Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted October 25, 2015
Charlotte was my first dog and a true gem. We got her when she was two years old, from the Animal Shelter. She had a rough past, having taken beatings (with we think a vacuum cleaner given her attitude towards them), and then had a litter while on the streets.
I still remember when she arrived home, she was my responsibility and she was a bundle of energy. Raw, unadulterated energy, she could and would scream around the backyard. We would walk her twice a day to burn off some of the energy, long walks not a quick couple of strides to the end of the road, but around the local park a couple of times. This would include Charlotte hurtling off chasing magpies and charging up to other dogs. Her exuberance with strange dogs was not always well received, and while there were no fights, there were times (once with a Huskie comes to mind) where things got a bit ugly, but her speed (even when she got older) seemed to save her and she would hare off if things got too hot.
She was very happy to sleep and loved to sunbathe in the backyard. Seeming to spend her days on a rotation of sun, run and eat. In winter she discovered the heater, and would sit worshipping at it. She was not demanding from the vet until the age of 9 when her pancreas had issues.
Charlotte had pancreatitis, which was costly. She lost her usual voracious appetite and had been throwing up a lot. The vet confirmed it was treatable and it involved a diet change (her pancreas was struggling with processing sugars) and some medication for a bit.
As she grew older her mood changed from being a bundle of live-wire energy to being "The Grand Old Lady". She became a lot calmer, was not phased by the birds (cats however still warranted an eruption), and slept a lot more.
One horrible winters morning she had a heart attack. We found her, miserable, and hauled her off to the Vet straight away, and then went off to another Vet to see if here was anything they could do. It was awful, the vets were great, but it was very sad to lose her.
She wasn't perfect, there were faults. When younger she would chew on the reticulation to water the lawn, causing much consternation. She would dig a bit as well occasionally. There was always the risk she'd eat something down at the park that wasn't great, you'd know because she would then madly eat grass, and half an hour later be throwing up. It was also dangerous to leave her in a room with a plate of food for too long, as she might get an idea - a complete fruitcake evaporated due to leaving her too long. As I mentioned earlier she was incredibly scared of the vacuum cleaner, but that is more to do with her history then the breed. Overall, she was a very good dog. She was incredibly social when she was younger but grew a bit more reserved as she got older. She was fine with friends and guests, but would bark like mad regardless when anyone strayed onto the property.
I would recommend a kelpie to a young family that are keen to have a dog that is able to be around people a lot and get exercised a lot. Kelpie's are working dogs so need stuff to do, and we were lucky as I was young when I had her as I could devote time to her.