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