Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Introducing Ashley

Heading for the House

... She is a three year old sable and white rough collie. Sweet doesn't even begin to describe her. Through a series of events she had a bit of a rough start and is on the smaller side because she didn't get the nutrition she needed during the critical growing period. She is a little love bug, and shows no shyness from earlier neglect.

Fortunately her breeder was able to get her back and lucky for me, Ashley needed a permanent home.

A few weeks back, after mulling it over, I contacted her breeder to see if she'd put me on a waiting list, for an older female collie. Ariel has only been gone six weeks, and it usually takes me far longer than this to make the commitment to a new dog. But frankly it's just been depressing around here. Boone acts like he has been whupped and lays around all the time with little interest in anything. Due to his aggressive personality I also considered that him being an 'only dog' for a long period might make it very hard for him to accept the next dog I got.

Ashley (front) and a collie buddy.

Well, her breeder thought she might have a dog for me, and did I want to meet her? Hmm....okay...I said yes, then stalled around a bit, hoping I was doing the right thing. Finally it was like, heck yes, I want her, what am I waiting for? So I set up a time to go and visit Ashley, oh and Helen too. ;-0

Last night, after work I zoomed over to see the pack and 'maybe' or 'maybe not' get Ashley. I wasn't sure if I'd be bringing her home last night or not, but her breeder and I decided that now was just as good as anytime. Coincidentally I took Friday and Monday off from work, to use up some vacation time that is about to expire, so I'll be around to help her transition in.

I am always totally amazed by these collies. Of course they are socialized from a young age and she has some gorgeous show collies that get out and about quite a bit. They are so calm though, and accepting of things, eager to engage with people, and of course big show offs! When we were leaving the big fenced area to go to the house, she called Ashley and she waded through the mob and came out the gate, with the rest, disappointed, but accepting collies left behind the gate. Ashley was off like a shot. She was going to the house! Woooot! We of course came along more sedately. Evidently when the collies go to the house, they often make a big sweep of the back yard and stir up the rabbits. In the first photo of Ashley she is coming back to us from her "rabbit run". What a beautiful girl.

The ride home was very quiet and she was very ladylike. She ate a couple of fries (don't tell her breeder! ha..) and although a little worried acting, she did fine. When I got home, Mom was here as she had said she would put up my chickens if I was very late getting home. It was still daylight, but I was glad to see her, since I wasn't sure how I was going to get The Introduction accomplished. I ended up handing poor Ashley (who had to walk by sheep and Boone) to Mom and then going in and leashing Boone up. I then went back out with him, and got the leash up short on him and then Ashley and we went a walking around the front. Ashley was doing fine. She had no wish to be aggressive to anyone. Boone however thought he would bully up and go after her. This is just his nature to strange dogs, and I'm not sure how far he would push it before backing off (I've never let him get that far). So we walked and Boone tried a few growly lunges and I squelched that. He finally calmed enough that they could sniff 'parts' and then we walked some more. By the second lap, Boone had relaxed and was doing okay. He did lose it once last night over a french fry, but the ex-pen was between them, so it was no big deal.

Ashley hiding in the bushes after a bunch of wild collie play--she had several of them roughhousing with her.

I'm sure there will be some squabbles and bullying at times, as Boone loves his toys, his pool, his yard, his bowls etc etc. Squabbles are okay, but no fights! This morning I took them out for another walk and Ashley met Heidi. Heidi was very smitten with her and wanted to follow us home. This is pretty unusual as Heidi rarely comes near me or the fence when I'm down there.

Right now the big dog and Ashley are hanging out in the yard together. Boone is not getting to 'rest' (i.e. lay around like a big slug), because he has to keep tabs on Ashley. So far so good.

Ashley (right) and one of her Collie buds.

She did real well her first night. I brought her in and put her in the ex-pen with Boone next to her. Sage had a nervous breakdown and hid under the couch. I must have dozed off, because it was after 1:00 a.m. before I got up to put them out. The air conditioning felt so good I guess! I fixed the ex-pen across one end of the breezeway, and shut the gate at the other end, so she had a nice secure place for the night. She did try to run through the screen door when I had her out 'doing her business' and something spooked her. That is one tough screen, she just bounced back! She only whined a few times then settled down for the night.

Dixie, my grey kitty that is pretty scared of dogs, but loved Jody, my sable/white collie that died about two years ago, came zooming out of the dark when I was out with Ashley. I didn't have a collar or anything on her, and I thought, oh no! I needn't have worried though, as it was Ashley that got 'assaulted'. Dixie literally flung herself at Ashley over and over again. Dix has this exaggerated motion where she will stand up, leap and arch her back and fling herself trying to get you to pet her. Ashley didn't know what the heck to think! She took it for awhile, and then just turned and walked away...with Dixie following her. I can only assume that Dix thought it was Jody....and they say animals have no connections or emotions. Please. I will say that she bears an uncanny resemblance to Jody. Her face is not totally the same but the eyes and upper part of her head look so similar. Her muzzle is smaller and not as filled and she is much smaller and lighter in bone. (Due to her lack of a good start). But...something... it's almost spooky.

Ashley riding to her new home.

So anyway, over the next week or so, I'll be working to get her acclimated to her new home. I know it's a bit hard on her leaving all her collie friends, but I hope she will settle in and be content. She loves attention and food so that helps! I won't leave her and Boone unsupervised loose together for quite a while. Also Ashley will have to be confined to a smaller area until I'm sure she won't chase the cats (although I think it's pretty obvious the answer on that). All in all, it's going pretty good.

There is a small chance I will have to let her whelp out a litter of pups, but we will know by February or so. Helen has bred her full sister, and if she whelps satisfactorily then she won't need Ashley as a backup, to keep this line going. Either way it will be fine. Ashley is going to be a super little addition to the family and it will give Boone and me some motivation to get out and about more.

Welcome to the family, little girl.

Why'd you have to bring that thing home...Boone seems to say. He was a little grumpy and worn out by this point. Poor guy, he is so intense.


Pat in east TN said...

I am so happy for you and she's really a beautiful girl. Boone will eventually be happy too ... guess he just has to show his superiority at this point in time.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Yes, congratulations! I hope Boone soon admits that it's nice to have a canine friend around again, and he doesn't get too jealous over having to share you. She is so beautiful, and you needed her for that collie-shaped hole in your heart.

TJ said...

She is so very very beautiful and does remind me of Jode. Big Boone just wants to show off and make sure he is still important. He can't help it. Can't wait to meet Ashley another addition to the fam. You secret keeper you!

Nancy K. said...

What a beauty! I am SO happy for you ~ AND for Ashley!! Once Boone gets over having his big nose out of joint ~ just think of the chats they'll have about the adventures they've had...

Bless you and all of yours!

Vicki Lane said...

What a beauty! It's always a little nerve-wracking adding a new member to the pack but it sounds like things are going well. Just wonderful!

L'Hélène said...

That Assley/Dixie encounter is so sweet! ::melts:: My heart totally sighed at that one.

I'd be curious to see Dixie in "action". If you get a chance to film her doing her "pet me love me" routine, make sure to post it!

Kathy said...

I am so very happy for you, Tammy! It sounds like Ashley will fit right in - after all, if she has "Cat Approval" you know it will work out. ;)
I feel getting Ashley in no way lessens the space in your heart held by Ariel. No one will ever replace her, or any other of the creatures who have graced your life. To me, it just shows how big your heart is. :)

Way to go, mate! And Boone will be smitten before he knows it.

phylliso said...

I`m so happy you were able to find another collie.I haven`t been able to find one yet.My heart gives a tug when I see Ashley,I`m so happy for you.I am in love with the collie personality,one day I shall have another...she will fit right in on your farm,I will be here often to see her romp!phylliso

Star said...

Good luck with the settling-in period. I think you are brave, having an agressive dog like Boone and then these delicate females. Add the cats into that and you have quite a lively household, don't you! Look forward to hearing how it progresses.
Blessings, Star

Tina T-P said...

What a pretty girl - I'm sure Boone will be head over heals in love with her soon. John picked an 8# cauliflower today! Yikes - we're going to be eating cauliflower until the cows come home - I DO wish you lived closer - T.

The Frugal Shrink said...

Ashley is beautiful! Boone's face in that last picture cracks me up. :P

Tammy said...

Thanks everyone! She is such a sweet girly. Boone has already fallen under her spell, I think. He is enjoying having someone to hang out with. Michelle, you are right, there was a collie shaped hole there, and I didn't even realize it. L'Helene, I don't have a camcorder and my digital doesn't do videos. It's pretty sweet and/or obnoxious depending on who she is doing it too! Star, Well, I didn't want to have a 'single' dog household since I'm gone to work a great deal, and dogs are such pack animals. It HAD to work as far as I was concerned--but Vicki is right, it can be nervewracking! Kathy I was thrilled that the cats were so happy to see her. It's much better if they don't run and set things off.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Congratulations!!! She's beautiful and sounds like a nice addition to your family. Poor Boone - he'll come around ;-)