Today we went to Bridgeman to meet up with Wendy and her foster dog Sky.
Sky is one of the 7 border collies we picked up from Washington State, after they were seized from a hoarder and spent 8 weeks in the bowels of Animal Control at the heart of a custody battle. In total, AC took 30 dogs from this one piece of property. Only 15 lived long enough to make it into rescue; puppies don’t tend to thrive in filthy dirty confinement, and some of the adults were completely unhandleable. Allegedly. That’s all I know.
Like the other 6 dogs we brought back to Canada, Sky is trying desperately to fall in love. It’s unusual, in my experience, for hoarder dogs to be attracted to people – usually they have had such little contact with humans that they prefer the company of other dogs and shun us scary and stupid Two Leggeds altogether. But these dogs WANT to be with people – they bond close, they bond quick, and they bond hard. It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking to see.
Sky is between 1-2 years old and is a petite and athletic little tri-colour female. She has a gentle personality and is glued more or less permanently to her foster mum’s leg. Or in some cases, her ass.
Poor Sky had a rough go. Although examined by a veterinarian before she arrived, and handled by many of us, none of us knew she was pregnant. And when they opened her up on the table for her spay, not two weeks after she arrived in rescue, she had a very large litter of pups in her uterus, close to full term. Which we elected to abort. This is a touchy subject for so many people, and indeed we have whelped and raised many pups in rescue ourselves, but we made this choice based on multiple factors – Sky was not even showing so close to term, and certainly she had not received the nutrition and tlc during her pregnancy so necessary for a healthy litter. Underweight, stressed and vaccinated several times while pregnant, we felt that it would be a losing proposition for everyone involved to let her whelp those pups – the pups themselves not withstanding.
May doG forgive us all for the things we do to man’s best friend in this world.
Sweet Sky will be up on our website within the hour, as she is now ready for a home of her own.
We also met up with The Boy, and his foster dog Cinder, who is about a year old, a medium sized black and white female who apparently comes from my biggest nemesis – the mythical, and mysterious volume breeder of border collies in the Williams Lake area. Nobody seems to know who or exactly where these people are (the pups are always sent, or delivered, never picked up), yet 1 of every 3 owner surrender dogs I get in rescue originates in this place. One day, I will find it. And when I do … (insert graphic violence of choice against BYB here)
Cinder is the sort of dog that makes me pull my hair out. Because Cinder is a Problem dog with a capital P. She is fearful, she is aggressive, she has drive up the wazoo and not enough brains or good temperament to direct it appropriately, and along the way she did not get the intensive socialization and leadership she needed to overcome her genetic shortcomings.
Cinder is a Mess (capital M). She is very fortunate to have The Boy as her foster home, because while I have wonderful foster homes, not many would have been able to work with her. The Boy has a gift – the gift of an unflappable temperament in the face of a f*cked up dog. He does, after all, own Jack.
This was the first time I had met Cinder, and my first impression was YIKES. She was showing Mad Teeth(tm) everywhere, and she wasn’t too shy about following through. She did relatively well when faced with three strangers, 8 other border collies and Aussies and an assload of other people and dogs in the park, but my blood pressure rose just watching her tense through the outing, like she was going to explode any time. I made friends with her through the magic of Liver Cookies, but it was a tenuous agreement at best.
Cinder makes me sad, because I know how difficult she is going to be to rehome. I know from very personal experience how rewarding it is to work with troubled dogs, and how incredibly gratifying it is to see sucess. I also know that 99.9% of adopters are not looking for a behavioural challenge adrift in a shitstorm of fear and anxiety though, and that it’s not going to be easy to find someone who is willing to try. And that’s the heartbreak, because like all dogs, Cinder deserves her own devoted person. People give their dogs like this to TDBCR because they trust us to do what they could not. The problem is that while we can do it, we can’t always find an adopter who can take it from there.
Which leads to my latest rant: people who apply for dogs on our website who are not yet available, and have no profile up while they are being evaluated. These people are applying for nothing more than a photograph, and I am frequently tempted to give them one and send them on their way. I am not known for my patience, nor my incredible skill in holding my tongue, so I have been known to speak frankly to people who insist a dog in a photo is the dog for them about the FAIL of applying for a dog they know nothing about. About a half dozen people have contacted me through the website about Cinder, and I will bet you one Mr. Woo that they will all fade silently into the hills once they read her bio.
So why do I list those dogs, if they are not yet available, and if the inquiries make me irritated enough to kick the cat*? That’s a fair question, and you wouldn’t be the first to ask it. I list them because I’m an optimist. For all my cynicism in general, I live in perpetual hope that one day, some person cruising the interwebz while toying idly with the idea of breeding their pretty little border collie bitch, will see not just the 3 dogs we have available, but the 6 or 9 that we have in rescue and are still evaluating. I want people to see those numbers, and see how many dogs we have. I harbour this decade long hope that they will see all these homeless dogs and be appalled, and neuter their dog – thus saving future puppies from winding up with me!
The number of dogs that we have at any given time makes my heart hurt – the number we do NOT have because we had no room for them would make yours explode. We used to be able to take in about half the dogs people tried to give us – now we take in, on average, one of every five border collies someone tries to surrender.
For the 9 border collies I have in rescue now, 30 odd dogs couldn’t get a spot in foster care.
Geez, Food Lady. Are you ever a downer!!
It’s not all doom and gloom, I promise.
We also happened to run into My Puppy, the king charles spaniel puppy.
This adorable piece of snuzzly goodness came from the SPCA (!). What a wicked find. His owners, who were in my agility class, always laugh when I greet them with “Hey, there’s My Puppy.” I keep hoping one day they will stop laughing, and just hand him over already. I haz a soft spot for Cavs.
Especially when they are this friggin’ cute!!!
Ahem. Please to remember Original Cute. Kthx.
Oh hai! Did anyone see me? I was an airplane! Were you watching?
Phoenix is a little bit of a show off.
No wonder her sisteraussie Zena looks so world weary.
*I totally don’t kick my cat!