My grandmother had a history of rescuing dogs. In fact, she left much of her money to the Humane Society when she died. As a child, family mythology says, my grandmother would go to nearby farms and “rescue” dogs she found there. In the evening, when her father would return from the fields in Memphis, Tennessee, he would make her go and return the 5-20 dogs she had “rescued” that day back to the neighbors.
She never stopped her determination to make sure all animals had a good home. She always had at least three dogs and an array of cats. After I finished school, when I moved out on my own, I frequently helped her with these animals. One day, she found a beautiful border collie called Babette. The dog was the smartest animal I had ever met, and I wanted the animal so badly.
However, I did not have a sheep ranch in Montana. I was in my early twenties, starting graduate school, and living in a tiny studio apartment. Babette was great to take on runs, bike rides, to play soccer at the park (except the part where she would eat the ball and not give it back once she got it).
Here’s the thing about border collies. They need a job, stimulation. If you don’t give them something to do, they will make something up and you will not like it. After Babette had destroyed all the furniture in my apartment, eaten or soiled all my shoes, I realized I was not a good owner for this animal. My best friend, another avid supporter of the canine, thought her parents could take the animal. They had a lot of property.
But no sheep. So by and by, we found Babette a dairy farm and that was the ticket. Border Collies are great dogs, especially if you have a farm and preferably lots of sheep. Her new home had cows and goats, and on follow-up, the farmer said she was the best herding dog he had ever had. I still have visions of getting a castle with a moat, ample grounds, and sheep so a border collie might join my pack.