Last year just about this time I got a hankering for another Border Collie. A female, I decided. And I would name her Ruby, after Ruby Pease, who is an early ancestor who lived in CT in the 1700’s. A charming thought. Why not? It felt like a nice way to honor her, and make my past an even more vital part of my present. I thought she might like that. About a week later my friend Marsha emailed me saying, “Guess what? That breeder up in Oregon is looking for a home for the sister of our Cooper. Her name is Reba.” Gulp. Close enough for folk music, as they used to say in the 60’s. That was fast! I downloaded her photos. Shoot. I was in love. She was exactly what I was looking for. Sweet and gentle and smart.
I would like to portray what ensued as really straightforward. It wasn’t exactly a direct path, but after a couple of swerves in the road where I actually considered MOVING so I could have her, things fell into their natural place and moved ahead smoothly and the next thing I knew the breeder was volunteering to drive her down to us. Very very nice. She arrived at night in a truck driven by a tall lanky drink of water [have I been watching John Wayne over the holidays or what?], an interesting woman, stylish with feminine charms in boots and jeans and a wide, easy smile. Ruby (nee Reba) was tucked in back and was ever so ready to disembark and find her way to her new life. Mind you she was moving from a wildly different lifestyle and design. She had been herding sheep for the previous year or so. She’d been tapped as “the one” in her litter. Her paper trail went readily back to Scotland to a line of excellent sheepherders and trial dogs. It was considered her destiny to continue this skill stateside. But, alas, if truth be told, she hated the sheep and the herding. Should no one have been listening (which they were) she bit the sheep to make her point. “Sometimes God has other plans for a Border Collie, Reba,” her breeder confided she had told her little dog, sad that her vision had not come to reality. And so she came to us in the dark of that evening, right at Christmas.
In excited anticipation, I had prepared for her coming. It truly was like a new baby, even though she was two. I bought the biggest kennel I could find and a new soft big pink blanket. When I’d shared this with the breeder she had ensured me the dog would “be too hot.” Reba/Ruby had up until this time spent her time out of doors, mostly in a kennel, with only occasional forays Inside, and even then, under strict supervision. Things were about to change. Bigtime.
We brought her into the kitchen on a lead. What would Conner think?? Happily,
he loved her instantly. He seemed to know she was one of his own breed, someone who would understand him, and he was right. It is a lovely thing to have companion animals who are on the same wavelength with very much in common. It creates flow. We should take note. Communication between them is effortless. They enjoy the same activities. They are playful together and take delight in each other’s company. They share nicely. They respect each other’s boundaries, support each other’s needs. If Ruby cannot find a ball for me to throw, Conner will pounce on one to help her. If she loses her ball in the woods, he will point it out. If she jumps over his head, he regards this as natural. He adores her and thinks she is the cat’s pajamas. (Where *did* that expression come from??) And I agree.
When she first came and I saw her size I was nearly appalled she had been working herds of sheep. So little. So dainty. So cute, I thought. Then I discovered one morning she had dragged her kiddie pool (she swims!) containing probably a hundred pounds of water half way across the yard. Oh, yes. With her teeth. I told a friend if I ever fall in the snow and can’t get up, this wee thing will drag me to safety. She is one tough thing, immune to bumps, to getting knocked about in play. She is fast, loyal, intelligent and good. And she can pull herself in and quiet herself in a heartbeat. She is inordinately affectionate and dear. All I’d hoped for and more. I live in continual gratitude for what her being, her mind, heart and energy have brought to our family. We feel rounded out now, more balanced. The pack is full and we are happy. And so is she.
Posted on December 25th, 2007 by Kathryn
Filed under: Animals