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"Maybe you shouldn't get another Border Collie..."


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Since losing Scooter to a brain tumor in mid-February, family and friends (well meaning, I'm sure)keep telling us that maybe we should try a different breed this time. Although they never really say why, there's an implied "He was too much dog for you." What does that mean exactly?

 

The last few tragic minutes of his life had nothing to do with our ability to "handle him." He didn't need to be handled. We took the time to work with him and teach him what was expected of him and he in turn gave us six wonderful years of love and companionship, laughter and comfort. He was bright and beautiful and a joy to be around. Why wouldn't we want another Border Collie?

 

A friend of mine, totally disregarding my "no thank you", just brought over a somethingpoo that someone had found and tried to guilt me into taking him. Yes, he was cute, and yes, he needs a home, but not ours. We've already made the mistake of taking a dog that everyone seemed to think would be the perfect fit for us, but he wasn't. I don't want to repeat that mistake.

 

I know they're just trying to help us heal, but this really isn't helping. :(

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Since losing Scooter to a brain tumor in mid-February, family and friends (well meaning, I'm sure)keep telling us that maybe we should try a different breed this time. Although they never really say why, there's an implied "He was too much dog for you." What does that mean exactly?

 

Are you sure it's not *you* making that implication?

 

I can think of a million reasons why your friends or family, who one assumes all love you, would say that - like maybe they think it would be easier for you if you don't have to look at another border collie and see Scooter in him.

 

Maybe after your experience when you returned your last adopted dog citing a fear of him they think you're not psychologically capable of living with another border collie.

 

Maybe, since Scooter IIRC, bit one of your relatives (a sister?) and used to nip at visitors in your house and used to growl at you and your husband when you did something he didn't like, your friends and families just don't like border collies anymore as a result and would like you to get some different breed.

 

There are lots of reasons why they may say that. But since you go straight to an "implied 'he was too much dog for you'", is it possible that on some level maybe YOU think a border collie is too much dog for you?

 

Just a thought. I'm no psychologist, but it would be remiss to not point out that such an assumption might actually be internally generated as opposed to externally inferred.

 

Why wouldn't we want another Border Collie?

 

Well, Scooter's replacement didn't last very long, and it was a border collie - maybe you're looking for reasons why you don't want another border collie. I don't mean that coldly. Again, I'm just pointing out a that your subconcious might have a hand in all of this...?

 

RDM

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Are you sure it's not *you* making that implication?

 

I can think of a million reasons why your friends or family, who one assumes all love you, would say that - like maybe they think it would be easier for you if you don't have to look at another border collie and see Scooter in him.

 

Maybe after your experience when you returned your last adopted dog citing a fear of him they think you're not psychologically capable of living with another border collie.

 

Maybe, since Scooter IIRC, bit one of your relatives (a sister?) and used to nip at visitors in your house and used to growl at you and your husband when you did something he didn't like, your friends and families just don't like border collies anymore as a result and would like you to get some different breed.

 

There are lots of reasons why they may say that. But since you go straight to an "implied 'he was too much dog for you'", is it possible that on some level maybe YOU think a border collie is too much dog for you?

 

Just a thought. I'm no psychologist, but it would be remiss to not point out that such an assumption might actually be internally generated as opposed to externally inferred.

 

 

 

Well, Scooter's replacement didn't last very long, and it was a border collie - maybe you're looking for reasons why you don't want another border collie. I don't mean that coldly. Again, I'm just pointing out a that your subconcious might have a hand in all of this...?

 

RDM

It's quite possible you could be right. Who knows? After our last failed adoption, due primarily to my problems, not his, I decided to just let it go for a while and stop looking, which I've done. It hasn't been easy, but I'm trying to give myself time to heal before bringing another dog, of any breed, into our home. Maybe it will turn out that Scooter was our only Border Collie. I just don't know. :mellow:

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I don't think it's the breed. It's the individual dog.I've met some border collies with pretty nasty temperments. But I also have met and had some with wonderful, sweet temperments- dogs that never bit or growled at anyone, ever. The dogs I have now love everyone. I have had some rescues in the past that I didn't trust around anyone. I had to be very careful with them because they would bite. I almost never took them out anywhere there were other people or other dogs. And, although they got better over time, I never could really trust them.

 

You just need some time. And then find a dog with a really good, sweet temperment. I really think there are good temperments and bad temperments in every breed. ( However, I have never run into a nice springer spaniet. I'm sure there is one out there somewhere).

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We grieved for our old Cocker for 4 years before we could think about letting another dog into our lives. He was such an incredible dog and family member and we all agreed that we would not get another Cocker because the poor dog could never live up to our good old 14-year old dog. DH pointed out that we might end up with a dumb and mean one when we were used to amazing intelligence and sweet, gentle nature. We just became cat people for a while and enjoyed our two cats.

 

After all those years, we finally decided that we would get a small dog at the animal shelter. Two BC mix puppies had recently been picked up and Puppy Jack put on such a cute show for my boys that we took him home that day.......even though we had agreed that we were only "looking"!! He is the perfect addition to our family.

 

It took our family a long time to heal the hurt of losing our canine family member and we are glad we waited for the right time. YMMV

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I don't believe it's a breed thing either. Scooter didn't have a nasty temperament--quite the contrary. Our friends and family loved and trusted him and were devastated when he died. He was a sweet dog who loved people. The vet could do anything to him and he didn't react, and when she was done he'd lick her face and wag his tail. The groomer said he was never a problem and was one of the easiest dogs she'd ever worked with. Yes, as RDM pointed out, he bit my niece on the hand on Thanksgiving evening two years ago, and I worried then that it might be a sudden behavior change, but there had been no sign of aggression since then until he attacked me. He was an easy dog to live with. He was just a good dog who got sick.

 

Since we haven't really been searching all that long we're still hoping to find another Border Collie puppy some day. We love the breed and actually enjoyed the training and teaching part of it, watching him grow and develop a personality, seeing him thinking and reasoning things out with that wonderful brain of his. How ironic that that would be where cancer chose to lodge.

 

I think, if anything, what might be making me unsure is DH's poor health. Even for the short time we had Pepper here, walking and playing with him really seemed to wear him out quickly. Would I be able to take care of a sick husband and a dog that needs so much attention and stimulation? Would it be fair to the dog? Shortly after we got Scooter, DH had emergency abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery with a long recovery time. I remember trying to divide my time between the hospital and taking Scooter to puppy kindergarden, making sure someone came in to take care of him when I couldn't be there and thinking what a rough way for him to start his new life with us.

 

Obviously there's a lot to consider--not just my needs, and I'm trying not to let my emotions get in the way. If it's supposed to happen, it will. :)

 

BTW, that sweet puppy that my friend brought over today for me to take a look at, got very nasty once she got him home. Lots of growling and baring his teeth, barking nonstop, and bit her in the face this evening. No dog is 100% I guess.

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We just became cat people for a while and enjoyed our two cats.

 

It took our family a long time to heal the hurt of losing our canine family member and we are glad we waited for the right time. YMMV

Well, we're never going to become cat people, that's for sure. DH can't stand cats! :rolleyes:

 

I do think that part of the reason I'm feeling such urgency to get another puppy is my age. It's sort of like the woman whose biological clock keeps ticking and she wants another baby (not that I considered Scooter "my baby"). At 62 now and DH at 66, I wonder how long we can wait before it's too late?

 

(And what does YMMV mean?) :D

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Well, we're never going to become cat people, that's for sure. DH can't stand cats! :rolleyes:

 

I do think that part of the reason I'm feeling such urgency to get another puppy is my age. It's sort of like the woman whose biological clock keeps ticking and she wants another baby (not that I considered Scooter "my baby"). At 62 now and DH at 66, I wonder how long we can wait before it's too late?

 

(And what does YMMV mean?) :D

 

Of course I was just using cats as an example of how we took a break from dogs while we grieved. It would not have been fair to my family to trot another dog into our lives when we were so sad.

 

Obviously there is not an "age limit" for dog ownership. I do think it's a mistake to rush into something because of some sort of self-made pressure or deadline. That's what I was saying in my previous post......we had to take some time off from dogs and occupy ourselves with other things for a while. Lots of people could race right out and come home with a new dog but that would not have worked for us. It you feel your "dog clock" is ticking that may cause you to rush out too soon and make a poorly thought out decision.

 

I do have to point out that you mentioned your DH's health in a previous post and how the new dog wore him out. Maybe a smaller, calmer dog is what your lifestyle needs right now. Stressing over having to train and care for a young, rambunctious dog might not be the best thing for DH right now but a cuddly lapdog might be just the ticket. The Wheaton terrier down the street from me is a great dog with impeccable manners and a calm demeanor who sometimes dresses in leopard print tops.:lol:

 

Take some time to honor Scooter's memory and when you are ready, check out some other dogs (with an open mind) and see how you feel about bringing a new dog into your family.

 

YMMV=Your Mileage May Vary

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I think you're worrying too much about this and you sticking yourself in a box. You keep saying BC puppy. Why puppy? A BC puppy is going to be energetic and mouthy - two things which you do not at all need. And their energy levels are pretty high. A 3-5 y/o calmer dog would probably fit much better right now.

 

And part two, why limit yourself to a BC? There are many smart, trainable dogs in other breeds. I have friends with a Shuh Tzu and that little dog is super focused on her people and smart as a whip. They could teach her to do anything and they are able to easily exercise and travel with her. She is just a really cool little dog.

 

just a couple thoughts...

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I think you're worrying too much about this and you sticking yourself in a box. You keep saying BC puppy. Why puppy? A BC puppy is going to be energetic and mouthy - two things which you do not at all need.

 

OH, yeah. Let me count the things I love about having gotten Buddy at age 2 instead of age 6 months:

 

1) No accidents, ever. (Well, sickness doesn't count.)

2) No chewing non-toys, ever.

3) No eating the drywall.

4) No swallowing whole birds live.

5) No ridiculous "I don't hear you" stage.

6) Normalish energy levels.

7) Well... the list goes on and on.

 

I LURVE me the dog I got as an adult, and I don't feel any less bonded to him than the ones I raised from puppyhood. And as someone who's approaching 50, I don't honestly have any intention of raising another dog from puppyhood.

 

Mary

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What about sitting down and making a list of the things you and your spouse are looking for in your next dog be it a border collie or not. Once you have that done, submit it to a few rescue groups, breeders or fosters and explain to them that you may not be ready just yet but if something that "fits the bill" should become available to please contact you. At the time a ball lands in your court, you can choose to play it or wait for the next one.

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We know that we won't look for another dog, now that Fergie died, for at least a year. Heck, we took 10 years between Vamp and Fergie.

 

But we realized that, unless you count the week between when my retarded hamster died and we got our first cat, we have never been without at least one pet for our entire 45-year marriage.

 

But I'll be 65 in October - and DH will be 68 in December.

 

If we get a pup, it's likely to outlive us. We do have a daughter (and family) that will adopt any dog we leave - with money from our trust to afford to do so. But they'll be older, too. If we adopt an older dog, we'll have to face what we did with Ferg. At about 80. Are we willing to face that/

 

Maybe, when we're ready. we'll foster.

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We know that we won't look for another dog, now that Fergie died, for at least a year. Heck, we took 10 years between Vamp and Fergie.

 

But we realized that, unless you count the week between when my retarded hamster died and we got our first cat, we have never been without at least one pet for our entire 45-year marriage.

 

But I'll be 65 in October - and DH will be 68 in December.

 

If we get a pup, it's likely to outlive us. We do have a daughter (and family) that will adopt any dog we leave - with money from our trust to afford to do so. But they'll be older, too. If we adopt an older dog, we'll have to face what we did with Ferg. At about 80. Are we willing to face that?

 

Maybe, when we're ready. we'll foster.

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I second the not getting a puppy. Bringing Meg home at age two was like getting a puppy with manners. She didn't know a whole lot, but somewhere along the line she had learned how to behave. No teething, no accidents, no counter surfing, no garbage digging, no eating weird things, etc. As far as 'commands' went, she knew sit and that was it. Her foster mom had started her on 'leave it' and 'come' but just barely. She didn't understand what a finger pointing at a treat meant. She didn't know a lot of 'basic' things so in that way it was still like having a puppy, starting from a nearly-blank-slate. She was just the dog I needed. Not that all adult dogs are like Meg, but they're out there if you search. (and they're a lot easier and less stressful than a puppy)

 

Also, you said you feel a tad rushed about getting another dog because of your age, but you still don't quite feel ready. It hasn't been very long at all. A few months isn't going to make much difference. Wait a while and see how you feel about everything in June or July or whenever. If you want to talk about it with your friends and family, go right ahead, but don't feel like you have to. Its your decision and clearly not one that you're making on a whim.

 

And 62 is not nearing too old for a dog (if there is such an age), though a lower energy dog may be a better fit depending on your lifestyle and health. That is for you to determine.

 

Everyone of any age needs to have plans for their dogs/pets in the event that something happens to them.

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Good points, all. Honestly, I've never felt so conflicted in my life. :blink: I'm usually the one everyone else comes to for advice, encouragement, comfort. They say "You're the strong one." And, I usually am. But, losing Scooter has really knocked the pins out from under me. I seem to have this running conversation in my head, going over and over all the pros and cons, saying many of the same things you all have said.

 

I know I'm not the only person on this board to ever lose a treasured friend and you know all the emotions I'm feeling. I don't mean to whine, really. I'm just trying to work it out and writing seems to help me do that. Thank you for your patience and suggestions.

 

Pam

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Everyone of any age needs to have plans for their dogs/pets in the event that something happens to them.

 

I second the above statement.

And I also highly recommend that you get an adult dog (of whatever breed you decide upon) from a reputable rescue.

 

And I also want to say that my last foster dog I adopted out to a couple in their 80s. I hesitated to do that, as she was a young and energetic dog, although not high-drive at all, and content to be a couch potato and get loved on all the time. I wondered if I should let them have her, and worried about their age. But then I thought to myself that I wouldn't want anyone to turn me down for a dog just because of my age, and when I am in my 80s I will still want to have a border collie. I let them adopt her and all the reports I have had from them since then have been entirely positive. They love her and she is happy.

 

Age, shmage. What age?

 

Age is really not so much a factor unless you want to make it one.

D'Elle

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Just an observation on the 'age' issue :) When my Dad's dog, Shadow died at the age of 16 years and my Dad was 81 years old, he vowed no more dogs. However, my mom, being 7 years younger could not stand the thought of not having a dog. They lived out in the country and the house dog was the 'door bell' :) Three months after Shadow died, my mom told me to be on the look out. So, I found Tippy, a little Pom X. My dad was very upset with me (for about 20 minutes)..within 3 hours, Tippy had my Dad wrapped around her paws. From that day, until he passed away, Tippy provided my parents with the love and affection they both enjoyed. When my mom died, Tippy went on to live with my sister. She's there to this day...having taken to her new home and life with a joy. She is now a 'co-pilot' when they fly out for fishing trips, enjoys the boat and adores her adopted cat family.

Getting another dog at a 'senior' age may not be for everyone, but I know how much my parents final years were enriched by Tippy.

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I am also adding a who cares about age story. My grandmother had her Jack Russell until she was in her late 80s, and when he died she missed the companionship, so my uncle found her a lovely small dog (parentage unknown) when the time came for her to have to go into care, there was a line of people willing to take care of Lucky, who went on to have a lovely life in her new home. It did take the support of family but that little dog meant the world to my Gran and also kept her active.

 

I would also add we all grieve in our own way, we got Brody 3 months after Bandit died not because the humans in the house wanted another dog yet ( we had decided to wait at least 6 months and let Jester enjoy being the center of our attention) but our lovely lady was pathetically depressed, and once we had Brods she returned to being her normal grumpy self. And when Jester passed at close to 15 we were sad but knew it was going to happen at sometime, so the idea of getting Rievaulx was already being talked about.

 

Older dogs are great, until Rievaulx our dogs had all been adopted as adults, and we adored each of them. We recently had a young foster dog staying with us who at 10 months old and with minimum training was a brilliant dog, he seemed born with good manners. He has gone to live with a couple in their late 60s. It is just about finding the right character for you.

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Since this thread seems to be morphing a bit, I'd like to add my two cents about senior folks adopting dogs, and my perspective is a bit different from the rest of you ... given I am frequently on the DUMPING end of dogs whose elderly owners have died / gone into care and family members who "promised to take the dog in" have done anything but when push came to shove. The number of dogs I have had in rescue who were there because their elderly owners died is nothing short of mind boggling and I really do not mind admitting one bit that I have always wondered why these very aged people have purchased young / border collie puppies in the first place.

 

Then of course there are all the youngish and very messed up border collies that are given up by senior persons who realized a day late and a dollar short that they were not up to the task of a border collie youngster. Squirrelly from lack of exercise and training, usually fat, very often unsocialized with people and/or dogs, these ones are a nightmare to get back on track. The most memorable would be Jack, who was sold as a puppy to two people in their mid 80s - and not spry people either ... I'm talking one used a walker and the other was bedridden. He was dumped in rescue at 12 months and 45 lbs overweight and was of course not housebroken since he'd never been on a walk...and since the owners were too frail to train him, they hit him with brooms instead when they wanted him to stop doing something. If you said "no" to Jack when he first came into rescue, or raised any object in his presence, he dropped into a crouch, pissed himself and then launched at your face.

 

I realize that Jack was an extreme case, but I could cite countless other young dogs with a multitude of behavioural issues that came in from elderly owners. And in the shelter system, we frequently get in dogs and cats the family dumps when their very elderly owners pass away, or are moved into care facilities.

 

I do realize that people of all ages give up dogs and cats. And by no means do I think that elderly persons should be denied pets! But I do think there are more suitable and practical choices that senior persons could and should make when it comes to acquiring a companion animal. Lots of groups and shelters have "seniors for seniors" programs that I think are absolutely wonderful ideas. I think, for example, 80 something year old persons should consider older dogs and cats as companions. These animals are harder to adopt out for rescues and are generally of an activity level that is more suited to older persons, and their life spans kind of even out. And in this way, family members are not obligated to a dog they didn't choose for themselves and may not be prepared to handle, even if their intentions were good at the time. And the dog does not get passed around at a time in his life where changes are harder and harder to acclimate to. It's win-win. Unfortunately, many senior persons don't always recognize their own limitations, and that's such a delicate and horrible situation for everyone involved.

 

I hope that when I am that age, I'll be aware of my limitations and choose my pets accordingly - and as someone so intimately involved in rescue, I will at least have the benefit of knowing how wonderful an older adopted dog can be, which I admit is something that many senior persons who have always purchased their puppies don't have the benefit of knowing, which is often why they want to buy another puppy, even if it's not a practical choice.

 

RDM

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I don't believe it's a breed thing either. Scooter didn't have a nasty temperament--quite the contrary. Our friends and family loved and trusted him and were devastated when he died. He was a sweet dog who loved people.

 

Not knowing your friends or what exactly they have said, I'll still chime in and it could be a breed thing. Quinn is well loved by family and friends. He is very popular at my office where he serves as greeter. People are impressed by his intelligence, his happy temperament and his athleticism, They are won over by his sweetness. But they also see and are somewhat intimidated by his intensity. While I personally don't find his exercise needs difficult to meet, I know that some of his biggest fans would not want a dog with his level of intensity. Some people, again people who think he is the bee's knees, have said that a Border Collie is "more than they would want to handle" or would be "hard" for them.

 

Not saying you shouldn't get a Border Collie (though I will throw in with those who suggest an older, calmer dog rather than a puppy). Just saying why some people would think that a different dog might be a better choice for you. That doesn't mean they are right or wrong, but that could be their take on the situation. I personally have found Lhasas much, much harder to live with than Quinn but I know other Lhasa owners who do not agree with my assessment of the breed.

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RDM--

Since I work in rescue as well, I know that all you say is true about how many dogs get dumped into shelters and rescues because their people have died or gone into a care facility.

But.

I really think that the #1 point is that everyone, regardless of age, should have a firm plan and commitment from another person or persons, and money set aside, for the care of their companion animals if they should become incapacitated or should die. It is just simply part of responsible animal husbandry. I realize lots of people don't do it. But lots of people don't do lots of things they should do for the animals under their care.

I repeat that I do not want anyone to tell me, when I am an elder, that I shouldn't have a young border collie if that is the dog with whom I want to be. I wouldn't want anyone to tell me that I should only have a senior dog. Of course, I would never take in an animal I was not fully prepared to care for properly in every way. I also know that I would make sure that there were good contingency plans for the dog in the event I couldn't care for him or her, but I have those now just the same.

D'Elle

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I think Sheena makes a very fair point. My crazy dog that I could never adopt out came from a situation where the family got the dog for an elderly gentleman who was dying of cancer. They didn't want to deny him that wish. But when he died, the 72-year-old wife was left with an adolescent she didn't know how to handle, and consequently Farleigh developed a bunch of obsessive behaviors, including licking himself to the point of requiring surgery to remove the resulting granuloma. And of course he was never properly socialized, among other things.

 

I don't really blame the family; they were trying to keep a dying man happy. But in the end it was the dog who paid.

 

I have often thought about when I get truly old and what I would do about dogs. As others have pointed out you need to have an ironclad commitment for the care of pets that outlive you, perhaps backed up with financial aid to the care givers.

 

Personally, I probably won't get young dogs once I have gotten to an age where I think I could outlive my pet. This is largely because I'm the sort of person who can't even pass on an animal now for fear it won't be taken care of properly once it leaves my control. And yes, I do have a directive detailing where my animals should go should I die unexpectedly.

 

To the OP: I think only you can determine what's an appropriate choice for you. I hope you take into account you and your husband's limitations and what really makes sense given your past experiences, age, health, and so on. Best of luck.

 

J.

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