Having embraced the casserole of nonsense that is life with a Border Collie, we have been considering taking on a second dog for a while now but decided to wait until our youngest (“Puddi”) was a little older, calmer and better equipped to life with a new sibling that might have some issues it needs help with.
As it happens, Puddi is the nicest, friendliest, most tolerant, patient dog I’ve ever met. She loves people, other animals and pets.. wiggles at sheep in the fields and wiggles at the chickens… bit wary of the cows but wiggles at them anyway… loves the postman and the courier… She’s one step from being the ultimate hippie stoner dog.
For that reason we’d need a second dog to have a similar nature and temperament so the two could live with and alongside each other quite happily for the rest of their lives. Not expecting miracles by any means but I’m not willing to sacrifice or compromise her happiness and well-being either so it’s swings and roundabouts.
We first started making enquiries about rehoming a rescue over a year ago and looked into various places including large, well-known charities and trusts and were really surprised at how simple, straightforward and easy the whole process was.
They sent forms and asked me to complete questionnaires and answer / explain random questions about how I would teach a dog to sit and whether I’d allow it to eat before or after us etc.
Following the return of one lot of paperwork I was contacted by a lady that jumped straight to the matter of fees and asked what colour and sex / age we’d like and the whole thing seemed a bit bizarre.
A close friend of mine worked for an animal sanctuary / shelter and I remember seeing a dog on their website with info that said she needed companionship from owners that were at home during the day and had older children, would live happily with a second dog and she sounded like just what we were looking for.
When I asked her privately about the dog she came straight back and said “No – don’t get her. She’s a bag and has nipped a few staff and other dogs. Food aggressive, can’t be let off-lead because she’s unpredictable and she’d pick on Puddi because she’s very submissive. Not for you at all”
I appreciated her honesty but was annoyed at how the sanctuary made her sound like an absolute sunbeam of butterflies and unicorns. Had I gone through their rehoming process there’s a very good chance we could have ended up with a dog that was totally at odds with us, our home and existing dog and could have left us all (dogs included) miserable and potentially at risk.
Other places had a similar approach that was disheartening and unfortunately meant I ended up being very wary if not distrustful of rescue centres and rehoming.
Anyway about a year or two back someone posted a video on Facebook of a Border Collie that was rescued as part of an RSPCA cruelty case and showed her progress after intensive rehabilitation with Border Collie Rescue UK. From there I watched a few other videos, then went onto their website and started reading. Then I did a bit more reading… and a bit more reading.
I spent about three hours straight trawling through every page, factsheet, case study and link following which, I was sold.
What I particularly love about BCR is its straight-talking, absolutely no-nonsense people whose passion and love for these dogs takes priority above and beyond everything else.
They work tirelessly, in their own time and at their own expense to rescue and rehabilitate dogs that many places would consider beyond repair and far too complex to work with or safely rehome.
Don’t get me wrong – there are countless other places across the globe that do an equally good job but BCR operate so differently in that they give zero shits for anything other than the dogs in their care.
Rest assured our second will only come to us via this lot as and when the time (and the dog!) is right but in the meantime we’re volunteering and hoping to help raise awareness and funding for the charity.
If you’re UK based and considering rehoming a rescue, please make this lot your first port of call.
If you’re just looking for impartial advice and information about Border Collies, make this lot your first port of call.
If you have a few extra pennies to spare, make this lot your first port of call.
This video of “Shetland Tess” and link to her case study with more detailed info is a great example of what they achieve and shows Nicki’s incredible understanding and love for these dogs.
*Tess and Puddi could have been siblings and best friends for life actually. They both share the same gentle nature and super-happy-friendly bum wiggle :)
For all of the wrong things Seaworld has done both to its orcas and their trainers, it has also done a lot of good and must be given credit for its earlier work in research and education in helping to dispel the myth that these are vicious, man eating killers we should fear at all costs.
It took giant leaps in marine mammal training and within a relatively short space of time, took the ocean’s top predator and turned the world’s opinion full circle.
Then it stopped. It failed to really progress much further and the bigwig bosses saw the financial gain and got stuck. We may as well still live in a world that thinks killer whales roar like lions (as seen in the dire movie “Orca!” which was so bad I literally belly laughed)
Seaworld could still manage to claw its way back and turn public opinion around once more if bosses were willing to put both hands up, admit there have been some appalling policies, procedures and general practice but pledge to put all their time, effort and money into righting wrongs and hatching plans that will actively work towards doing something with killer whales rather than allow them to float aimlessly in tanks and wither away.
It might even be able to retain some of its shows and public displays as well provided they aren’t done so often on a daily basis and for the sole purpose of entertainment. Whilst the remaining orcas are suitably placed and rehabilitated for example, members of public could maybe still view trainers as they are working with them.
I would love to see killer whales up close and personal from behind the safety of glass but only if those on the opposite side weren’t languishing as a result of my own selfish and personal greed. Until then I’m planning to bob about on the open ocean and spew buckets / hurl my guts up over the side and wait until these creatures decide to show up and allow me the honour of seeing them at home.
Alongside concerns that Seaworld isn’t doing right by its animals my next worry is for young and aspiring trainers because bosses care even less for them than they do the killer whales. It feels like nobody is looking out for the whales apart from the trainers and fewer people are looking out for the trainers trying to look after the whales.
Sadder still is the trainers clearly dote on these animals and you get the sense they all form particularly strong bonds and close friendships because of the way in which they all work together.
Beautiful beyond words to see these huge, powerful and immensely intelligent creatures carefully gliding through the water with and alongside humans and seeing the trainers playing hide and seek with what appears to be genuine affection.
On the other hand it’s tragic that we had such an amazing opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and friendship that should and could easily have been but somehow managed to lose along the way.
You catch glimpses of some truly beautiful moments in this video which is so bittersweet because it’s both breathtaking and heartbreaking all in one go.