04 March 2010

Sage Hill Most Wanted

In the summer of 1999, I was just beginning to look for a border collie puppy when we travelled to Cleveland for USDAA Nationals. When someone offered me a 4 month old pup that she wasn't getting along with, we decided to bring her home and see how she got along. This pup was Freeze, an only puppy with no littermates. She is an older half-sister to Gayle York's Credit, and thus aunt to several World Team dogs. Freeze was an odd dog, even for a border collie. She was the smartest damn dog I've ever trained (still true!) but also very soft. She knew lots of verbal commands and was very athletic, but had issues judging jump distances, and was very worried about going the wrong way. She couldn't tolerate me being anywhere near her landing space for a front cross or lead-out, so I ended up doing "artificial" rear crosses for almost every turn, even though I could have easily done more fronts. (I think this may have lead to the weird misconception that used to run the rumor mills - that I "only do rear crosses"). She acheived her ADCH and LAA-Bronze in USDAA, her MX and MXJ in AKC with very limited showing, but knocking bars was always an issue, and she was so soft I couldn't work on it much. When I started showing Drifter, Freeze immediately fell to "second dog" status because of her difficult issues, even though Drifter wasn't steady or consistent yet. With Drifter, I always know what dog I have when I step to the line. With Freeze, it was like Russian Roulette. Sometimes I had a quick dog who was within 1-2 seconds of the top times. Sometimes I had a worried dog who was not only mediocre speedwise, but just plain worrying her way around the course. And I never knew what I was going to get.

In January of 2006 i was attending an AKC trial when a friend offered to take Freeze on a vacation of sorts over the winter. This friend had a difficult to get along with sheltie who had a chronic illness, and Freeze was one of very few dogs this sheltie got along with well. So I let Freeze go live with her, and quite by accident her neighbors fell in love with Freeze while out walking with my friend every morning. They had recently suffered some difficult losses, and when my friend could no longer keep Freeze, they immediately offered to take her. I was hesitant but since my friend lived so close and could offer advice, I let them try it. Well they all got along fabulously and I made the tough decision to let Freeze be officially rehomed to live with them permanently. I already had Kiba at that point, so wasn't lacking in dogs to train, and Freeze did not stand up well to the rigors of agility training.

Freeze's 11th birthday was this last Tuesday, it's been over 4 years since she left me for her wonderful retirment home. Here's a few recent pictures of her, fat and happy, enjoying the easy life!


Lisa said...

Some people are critical of re-homing but, personally, I think it can be a wonderful thing for dogs, initial owners and new owners. My first two Aussies were both sent back to their breeder and I'm grateful that their owners gave them the opportunity to find a more suitable home. Well, I'm not sure that *any* home would have been suitable for Murray because he's a pain in the ass...but I have learned a ton from him and he led me to the dogs I have today. I'm stuck with him :) But, if I ever got another dog that wasn't a good fit I would not hesitate to try to find a better match for him.

Cedarfield said...

I agree, Lisa. I think it's a good thing when it's in the dog's best interest. I get very sad when I hear people say that they really don't have the time for such and such a dog but they would just "miss her too much". Seems very selfish to me. And it obviously turned out well for Freeze.