was ‘cranky’. Monday night she gave birth to 7 pups and on Tuesday she came
to my home as a foster dog. Cranky could hardly describe her. Violently
protective was closer to the truth.
It took me two days to cautiously reach her neck and turn the old black
collar so I could snap a leash on her and take her out for toilet duty. On
day 3 she and I came to an agreement that I was Alpha female and this was my
house and she followed my rules. I was allowed to handle puppies, groom her,
cut away nasty smelly mats of hair. She loved me, but only me.
Neighborhood kids normally make my kitchen a regular hangout whenever I have
puppies, but not this time. Kids and parents alike were instructed to go
into the kitchen only when I had Heather out of the house on a walk.
They all observed her barely-controlled behavior on walks and most people
were happy to see us move on by. When I went on a 1 week vacation, three
experienced dog people tried to take over care-duty and ultimately backed
out. They refused to be alone with her and refused to enter the house
without me being there. One intrepid volunteer persisted through two weeks
of practice and socializing prior to my vacation. She ultimately moved in
for the duration and took care of mom and pups.
As puppies grew the issue of what would happen to mom when the puppies were
adopted came front and center. The coordinator of the rescue program I
volunteer for came over to observe. Heather stood up, put her feet on the
coordinator’s waist, looked her in the eye and curled her lip. VERY ugly.
The prospect of finding a suitable home for her seemed dim at best. I
contacted six Border Collie rescue organizations who all rejected her
because of the obvious problems. Two of the rescue groups agreed to put the
word out in their networks but they were not confident I would get anywhere
A young man, Adam, from the Border Collie network did call. He was vaguely
interested in Heather but was really interested in one of her pups. He and a
friend, Sue, drove down from Green Bay to select a puppy. I put Heather in a
crate in the garage, well out of harm’s way. They observed the happy,
outgoing and well socialized pups and selected one for a future of agility
work. Then they said they wanted to meet mom. I cringed.
They had five dogs (4 border collies, one Aussie) in their van, all loose,
parked near the end of my driveway. I took Heather out of the garage and met
them in the drive way. Heather could not have been worse. She curled her
lip. She snapped her teeth. She lunged, circled, growled, barked. I was
totally helpless to stop the rampage. I held the leash and muttered, "She
usually isn’t this bad."
"Give me that leash," commanded Sue. I handed the leash to ‘She who will be
"SIT" said SWWBO. Heather sat.
"Get me a bag of treats" Adam obeyed.
SWWBO worked at several other commands. She watched every reaction with an
eye to learn everything she could.
"Adam, open the van." Adam obeyed.
"Tina. Out." One of the five loose dogs jumped from the van and eagerly
looked to Sue for her next instruction.
Tina crawled down the driveway on her belly. She crawled up to Heather who
sniffed her and decided this little crawling dog was no threat.
By this time the neighbors had gathered in a wide arc, mostly with their
Sue looked up and said, "I need a volunteer."
One man, ex military, stepped forward.
Sue handed him a treat to give to Heather and instructed him on just how she
wanted him to approach. Obediently he did. Heather gently took the treat and
allowed him to pet her.
"I need a child." Sue called out. The military man ‘volunteered’ his
daughter, who respectfully declined the offer.
Another child boldly stepped forward, "I’ll do it." Again Sue handed her a
treat for Heather, instructed her on how to approach. Obediently the little
girl did. Heather gently took the treat, turned her head aside and moved
"She is not comfortable with children. Not aggressive, just not
Sue walked Heather back to the garage, opened the crate and told her to go
in. Obediently she did.
Two days later Sue called to say she would be willing to take Heather, train
her and find her a new forever home as a working border collie.
Happy endings courtesy of She Who Will be Obeyed!
enjoying a beautiful day in Merriam Park with the pooches