Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Izzy

Our puppy is officially three years old. We have been told that three is the magical age for border collies to mature and calm down.....well, as much as a border collie is able to calm down. Actually, we call her a "lazy border" because compared to stories we have heard about border collies, she is fairly calm.


We have made a lot of progress since she became a member of our family at 16 weeks old, but I still turn red with embarrassment when she goes nuts barking at the window if she sees a car other than mine or Steve's pull into the driveway or when a visitor is attacked at the door with enormous excitement. But, we have worked hard with her and those things will work themselves out too. She has a lot of energy and honestly we like that about her. Just Friday she was running along the fence with our neighbor dog, very frustrated, and responded right away when I called her in. That is progress.


Izzy is our first dog as a family. We have taken lots of dog training classes with her in order to be good dog owners. It has helped us tremendously. Early on in a class I was told by one of the instructors that borders collies are one of the most difficult dogs to own. The reason? They require a lot of mental and physical exercise. Also, they are extremely smart. I read once that border collies have thinking skills comparable to a five year old. That is amazing isn't it? Due to their intelligence, they pick up on everything you do. That is where the challenge comes in. They watch everything you do and before you know it, they are responding to your body language and words. Border collies thrive on routine, which generally works great for our family since we do too but when events like a New Year's party happen, poor Izzy is totally out of whack and is like a child with too much sugar.

Like most dogs Izzy learned quickly who gives out the commands in the family and who is in charge of the food which makes me her favorite person to follow around the house. Steve was laughing this morning because she knows my different voices and when I am discussing our plans for the day,she stops whatever she is doing and listens, even though I am not talking to her. So I was upstairs this morning and she was downstairs when I was talking to Steve and her head went from side to side as she listened to me talk. She picks words out of my sentences and responds to them. She even goes to her crate now as soon as I get the dinner dishes out.

On the evenings I work Sophia calls me on the phone to chat. As soon as Sophia gets on the phone, Izzy heads to her spot in front of the window to wait for me. And when Sophia says, "Bye. See you in a minute." Izzy jumps from her spot on the chair and heads to the door. How smart is that?


Izzy is my baby. She follows me everywhere I go and she sleeps me with at night. She loves the kids, knows each one by name and follows my command of knowing which one to wake up in the morning. However, her best human friend is Steve. She absolutely loves him. He is her playmate. In the morning he gives her long belly rubs before kissing me good-bye and generally chases her around the living room before heading out. When she sees his car pull up she runs to the door to greet him and then finds a ball ready to play.


The kids and I have taught her many tricks and she seems to enjoy showing them off for visitors. We have worked hard at making sure she is walked several miles a day rain or shine, mentally challenged each day, given plenty of ball throwing throughout the day, fed a healthy raw diet and given lots and lots of love. For us, she has kept us from being couch potatoes, we have met tons of our neighbors through our walks with her, we have laughed hard, and we have learned patience and endurance. We often say, "Izzy was meant for us." It is true. She came into our life for a reason and we are so grateful for her. Happy Birthday Izzy.