The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Promise Me

Not too long ago Laddie was injured in an accident that left him with partial paralysis in a hind leg and I retired him from competition. He is still more than capable and has lots of work left to do, so I found him a good home with a teenaged girl and her dad where he can be useful. I sent him on his way this morning and then wrote this note to the girl. I really miss my dog.

Promise me that no one will ever hurt Lad or scare him. He doesn't need to be yelled at. He's not that kind of dog. You can talk to him. Just talk to him, and you'll see. Please don't ever let anyone hit him. He's never been treated that way in his life and it would really scare him.

Promise me that he'll never be hungry or too hot or too cold. He's a big eater. I feed him once a day, at night, and he eats a lot. He is really wide through the chest and ribs and is a bigger dog than you think. I had a hard time keeping weight on him. You have to feed him a lot. He hates the heat. He comes from Wales where it is ALWAYS cold and wet and that's how he likes it best. He is a different dog in the heat. He slows down and doesn't play as much. Please make sure he has lots of shade and LOTS of water. He is a big drinker. Also, he absolutely loves to lie in water and if you buy a low livestock drinker and fill it for him, he'll swim endlessly. It makes him happy.

Promise me that you won't leave him tied on a chain or rope. He'll stay in a crate all day if you need him to, or he can run loose, but he has never been tied out for long periods in his life and wouldn't know what to make of that. I tie him out when I work the other dogs, but that is the only time, and it's not for long.

Promise me that you will love him as much as he is going to love you. He is the happiest dog I've ever owned. He has the most expressive eyes I've ever seen in a dog and those eyes are always filled with love and nothing else. He has a tender heart. He loves to be brushed and likes to lay with his head in your lap while you brush him. He'll walk right beside you and keep reaching around to grab at your pant leg. I cannot tell you how much I'm going to miss that.

Promise me that you'll give him a chance before you call him bad. I hope not, but he might miss me for a while, or be confused by new surroundings. He may not do exactly as you ask at first, but I promise you that once he learns what it is that you want, you will NEVER experience a more useful dog. He loves nothing more than to be by your side, except to work by your side. Remember that he does everything right while working sheep, so if something is going wrong, you are not asking correctly. That will always be the only reason, it will never be Laddie. He is exceptionally good at his job. Speak quietly to him when you work him. He likes that best.

Promise me that if you ever have so much as a second thought about keeping him, you will call me immediately. Promise me that you will never give him away to anyone but me. I will ALWAYS take him back, no matter the reason, how old he is, or in what condition. Believe me when I tell you that I will ALWAYS take him back and I will not judge you in any way if you decide to return him.

Promise me that you will appreciate him for what he is, and always remember that he is a hill dog. An imported working border collie that came off the hill in Wales where he was tending a thousand ewes and 300 mother cows on over a thousand acres and making it look easy.

Promise me that you will always remember that Laddie is an uncommonly good dog. Promise me that you understand that I was first, and now you are so blessed to have him. Promise me that you will take care of my dog.


  1. oh my....that made me cry. I hope she knows what a great dog she is getting.

  2. I think she does, Holly. She wrote a really nice email reply and I'm hopeful today.