Acquired: Pet store
1619, South Africa
Posted June 1, 2015
It was May 1981, and almost a year after my wedding to my first husband. My son was almost two months old, and I wanted to get a dog to watch over him. I have watched several Lassie movies in my life, and to me the evidence was there that a Collie would be the best option.
We went to the local pet store, and were lucky enough to find a litter of rough Collies in a crate. I chose one of the pups, and felt like I have done my ultimate good deed for the day by rescuing her from having to sit in that small crate everyday... and I was probably right, since Collies are not supposed to be kept in such a small space. Actually, that is true of most dogs.
I have always wanted a Collie, and couldn't contain my excitement. Lady was a sweet little 3 month old pup, and we were going to be the best of friends. I introduced her to my son, who cooed happily as he touched her soft puppy fur.
As time progressed, I began to learn more about Collies and their general make-up, and was shocked to learn that ultimately, this breed was not the right choice.
First of all, I had a small baby, and should not have introduced any pet at that stage anyway, because all my attention went to my son, and I was unable to pay enough attention to Lady. So I vowed to make a point of giving her the attention that she needed... but I didn't know anything about Collies. Lady became my "learning curve", and fortunately I have learned my lesson... never to get a Collie as a pet when you have to give all your attention to something- or someone else.
I should not have purchased a Collie based on the little bit of info one can get from the Lassie films. Usually, dog movies are designed to highlight all the good traits of the dog, and hide all the negative ones. Watching a few movies is simply not enough research to decide on a particular breed. There is a vast difference between a movie (which is meant to entertain) and actual research resources (which are meant to teach and inform). Choosing a pup based on the content of a movie is looking for trouble, unless the particular movie is a documentary film that is meant to inform.
Lady was a very gentle dog, and did not deserve to be shouted at as I sometimes did. This is another reason why you should never get a pet while you have a very small baby. Fact is that Baby does not sleep through the night yet, and puppy also needs (deserves) a lot of attention. You end up being short tempered because of a lack of rest, and the puppy gets the rear end of everything. Based on the Volhard method of evaluating a pup's temperament, although I did not have her evaluated, I would guess that lady was a No 4 category dog. Not skittish or fearful like a No 5, but gentle, soft and easily put off when shouted at. For more info on the Volhard Puppy Aptitude test: https://www.nsclub.org/training/puppy.htm
Lady's time with me was short, about two years. During that time, she was trying her best to fit in, but with a mistress who was not very experienced she could not really cope. Neither could I.
In the end I realized that it would be unfair towards her to keep her, and I decided to rehome her. I particularly looked for a home where she would be free to run as much as a Collie needs to, and would be part of a family that knows Collies and loves them for the strikingly magnificently gentle breed that they are.
The couple that took her from me was the best I could hope for. I went to visit her a few times after parting with her, and the change in her was remarkable! She became the Collie that she would never have been able to become with me as her owner. So the story does have does have a happy ending. I had my learning curve and learned my lesson, and Lady become the dog that she was meant to be. Late in 1995 her owners informed me that Lady has finally passed on, and was waiting for them at the Rainbow Bridge... and I was thankful that she could die as a happy senior dog.
Would I recommend a Collie to someone as a pet? Yes, but only if after proper research you are still positive that a Collie is indeed the pet that you want. Because if you are not prepared to dedicate enough time and attention in order to help the dog reach its full potential, then please keep looking until you find the breed that is correct for you...
I never got around to actually take pictures of Lady, but the photo that I upload is exactly what Lady used to look like. I found this one on the commons.wikimedia website.