Border Collie Retirement

On September 6, 2010, in Lifestyle, by Meghan

Hi team, I’m back! Like, finally. It has been years since my mom let me post on her blog. Gosh, a lot has happened since then, so let me catch you up.

Here I am on my last long run, resting in the red dirt of Death Valley National Park.

First and foremost, I retired from running. In the winter of 2009, I took a trip with my mom and her friends to Death Valley National Park. We had a good weekend of running and playing, but the running proved to be a bit too much for my aging Border Collie body. The last few miles of our run through Death Valley’s Titus Canyon were so hard. My mind wanted to keep going, oh boy did it ever, but my legs just couldn’t do it. We ran 20 miles that day, what became my last long run, and I had to be lifted into the car afterward.

That my running retirement needed to happen wasn’t a surprise. I had a few tough runs that winter, one in particular. I was playing off leash by a river when I slipped off of a boulder and fell. I wasn’t hurt, save for one broken toenail, but it sure scared the dog poop right out of me and my mom. I sat there afterward, not wanting to go anywhere, and my mom had to carry me for a few trail miles until the wind came back into to my doggie sails. That run showed me that my formerly fleet feet were not so agile anymore.

I’m old, indeed. I don’t remember how old I am, and my mom doesn’t know either. My mom adopted me from a west Texas shelter in the fall of 2001, right before I was about to get the pound dog heave-ho into heaven. So proud I was to have her as a mom that I walked perfectly next to her on the leash, lay quietly at the foot of her bed, and sat my head on her lap for pets when I was brave enough. Back then, when I was adopted, I was all grown up in my body, but I still possessed a young dog’s mind. Maybe that makes me 11 or 12 today?

I also have some arthritis, born from puppy war wounds. I don’t remember what happened to me before I was adopted by my mom, but somehow I broke one of my back legs and had to have surgery. Today it still has a pin and some wire in it, leftover from that injury. That leg’s got a bit of arthritis, but my main problem is one of my front shoulders. All these years of compensation from that back leg has worn that shoulder tired. It’s stiff and sore, especially on cold mornings, until I get going.

The Merced River is an awesome place for a doggie dip.

My retirement ceremony was something to remember. My mom took me down to the nearby Merced River, and we did a little run along the trail there. This is one of my favorite runs, especially when the weather is right and I get to swim in the river. Swimming makes my doggie brain happy! My mom said some stuff that I didn’t much understand, but I did recognize the sad tone of her voice, though. We sat down on the beach and my mom petted my wet fur for a long time. Then she crowned me a retired Border Collie.

Since my retirement, I’ve done some amazing things! I’ve gone on road trips all over California, spent time playing with chickens, met a lot of other dogs, and swum in the river. When it snows, and that doesn’t happen too much at my house in California, I also jump around, prancing through that white stuff. It reminds me of all those years I spent in cold, cold Yellowstone.

Meeting wee Clea was an exercise in fascination for me.

As an old dog, I’ve embraced chilling out. I used to spend time staring at doors, wondering if and when they would move so I could play outside. Also, I obsessed long and hard over tennis balls. If one was stuck underneath the couch, for example, I might stare at the couch all night, waiting, watching, just in case the ball came out. These days, not so much. I’ve grown wise enough to know that the doors and balls will eventually move, no matter whether or not I waste my time staring at them. Instead, I spend my days with my head on the carpet in a full-on dog doze.

Sometimes, I sit in my outside pen or on the porch of my California house, watching the world go by. Also, I like to wander around the yard and sniff stuff. I happen to know that a lot of animals pass through my yard, including deer, fox, quail, turkeys, cats, and other dogs. Each day, I sniff around, censusing the explorers of my yard. It’s an important job, but some retired Border Collie’s got to do it. I also take short walks around the neighborhood. One lap is a mile, and sometimes we even make two whole laps! Two miles is just perfect for me today. Finally, I like to get a lot of love. I lick faces, solicit belly rubs, and put my head on the laps of unsuspecting humans.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m elated to be a retired dog. Once in a while, I do get sad to see my mom coming and going from her runs. In those moments, for just a minute or two, I recall what it felt like to be the running Border Collie. Then, I remember that I have a great sun spot on the kitchen floor, and I lay my head back into it for another snooze.

Meghan and me on a retirement hike near June Lake, California. See, I've still got that Border Collie look in my eyes!

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7 Responses to “Border Collie Retirement”

  1. Danielle says:

    Good ol’, June Bug. Glad to hear from you, and that retirement is treating you well. We miss you around here!

  2. Keith says:

    I hope to see you again soon and give you those belly rubs, scrathes behind the ears, and a lap to lay your head on…enjoy your retirement in the sunny Sierra Foothills!

    Your Pal Keith

  3. Tom says:

    Oh if only I could be a dog!

  4. Suzanne says:

    June is so beautiful! Ironically, she’s the same age as my Emmo!

    Emmo the Border Collie retired when he lost his front leg to bone cancer. He’s still fast when he’s chasing squirrels out of the backyard feeder but no more running for him either.

    Emmo said to tell June that retirement is not so bad!


  5. Meghan says:

    Hi guys and gals (and Emmo), it’s June! Thanks for the retirement love!

  6. Danni says:

    Awwwwww Junebug 🙂

  7. Enjoy your retirement, June. You deserve the rest, as you seem to have been the best!

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