Tail of 2.5 Border collies

Blackie, Patches in middle, Levi left
rare moment of stillness





Patches aka “Miss Priss”was my first rescued Border collie.  She came from a shelter in Columbia, TN.  There her name was Lady.  Five minutes with her and I knew she wasn’t a lady.  Approximately five months old she had no manners at all.  She wasn’t a “herder” so this was probably the reason she was dumped.  If you raised your voice at her she would back into a corner and snap at you.  It was obvious she had been beaten and had a back injury as a result.  I worked with her on a leash and taught her to come, sit and stay.  However as soon as I took off the leash and she wandered off, I would call and she would turn and look at me like “what are you going to do about it” put her tail up and trot off. She almost went back to the NW AL Herding Dog Rescue several times. I just wasn’t getting her attention and she wasn’t about to give me her attention.

At wits end, I found a remote control training collar that had a alarm and vibrator.  I highly recommend it for a stubborn dog like Patches.  I would call her, press the whistle button and if she ignored my command, she got the vibrator.  After a couple of sessions of getting her throat juggled, she finally decided to listen and come back when called. Finally progress. However she ate everything in sight. One day she ate off the feet of a concrete turtle sprinkler I was using as a door stop in the barn.  Another day I came home from work and went out to the barn to feed her and found what looked like blood everywhere.  I kept calling her and couldn’t find her. Finally this red stained furry thing ran toward me. I couldn’t find where she was bleeding from. Then I noticed a bottle of concrete dye lying in the floor.  She had chewed a hole in it and rolled it all around the barn playing with it.  Also in the rubble was little pieces of red and white bits of paper.  I soon realized it was the remains of an original owners manual for a Farmall H tractor.  Somehow she had pulled it off of a shelf.

Blackie a Chow Border collie mix joined us a year later. She was dumped on the door step of the veterinary clinic where her future owner worked.  The vet was going to put her down and she flopped around so much she was saved and given the name Catfish.  Two years later, her owners in Birmingham Alabama inquired about putting her in the NW Herding Dog Rescue but it was in the middle of a move and I decided to take her. She was kept in a cage most of the time she was in Birmingham and wasn’t socialized.  Her owners brought Catfish up from Birmingham to meet me. As they got her out of the van she came up to me and licked me on the fingers and their comment was “she likes you”. She watched them drive down the road and set down like she was saying okay this is home and telling them I’m not going to miss you. Later I found out that they had given her away twice and each time she growled at the prospective owners.  Later my Mom who lives next door came over for a visit. Catfish already on guard at her new home barked at Mom as she came across the driveway. Mom asked her who are you barking at Blackie and she ran up to Mom wagging her tail. Since she liked the name Blackie and not Catfish her name changed.

Levi joined the group 2/8/08.  I didn’t adopt him, rather he adopted me.  He came from the same shelter in Tennessee as Patches.   He had been in foster care until he started chasing the owner’s prized show chickens, so Eli as he was called landed back at the shelter.  He was to be put to sleep the day that he was rescued.  I was sent his picture and told my friend that I didn’t need a third dog, especially a male around all my flowers.    One day I stopped in to pick up used rabbit and guinea pig bedding for composting, opened my truck door and Eli was in my lap licking me in the face.  I told him I knew when I was licked and home he came.  Now being a die hard Auburn Alumni, I couldn’t have anyone thinking that he was named after Eli Manning, so an L was inserted in front of Eli.  Levi appears to have been abused some.  He’s just about gotten over running away when I get a broom or rake out.  He’s a lover and not a fighter. When the girls find a snake he heads for the house.

Levi the latest addition to the pack decided to do some container gardening shortly after arriving. I have a large planter sitting by the garage ready and waiting for a Japanese maple. He jumped in it and dug a little and laid down in the pot (he weighs 48 lbs) got up and dug some more. Patches noticed all of the dirt flying and started barking at him and trying to pull him out of the planter like she knew he wasn’t supposed to be doing what he was doing. This was surprising since this is the same dog that crawled up on my work bench and took an owner manual for a Farmall H tractor in mint condition and made confetti out of it, and the same puppy who chewed open a bottle of red concrete dye and sponge painted my garage floor and herself. Levi ignored her and Patches barked so much at him that Mom thought some one was at my house and got a good chuckle. Mom didn’t stop him either as she was having too much fun watching Patches barking and trying to pull him out of the planter. Me I had a big mess to clean up. I found him rolled up in the pot when I came home from work up until the time I planted a Japanese Maple. I fully expected to see it spread across the driveway one afternoon. Another year of the terrible 2 x 2’s to go through.  Levi has gotten very protective. Whenever working out in the yard, he is usually close by watching until Blackie shows up, then he’ll go under a tree somewhere.  When Blackie gets back to chasing mice, he’s back on guard.  One of them is always close.

So this is my group I call the “hooligans”.  My holligans are War Eagle Auburn dogs and wear Auburn collars.

The hooligans are also featured in my GRIT magazine blog posts.  Check out what they’ve been up to.


Casey 1989-2005


Casey was my

first rescue. Her Mom was a stray wandering around the Colbert Steam Plant.  Casey and her sister were about 6 or 7 months old when I found them on a fishing trip with my Dad.  It took several trips back to the plant in order to catch them, they were wild, especially Casey. They were living off whatever scraps and fishing bait they could find. Once I got them home, it was over a week before I was able to touch Casey again. The intent was finding both homes.  Everyone who wanted Casey had children and I told she was too fragile to go to a home with children so she stayed.  Her sister went to a couple to play with their grandchildren when visiting.  It was amazing seeing the difference in hair coat and coloring once I started them on puppy food.  She turned out to be a wonderful dog and enjoyed riding out to the farm in my truck.  All I had to do was tell her lets go and she was in the truck. After mowing to the farm, she would go to Mom’s house while I was at work and come home when it was time for me to get home.  She spent most of her time interrupting my gardening wanting to play ball. She had a blue ball with a bell in it and would drop it in whatever I was working on and annoy me until I threw it for her. Other time was spent chasing and digging up field mice and cats. When I first brought her out to the farm she didn’t know what a cat was. An ole momma cat showed her real quick with a swat between the eyes. Thus the hard feeling against cats was born.

friends Sam and Midnight

11 replies to “Tail of 2.5 Border collies

  1. Mary,

    You have a nice website with those beautiful flowers. Great to have those dogs and a place where they can run around.

    Maybe Auburn will play well in the Iron Bowl with Levi cheering.


  2. I just started a blog and happened upon your site. Love the flowers. My great grandmother had beautiful flower gardens and people would travel for miles to buy her daylilies. I loved going to flower shows with her and exploring her grounds and green houses. I also love border collies. The week we moved into our new home I talked about getting one and a neighbor came to the door with a lost one she found on the highway. I gladly took the dog and she has been a joy to me and my family.

  3. All of your dogs were lucky to have found such a loving caring and giving home. I think though that , like me, you get as much from them as I do from mine, they refuse to let us be simply boring humans.

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