Sunday, November 1, 2015

Because We Couldn't Be Sane, Normal People With Just Two Dogs

When Roxy passed, I wondered if I was up for getting another dog in the near future. With Wiley and Flick, we are hardly dogless. And with my late-night writing schedule, I've been kind of bleh about dragging my butt out of bed before dawn on weekends for agility trials lately. And there's no question that walking two dogs is much easier than walking three.

Then Doug started to ask when we were going to get another dog. And I realized that some of the reason I've been less than enthusiastic about agility lately is that Wiley's getting older and slowing down quite a lot lately, and Flick (who is a hyper vigilant dog who occasionally decides she just doesn't like someone or other) will never be the kind of dog I can just relax with in noisy, chaotic trial environments.

Still, I wondered if it was the right time to start looking. School's kicking my butt this semester, and some nagging and vague health issues have robbed me of my energy and motivation lately. And the universe seemed to be telling us to wait too. We narrowly missed out on a couple of prospective dogs at our local shelters (Other people beat me to the adoption). And while perusing petfinder for kelpies, border collies  and their mixes, I realized that the canine population had really shifted in our state. Herding breeds are increasingly rare (it's nearly all bully breeds and Chihuahua mixes all the time there for some reason).

Not that I'm complaining. It's nice to know that the owners of herding breeds are getting more responsible in our neck of the woods. A friend suggested a McNabb breeder to me and the person who hooked me up with the shelter that had Wiley back in 2006 said she'd recommend me to them. But I wasn't quite sure I was up for buying a dog. I really want to save a life, or at least clear up a slot in one of our local rescue groups that keep dogs out of shelters. So maybe it would be best just to wait for a while.

Then I saw a picture of a 1.5-year-old border collie/Australian cattle dog mix on petfinder. He was at the Wags and Whiskers rescue group down in Modesto, and he sounded very promising. Our application was accepted, and the people were very nice about agreeing to hold him for us on Saturday, so we could drive down without worrying about losing out to someone who got there right before us again. He interacted nicely with Flick and Wiley, and is really just an awesome boy. Evidently, his original owner purchased him from a breeder of what are sometimes called "Texas Heelers," because they intentionally cross cattle dogs with border collies or Australian shepherds for ranch work down there.
Flick seems to like Austin a lot so far
So we adopted him and named him "Austin," in honor of his Texas roots. He's really sweet. Energetic and loves to play ball, but he has an off switch and is willing to lie quietly and chew on a toy too. He's got a nice, sound structure, and he's got a touch of that border collie focus and eye without the over the top edge that some of that breed have, yet he's softer and more biddable than many purebred cattle dogs. When he gets interested in something, like another dog or a cat, he redirects easily. Flick loves him so far (which was a worry I had), and Wiley is slowly coming around to the notion of no longer being the only boy dog.

So life just got complex again.

Roxy would have liked him too, I think.

1 comment:

  1. Austin was meant for you and you for him as part of his forever family.♥