Scootin’ Scottie

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Just one year ago today, on July 1, 2001, I got a rescue Border Collie.

I’d been in the sport of agility for 8 years at that time and realized my 2 Pembroke Welsh Corgis and my other rescue Border Collie were aging enough that I needed to start a new dog if I was to stay in agility. Besides enjoying agility, we have a business of building agility equipment, so it’s important that I stay active in the sport. While in England just over a year ago we had the opportunity to attend agility day at Crufts dog show and to attend 2 other agility shows. In England the sport is dominated by Border Collies; I returned home with more speed on my mind! Crufts did a nice presentation about acquiring a dog through a rescue organization and had teams of dogs doing agility that represented their 5 rescue organizations. That helped me rethink the possibility of getting an adult dog rather than a puppy and dealing with all the puppy stages that are so time consuming.

I talked with a couple gals at a Border Collie rescue booth at an agility trial in Lacey, WA and they recommended submitting an online application. By then I’d pretty carefully thought out what I wanted in the way of a dog – attitude, conformation, personality, intelligence, socialization, ability to get along with my other dogs, age, size, color, etc. Only a week after submitting my application, Tasha Wood brought 2 dogs for me to consider. One was too intense for our household but I really liked the "orange" one. We kept him on a trial basis and he quickly became a member of our family. He is everything on the checklist, including the desire (which at the time I thought was just wishful thinking) to have a color other than the traditional black and white – he is sable and white. Tasha picked him up at a Humane Society in Montana while visiting relatives. His owner turned him in saying that he had a 1-year-old male dog with an unfenced front yard and he was afraid the dog would get into the neighbors’ livestock. Because of his geographic location, Tasha called the dog Monty Montana, but I quickly changed his name to Scottie – a name I’d chosen ahead of time. Based on physical ability, that was later expanded to Scootin’ Scottie.

We got into the first Beginning Obedience class that was available. Learning to lead, sit, down, stay and get along with other dogs was top priority. That was followed by Advanced Beginners Obedience. He got home schoolin’ in agility from the very start and he went with us to all the agility trials where my other dogs were competing. He spent a lot of time on the sidelines watching the agility competition and grew more intense about wanting to do it.

In August we attended the Benton County Fair several days and spent time in the Best Friends Agility & Obedience School (the school where we take classes) booth. It was wonderful for socialization; he did demos on small pieces of agility equipment, and had his first piano lesson (a toddler’s toy with 4 big keys). We also participated in the Willamette Agility Group (WAG) demonstration at Benton County Fair and State Fair. I remember he couldn’t even do a stay at the start line back then! At a trial in October, a CGC test was offered – Scottie passed the CGC with the training received in the 2 obedience classes. In November we attended Woofstock, a fun dog event co-sponsored by Best Friends. Scottie participated in the agility demonstration. I also let him do the herding instinct test with sheep. He was pretty uncertain about the proper way to go about dealing with them so either hung way back or had wool in his mouth. In any case he had a blast the whole day! He was particularly intrigued with the number of tennis balls (his favorite toy) that were used in Fly Ball. This year I hope we’re ready to compete in the Weave Pole Knock-out at Woofstock.

My other dogs have done some therapy work and now Scottie has some experience in that area too. We did a small demo last fall for the assisted living facility where my father-in-law resides. And Scottie, wearing a Santa Claus cap and jingle bells, greeted the residents as they went to breakfast on Christmas morning.

We continued to take Scottie everywhere the other dogs went and his manners and social skills continually improved. This winter I enrolled him in an agility class. Later, we entered a WAG fun match and he did pretty well, so I enter him in a trial. May 4th & 5th was his debut! To ease him into the world of competition agility, I put him in only 3 classes that weekend. We had one Qualifying run and he had a great time at the trial! We’ve had 3 trials since then and we are continuing to improve as a team – at the last trail we had 6 Qualifying runs.

Border Collies are not for everyone. They require adequate exercise and tasks to occupy their mind. Consider the duties and responsibilities that go along with owning a Border Collie before making a decision. If you decide you are ready for one, I hope yours is as wonderful as mine is. Scottie is really a blessing – he is a great companion, a watchdog, an agility competitor, and an intelligent guy who is always eager to learn and loves to play.

 

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