the guy to bring her to me, and that was the day I got my first border collie. I’m not exactly fond of the name Lily, but she came to me named and had so many other issues that I didn’t feel like adding a new name to the list of things I needed to teach her. I’m not even going to go into all of the issues she had or how long it took me (and Luke a little bit) to fix them, but eventually I did. Luke, Lily, and I have been a team and basically inseparable (mostly because Lily still has separation anxiety, that was one thing I couldn’t fix) since we got her. She was even the “ring bearer” in our wedding. Yup we’re “those people” and proud of it!
Dean’s story is a little less exciting. Definitely less eventful then how we ended up with Lily, but it is a cute little story. 🙂
We need a little more background for this story as well; It was a few years after Luke and I got married and moved to Kansas (so around 2014-15). We had been living in a one bedroom apartment for almost 3 years and were waaaay over our two pet limit. We had Lily and Bubbles (our white cat). Those were the two the apartment complex people knew about and had on record. We also had a tank full of fish, which was a direct violation to one of the rules of our lease, but the maintenance people probably knew about it and never said anything about it. We also had Bruce the ferret, Link the hamster (who sadly died not long after we moved into our house), and our leopard gecko who doesn’t really have a name haha. At that point we were looking for a house though. Mainly because my brother in law was about to move out of his dad’s house and in with us, and also because Luke and I were tired of apartment life and were tired of the stress of harboring so many animals.
That was about the time my brother in law ended up with Odin. That’s a whole other story that I’m not about to get into right now. But that dog caused a lot of fighting between my brother in law, his dad and step mom, and Luke and I eventually got involved and ended up taking Odin to our all ready too full apartment, so that my brother in law could have him when he eventually moved in with us. That’s kinda the beginning of Dean’s story really.
So, I’ve literally never said this about a dog before, but I absolutely hate Odin. I’ve encountered just about every kind of dog that you can in the 20 years that I spent helping/working in my mom/grandma’s dog boarding kennel. In those 20 years (granted I was a baby a few of those years 😉 ) I never met a dog that didn’t like me and that I couldn’t get along with. Until Odin came along. He is literally has the worst traits from the mix of breeds that he is. We know for sure he’s part Australian shepherd, that’s what his mom is. Then my best guess is there is some lab and husky mixed in there. Everyone thinks he’s a pretty dog, I don’t but it’s probably because I don’t like him.Anyway, Odin is high energy like an Australian shepherd, he’s stubborn as hell like a husky, and he’s a big doofus like a lab, and our personalities don’t mesh at all. I’m used to dealing with hunting dog, working dogs, dogs that our eager to please and actually want to learn! Odin was (and still isn’t) any of those things and I was absolutely miserable trying to deal with and train him. And that’s kind of saying something, because I’ve never had an issue training a dog before.
I guess Luke felt really bad for me because I felt like a failure at the one thing I had always felt like I was good at, so he’d been looking for border collie puppies for a while. Now, that was no easy feat, considering I’m picky about choosing where a dog comes from and he knows it. I want a dog that comes from a working line and is in no way shape or form linked to the AKC. I don’t want a show dog that looks pretty but has had all of it’s herding/working instincts bred out of it. Now, for most breeds it’s kinda hard to find a non AKC breeder, luckily as far as border collies go, you can still find true working lines that don’t involve the AKC at all. The problem is, those working lines can still be just as expensive as an AKC bred dog. Eventually though, Luke found a lady on craigslist that was selling her pups for $50, which is absolutely insane! We were expecting to pay around $100-150.
So of course Luke called her and told her we wanted on. She seemed apprehensive at first, telling him that border collies have a lot of energy, but she seemed a little more at ease when he told her we already had one. So she said she still had one male available and we could pick out whatever one we wanted if we could get there before anyone else, so that’s exactly what we did.
We hopped into the car with Lily and drove about an hour and a half to this lady’s farm. When we got there, there were dogs (and not all border collies) and kids running around all over the place. We talked to the lady a little bit and showed off Lily to her. I think that definitely made her feel better at selling a puppy to us, since Lily is so well behaved and obviously taken care of. Honestly though, the fact that she was so worried about where her dogs ended up made me feel a lot better about the whole situation. That’s usually a sign of a good breeder.
Anyway, eventually her kids found all the pups and showed them to us. One of the males was a little trouble maker and kept trying to get under an air conditioner and nipping at the little kids. We talked about them and their parents (who we also saw) for a while. We were the first people to get there so we got to pick whatever male we wanted! Freaking sweet! Although, if we were looking for a female, I would have picked the feisty little girl who was half black and white and half blue merle. I’ve never seen a dog like that before and she was absolutely gorgeous. But we weren’t in the market for a feisty dog or a female. I guess that little girl got her feisty-ness from her dad who was guarding his pigs and wouldn’t come up from the pen. Apparently that’s what he did all day everyday. He had also used to herd sheep and cattle, but the lady didn’t have those anymore. Good. I wanted a dog with a working bloodline and these pups had that.
The dad was kinda big as far as border collies go, red in color, and not fond of strangers. But that’s typical as far as border collies go. The mother was a rescue. Apparently she was in an abusuive situation before this lady got her. She was shy but super sweet. Pretty small, blue merle, and very shaggy. She absolutely loved Luke, which was apparently strange, as she usually didn’t like men.
Eventually one of the kids handed me a puppy who promptly fell asleep in my arms. I looked at Luke and told him that this was the dog we needed, and that’s how we ended up with Dean. Luke gave the lady her $50 and told her she was selling this dogs at way to low of a price. She laughed and said everyone told her that. She even had someone driving up form Oklahoma for one of the females. Then she told us she was going to sell her next litter for more and we told her that was probably a good idea haha. Then we said our goodbyes, got our two dogs into the car, and then tried to drive away. I say try, because Dean’s mother ran in front of the car and was using her border collie stare to prevent us from leaving. Poor mamma. This was her first litter of puppies and Dean was the first to go, so I’m sure that was hard for her. Finally one of the kids got her out of the way and we were able to leave. Dean slept the whole hour and a half drive back to our apartment and that’s when I knew he was going to end up being a super laid back dog, and a perfect addition to our little pack of dogs.