Life is better with a dog

Life is better with a dog

Our beloved Golden Retriever passed away in 2018, and for a long time I was unable to move past the loss of my canine friend. I had not realized until he was gone what a big part of my life he was. For more than 12 years, he had been my constant shadow around the house and yard and on twice daily walks. He helped to keep me motivated to be active. He was wicked smart, loving, friendly with everyone he met, eagar to please, and calm in his old age. I was depressed because I didn’t think he could ever be replaced. Eventhough I am really a crazy cat lady, I love dogs too. It was not until about six months after his death that I could finally talk about him without starting to cry.

Once I was ready, I spent part of my freetime over the following six months contacting rescue groups and regularly visiting Southern California Animal Shelters hoping to find a dog that would fit into our household. Over the past 20 years, all of our dogs and cats have been rescues, and my husband had always been a advocate for adopting from shelters. Finding a new dog would have been easier if we didn’t already have a adult cat, a tortoise, and a flock of chickens. Or maybe if we didn’t have a preference herding and sporting breeds like Golden Retrievers, shepherds, Corgis, and Labs (or their mixes) we would have been more sucessful. I did find a number of dogs that would have been ideal, but time and again we were told there were multiple families on the wait list ahead of us, for the specific dog we were interested in. It was very disappointing.

Me and the Scottish Collie puppy
Corgie and Me, the day we first met. We picked him because he was more interested in us than playing with the other puppies. He is still very friendly

Out of the blue, in August, sitting over lunch with folks from the California Rare Fruit Growers at the festival of Fruit, a lady told the group her sorry story of how her 8 month old Scottish Collie likely got pregnant accidentally while they were away on a cruise and the pet sitter didn’t realize the dog went into her first heat cycle. She went on to explain how Scottish Collies and Scotch Collies are different than Rough Collies, are a threatened breed, about the groups trying to carefully preserve them, and how they were planning to breed their female later on when she was old enough and had passed her all her health screenings. At the time, I thought all Collies were way too fluffy needing extensive grooming, slightly shy dogs, prone to eye problems and medication issues, and it didn’t cross my mind to ask for a puppy.

I came home that evening and mentioned to the family the story about the accidental litter. I was completely shocked when my hubby, who never wanted us to get a puppy in a million years, gave me the green light that if I bumped into the lady again, to ask for a puppy if one was available from the oops litter. I am sure it was the Scottish part that sold him. I do think it was meant to be because I bumped in the lady again at the end of the next day, just as I was leaving the conference. I then learned the parent dogs had lived with chickens, bunnies, and a couple of tortoises! It could not have been a more perfect match to what we had been looking for.

Scotch Collie with a Scotthish Collie
Corgie’s Sire is on the left and his Dam is on right, not nearly as fluffy as modern AKC Rough Collies

The day it was our turn to pick out our puppy at 5 weeks old, we met the parents who were gentle and friendly. The puppy is mostly white with black spots, kind of like the dog from one of my favorite childhood books, Harry the Dirty Dog. The sire is a Scotch Collie and the dam is dual registered as a Scottish Collie and a Scotch Collie. From what I understand, and I am by no means an expert, the two are very similar. Basically, the Scotch collie is a working dog and landrace breed that is either the ancestor of or shares DNA with of most of the different collie breeds. The Scottish Collie is the original Collie that modern Rough Collies and Smooth Collies decended from in the early 20th century. These Collies tend to have a more moderate length coat and typically less genetic health issues than the modern Rough Collies.

We brought the puppy home at 9 weeks old, a few weeks before Christmas. After much family debate, we named him Corgie. My hubby thought it would be an appropriate and qwerky name because over the past year, when the family asked what I wanted for a gift like for Mothers Day or my birthday, I insisted all I wanted was a Corgi. With the puppy named Corgi(e) they got me exactly what I aksed for.

Scotch Collie puppies
My Corgie, the Scottish Collie posing to look a bit like a Corgi at about 10 weeks old

For the first month, it was like having a baby in the house again. We had a couple of weeks of sleepless nights, lots of puppy proofing, and endless potty trips outside. But things are getting a little easier and more routine now. I couldn’t be happier, despite the destructive tendancies toward my potted plants, the digging, and the jumping up. He has endless energy and always wants attention, and fortunately, most of the time, someone is home these days. He is a quick learner and it only takes a few repetitions to teach him something new. It is really nice to be out walking around the neighborhood with a dog again. I apologize but there will probably be more puppy posts and pictures intermingled with my gardening posts.

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