… my new foster puppy, Kess (Kestral) :

Last week, the local pound called me to tell me that they had a border collie puppy they deemed unadoptable, but if I wanted her, I could have her. While she was deemed “unadoptable,” the staff disagreed with having her put down.  Someone gave them my name and number as the local border collie rescue person, and they called.  Thank goodness!!!

Kess is a really, really nice puppy.  She’s about 6 months old, although so fat she looks older.  At the pound they thought she was closer to one, but all you have to do is watch her bounce around to know she’s much younger.  It’s sad to see a puppy this young and this out of shape, with a skin condition no less.  Clearly she had been fed some kind of crappy puppy chow that caused her body to grow quickly and bloat, and try and detox through her skin.  She’s already starting to show a waist, but when I took her in, she needed to lose close to 10lbs!

Here you can see just how puppy she is:

In this photo you can really see how fat she is:

The two reasons the shelter deemed her ‘unadoptable’ were because she was being too submissive, and because she kept peeing and pooping in her run.  Clearly she was terrified, because she has not made a single mistake all week at my house, and as for being submissive… she’s soft, but no shrinking violet!  She even snapped at a Ross over a treat (and promptly got her ass kicked – they are being kept separate for now).

So far Kess is very good with the other dogs, other than trying to push them a little around food (none of mine are shrinking violets either, so she doesn’t get anywhere with her boundary testing).  She is completely obsessed with the cats, which is irritating.  But she will call off them and I think will eventually get bored of staring at them.  She’s super quiet in her crate and around the house – I can let her out for a potty, then have her free in the house and all she does is lie around.

That said, she has plenty of energy when I take her out.  She gets tired quickly, being so out of shape, but she’ll get there. I don’t think anyone’s spent any real time with her before as she didn’t even know the word ‘sit’ and shows other behaviours that suggest she hasn’t been handled much (i.e. she still bites hands like an 8 week old puppy and so on).  Basically, all she seems to need is some structure and to learn what the rules are.  She learns so quickly that this won’t take long.   Today she learned to retrieve and to tug.  She has a beautiful recall as well.

I also decided to put her on raw, in part because of the skin condition and her need to build some real muscle, and in part because I hate having kibble in my house.  It is just such a pain with the cats, who are horrible carb junkies and will chew through containers and claw open doors and cupboards to get to it.  A week into the switch and so far no diarrhea or any other transition problem (knock wood!).

It may be a trick to find the right home for her.  She’s very sweet and easy – for me.  i.e. for someone with some border collie skills.  But I think she’d quickly run the roost in a less experienced home.  She has been pushing boundaries everywhere she finds them, and trying to figure out her place.  Given the chance, she’d be happy be on top.  Her efforts to boss my other dogs have made that clear enough – and she’s even growled at me a couple of times, just to see what would happen I suspect (which was nothing: I ignored the growl, and she gave it up).

So I think she needs a home with some skills and experience, which are most typically found in sport homes.  The problem is, check out her structure:

Definitely all BC, but not of the “sports” variety.  She has the low, stocky structure of a stock dog.  I think she’s lovely, but I am not sure agility types will be too excited by her.  At least not now when she’s so pudgy to boot!  I’m hoping she’ll look more athletic when I’ve shaved some pounds off and she’s gained some muscle, stamina and coordination!

So I’m not sure how long I’m going to have her.  She “needs” to be spayed (according to rescue rules) and I think she is too young, so I don’t mind having her stay for a while.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to find money to feed her, but I’ll take that one day at a time (maybe someone will offer to sponsor her!).  Basically I’ll play it by ear and see what happens.  My gut is telling me to just let things be for the moment, and let her have some time here. I’ll know when she’s ready to move on.  Right now, I think she’s quite enjoying her stay.