We got back to our house at about 5 last Thursday evening. It was wonderful - when we moved from Orange County to SLO many years ago, I drove the kids in the car and when we pulled up in front of our house and they got out, Grace said, "It smells like camping!"....well, that's how I felt when we pulled into our driveway. Blue sky and fresh air (except for a little smoke blowing over our way from the fire in Yosemite) were waiting, and Grace was there waiting for us as well (she got back from Thailand a few days before us). We did notice, however, that it was quiet. No barking dog greeted us. And then next morning, when I got up, I noticed that squirrels had once again stolen all of the walnuts from our tree (thieving little monsters!!). Not only that, but two of them actually had the gall to play tag with each other inside the yard, right in front of the kitchen window where I could see them. Ugh, I missed my dog. (Note: at this point in the story I will just mention that I may have unloaded a bb into the rear left leg of one of these offenders, warning him to get out and never return, in honor of my dog.) The final straw for me, I think, was when I looked out of the living room window and the gas man was right there, checking the meter. He hasn't been inside the yard for years - when Max was around, he had to stand at the gate and check with his magic laser light thingy (I believe that's the technical term). We could stand it no more. Plus, an online query showed that 2 border collie-mix puppies were currently at the SLO Animal Services shelter awaiting adoption.
So, fewer than 24 hours after arriving home, we were at the pound looking at dogs. The two original puppies were already gone by that time, but lo and behold, there were 7 puppies from a Border Collie mom (and a dad of unknown and morally questionable breeding) waiting to go up for adoption on Saturday morning. Two of them had the classic black and white border collie markings. One of those was a boy. Who can say no when such a series of events works together in your favor? Not us!
So, on Saturday, we went and picked up little Reddick (named after the A's right fielder by guess who?) and he has made the house feel like home (i.e. chaos) again. This is what we have learned about him so far: he does pretty great at night, he is stubborn but super smart and trains fairly easily, he loves sticks, baseballs, grass, tug of war, our feet, and chicken poop pretty much in that order. We are looking forward to teaching him to play catch with a frisbee, taking him on campus, to Big Sur, and the beach, and to seeing just how big he will get. Next Tuesday, Reddick starts puppy school at the local Petco. That should be a hoot! I haven't yet entered the world of people-who-are-way-more-into-dogs-than-other-humans but I think I am about to. Anyone reading this has my permission to slap me if I ever start talking baby talk to the new dog, or do something crazy like buy him a sweater.