Friday, May 16, 2008

Ivan the glamorous farm dog

From birth, Ivan’s career path was to be a show dog. He belonged to a professional breeder and spent his life being bathed, groomed and hauled from one dog show to the next.

His career ended when the puppies he sired were better show dogs than their father. The owner decided to sell Ivan to have room to keep several of his pups.

I wanted another dog. I already had a little tri collie named Heather, and hoped to find another collie just as lovely. Since I worked so many hours, a puppy wasn’t going to be my best choice. An older, settled dog that didn’t require so much attention would be perfect. Ivan and I were on a collision course. I had a home that needed another dog. Ivan was a dog needing a home. We were both in the right place at the right time.

The adjustment period was hard for both of us. Who knew dogs that spent their lives in kennels couldn’t move in a straight line? Really. My farm dogs run free when I’m outside. There are no roads near my place so it is perfectly safe. On the second or third day I let the new Ivan off the leash to run with Heather. Ivan ran around in circles. Small circles to start, after a while the circles got a little bigger. I wondered if he had a brain tumor.

He also had a thing about fencing. Apparently he was used to bouncing on and off his chain link kennel fence. No chain link on the farm, but there was a lot of high tensile horse fence. The first few times Ivan’s circles intersected with this tightly strung wire he did a somersault and ended up on his back. I wondered if he was blind and had a brain tumor.

Walks with Ivan were entertaining and a little troubling. Heather would bounce down the pathway, nose to ground checking for scents. Ivan trotted in overlapping circles that progressed roundabout (more or less) down the path behind her.

Ivan’s story turns out well. He learned to run in straight lines, he started watching out for wire fence, he got interested in the scents of deer and raccoon. He still won’t wade across the creek or walk in a muddy field. I think he’s happy now even though his life is less than glamorous.

If you would like to give a dog a forever home (as they say in the rescue business) consider a collie form a rescue group. Collie Rescue of IL


Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

I'm a big collie lover myself. Thanks for introducing Ivan. He's a real charmer.

My black and white factored collie Lucky ( now deceased for 6 years ) lived to the ripe old age of 14. I still miss him so much. I did an impressionist painting of him and my daughter.

My daughter has two smooth coat collies - Lance and Joker. What characters !

I rescued a smooth coat from Collie Rescue of Illinois but it didn't work out, despite months of efforts to change non-stop barking from " Mr. Spock " as I called him. He needed to be out in the country instead of the city.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Carolyn, in my experience, collies are world class barkers. Nobody every sneaks up on a collie or a collie owner;) Great watch dogs, but... Since I live out in the sticks, no neighbors to object.

Sorry Mr Spock didn't work out. That's the thing about rescue dogs. Some previous owner has frequently allowed a lot of bad habits to form.

tina said...

So glad he has a happy home. I never knew this of show dogs. I fostered a bunch of golden pups this spring. Wow! What a shock! Animal rescues are such a worthy cause and it is so sad how they are treated by so many. Especially here in Tennessee.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tina, I have such sympathy for dogs who must spend most of their lives in cages.

Ivan does have a good home, but for whatever reason, he doesn't have the free spirited joy of living that dogs raised in real homes as members of a family have.

cconz said...

carolyn, thanks for the great story on ivan. it make you wonder what his life was REALLY. He's very lucky to have found you. he's beautiful. we saved a boston terrier. she had been on a very short chain , tormented by cats every day. she could'nt run or jump but, given a chance she would kill a cat. she did come aound. and was a wonderful sweet girl.cathie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cathy,
I agree. I don't think he enjoyed his life much as a show dog. He may have enjoyed the grooming and all the attention at shows but what about the weeks in between when he did nothing but look out of his kennel run?

He's a good dog. He deserves better.

My aunt loved Boston terriers. She said they made the very best pets. Good luck with yours.