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Dollar at the Bluegrass

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Since folks often seem to believe that getting a puppy is a naturally better bet than a young rescue dog for specific activities, like stockdog work, here's some evidence on the other side.


In 2006, when I was the intake coordinator for Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue, we got Dollar out of a shelter. We had to do a lot of shuffling of fosters to make room for him. He was a fence jumper and a runner and had terrible, adolescent manners. But, he was adopted by someone who took him to sheep to see what would happen. Steve hadn't ever seen sheep before either.


This week, Dollar ran on the Open field at the Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial. It made my heart swell to watch him march those lambs down that huge field. He had a strong OLF, a respectable drive and shed and almost got the pen before the heat and the squirty sheep got the better of him and he got called off.

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post-13375-015077200 1337690863_thumb.jpgI appreciate the kind words. Is bragging allowed on this site?


For the record, Dollar has, in his short career, won five Novice trials, three Pro-Novice trials, has placed "in the money" in more than twenty Open trials, was the Land of Lincoln High Combined Award winner in 2011, has competed on the Open field at the Bluegrass three years, has qualified as an Open dog three years running for the USBCHA National Finals, is a three year winner of the High Combined Score for a Rescue Dog at the WWSDA Labor Day Trial, and two weeks ago, won his first Open trial at the Northwoods competition in Wisconsin. He has "rescued" a number of runs for us, and won despite his handler.


He has had the benefit of many top handlers working with him, and he never ceases to amaze us for what he knows and what he learns, both on and off the field. Once described as "a talented dog mired in stubbornness", he unabashedly moves through life touching souls in very astounding ways.


He is, in his work, most importantly a critical "hand" on our land, both in Iowa and in Wisconsin, and also commonly gives demonstrations and assists in helping others become familiar with the instincts, skills, and talents of their own dogs.



Dollar is a sensitive, extremely loving and kind soul off the field, works with children at the regional hospitals in Chicago, and often stays with our aging mother to keep her company; and a dog of exceptional power, speed, range, scope, stamina, lateral agility, intelligence, desire, and devotion on the field. He remains insistent on what he knows is right and stubborn with the rest. He is, quite frankly, a one-in-ten-thousand dog and a life companion to this man whose children are grown and whose wife has long past.


Proud? Perhaps - and why not . . . Amazed? Privileged? Honored? Absolutely.


Those who see him work, and know his history, are astounded, but none more than me, as he continues to teach me about stock and friendship.Dollar - Walk Up - 020110.pdf




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Proud? Perhaps - and why not . . . Amazed? Privileged? Honored? Absolutely.



Wow. He is amazing and you two are blessed to have found each other! And darn it, I love a good rescue story. Congratulations to you and Dollar on all your accomplishments.


(and yes, bragging is competely allowed! :D)

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What a heartwarming, inspiring story! Congratulations to Steve and to Dollar alike! And thank you, Steve and Robin, for having shared this.


Dollar, you have both brains and beauty - here's wishing you happiness for many years to come!

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Regarding Dollar's history, here is what we know (and there is an interesting twist):


We were able to piece together some of Dollar's history, mostly because of his striking looks and interesting ticking. He is likely a dog from a line of Scottish Border Collies and one clan's farm, where from was sold a puppy to a man in Michigan about the right time for Dollar's apparent age. The clan has two dogs that are currently the Scottish national brace champions (two dogs working at the same time on a very difficult course), and they are likely Dollar's grandfather and great uncle. Dollar and his "great uncle" are "dead ringers" for each other.


Testing has confirmed that this is definitely at least part of his lineage, and they remember the selling of a puppy. This is not that important to us, although it was interesting to investigate and find the threads that might be the beginning of Dollar's life story.


What happened after that, we do not know. Dollar, at first, was extremely sensitive to people or cars leaving, to the point where he would try and "escape" to be with you on a trip (jumping fences and poor manners while he "insisted"). To this day, if I open the car door, he sometimes tries to bolt in and presses against the seat, as if trying to say he refuses to be left behind. My sense is that he was left behind or lost, and I remain very careful about not putting Dollar in that probably frightened frame of mind ever again.


Dollar remains sensitive to and careful about his relationships - he loves to meet new people, but generally always keeps an intense eye on me - he will work for other people, and revels in assisting aged persons or young persons in need of care (hospitals and nursing homes), but he does not appreciate long periods away from me. He does have a few very close best friends - people and dogs, alike - and he has been to Scotland a few times and met the patriarch of the clan I spoke of earlier, and they are truly best friends. This trip was very important for us.


Here is the twist . . . this old man, the head of the clan, was so tearfully happy to see Dollar, that he provided a set of covenants for Dollar's life that are wonderfully written (they are for all of his dogs), and he told me that, even if Dollar wasn't from his lines (as I said, most likely his is), Dollar is now one of their dogs, and invited to be part of his clan. Taking the name from Dollar, which sounds like "dolor" or "dolas" in Gaelic (meaning sorrow), Dollar has a clan name of Ni Solas gan Dolas - "There is not joy where there is not also sorrow". This has been Dollar's journey, as we know it is for many, if not all, rescue dogs.


Fortunately, I believe Dollar's sorrow is a distant shadow, as he is a joyful soul, as I have mentioned.


Here is another twist . . . this man wrote on the bottom of the covenants, "O thug no chroi gean duit ar mhalairt na diultaigh me". He said it really captures what he sees in Dollar. I agree. Roughly, it means . . . "As I have given my whole heart and all that it holds to you, do not deny me."


Dollar inspired me to seek his heritage out, to learn the craft of working with a dog on stock, to travel to see where this all began, none of which I would have otherwise done, as I am a business man, serious for most of the day, and not really susceptible to whims. We (Dollar and me) are known now by the best handlers in the nation, and it is expected that we will contend when we walk to the post. I do not know what it is about this dog, but he is extremely special and moved me into a whole new realm.


I appreciate the opportunity to share Dollar with you all. I hope many of you get to meet him and see him work. If you see us, please feel free to come and say "hi". Dollar welcomes all.


You know, these dogs of ours are perfect for the task and for us. They are, as the Scottish say, sterling, absolutely sterling creatures, moving perfectly in concert with the work at hand, if we ourselves are trained well enough and let them flow into the task. If you want to see something truly amazing, watch a good dog work his or her stock.

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