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Dog Tails

A collection of stories and testimonials written by those who love dogs...

Keeping an Eye on her Flock

Years ago we had a large gathering of church members at our house for a meeting. As we moved around the house visiting, our Border Collie, Murphy, was obviously aggravated that we were so spread out. To make matters worse, one elderly gentleman was always dragging behind with his walker. Several times we saw Murphy giving him the "eye" and thinking about giving a little nip on the ankle to speed him up (thankfully, she didn't though). She did continue to slowly circle us, gently brushing against people and causing them to take small steps one direction or another. Anyway, it wasn't too long before my husband called our attention to the fact that all of us were jammed into one corner of the same room. A contented Murphy was laying in the center keeping an eye on her "flock."


A Remarkable Dog

Percy simply spoke to me through hers eyes when I had seen her picture online. My husband is a dairy farmer and I am a veterinary technician. My old Aussie-cross had died of liver cancer and we were devastated. I was aware of the energy level of these dogs—the answer is to channel it correctly. Percy is probably the smartest dog I have ever worked with. She very quickly learned how to judge my actions. She always seems to know what I am about to do. My children are Percy's favorite. She loves to play ball with them (endlessly). She waits for them to get off the bus. She sleeps near them to protect them.

We have an Australian Shepard, Boomer, who is almost blind. Percy picked up on this very quickly. She is now Boomer’s eyes. She goes out in front of him, she waits for him, she barks quickly to warn him. It is really neat to watch.

Percy spends much of her time with me at work, she has become the office greeter. Clients look for her when they come in. And of course, she always brings her ball to them. We love everything about this remarkable dog! She was a great addition for our family.

Go Dog Go!

Fez dove into the world of 4-H obedience, agility, showmanship, tracking and rally with typical border collie intensity. He did every obstacle in the agility ring his first day out, watching my daughter, Valla, for feedback. He trusted her and never seemed frightened. Just 10 weeks later, he placed 1st in rally, 2nd in agility and 4th in obedience and showmanship. Last fall, Valla competed in AKC rally and titled him against adult handlers winning a second, third and a forth. She started flyball in January and Fez will be in his first flyball tournament in May, a feat for any dog other than a Border Collie!

We only had Fez a week. King, our elderly dog, was in the middle of the front yard. The neighbor’s German Shepherd appeared ran at King growling and barking. I could never have made it to King before the shepherd did. Fez was by me in the driveway. He saw what was happening and in a flash put himself between King and the shepherd. Fez, with hackles up, pushed her to our property limit and held her there.

We have a new kitten and I was sitting in my chair holding the little one. Fez brought his ball over to me wanting me to throw it. "Not right now, Fezzy," I said, "I'm playing with Karma." Fez sat back and gave it a thought. Then like a dog on a mission, he trotted off and was gone a moment. He came back, plopped the kitten's string toy right in front of him, then nosed his ball closer to me! His look was unmistakable: "Karma is busy, so now can we play!"


We are so blessed to have Callie. If people are willing to invest a little time with their Border Collie and give them LOTS of LOVE, then the sky’s the limit!!


Good Advice

If you have time (a fair amount of it!), energy, space and a sense of humor, this may be the dog for you!

Through my experiences with my 2 border collies I have learnt that giving attention (enough attention!) lots of exercise and NEVER underestimating their level of intelligence makes for a very happy household.

If the weather is wet and cold do not be fooled that your dog feels as you do about going outside. He will remind you while you are sleeping that he missed his exercise time and pull the trash over and deposit it all over the kitchen. (He is smart but not smart enough to not leave a trail of trash all the way to his bed!)

Remember that he needs something to keep his active mind occupied; he needs a “job”. He is easily trainable and will not require a leash, he will happily listen to you if you make being with you fun and exciting. Give him this with love, attention, water, food and a warm place to put his head and you will never find a more loyal, smart and very entertaining friend.

Tom and Jean


“A Wee Bonnie Lass”

by Chad Thorne

Farley the Wonder Dog!

Several years ago when the children were in high school, Farley (our first BC), became Farley the Wonder Dog. In the middle of the night, he woke me up by swatting me on the nose with his paw. This was a first! Boy, I thought. He must really have to go out! So I got up and started to go down the stairs and he herded me into the wall and stopped me. Well, I thought, you are not waking me up and then refuse to go out! So I started again and again, he herded me into the wall. The alarm bells went off in my head. If he wasn't going down there, neither was I!! I picked up the phone and telling him to be very quiet, walked into the front bedroom and looked out the front window. There, two teenage boys were breaking into my daughter's car, stealing the stereo system! I dialed 911 and the police were on their way.


One Puppy Cone Please!

Bailey is the best dog we've ever had, to the point that we recommend the rescue to anyone and everyone who's looking for a dog. He's smart, fast, agile, kind, gets along with everyone and all other animals, and he's extremely loyal. Our boys are 6 and 8, plus we have a cat, three ducks, and a tank full of fish. Bailey loves the kids and protects them. He plays with the cat - they wrestle and play every day, which cracks us all up! Bailey goes everywhere with us, even on road trips. He's adjusted to riding in the car very well, with his favorite car trip being to the frozen custard store where he gets a puppy cone! Adopting Bailey was the best pet decision we've ever made, and the rescue process was so easy and personal.
Jeff and Monica


A Match Made in Heaven

I adopted Maggie, known as Meg in 2003. Hard to believe it's been that long! She is amazing and I can't imagine not having her with me. Magg loves to go for a ride, she just naps or slips her nose up over the back of my seat to check in if it's a long drive.
After I got Maggie and we finished our obedience class, I began to volunteer with the Great Lakes Border Collie group. I foster in the summer when my work schedule is lighter, and volunteer as a weekend "sitter" for others, in addition to providing transport. Maggie became depressed after our foster was adopted. She came out of it, but I felt bad. She's an alpha girl, so she has to choose who she can live with, make that, boss around!
My friends and family thought I was nuts getting a second dog. I saw Rowdy on the Mo-Kan website and fell for him. Just something about the face. I contacted MKBCR and trusted them to steer me towards a male who get along with my Maggie. They invited us out to meet. Rowdy is an excellent match into the household. He makes an excellent companion for both me and Maggie.
Maggie is Dan’s protector, any time he needs help, he literally looks towards her and she finishes up for him. Both love to run in the backyard and in the open fields. Rowdy has definitely lived up to his name! He cannot pass by water without taking at least a wade, regardless of the outside temperature. Maggie is more laid back and independent. She chooses what and when they play. Rowdy loves to cuddle. He cannot get enough petting. He and I are taking an obedience class. We have been working on learning to stand. Rowdy will lean against my legs instead! Rowdy also prefers to sit in front of me, half sitting on my feet so he can rub against me. I feel extremely lucky to have both of them.


Where's the Off Switch?

by Tia



by Dan and Linda


Being ‘Rescued’

by Kathy Hallberg

I am often asked “How did you get into rescuing?” and “How do you let them go? I would want to keep them all.”...


Little Pieces

by Grace Saalsaa

Written for those who foster


Jubal's Song

by Bridget Byrne

A Dog's Purpose from a 4 year old

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply, Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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