The newest addition to our family is a border collie named Kep!
Once upon a time Cam and I had two dogs. Bella, a border collie lab cross, had been Cam’s long time companion. She went with him everywhere- back country ski guiding, tree planting, heli-sking, river rafting, mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking and sport climbing. She was the dog that made me love dogs.
We got Oscar in the first months of our being together. The owners were having a hard time selling him at ten weeks old as a pure bred border collie. It’s no wonder because he’s definitely a border collie lab cross like Bella. We were a little worried about Oscar at first. We just couldn’t tire him out. I’ll always remember one particular ski day where we ski-dooed into the back country several kilometres and yoyoed several runs in powder. All the while Oscar’s puppy nature had him chasing this or that along the way. What was so troubling was that even after the busy day and running back out beside the ski-doo, he still didn’t seem tired! How were we going to keep up with this dog?!
After about a year, he thankfully mellowed out and didn’t need quite so much exercise. Sadly about five years later, Bella was killed by a truck along with the elk she was chasing. We were devastated. At the time, Cam was making some career changes that meant him being away for job training and Lily and I living with my mother for six months. I couldn’t have the dogs with me so they were in the care of friends and family.
After we were settling into Cam’s new career and a new town, we knew we wanted to get a second dog again. Not only loved members of our family, dogs are also valuable assets and companions in the outdoors. Dogs are great alarm systems for bears and other critters we don’t want to come face to face with. They’re good for keeping a group together and offer comfort when you need to take a “necessary” stroll by yourself. I’d long followed the Border Collie Rescue webpage but now I started to look at it and the SPCA website on a regular basis. It wasn’t until we moved to Prince Rupert that I started get serious about finding a dog that would fit well with our family.
Unfortunately, being in Prince Rupert meant we weren’t likely to be able to adopt a border collie from the Border Collie Rescue because of our lack of ties to the lower mainland border collie community and their rigid adoption rules.
A week before leaving Vancouver, a pictureless ad on the SPCA website caught my eye. On a whim, I went to the shelter to see the eleven month old dog, Kep. I didn’t talk to him and only knelt down next to his kennel. He was beautiful, alert but calm and curious. I was definitely interested in getting to know him more but I was discouraged at the front counter because I couldn’t bring Oscar in to meet him. Apparently, there was no way they’d adopt to me.
It wasn’t until the next day that I felt a longing to go back and at least attempt to see if I could make it work with Kep and the SPCA but I was heading to Squamish that same day so I tried to put him in the back of my mind. My friends were very understanding about my constantly going on about this dog I couldn’t stop talking about! They even dropped us off at the SPCA on our way back into the city where we could take the bus back to my dad’s.
We ended up going progressively through four more shelter employees before we were approved to adopt him. All but one of the employees seemed to strongly believe that we were the right family for Kep. We had a number of meetings, including one to see how he would be with the kids.
We don’t know much about his history since he was surrendered by a fearful woman that had him only two weeks. She was afraid of him and he apparently would only leave her alone if she pretended to sleep on the couch. I’m guessing she wasn’t giving him enough exercise and mental stimulation leading him to become frustrated. He must have had some obedience training though because he can sit, lay down and shake a paw. He doesn’t pull on a leash, go up on the furniture or have any obvious issues. The only curious thing is he doesn’t seem to understand the reflections in windows at night. Did he grow up in a home with the curtains always drawn at night?
He’s really made himself at home and is a great friend to Oscar. He loves to gently play tug of war and will cuddle up to your legs when you’re sitting on the ground. He’s now switched to a raw diet, which he totally loves. He loves to run for a frisbee, ball or rope kong. Cam just got home today and I’m looking forward to more time dedicate to learning fetch, go for runs together and even more walks.