March 4th 2012 3:28 am
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I have had Ally since I was a junior in high school. I have brought many cats home but never a dog. So when my mom was in her bathroom drying her hair and she looked in the mirror she said, "Ohh a....PUPPY!" I had told her I found a litter of them behind my place of work and we all took one home. In reality, my friend's dog had a litter 6 weeks ago and I was going to take her home. I did end up telling my parents but not before they fell in love with her. My dad kept saying he thought she had some lab in her because her paws were so big but I kept insisting she looked more like a border collie due to her markings.
When we took her to the vet he had a few things to let us know. We had a Australian Blue Healer who was 5 and he would never really accept her. He never did but he really wasn't a good family dog. He love my mom and that was about it. Next, the vet said you will never have to punish this dog by spanking her but instead all we will have to do is "hurt her feelings." This breed wants to please it's owners.
Also, she is a VERY ATHLETIC dog and needs CONSTANT EXERCISE. He let us know she will be very good at playing ball and Frisbee and boy was he right. All she wanted to do was play ball for the first 9 years we had her. It was constant and it was almost abusive. She would cry and whine until we would play with her.
He also wanted to make sure we had not small children in our family because she has a natural instinct to heard children. That includes nipping at their heels and feet. To Ally, children are below them in the pack and they need to be told what to do.
I taught her how to swim her first summer. This was great exercise for her because we would throw the ball into the pool and she would get it. If we were tired of throwing the ball she would drop it herself into the pool and bark at it. When it was finally out of her reach she would jump in and retrieve it.
When I moved into my first apartment at 19 I wanted to take her with me. After all, she is my dog. This could have been the worst 4 months of her life. I was going to college and working full time and I was partying full time too. She was cramped in a 650 sq foot apartment with no human companions to keep her busy. At this time in my life I look at it as I was pregnant, had a baby, and grandma, or Lolly as Ally knows her, took care of her and has raised her even to this day. When I moved into my own house, I wasn't working so I would have the time for her, I asked to take her with me but my mom couldn't let her go again. I understood and agreed with my mom's explanation of why it would be better for her to stay with her.
One huge reason is she owns a lake house in Northern Indiana. Ally's favorite place to be is at the lake. She barks and chases the ducks away, plays ball in the lake and can go swimming when ever she wants since we put stairs by the seawall. We still had Riley, the Blue Healer too and it was Ally's job to heard him everywhere.
I read in a book that border collies make their owners look like genius dog trainers which of course isn't true. Border collies are the smartest breed of any dog. Her vocabulary is very large with some of her favorite words and phrases are: Where is your ball? I can't reach it...when we are playing ball and she has thrown it down to far for me to throw it again...Breakfast, dinner, snack, lets go on a walk, Do you want a bone, Do you want in general makes her little head tilt to the side, do you want to go to the lake, go get on the boat, Frisbee, where is the kitty, do you want a treat, last bite...if we are eating something and sharing it with her...do you want to lick the bowl, let's feed the birds, do you want to get the mail, squirrel and chipmunk because she loves to chase them, and her VERY FAVORITE is do you want to go swim or swimming. When we say that she runs into the laundry room where the towels are kept and starts barking. There are so many more but these are her favorite.
SHE ALSO LISTENS TO EVERY WORD IF TWO PEOPLE ARE HAVING A CONVERSATION. She knows when we say "she" or "Her" we could be talking about her. This isn't the case most of the time but we will be in a conversation saying over and over she and her when all of the sudden she will slink out of the room with her ears plastered to her head and her talk between her legs. My older brother likes to tease her, which bugs me to no end, be he will say, "Ally you stink." I don't know if she knows what he means or it is the tone he speaks in, but it hurts her feelings. And truthfully, he is probably smelling himself because he doesn't shower daily! :)
The best part about having Ally is her unconditional love she always give us. As a family, we have had some very hard times and she has been the glue to hold us together and keep our sanity. We can cry and talk to her and she just licks our tears. We know she is trying to make everything better and even though we still have problems, she makes us feel much better.
She has the best morning routine. She sleeps in my room on my bed, because I am living at home again. When I wake up and if she is not on the bed I quietly call out, "Good Morning, Ally." She jumps on the bed and gives me what I call "Morning kisses." If I fall back asleep she gets frustrated but lays down beside me with her head on my stomach. But the next time I say, "Good morning," she is right there.
When we took her to the vet for her last check up he said he couldn't believe she was 12 years old. Her fat pockets, eyes, and fur are more like a dog of 7 years old. But when we asked the average age a border collie will reach he said, "You shouldn't ask that question when she is at that age." So I feel like everyday we have her in our lives is a blessing from God.
About 3 years ago I couldn't shake the feeling she was going to die soon. I know she won't live forever but being 27 at the time I knew how much she has been apart of my life. I take extra time everyday and spend it with her either massaging her legs, back, and tail, playing ball, or sitting with her as she kisses me. I know she is cleaning me but that's not the was I choose to look at it. When I tell her, "Give me a kiss," she kisses me right back every time.
I also play "bone" with her. We also added Rupert, an English Mastiff who thankfully was the runt of the litter so he is just over 160 lbs, which is VERY SMALL for his breed. When we give them Busy Bones or Hardy Hides, Rupert has no problem eating his right up. But Ally will not eat it but instead she protects it. She will sit 5 feet away from me and stare at me for 15 minutes at a time.
SHE IS NOT A MEAN DOG TO FAMILY but she does get spooked by people she doesn't know. So having said that I hold my hand up in a claw-like shape. She growls and barks but never bites. After I have done that a few times she will sit right next to me and almost throw the bone closer to me that to her. As a family we have decided she is taunting us. But it keeps her entertained and we think it is really funny to see her lift all her lips and show her teeth to us. Most of the time she won't growl because when Rupert joined the family she would show teeth and growl and she would be scolded. From then on when Rupert would walk buy she ONLY showed teeth and didn't growl. Of course we think this is hilarious but still call her name so she knows we see her.
She had really calmed down in the past 3 or 4 years. The biggest complaint I hear is Border Collies are hyper. Yes, they are for a longer period of time than most dogs. They need a home where people can tend to their needs for daily exercise for the majority of their lives. She likes to spend most of her day looking out the window at the birds. We found having bird feeders took away her CONSTANT NEED TO PLAY BALL. She is being stimulated by looking for moving objects. If you are not an active person this would not be a good dog for you. Also, we did not socialize her with other dogs at an early age which was a big mistake. Every time she sees a dog being walked down the street she barks wildly and if an unknown dog gets too close she growls and barks at the dog.