Friday, March 2, 2012

Puppy: Breeder vs. Rescue

Kibeth is scaring me.  She's more playful again with the Previcox, her helicopter tail is back in action; but honestly, she's just slowing down more and more on our walks.  The bloodwork to ensure she's tolerating the Previcox OK came back just fine, so that's a relief.  JoJo also can't seem to keep weight on -- I'm worried it's her kidneys.  Time to think about something happy...

All 3 of my dogs are rescues.  The only animal in my whole life that hasn't been a rescue is our first dog my parents got me when I was 4-years-old.  Sami was a wire-haired fox terrier who was a puppy at a pet store.  I believe very firmly in rescuing, and adamantly oppose backyard breeders, puppy mills, and mass-production of puppies in general.

However, there are tasks for which the risks of using a rescue puppy are a serious consideration.  You don't know what the puppy's first weeks have been like, and they're so impressionable it makes a big difference.  Knowing the puppy has grown up in a wonderful environment its first 8-10 weeks makes for a much more likely candidate for a super performance and/or service dog.  This is what I need my next dog to be.

Dolce could be GREAT.  If he didn't have reactivity and could be confident in new situations, I absolutely believe that with an experienced handler, he could go REALLY far very quickly in any dog sport.  Except maybe frisbee... he has absolutely no desire to even learn to like them.  Completely pointless.  Anyway, since he had a rotten upbringing, we're being held back by his behavioral challenges.  I don't want to go through this again with my next dog, and I desperately want the experience of raising a well-adjusted puppy.  I have many thoughts/theories/ideas how to do it, and I can't wait to try them out.  Not to mention, who doesn't love puppies?

Enter Contact Point Border Collies, a southern California border collie breeder extraordinaire.  I've decided to get my next dog from one of their litters.  Hopefully, out of Bluff or one of her descendants -- I have my heart set on a blue or tri-colored merle.  I'm willing to wait for that special puppy.  If I'm really capable of that, I don't know, I may just be overcome with puppy cuteness when the time is right whether there's a merle or not.

I can't have more than 3 dogs, so it'll be a while, but I like to cope with something scary (Kibeth and JoJo in their senior years) by thinking about the future (border collie puppy -- who doesn't like to think/plan for a puppy!?).  Their pups are about $1,500 and I've already worked out it'll cost about $2,000 to go through all the basic classes.  Twice with the puppy while it's growing up (that way, the timing should be perfect as it grows to progress to the next class).  That means I need to have about $5,000 saved for this puppy (adoption fee, veterinary needs, training) before I get it.  I'm already starting a little stash. :P

What prompted the switch from greyhounds to border collies?  Answer:  Dolce.  He's so much more "me" than the greyhounds.  Don't get me wrong, my girls are PERFECT dogs.  Everyone compliments me all the time, and I love them for so many reasons I can't possibly list them all, nor does English have a suitable vocabulary for such things.  However, I love his zest to train, interact, snuggle, and just "do."  He's so much more oriented toward me, and his unfailing energy is so much fun!  Of course, in typical me fashion, I've been reading like crazy.  I enjoy this dog stuff so much!  It's like I'm a little kid again, except instead of memorizing every book about horses, I'm learning dogs. :)

Meet Bluff, exactly what I want
my border collie to look like...


  1. Tasha, I am SO GLAD you did not put Kibeth on Rimadyl-don't ever go near the stuff. Speaking of dog books, have you read Inside Of A Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz? She is a professor of animal behavior, comparative cognition and psychology. It is excellent and very readable, not science-speak. I highly recommend it.

  2. Oh, really? Why is Rimadyl so bad? That hasn't come up yet, thank goodness, but why are you so opposed? I'm completely clueless...


  3. Some dogs have had severe and sudden onset of side effects and somne have died as a result. What is the most disturbing is that many vets are totally unaware of the possibility of these side effects and do not adequately warn their clients. Which was the case for me but fortunately my dog did fine on the drug. Most of the severe side effects happen in dogs 8 years of age or older. Go to The site under animal veterinary info has a lot of good info on NSAIDS and what to know about them. If you can't find the info or the Senior Dog link doesn't work, let me know. I would love to have a long conversation with you about all things dog sometime when you return from your honeymoon and are settled.