Thursday, September 10, 2009

Border Collie Rescue Video Series

As a continuation of the first post where Episode One was featured - this post includes links to view all six videos.

Nice work is an in house 'Colliewood Films' production about the work of UK based Border Collie Rescue (BCR), directed by Scottish filmmaker, Jim Closs with it's footage filmed at the York centre and in the homes of the dogs featured.

Like the Animal Planet series 'Project Puppy', which features Gael from BCR as one of the 8 dogs covered, Nice Work is about the subject of rescued dogs being re-homed to work with people in various capacities, but in this instance they are all Border Collies and they have all been assessed, selected and re-homed by Border Collie Rescue.

This mini series is in six, ten minute episodes looking at a number of dogs rehomed by BCR and also covering Gael's training, Sally's pups growing up and other aspects of work at the BCR Assessment and rehabilitation centre.

The series features interviews with BCR staff and with people who have adopted dogs from Border Collie Rescue and trained them to be Sheep Dogs, Cattle Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs and Police Dogs as well as two dogs, selected and placed together on a small holding as companions for a special reason.

It gives good insight into the sort of work they do and the attention to detail spent on the care and re-homing of each individual dog.

This mini series is being released at the same time as Border Collie Rescue is being featured on Project Puppy on Animal Planet. If you are not an Animal Planet subscriber, you can follow Gaels progress on Nice Work, either on Youtube or on The Border Collie Rescue website.

The Border Collie is designed to be a sheepdog and was originally used for herding livestock in the English and Scottish Borders. Border Collie Rescue assesses all dogs coming into our care for herding ability and will rehome them as stockdogs if that is what they need to do but we also assess and rehome for scent discrimination skills to the Police, Prison Service and Excise to detect drugs, explosives and firearms -- to SARDA and other rescue organisations for mountain rescue and search and rescue work -- to help deaf, blind or otherwise disabled people as well as for working trials, flyball, agility, obedience and other interactive sporting disciplines and many of our dogs have qualified for Crufts in these disciplines. Those that show us they do not need or want to work are rehomed as PAT dogs, pets and companions.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Success Story - Spur & Sadie

We hadn’t planned on adopting a dog (let alone two) so soon after our 15 yr. old Marty had passed away. But there they were on the PNW Border Collie Rescue site: Spur and Sadie - sitting shoulder to shoulder with their heads cocked to one side.

View Spur & Sadies original adoption bio here

Four days later on a November afternoon, we returned home with the 9 yr. old brother and sister in the back seat of our car.

We never considered their age (we don’t think of ourselves as older either) - it was just them - they were the ones that we had to have. Spur was taller, more athletic, and a real clown. Sadie was timid, utterly attached to Spur, with a quiet charm.

The first days were busy with getting new beds, checkups with the vet, and exploring the neighborhood. They each had some minor medical procedures and came home with cone collars. In case they wondered why their new parents would do this to them, we showed solidarity by piling dog beds together and sleeping with them on the floor that night.

Then we settled in as a family - trips to the dog park, rides in the car, waiting for “daddy” to come home from work. Our routine was so natural, we couldn’t remember life without them. Spur loved running up and down the stairs - Sadie loved to play in the snow. They would sit side by side smelling dinner simmering on the stove.

In February, we stayed at Iron Springs in Copalis Beach - Spur and Sadie ran in the sand until they dropped. But each night - Spur would sit in the car confused about why we were staying in “that cabin”. He was very relieved at the end of the week to see that we were going “home.”

One day in June, after their usual run through the woods and morning nap, Spur could not stand. An hour later in the emergency room, we were told he had a splenic tumor that had burst. As Bob held him in his arms and told him we loved him - Spur passed away.

Time doesn’t count in matters of the heart - in just 7 months, Spur had an impact on our lives. He taught us that if you loved again - you could move on past life’s difficulties. He also taught us that by giving a dog love (easy for us) along with discipline (hard for us) - a dog would be happy and feel protected.

And he left us Sadie. We worried for her without Spur. But she stepped up to the plate and grew into her bigger self.

Now on our daily walks through the woods - we take our daughter’s dog - Otto - a 2 year old rat terrier rescued from a puppy farm in Texas. My daughter says he never had a “mom” - so Sadie has been teaching him how to be a “dog in the woods” - she is very proud of herself - and we are too.

We are driving to the Oregon Coast in September, with a list of “dog friendly” motels. Now it is the three of us: like most families - happy to be together and armed with memories of loved ones passed.

Thank you Heather, Mike, Marian - and all the other members from PNW BC Rescue - for your support - and the part you played in bringing Spur and Sadie into our lives.

-Bob & Judy Shaw

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Success Story - Zoe

Meet Zoe the 70 lb border collie

Zoe is a chunky monkey.

Zoe is a 2-3 year old seriously overweight Border Collie. Zoe was rescued from a bad situation in Eastern Washington where she was grossly overfed. Zoe was so overweight that the simple act of getting up caused her to pant seriously. A healthy female border collie should weigh between 27-42 lbs (depending on bone structure). Zoe needs to lose approximately half her body weight.

Zoe has been adopted by Kris and now lives on Whidbey Island with Reese, another border collie adopted through PNW Border Collie Rescue.

Zoe has embarked on a new life with a wonderful new active family and at the same time has enrolled in the doggie version of the Biggest Loser!

Zoe's mom created the blog to document her recovery.

Zoe's Weight Loss Blog

Stop by and cheer them on and watch this plus-sized beauty shrink to a healthy weight.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Success Story: Buzz Light Year

Buzz Light Year came to live with us almost a year ago and he has become a wonderful addition to our family. After having worked in dog rescue for several years I had been exposed to many personalities and breeds of dogs. I knew when the time came to adopt a second dog the choice would be very difficult. So many dogs had come through my home and our rescue program that I wanted to take home with me permanently.

I was attracted to the border collie personality as I was currently competing in agility with my shar pei mix (‘Lucy’) and was looking for a new strong trial partner. I needed a dog that would get along with all types of dogs, so I could continue in my foster work. I needed a border collie that would be okay with my husband and future children. Since we were planning on a family at some point.

Buzz caught my eye because he was the most gorgeous border collie I had ever seen (then again I am kind of biased now).

I contacted his foster mom and we chatted for a bit about him. Buzz was a stray from Everett, WA who had shown extreme kennel stress at the shelter. His foster mommy had only had him a short while but was patient enough to send me regular updates on his personality as it began to evolve in the process of recovering from the stress of the shelter.

We made the decision to drive over to the west side of the state Thanksgiving weekend to meet him and see how he and Lucy got along. As expected Lucy and Buzz got along fine right from the start so we all piled in our car and drove home.

I was SOOO excited to finally have a ‘forever’ dog again. Many a times I had brought new dogs into our home but this time he was for ‘keeps’. I didn’t have to say goodbye to him.

Buzz has the perfect personality for doing all the things I love to do with my dogs. He is a snuggler, loves to chase balls and Frisbees

Buzz is especially happy if I throw a stick in the river.

Buzz’s first agility action shot – hope this makes you chuckle as much as me.

Buzz is not quite ready to compete in agility yet but his focus has come such a long way since he came to live with us and I began working with him. He loves to work for me and is learning more and more how to ‘learn’. When he first came to live with us he would shut down right away if he didn’t understand something but now he is learning it is okay to try things in order to get my praise.

Now, almost a year later, I so adore our new boy. Our little family is continuing to grow and we are expecting our first baby shortly. Buzz is my prized border collie, the dog who will someday win ribbons and accolades, my prodigy dog, my agility partner and apparently a dog who will always be a source of humor, amusement and joy as I continue to work with him.

I cannot thank the shelter and rescue folks enough for getting him out of the shelter and into a home environment. I know the work done by his foster mommy in the beginning was helping to lay the groundwork for him to become the great boy he is today.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Success Story - Star

Star came home with us November 11, 2001 after being pulled from a Washington State shelter where time was running out for her. After months in foster care when the best adoption option came available, Star crossed the Canadian Border and became our beloved family member.

That was the beginning of our journey and one of the luckiest days of my life. Star was accepted immediately by our Doberman “Jazz” and after Jazz's passing, Star assumed the role of helping train our new puppies. My shadow, my team mate, Star and I have trained, played, travelled and slept together. One time, when approached by an out-of-control meth addict, Star placed herself in between and would not let him touch me. This is the only time she has shown aggression since she has lived with us.

Adopting Star has been life changing and we now have three Border Collies and have had several rescues come to us for re-homing. We have also taken up sheepherding and hope to compete in 2010 sheepdog trials.

Star’s Accomplishments:


Agility Association of Canada = 18 titles including her Bronze and Silver Awards of Merit
3rd place BC Yukon Regional Agility Championships 2007 and 2009
12th place Canadian Agility National Championships 2007

North American Flyball Association = 7 titles
United Fli League = 2 titles

Star is a gem and we want to thank Janet Legg for letting us adopt her.

Janet says: "I knew early on that Star was loaded with potential, needing a special home where she could reach for “the stars and I want to THANK YOU, Shauna and Tim, for providing Star that exceptional home where she could live up to her dreams.”

Tim and Shauna Helson
Campbell River, BC
July 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Border Collie Rescue Video

This is an excellent video production about the work of Border Collie Rescue (BCR). "Nice Work" is about the fostering and placement of rescued Border Collies. Mostly why they end up in rescue, and the attention to detail spent on the care and re-homing of each individual dog.

While this video is focused on a rescue located in the United Kingdom, it is important to note that all border collie rescues worldwide are facing the same challenges with fostering and re homing this wonderful breed.

(Copied & Pasted from the YouTube Video information) Episode 1 introduces Border Collies and tells us a bit about the breed, and about Border Collie Rescue and the York centre. We meet 'Dot' and 'Gael' at the beginning of Gael's sheepdog training and take a look at 'Patti' in her new home. This mini series is being released at the same time as Border Collie Rescue is being featured on Project Puppy on Animal Planet.If you are not an Animal Planet subscriber, you can follow Gaels progress on Nice Work, either on BCR's YouTube Channel or on The Border Collie Rescue website at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Success Story: Willow & Tyler

I adopted Willow when I knew my old search dog Valorie (Age 13-1/2) was showing major signs of needing to retire. Arthritis, blindness, hard of hearing etc. Willow was about a year old when I adopted her from PNW Border Collie Rescue. I started working Willow along side Valorie on our searches almost immediately.

Willow's energy level helped alot. She could handle the rigorous searches in the deep snow in the mountains, the rough hot terrain we faced in the jungles and desert searches. She loves the water and has also made a great water Search and Rescue (SAR) dog as well.

Willow's training consisted of dog obedience, agility, gun training (as we carry side arms), object identification for forensic scent evidence searches (guns, knifes, blood, body fluids, keys, wallets, clothing, body tissue, hair fibers, teeth etc.). As an air scenting dog she does great.

Her best attribute is her gentleness and her determination to work. She tracked a missing dog from NW Seattle 12 miles to Edmonds where we found the dog alive. The dog had been missing for two weeks.

She has documented finding 4 dead humans in water drownings, one suicide victim, and today she located what we believe is a female victim which had been buried in a murder case for over 41 years. We're waiting for detectives to dig up the site.

She's traveled to 20 states and two countries to do her SAR work. Willow has documented 1702 search cases with 404 documented finds of missing persons and lost pets.

When SAR Dog Valorie died, Willow became very depressed. Her play and work buddy was gone. Val died in my arms at age 15 from a stroke on Jan. 9 , 09.

In her lifetime Val documented over 5,800 search and rescue calls around the world to include Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, both of the Turkey earthquakes in 1999, along with finding hundreds of missing persons and lost pets all around the world. Val was rescued from Corvallis border collie rescue in 1994.

I adopted Mr Tyler from PNW Border Collie Rescue in February 2009. What a character and CHALLENGE is he! First he had absolutely NO confidence in himself. He was scared of his shadow, and attached himself to my side from day one. Willow and Tyler love each other to death. They play day and night when they are both not working or training.

To date, Mr Tyler has documented 279 search cases with 61 documented finds of missing persons and lost pets.

Tyler got to ride in a kayak for the first time two weeks ago and he wears his life vest and loves the water now. Can't keep him out of it. He also has grown to be a emotionally secure dog. Someone reached into the truck the other day and Tyler nearly took his arm off. Warning him first to back off or else.

He has one trait that is different from all the other search dogs I've trained. Tyler like Valorie will actually talk to me. He carries on a conversation. I'll ask him a question and he'll talk up a storm. If I sing (I can't sing) Tyler will step in and help me out.

When we find the people dead I often do the death notifications and both Willow and Tyler have helped me out greatly with the grieving families. They hold Willow and Tyler and cry and get their comfort from both of the dogs.

These guys are wonderful. They have helped me deal with losing Valorie (My partner of 15 years and my girlfriend of 3 years left my side because of my work) So these two little partners have been a saving grace so to speak. They are quite the comics but when needed are both huge HERO's in my work, my life and the lives they've been able to save since they started their work.

Harry Oakes SAR Dog Coordinator
International K-9 Search and Rescue Services.

CLICK HERE To view a video interview with Harry and his dogs Willow and Tyler

Monday, June 15, 2009

Success Story: Emma Rose

When my husband and I lost one of our beloved dogs to cancer after 10 years, our black Lab, Bear, was inconsolable. We considered getting another dog to keep him company but our hearts were not ready. However, we were at our wits end trying to deal with Bear’s anxiety. Then one day I saw an ad on Craigslist. It was a desperate plea for foster homes for PNW Border Collie Rescue. My husband and I decided to give it a try. We could help a dog in need and possibly help Bear at the same time.

We answered the ad and Jill came to our home to interview us and check the security of our property fencing, etc. Within a few days she had a dog in need and asked to bring him out over the weekend. It was all set, but mysteriously the dog went lame the day before our appointment and had to be put on kennel rest. At the same time Jill got a frantic call from a woman wanting to surrender her dog to the rescue. That dog was Emma Rose (formerly known as Taz).

We got off to a rocky start. Emma snarled at Bear and tried to bite my husband. She came from a “nice” family with several young children and one other dog. But she had spent most of her 18 month life on a chain in the yard. After a couple of weeks we were hoping she would be adopted soon. I even called Jill to ask if she had any prospects.

Then a funny thing happened. Jill called and said she had a family that would like to come out and meet Emma. Initially we were excited and thought that was great news. But when the reality hit us it was a completely different story. Just the thought of Emma leaving with someone else was more than either of us could bear. That’s when we knew our hearts were ready, and somehow we would make this little girl a part of our family.

Since that day Emma has become the center of the household. Bear adores her and is very protective of her. She sleeps between us every night in a king size bed and we are completely “besotted” by this little lady.

Emma Rose has her own blog on the internet, (Emma Rose) where she shares all of her comings and goings, and she is pretty much spoiled rotten (within reason, of course).

At 3 years old Emma is still a work in progress. She is not perfect, but she is “perfectly Emma”. And we are not perfect, but she loves us in spite of that.

The wonderful woman, Jill, from PNW BC rescue, retired shortly after we adopted Emma. I never got to tell her how much of a blessing Emma has been on our lives and how grateful we are to her and the rescue for making it all happen.

-The Kirkpatricks

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Success Story: Tru

March 2008 - When I saw this adorable face on PNW BC Rescue, it was LOVE at first sight!

Already having 3 bc/aussies, I really didn't need another...but there was just something that HIT ME about this one.

I contacted Anne at Border Creek Rescue to inquire.

"Yes, I'll be at the Albany agility show this weekend" I said. Oh! so will she and she'll bring this little slightly shy guy with her for a meet & greet.

It took all of about 2 minutes for me to know, THIS WAS MY NEXT DOG! But, just to be sure, Anne agreed to let him spend the night, as it was very important to me that my #1 once in a lifetime dog, Mick, get along with him.

Let's see...Mick sleeps next to me on my right, and has for 7 years...and guess who cuddled up, laying all the way down on my left side ALL NIGHT?

I whispered into his ear. "You're TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!" and that's his name now...Tru.

Who knew that little 9 month old pup would blossom into THIS handsome DOG just 1 year later. Tru is now my 'grow old with me dog', my NEW agility partner, and the most wonderful addition to my life since Mick.

I LOVE this boy through and through...and he is...TOO GOOD TO BE TRU.

So, when you decide to look at a rescue, look past the's the gooey inside that really counts!

Liz, Coos Bay, Oregon

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hi everyone! It works - I just had to try it out. I will post something later - gotta go to work

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Success Story - Beth

Beth came to PNW Border Collie Rescue through Joan at Idaho Domestic Animal Welfare Group (IDAWG). Beth failed to make the cut as a drug detection dog and they surrendered her into border collie rescue.

Beth's Original Listing on PNW Border Collie Rescue Site

Joan arranged for Beth's transportation from Idaho to the Washington Coast where she was fostered by Vivian in Greys Harbor County. There Beth started her journey into a new life. Beth showed behavior both in her foster home and adoptive home suggesting she had been harshly treated and abused (not by the drug detection trainers). But we fell in love with her. That dainty little nose and great big eyes & overly large ears melted our hearts.

We soon learned that Beth was your typical somewhat neurotic, high energy, fiercely independent & slightly insane Border Collie. Since we had experience with Border Collies we knew what we were getting into...but Beth topped out the energy scale!

It was obvious Beth needed a job to do. We enrolled her in obedience, then agility foundation training. While obedience and agility were fun for us, it was clear Beth was not enjoying it. She was nervous and jumpy. Her desire to please combined with fear of correction made her a bundle of nerves in each class. Our agility instructor suggested we try her on sheep. That next weekend we made an appointment at Fido's Farm in Olympia, WA for a herding instinct evaluation.

Video of Beth's first official herding lesson

There is absolutely nothing like watching your timid and shy little dog morph into a bold and happy dog confidently handling sheep. It was simply amazing and at the same time humbling.

Shortly after our first lesson the instructor said "You got lucky with that one, she is a remarkable little girl". That was the beginning of our sheepherding obsession.

To see this small little dog's light bulb of instinct turn on makes you realize what these dogs were bred to do. The generations of careful breeding reflected in your dog's eyes as they circle behind their sheep. To know that the one who needs the training isn't the dog as much as it is you...their handler.

The herding instinct is actually a 'controlled prey drive' carefully bred into the dog. Not every border collie has the right balance - but Beth did and we couldn't waste it. Knowing how to handle their drive and teach your dog how to herd sheep in a steady, controlled manner is not as easy as it sounds. It involves walking backwards for miles, falling down alot (sometimes into very icky droppings), hours of work in the rain, sleet and hot sun, frustration...yet unmentionable joy when all the planets align and finally you click with your dog in a symbiotic relationship as old as the hills.

Adopting Beth brought our family into a new hobby and inspired us to adopt more border collies. Now we have four amazing Border Collies all from PNW Border Collie Rescue. Each one has brought us immeasurable joy and love - and a fantastic new hobby that we can share together as a family.

I saw a car magnet the other day. It was a dog paw print and said "Who Rescued Who?"

I had to think about that for a while...I think we were rescued by a Border Collie.

Thank you to PNW Border Collie Rescue for enabling us to embark on a new journey and direction in our lives.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I just wanted to thank you for starting this blog. I think it will be a fun place to tell rescue stories, updates on rescue dogs, etc. This is my 'test' blog entry.