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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. Thanks so much for the leads and the positive thoughts. I am trying SO HARD to be utterly practical about this. Practical me says, "No puppies, no super-young dogs. You work full time!" But impractical, whimsical me says, "That young BC is SO BEAUTIFUL! And the puppies are SO CUTE!" ;D AIIEE!
  2. I happen to be in a position to know just about every rescue BC on the east coast right now. . Big Fluffy Dog Rescue and some other rescue groups just took in a bunch of very thick-coat BCs from a hoarding case... and I think some of the girls were very wee... Like 25 lbs. If you wrote them or watched their Facebook page you might be able to get a feel. I think a lot of the females were pregnant, so I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a bunch of little pups coming up for adoption in 8 weeks or so! (They could probably give more info about who else took in dogs, too.). But if you took a young adult, you'd know the size.
  3. As every woman does, from time to time. Buddy hated the chirp my old phone made when it was running out of battery life. But one of the worst days was after I'd had him about 5 weeks. He had been in and out of my office hundreds of times. But suddenly, that day, he looked up and noticed the LIGHT FIXTURE in the ceiling, and started growling and barking at it as if it was the devil himself. He barked and fixated for five hours that day and the next morning when we woke up, he started again. My trainer had no advice for me when I called him. Finally, after my patience was completely shot, I just dragged Buddy out of the room and yelled "NO!" as loud as I could. I had to scold maybe twice more, and he never barked at the light again. (I figured out later that the 3 bulbs and shades of the fixture probably looked to the dog like a staring pair of eyes and a mouth. Buddy HATED to be stared at in the beginning; direct eye contact was very aggressive, in his opinion. That light could stare like no one's business!) We had an old dog when I was a kid who heard the smoke alarm, connected it to my mother's frying sausage, and would run and hide ever after when my mother got out the frying pan. Likewise, my mother would WHACK a jar with a stuck lid, upside down on the counter. If my mother picked up the mayonnaise, the dog would hide under the bed. She was really good at chain-of-reaction logic.
  4. Thanks so much! Perhaps I shouldn't admit this but... one of the reasons I feel happiest about getting another BC is that I know I would be able to maintain my online relationships in this forum! The people in here really, really helped me in the early days with Buddy. In fact, what success I had in managing his early issues is largely due to Suzanne Clothier, Patricia McConnell, and the collective knowledge of this forum! (Long-overdue thanks for that - if I haven't said it before!) (Also, Ruth, reading stories about your Gibb finally moving toward strangers with hope and good expectations has made me very happy, recalling the days when Buddy started doing that. Witnessing the expectation of treats and kindness is such a happy surprise after years of seeing trepidation!)
  5. Gentlelake, you might have to fight me for Spirit. I've had my eye on her for a month now... she's actually what got me thinking about a deaf dog. I think I stumbled onto the Facebook page of her foster mom, though, and a couple posts indicated "adoption pending" for Spirit. She is so beautiful, and looks so sweet. I really should wait until school ends - the last few weeks are chaotic and time-consuming, and my schedule is not regular or predictable - not a great time to bring in a dog who needs consistency to settle into a new home. Otherwise, I might have grabbed that pretty girl already. (It stinks being an adult and making mature decisions based on the best interest of all parties!)
  6. Thanks for your replies and confidence in me! I have got my eyes on NEBCR and Glen Highland Farm. (GHF is like my childhood dream of what the ideal home/job would be!!) I will check if they have dogs for whom full-time work hours are OK. (Darned retirement is still 5 years away!) Julie and others... Please keep me in mind should you hear of other dogs with special situations. I really appreciate it.
  7. Howdy, I lost my old boy Buddy in February. It took seven weeks before I could think about having another dog, but the tide has turned and I'm ready. (You might even say I have dog fever!) I will finish my school (work) year end of June, and will likely be bringing a new dog home then. I did fall in love with border collies because of Buddy, and while I know I will fall in love with whatever dog I choose, I'm still drawn to BCs. Buddy was fear-reactive and taught me a lot about dealing with dogs like that. I think it would be nice to be able to use the skills I learned and also the quiet, calm home I have to help another, similar dog. On the other hand, I'd be happy to learn something new, and am considering deaf dogs, too. (Training with hand signals - sounds very interesting!) I have my eyes on all my local shelters and the rescue groups. Around here, there are loads of pit bull and chihuahua mixes... and few border collies. (A lot of the ones advertised as BCs look like beagle/lab or hound mixes.) I like to walk in the woods, and for 10 years I walked Buddy twice a day - on leash in the morning and then off leash in the woods or a park in the afternoon. (Later, when he got old and arthritic, he needed a lot less running, though!) I'm never going to compete in agility or herd sheep with my dog... though there would be lots of walks. So, I guess I'm looking for a medium-energy dog who maybe wouldn't "make the cut" for herding work or agility work - a dog who doesn't have the proper drive. I'm putting this information out there in the hopes that maybe someone in the New England area knows of a dog like the one I'm looking for... a "failed" herding dog, or a deaf dog, or a very shy dog who needs TLC and time. I can't bear the thought of adopting a senior dog and losing another friend too quickly - but recognize that since I work full-time, a puppy probably isn't the best choice. A young adult (1 - 3 years) would be ideal. Anyway, if anyone hears of a dog like the one I'm looking for, I'd appreciate hearing about it. I know people don't "know me" - but my posts from my years with Buddy pretty much tell the story. Thanks in advance!
  8. My neighbor's 10-year-old was diagnosed with diabetes about 9 months ago. She's done very well with the insulin and blood tests. Coincidentally, she has also developed a condition (collapsing trachea?) that causes her to wheeze and cough constantly. I think that may do her in - but the diabetes management has been pretty straightforward, I think. (I was also myself diagnosed type 2 diabetic in December. It was scary and upsetting the first month or so... but then I adjusted and just absorbed the new picture and got on with life.) Good luck!
  9. As I'm typing this line, it's been eight weeks since I lost my boy, Buddy. Winter has sat heavy on New England this year, with record-breaking snowfall. Buddy went in the middle of this. The first morning I knew he was sick, he was standing in the tunnel I had dug for him (30 inches of snow by then, I think). He tossed his favorite squeaker toy into the snow, burying it and hiding it for himself, and then searching for it. But the last time he tossed it deep, and then stood hunched in the tunnel, stiff and in pain, and he didn't go find Squeaker no matter how many times I encouraged him to. I took him to the vet the next morning, because he could hardly move. I assumed I was taking him to have him put down; he was very sick, and he was an old dog. I'd owned him for ten years, but he had been an adult when I got him. He might have been eleven, but he might have been thirteen, fifteen. The vet gave me prednisone and antibiotics, to treat symptoms of possible causes of the low platetlets he'd found, and sent me home with him. They were calling for another blizzard that evening and into the night. I called my parents to tell them my dog was very sick, and that I didn't know what I would do if he died during the blizzard and I couldn't get out of my house. But he rallied for a bit, with the prednisone, and played again in the tunnel, and I dug it out again and again as winter flared on. Until one morning he didn't play, couldn't rise, and I had to let him go. Cancer, most likely. Doesn't matter. The greatest kindness we can do our dogs is keeping them from suffering, I think. We are kinder to our pets than we are to our own kind. I went to the shelter ten years ago looking for a sensible dog. I had read about Border Collies: their energy levels, their need to herd, their drive, their nipping and obsession and insanity. The sensible dog I wanted was not a Border Collie. Just a fearful looking little tricolor mutt hiding in the back of the kennel run. I joined him inside while the better dogs - the labradors who smiled and jumped against the chain link, the little mixes who flirted with visitors - frolicked and played and looked appealing outside. The little tricolor boy - what was he, maybe beagle-sized? - hid under my bended knees as I sat on the kennel floor. I filled out the paperwork, and leashed him, and put him in my car. Only, when he was free of the noise and chaos of the shelter, he inflated. He was not beagle-sized; he was a third again bigger than I had thought. And thin, so thin I could feel bones I didn't know existed. He had ridden in a car before. He sat in the back seat and laid his head into the front, on my shoulder. I thought, "Oh, he's so sweet." (Only I learned later that 'head on shoulder' was his way of ordering me to roll down his window, so he could hang his face into the wind.) I took him to meet my sister; he gave a low and serious growl when her husband reached out to pat him. I took him to meet my father; he came <this close> to biting him when the arm came out over the head. I walked him in the local streets, and he growled and barked and lunged at anyone who came near us, who walked on our side of the street. I got a chronic sick feeling in my gut, and started reading all I could about aggresion. That was the summer that "Fix You" by Coldplay was on the radio every five minutes. I had a dog I didn't understand, and the entire world of responsibility for his life on my shoulders (you can't rehome a biter) and I'd drive around with the dog in the back seat and Coldplay would sing those words ("I will try... to fix you") and I would cry for the dog's sake. I meant to have a clever, literary name, but I started saying "Buddy" as a temporary filler, and it stuck. People began to tell me that my dog was a Border Collie. I denied it and denied it, but gave in eventually. I called a trainer within two weeks. He sat on the deck with me as Buddy was chained in the yard. The dog barked at the man for a good forty-five minutes, tracing an arc at the end of his chain, but never approaching. We put a leash on him and walked him up the street. The trainer said, "I think he's fearful and reactive, not aggressive." The local college had closed at that point, and the grounds were a sanctuary for dog walkers. I took Buddy there daily - once, twice, three times - and learned that if I walked 20 paces behind other people and dogs, my dog could process the social dynamics without growling or reacting. A psych nurse, Jim - huge and deep-voiced and kind - took his time and his gentleness and allowed us to walk directly behind him and his white standard poodles while he slipped treats out of his pockets. Weeks in - months, maybe - Buddy was able to walk next to Jim, and then later he allowed Jim to look him in the eye, and later still, to meet him face-on, and he wagged his tail. I took him to the flea market. The noise and commotion and clattering terrified him; he cowered in the grass, shaking, unable to move. But people there are kind, and have donuts, and he came to love it. I learned to take wide circles around things that scared Buddy. I learned that pushing forward created more fear, but that backing off led to slow gains. He loved some people: Jim, and my sister and parents. My neighbor Paul, right from the start. He hated dogs in general. I came to know that a direct approach was, to him, a declaration of war. I learned to simply call out, "He won't be friendly." I paid for two vet bills to keep peace in the neighborhood after Buddy punctured other people's dogs. I missed one hole in his ear after that damned Becky got him at the lake. I spent the evening in the ER after a loose dog charged us and I got a tear in my pinky finger because I was in the middle of the scuffle. He tolerated some dogs: My sister's Snowy, and then when Snowy died, the two new puppies. (Oh, for six months, we kept them away from him, and then we agreed it was time to let them loose together, and the little one kept a sensible distance, but the bigger one got up in Buddy's business, and he flipped her over and gave her a piece of his mind, and you would have thought he was gutting her she screamed so hard, but there wasn't a hair out of place, and she politely, politely never got up in his business again.) He loved Joey the husky, and Jack the gorgeous Aussie/collie mix, and Ozzie the Jack Russell, and Dewey the Jack Russell. His favorite game was "hide the toy," where he would lie in his bed and I would go in the other room and drag his Squeaker or his Bone to leave a scent trail, and then hide the toy elsewhere. He would have played that game twelve hours a day if I had had the stamina. He also loved it when I would wrap his Bone up in his fuzzy blanket and then leave it for him to shake and tumble utnil the Bone appeared again. There were large boulders in the woods on most of our walks that he knew as "treat rocks." If he jumped up on them and sat, he would get a treat. He would remember them even if we didn't visit those woods for two or three years at a stretch; I'd look up, and he'd be perched there, waiting for me to feed him. He changed so slowly into a normal, fearless dog that I hardly knew it. And then I would run into someone who had known him in the early days, and they would remind me of how fearful he had been, and I would remember the barking and the terror, and it was hard to believe one dog could have those two lives. He got old and a little bit too fat, and his hips ached and he couldn't climb the big hills or the big rocks anymore. In his last three or four years, if you had met us, you would have thought he was just a normal dog. But I knew that he had been heroic in his own life, in willing himself to believe that men and dogs and bicycles - those terrible things - could be accepted, and tolerated. It was a hard winter, and after Buddy was gone, the winter was harder on me: full of fossils of his presence. The trail I dug in the snow lingered for six weeks, and even now it's marked by a yellow line of frost-bitten grass. Squeaker, that most beloved toy tossed into the deep snow on that first day of Buddy's illness, reappeared several weeks ago as the snowcover melted. Soccer balls came up afterwards. The collar is still lying on the basement floor where I tossed it the morning I brought it home. Spring is here now: the first season without Buddy in it. I took a walk last Sunday in the gorgeous April weather, and felt something turn: it was the first day I could imagine a new dog walking with me. But for a few weeks longer, for spring at least, I'll let the phantom of my old boy sidle along with me, and sleep on his end of the couch, and thump his tail when I come home from work. He was the sweetest and the best. Good job, Buddy.
  10. My old boy used to do that; I had to give up on allowing play with any more than one dog at a time. He simply couldn't see it as anything other than a "rumble" that needed to be stopped QUICKLY! Turrid Rugaas has a good video of BCs breaking up te play of other dogs.
  11. So sorry - sometimes it seems as though you get hit by too much at once, doesn't it? I was diagnosed type 2 diabetic in December, and then just lost my boy Buddy (profile pic) three weeks ago. Too much to manage in a short time period. I can't imagine having to manage two situations with sick dogs at once. Best of wishes.
  12. Excellent. It's wonderful to hear about good outcomes like this!
  13. Buddy had a really good day yesterday: took two walks, was eating everything I offered him, played with his toys. Then he lay down last night and had a hard time getting up this morning. He wouldn't drink the last sip of my tea - one of his favorite morning rituals - and would barely eat, because he seemed to be in a lot of pain. I took him up to the emergency vet and had him put to sleep. Thanks to everyone for your support and replies. I had really feared letting him go too long - but this morning, seeing how he couldn't enjoy his favorite things, I felt like it was an obvious gift to let him go. He was the best, kindest, most obliging, sweetest (grouchiest) dog.
  14. Uurgh! Buddy has been up and down now. Tuesday and Wednesday he was really lethargic and logy again - to the point that I thought he was fading - but then today he perked up and took two happy walks. I'm wondering if he doesn't have some sort of a back strain or vertebral disease on top of whatever made him so sick the first time... and when the back thing hurts, he finds it hard to move. (Excess pain?) Or maybe the whole thing is a vertebral issue, and the platelet thing was happening alongside but without symptoms? Anyway, this up and down thing is killing me. I'm literally just going day by day at this point, and when Buddy doesn't seem to have any enjoyment in the day I will make the call. When he's feeling bad, it literally makes my stomach hurt. This is the WORST THING about loving a dog. (Thanks for letting me vent here. There's only so many times your friends and family will listen to you cry about your dog.)
  15. Oh, she's so beautiful. Looks like a red version of my boy.
  16. Update: Buddy had bloodwork again yesterday, and the vet called today to say his platelets count is normal again. So, either the prednisone or the antibiotic worked. Prednisone will be stepped down next week, then further blood tests for evaluation a week after that.
  17. This just happened: Buddy's pattern (including now that he's newly back from the dead) is to get up with me in the morning, take his squeaker toy (official name: "Squeaker") into the yard with him while he pees. For a long time (years) he would forget he took it out, and try to find it in the house later on. But now he knows it's out there with him and will usually bring it back up to the door. If he forgets, I say, "Where's Squeaker!?" and he runs back out into the yard to get it before he comes in for breakfast. This morning, he did his usual. It's snowing, so I didn't want the white toy to be lost out in the yard. When he came to the door, I said, "Where is Squeaker?!!" and he darted off the deck to find it. But then he started back for the house. I kept insisting, over and over, that he go out and get the toy, and he kept going back and forth, acting confused - like he didn't know what to do. Then, suddenly, I could see the "lightbulb" form over his head, and he ran to a very specific spot and picked up his toy, and ran back to the door. Only it wasn't Squeaker he had taken outside this morning - it was his rawhide bone. Seriously, I could see the moment when he realized, "Oh, she thinks I have Squeaker out here, but it's BONE! I'll just get BONE and she'll let me back inside."
  18. Hi, Thanks for asking - just came in to post an update. Buddy is acting normally now, except maybe a little weak still in his rear quarters. (Having a bit more trouble jumping on the bed than usual.) I will keep my fingers crossed that this was something he kicked. And at least, if he regresses again, I will know that I gave him a fighting chance. Thanks to those who gave me some encouragement when he was so sick - he literally couldn't pick his head or tail up! Knowing that other dogs had come back from such a bad state gave me a little bit of hope. The prednisone is making him VORACIOUS. I threw some Cheerios out for the birds about 4 days ago when he was sick. They're frozen into the ice of the walkway. Yesterday, he made himself crazy trying to dig them out and eat them. ::Sigh::
  19. So very sorry for your loss. It's hard not to wish there was something you could have done. Run free, Ranger!
  20. I used to have a dog who ate snow like crazy. I was worried she was diabetic or something... until I realized she was scared of her water bowl. It was a metal one, and her tags clinked on it when she drank. We switched it out for a plastic bowl and she drank from it. My current dog doesn't like our city water. (Chlorinated heavily.) I have to put chicken in his dry food and add some water to make a "gravy" or he really doesn't drink much at all.
  21. Tried to let him out in the yard while I shoveled, but he went to the gate and insisted on going for a "real walk." He trotted around the block, intent on marking all the snowbanks that he hasn't seen since Monday. Yay drugs! Yay Buddy!
  22. Thanks so much to all of you for your replies!! Update: I took another day off work today (tomorrow? it's the middle of the night!) because I couldn't just leave Buddy home alone this sick. About 7 p.m., he drank a lot of water and asked to go out in the yard - then refused to let me pick him up and carry him in, but walked up the stairs by himself. Then he ate some dog food. Fell asleep on the couch next to me, and clearly went into dreaming sleep (paws twitching, quiet barks), much more normal than his previous sleep. He just went out again, came in by himself, and ate a cookie when he got inside. So, I'm crossing my fingers extra hard that the prednisone or the doxy has worked its magic. One more day will tell.
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