Thursday, February 18, 2010

Success Story: Maggie's Long Journey Home

Part I
by Joan Smith, Idaho Domestic Animal Welfare Group

Maggie first showed up as a 12 week old puppy.  Someone was giving her away for free on Craigslist.  The people had just recently adopted Maggie from an animal shelter in Fruitland, Idaho.  The new owners only had Maggie for a couple of weeks and were not letting her in the house.  They had an infant child and the puppy was too much for them.  This upset my friend who saw the ad on Craigslist and then went to meet Maggie.  The friend asked me to take the puppy, Maggie, and I agreed.

Who could resist that face?!  Plus it was the middle of winter and absolutely frigid outside.

After getting Maggie settled in I started seeking a good adoptive home for her.  I adopted her (forgive me, Maggie) to a family in Boise who, after about 8 months, found her to be nothing but a mischievous nuisance and wanted her gone.  I could tell the woman didn't even like her!  I was going to board Maggie for them while they went out of town, but instead talked them into letting me have her back.  There was no love lost between Maggie and her former 'family'.  They had changed her name to 'Widget'.  We changed it back to Maggie right away.

So Maggie came back to my house where she was confused and just downright miserable.  She didn't even want to come in the house.  I have to admit, I found Maggie's behavior frustrating.  I knew nothing about bearded collies at the time and we were certain that Maggie was a beardie – border collie mix.

My friend and foster mom, Kim, came over to look at a great dane I had that needed a foster home, but instead found Maggie.  Next thing I know Maggie is in Kim’s lap. Maggie seemed to know right away that Kim 'got it', as in understood her.  And off they went, leaving me with the great dane.

Within a couple of weeks Kim had Maggie turned around.  She was a happy, bouncy beardie/border mix that did everything with gusto. Like night and day. A different dog.

Video Maggie and the Aussie Pups

We put Maggie up for adoption again, but this time we intended to find a family that understood the bearded collie temperament and had the lifestyle to suit a border collie’s energy.

And then came the call from Mike and Carolee Biddle in Antioch, IL (a/k/a “Beardieville”).................

Part II
by Mike and Carolee Biddle, adopters

We have had Bearded Collies (Beardies) for almost 10 years. For many years, we had 4 beardies, but unfortunately we lost one, Ashley, to cancer in September of 2008. It was a tremendous loss to our family, and we certainly had no thoughts whatsoever of bringing another member into Beardieville anytime soon. Well, that all changed at the end of December 2008.

I am a member of a Beardie yahoo “chat group”, and several times a month there are notices regarding beardies from a wide variety of sources around the country that need forever homes. These notices are usually accompanied by photos, etc. Their stories always touch the heart, but we had never SERIOUSLY considered adopting one of them, if only because we are always at “full” capacity here in Beardieville.

So, on December 30, 2008, there was a notice on the Beardie-list regarding a “beardie - Border Collie mix in Idaho”, and it included not only photos, but a wonderful video of Maggie created by her foster mom, Kim.

Maggies adoption video

After I looked at her photos and got half way through her video, I not only fell in love with Maggie, but also got this instantaneous feeling in my gut that Maggie was meant to be in Beardieville!! That night we contacted Joan at the Idaho Domestic Animal Welfare Group regarding Maggie. And that started Maggie’s 1400 mile journey from Boise, ID to Beardieville. Through the entire process, Joan’s sole focus was on finding the right forever home for Maggie.

On January 25, 2009, I flew to Boise and picked up Maggie and brought her home to Beardieville. Needless to say, Maggie brought a whole new dynamic to our gang. Imagine the intensity, intelligence, and energy of a Border Collie mixed with the exuberance, intelligence, and “bounciness” of a Bearded Collie......and you’ve got Maggie!!!!

In addition to a large fenced-in back yard to play in, Maggie and her beardie siblings Murphy, Merrick and Andy get a daily trip to the local dog park (which is 50 acres , completely fenced, has trails, woods, creeks and is for the exclusive use of unleashed dogs and their owners (or chauffeurs, as we think of ourselves)). This is Maggie’s “heaven on earth”!!! Coupled with the fact that we both work from home, we think that Maggie has found the home where she was always supposed to be!! Talk about a win-win situation for both Maggie and us!!

Maggie, along with her constant playmate and herding buddy, Andy.

We can’t thank Joan and the whole rescue group enough for helping Maggie find her way to Beardieville. We were also fortunate enough to have Joan (who has family in the Chicago area) spend a day with us last August and get to see first-hand the result of all her hard work.......Maggie & Beardieville!!!!

Mike & Carolee Biddle and Joan Smith

Success Story - Chili & Cricket

I’ve adopted two dogs from Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue, and they’ve changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.

Chili at her first foster home in Yakima.

It began the day I saw a picture of Chili (then known as Raine) on Petfinder. Something in her gaze grabbed me by the heart even though she was nearly 600 miles away. I loved her description. “High drive.” “Boundless energy.” “Incredibly fast.” And my personal favorite, “Not for a first-time dog owner.”

Chili’s picture on Petfinder.

Eileen at Ravensgate Border Collie Rescue on Camano Island told me Chili was about a year old and had been picked up as a stray in Yakima. Mike Flory and his wife Marian had taken her into rescue from the shelter. Chili was not very trusting of people, but the Florys and then Eileen at Ravensgate worked with her to show her that people weren't all bad. I finally met her on Camano Island and took her for a walk, at the end of which she flopped in my lap and looked up at me with those smiling brown eyes. I was hers.

She was very timid and shy around strangers, but incredibly smart and biddable with a formidable recall. With time and patience we mastered obedience class, then moved on to agility. It was one of my proudest moments when we actually competed in a NADAC trial. We also dabbled in herding where she showed a strong drive.

Chili at a NADAC agility trial.

Chili inspired me to begin fostering (mostly border collies and other herding breeds) so I could give other dogs the chance that the Florys and Eileen had given her. Then one day Joan at IDAWG asked me to foster Cricket, a 5-month-old border collie/sheltie who was very traumatized and fearful.

Cricket when she first came into rescue.

Even the therapeutic efforts of Chili and my other wonderful girl Kala couldn’t get her confident about meeting strangers and being in strange environments.

Chili welcoming Cricket.

Cricket as a baby.

So Cricket became a part of our family. Gradually she came out of her shell a little and would tolerate a little bit of attention. Then eventually she would ask for it by gently placing a paw on my leg. Together, Chili, Cricket and Kala have helped me raise day-old kittens and many, many litters of puppies, as well as many adult border collies and border collie mixes. I couldn't foster without them. The work they do with other animals is truly magical.

Cricket usually works to help bring out the shy dogs and watches over and plays with the puppies.

Chili takes on the job of playing with the high-energy adults.

Chili and Cricket have changed my life. And thanks to their very special spirits, they’ve helped to change the lives of many other foster dogs too.

 Thank you, Mike, Marian, Eileen and Joan for bringing these awesome girls into my life.

Video tribute to my girls

Kim St. Ours
Caldwell, ID

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do You Have a Story To Share?

We are looking for new Success Stories to add to our blog. 

Have you adopted a dog from PNW Border Collie Rescue? 

Have they touched your heart in a special way?  Changed your life? 

We want to hear from you! 

Please email your story and pictures to

Thank you,
PNW Border Collie Rescue