Tuesday, May 19, 2009


OK, so he isn’t actually red, but our newest family member is still pretty darn cute, and a great little guy.

This weekend, my dad and I made a road trip into Ontario to pick up a new addition – a 7-week old male Border Collie from Rival Kennels. With credit to our friend Jill for coming up with the registered name, we are calling him Rival’s Drum Roll, Please - “Cadence.” I have been thinking of the name Cadence for a few years, as I wanted something that conveyed balance and rhythm. Plus, it is also a cycling term, and as bicycles are my other great love, it seemed right. I think it fits this little guy very well.

Since I recently made the decision to retire Jade and since Django is at the peak of his career, I figured this summer would be a good time to add on my next performance dog. I thought a lot about what I wanted in my next dog, decided I really wanted another male Border Collie, and decided to look into a breeder that has produced some of my absolute favorite dogs that I’ve seen around here. I discovered there were puppies available from a Spur/Beren breeding, and as I learned more about those dogs and their lines, I grew very excited that this could be the pup I was looking for.

I’ve always felt that all our pets were sort of fated to be ours. I remember seeing Maebe’s litter when they were two days old, and being immediately drawn to her. Likewise, when I first saw photos of this litter, I felt drawn to “Male #2.” He had a very large white collar, a somewhat asymmetrical blaze, a cute little black spot on the top of his head, and a little tuft of white fur in the middle of his black back. Maybe it helped that he was distinctive and easy to pick out in the photos and videos, but as I watched him week by week, I kept noticing him and feeling drawn to him.

As it grew closer to selection time, I learned more about his personality and looked at photos of his structure. He was built very nicely – good shoulders, lots of rear angulation, and a nice topline. The breeder said he had a great stride length and will cover ground fast. She told me he was a cool pup, very eager to please, and had lots of drive, yet very sensitive and sweet. He sounded like a great fit for what I was looking for, but I vowed to keep an open mind when I went up to actually meet the boys.

The big day came, and I had great fun meeting the whole litter. They were all happy, friendly, wild little pups, and I sat on the breeder’s kitchen floor getting mobbed by puppy kisses. As expected, we left a couple hours later with “male #2,” and his littermate, Spy, who we were taking to Ann Arbor to be picked up a couple days later by his new owner from Indiana.

The boys did great on the car ride. We stopped at my dad’s for another hour so they could play a bit before the last leg of the trip. It was there, away from the frenzy of the litter, that I really got to see Cadence’s personality come shining through, and I fell madly in love with him instantly. He would chase me all over the yard, dive at my feet, play tug with any toy I picked up, and confidently marched around checking out his new surroundings. We had another quiet car ride back to Ann Arbor, and by the time we got home all of us were ready to drop.

We spent Sunday and Monday just playing with the two boys, and couldn’t get over what cool dogs they are. Monday afternoon, little Spy was picked up by his new mom, and while Lowell, Cadence, and I were all very sad to see him go, we have now been enjoying bonding and playing with little Cade all on his own. He is an absolute blast – always ready to play – and the sweetest little thing you could hope for.

I am so excited about my new little companion. I have been immersing myself in videos, literature, training seminars, etc. while making plans for his socialization, training, and care. I think I have been keeping Clean Run in business for the last several weeks with all the DVD purchases, and am planning on being rather strategic in how I raise and train this pup. I am determined not to give in to the desire to rush into performance training right away. I have lots of time for that, so for now we are going to focus on foundations and obedience, and developing into a healthy, happy little guy.

So, this blog will probably follow a lot of our journey together over the coming months, and will help me track my goals and our progress, as well as just being a nice journal of our time spent with him and with all our “fur family.” We are looking forward to both the challenges and all the fun ahead.

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