Monday, March 17, 2008

Easy being green.

Not only is today St. Patrick's Day, it is also our dog Cloey's 12th birthday. Her actual name is "Clover" as in the lucky 4-leaf kind.

I got her less than a year after I graduated high school. I had recently broken up with Bill and, since I had kind of neglected my friends when we were together, didn't really have a whole lot on my social calendar. I was in college yet living at home with my parents (I only recently realized how strange that is). My sister was busy being a freshman in high school and I was too shy to make any new friends at school. I was lonely and depressed and a loyal companion was exactly what I needed.

I started to research dogs and decided that a border collie would be perfect for me. They are smart and mid-sized and aren't known for excessive drooling like my parents' yellow lab. My mom and I went to see a breeder who had a new litter of border collie pups. They looked like potatoes with ears but their mom was beautiful. She was alert and calm and so attentive with her puppies. I was sold. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one who thought these were great dogs. The going price was $500. Ouch. Not exactly in my budget at the time (or ever - who has that kind of money for a dog!?).

I was heartbroken until a trip to the vet with our other dog lead me to Cloey. There was a flier posted about an organization called "For Pet's Sake" that rescued dogs from shelters before they were euthanized. My mom suggested we call to see what kind of dogs they had. As fate would have it, they had just rescued an adult border collie who gave birth to 4 puppies a few days later. They were about 6 weeks old and would be ready for adoption soon.

There were two black and white puppies who looked like their mom and two gray puppies with blue eyes who looked like Australian Shepherds. A vet suggested that the two gray puppies would be better suited as working dogs than pets but the black and white ones were up for adoption. I knelt down to look at them and the black and white girl zig zagged her way across the lawn and sat down next to me. I couldn't get the $40 out of my pocket fast enough.

Since day one, Cloey has been nothing but good. As soon as we got home, I hung a bell on the door and somehow trained her to ring it when she needed to go outside. She never had an accident in the house. Not once! She also never chewed anything that didn't belong to her.

Sure she sheds and barks at anything that moves in the back yard and bites your ankles if you move to quickly and keeps us up all night when there's thunder and completely loses it if we raise our voices or sound too serious and thinks I'm going to feed her anytime I go near her bowl all day long and begs for food and has really bad breath but she's perfect and we love her.

Today we celebrated her birthday with a walk at Shelby Bottoms. Usually we hold her leash tight so she has to behave herself but today we let her hold her own leash and lead the way. We even brought extra pooper scooper bags so she could really let down her hair and get crazy (we had to use all of them).

After our walk, we headed over to the neighborhood hot dog stand, I Dream of Weenie, and ate chili dogs and cans of Coke on the grass with our neighbors. Everyone admired Cloey and when we told them it was her birthday they were very surprised that she was 12. She looks like a young pup! When we got home, she drank about half of the water out of the toilet and then curled up on her bed for a nice long nap. Sounds like a very happy birthday indeed!

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