Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Welcome home, Secret!

FINALLY, I have the Border Collie that I've been wishing to have for the last year and a half! And she (yes,she!) came to me completely unexpectedly. This blog will be for the purpose of documenting her growth & training accomplishments.

For entertainment, mostly, I have been keeping an eye on a few different BC rescue web pages over the last year or so. My original plan was to go ahead and get a third dog after we got home from NADAC Champs in September, but that plan was put on hold when Luke was diagnosed with Addison's Disease on October 15. The costs associated with that put my BC dreams on hold.

I had actually broken my daily habit of checking the rescue web sites and just happened to click to check the Minnesota Border Collie Rescue's available dogs on Thursday, December 3. That's when I saw Phantom! The picture on top is the photo that was posted on the rescue page.

She and her two siblings (Mozart & Sonata) had been brought up from Kentucky with their mother, Duet. Along with her gorgeous markings, the description of Phantom really stuck out at me, saying that she was the leader of the puppies and had the most outgoing personality. Exactly what I'm looking for in my next agility dog!

With prodding from a friend (and against my better judgement), I sent off an e-mail to the rescue to ask about the puppies -- Phantom in particular. I was informed that two approved adopters had already spoken for Phantom and that she likely was not available. When I learned that the puppies were located not far from where I was going for a conformation show over the weekend, I could hardly pass up the chance to meet them. The boy puppy, Mozart, had also caught my eye (he was a smooth coat, also with interesting markings, though not a split face).

We arranged for the rescue coordinator, Melissa, to bring the puppies to the show site on Saturday. The timing was perfect, as they arrived shortly after we had wrapped up for the day. I tried to not pay too much attention to Phantom at first, knowing that she was spoken for. I focused much of my attention on little Mozart, who was happy to take a position in my lap -- but Phantom soon barged in and demanded attention for herself!

We decided to see what Kaiser thought of everyone. Surprisingly, he instantly gravitated towards Mozart. Sonata was intimidated by Kaiser and stayed back, but Phantom quickly pushed her way into the fray. Soon we went outside so that they could run around off leash (Luke joined us at this point) and Kaiser continued to play well with both Mozart & Phantom --- but ultimately, Phantom was the one who showed the most interest in me.

Melissa surprised me by saying that since I was the first to meet the puppies, I could have pick of the litter. To be clear, I asked if this included Phantom and she said it did. Part of me felt bad for picking the puppy that everyone so clearly wanted, but it didn't last long. That is not to say I made the decision in an instant. Having never had a girl dog in the past, there was a large part of me that was hesitant to make that leap. Before they left, though, I was certain that Phantom was my choice. We arranged to have me pick her up after the show was finished on Sunday.

Knowing that Kaiser's Northern Group was showing first, I expected it to be an early day and that we'd get home early, to have plenty of time to settle in before bed. He surprised me by winning Group and we ended up having to stick around until the end of the day. It was almost 6:00 p.m. by the time I was able to get Phantom, which made for a difficult drive home (but she rode like a champ in Kaiser's crate!).

Somewhere around Osseo, as I was struggling to stay awake and keep an eye out for deer, her name popped into my head out of the blue. I had spent the whole day trying to come up with one, with nothing ever really feeling right. I had not told anyone my plans to get a puppy over the weekend (since I did not know for sure that I would), so I was excited to share my big secret with everyone the following day. Suddenly it just made sense -- Her name would be Secret! Easily shortened into Seek or Seeker. I thought it was so perfect for her that, for once, I didn't care what anyone else thought. lol From that mile forward, Secret was to be her name. The thrill of finding the perfect name gave me a boost of energy that kept me awake for the last part of the drive home.

Secret's first night at home went great! I somehow managed to stay up for an hour upon arriving home so that she could have some time out of the crate before going to bed. She whined only a little when we went to bed, then settled right in. I woke up around 2 a.m. and figured I may as well take her outside. She went back to bed without a fuss and was quiet even after the alarm went off. We were off to a great start!

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