Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thor - my collie

It took me awhile, but I always knew I'd get another collie someday. I had one growing up (Kelly), and wanted to raise collies. My love for collies came from watching Lassie and reading every collie book I could find. Lassie, Lad a Dog, etc. I had two dogs between Kelly and Thor. Both were obtained by default. One, Travis, I got while working at a shelter in Idaho. He was a sheltie/spaniel mix. After him, came Jazz, a collie/border collie mix, whom I got from the neighbor of a friend of my mom's. You know?
When Jazz turned 12, I decided I was going to get another collie. I started searching Petfinder. Found one pretty quick through S.A.F.E. A general rescue based in Faribault, I believe. I called and was told he would be at an outdoor adoption fair that weekend. These are a first come first serve kind of adoption process. No home visit, no reference check. No guarantee I'd be able to adopt him if somebody else got there before me. I had talked with his foster family. They lived in Wisconsin.
I arrived early. He wasn't there yet. I waited. I watched. For some reason I saw another woman who seemed to be doing the same thing. Just an instinct. I saw a car pull in with Wisconsin plates. I walked.Thor jumped out of the car, gorgeous, fluid, alert. I introduced myself, took his leash and started to get to know him. I feel a little guilty for being so aggressive about it, but I knew I wanted him and was ready to deal with any issues he may have had. 
He came into the rescue as Sebastian. From Kansas City. A year old. His owner had become disabled and had to give him up. Sebastian was kind of a mouthful for me, so I renamed him Thor, which turned out to be appropriate, as he barks at thunder. A lot.
Thor is now almost eight and starting to slow down. Still pretty active, but overall a really great dog. Yes, he has his issues. He likes to fight with other dogs but once he gets to know them, he's fine. It's hard to bring him to the dog park, though. I don't want to be that person with the problem dog and it often turns out to be so.
I think Thor is very helpful with my foster dogs. Especially the shy ones who need help learning stairs, walking on a leash and just general house dog stuff. 
My favorite story about Thor is how he thought he was tricking me. He knows he's not supposed to be on the couch, but gets up there anyway when no one is around. He'll hear me come down the hall and get off the couch. He's not as fast as he once was. One time, by the time I got to the living room he was on the floor, laying flat out as if he was sleeping and had been there the whole time. I put my hand on the couch and it was warm, so no fooling me, although he tried!
This is why I like collies. They can be a lot of work, need regular brushing and I am always covered with hair. They are intelligent dogs. Now through rescue I have seen these dogs adapt and learn so quickly. Definite learning opportunities for the humans to learn from the dogs, too.

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