Welcome to Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue (BRBCR)!
Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue is dedicated to finding good homes for deserving Border Collies giving them another chance. We promote public awareness of the working breed, encourage owner involvement in dog sports through public demonstrations and events, provide foster care and rehabilitation to those endangered, and promote spay/neuter of companions.
Foster homes are a key part of any rescue. Following is a story from one of our foster parents - why she does what she does. Below that, there are 11 reasons to foster as originally found at ThatMutt.com. Coming up, there will also be stories from our current foster homes to give you insight about what to expect. If you decide to foster or if you want more information, fill out the Foster Volunteer Form and someone will contact you to assist and answer any questions you may have.
My fiancé Bryan and I have fostered 14 dogs for Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue since June 2012. When I tell people I foster dogs, nearly everyone says the same thing: “I could never do that. I wouldn’t be able to give them up.” I think they’re trying to be nice or connect with me. But that’s not what rescue is about. It’s too complicated for me to try to explain in line at Starbucks, or at a cocktail party, that rescue is not about collecting animals. For me, it’s about helping to right one single wrong in the universe.
Maybe I call the shelter and they tell me “he’s a typical Border Collie”. Or maybe another volunteer pulls him and sends me a short blurb “What a sweetie. Picked him up this morning [from the shelter]. Scared. Hiding in my closet. Likes treats. Wanted to chase my cats”. I’ve probably seen a blurry photo or two by now. He’s black and white, but he’s so dirty and matted it’s hard to tell. He was in the shelter for weeks, or sometimes months. He might know some obedience. He sits on command, if you have a treat. He might be housetrained. Who knows? A week in the nicest shelter and I’d be a weirdo, too. Maybe he came from a farm? Does he have any instinct? Everything about this dog is an unknown. Will he kill my cat? Bryan and I live in an 800sqft rowhouse in DC. Will he bark all day and night and drive my neighbors crazy? YES, I’LL TAKE HIM. I click through the blurry photos of this dirty, unknown animal. I can’t imagine my life without him.
I drive 3 hours roundtrip to pick him in a McDonald’s parking lot in rural Virginia. He throws up in the crate in my car on the way home, but that kind of thing doesn’t faze me anymore. When we get to DC I bring Brooks, my first foster, the one I kept for forever, out front and they meet. Brooks growls but then ignores him, turning his attention to me in hopes of treats or a hike. The foster smells. I bring him upstairs. His nails are long and he slips around on the hardwood floors. I shower him with Dawn soap, then fancy conditioner. At first he is upset: the tub is slick, the faucet loud. The warm water turns brown with dirt and splashes all over my bathroom floor, soaks me and the floor. Fur everywhere. But he calms when he realizes how nice it is to have the caked dirt gone from between his toes. I use 7 towels. I comb him until the trashcan is full of fur. His coat is dull and lifeless with a few small mats. There are small scabs on his ears: flea or mite bites. I gently cut the mats out. I pick a dozen ticks off and apply flea medication. He drinks a whole bowl of water. I fit him with a martingale collar and we set out on a walk in the alley. The alley isn’t too scary: it’s quiet and free from people. He pees. Or maybe he doesn’t; sometimes fosters are too scared, or haven’t been trained to go to the bathroom on a leash, but we don’t have a yard, so they learn fast. I put Brooks in the office and I set a bowl of food out. I am very careful: is the foster food aggressive? Does he freeze or show me the whites of his eyes? He’s underweight, or maybe overweight from a well meaning but naïve owner. [I see that sometimes: the well-meaning but naïve owner who doesn’t give the dog a job and then gets upset when he chews the woodwork. Herding the kids is cute at first, then scary. Next stop: shelter.] We walk again, but when he hears a neighbor he flattens his body against the ground and shakes. I make a mental note to avoid the neighbors, especially the ones with kids. I put the crate out for him but he sleeps at the bottom of the stairs, or in my closet. Wherever is the safest perceived place. I keep him on a strict routine but he has an accident anyway. When Bryan walks through the house or speaks the foster cowers. “Oh poor thing, he must have been abused” my well meaning neighbors say; no, probably just neglected or not socialized. Their attempts to greet and pet him “HI PUP!!” are a complete disaster. I move across the street as quickly as possible. My neighbors think I’m quite strange.
A week in and he steals a few socks, chewing them and sleeping with them in the closet. I buy him a dozen soft stuffed toys at the pet store and tell Brooks “leave it” 1,000 times. The foster loves the soft toys. When he thinks I’m busy on the computer I hear him counter grazing or sneaking around the toy bin. He discovers tennis balls and squeaky toys. He is very food motivated and starts to relax enough to take treats outside on walks after 3 weeks. I use a clicker and hot dogs to train him: “sit”, “down”, “attention”. “Stay” is hard because he follows me around so closely it’s hard to get him to stay put long enough to learn the command. A month in he shows me “spin” when I ask Brooks; the foster knows much more than he’s letting on. When he
jumps on the sofa to watch TV with me, I say “up”. Suddenly he jumps on and off anything on command. Party tricks. When Brooks barks at the UPS guy, the foster runs with him to the door. He happily walks with Bryan. He rides in the backseat of the car without getting sick. In week 5 he demands an hour each day at the tennis court, playing fetch. Neighbors are impressed with his coordination skills but if they get close he still cowers. When we hike, he’s the first one on the trail. His coat is shiny. It’s clear after a month and a half that this dog was once trained, once loved. He is beautiful. He came from a breeder, or perhaps a good working line. He chases squirrels and the cat magnificently. The cat gives me the look: “When is he going on the website?” Bryan always says “No more foster dogs”, but I see him cuddling with the foster on the sofa, playing tug with him in the alley, talking to him while cooking dinner. He’ll say yes again, but not until after we place this dog.
I take photos of the foster and write a bio. The bio doesn’t say he came from a neglectful owner, or was sent to the shelter after his owner died. I just write everything I love about him: he wakes me up by throwing a tennis ball at me. He barks to go out, but not any other time. He loves hiking and running and fetch and tug and training class. He eats strawberries whole, even the green top. When he gets excited he jumps on and off my bed 500 times. He nose bumps me. He comes running at full speed when I whistle. He helps sort laundry. He is wonderful. The bio reads like a tribute to a dog I’ve owned for years, but I’ve only known him a few months.
Emails trickle in, inquiring about the foster. One family has several young kids- no, sorry, he’s very afraid. One couple has 3 other dogs- no, sorry, he prefers to be the only dog. A third lives in Arlington. They have a yard. They’ve owned Border Collies before. They know he needs a job. They like energy and enthusiasm in a dog, but know what it takes to love a shy dog. They say “When can we meet him?” My heart simultaneously breaks and explodes with joy. When we meet the family, the foster is timid. He takes treats from the woman but steers clear of the man. The foster sticks very close to me until he sees their yard, their toys, their cat. They love him. They are perfect. Bryan and I leave. The foster has to be held back- he tries to leave with me. I came with my best friend, but I leave only with a signed contract and a leash.
It takes 2 weeks for me to get his fur out of my house. I get email updates about him: “He’s so happy!” “He’s adapting so well!” “Thank you, Kara, we love him so much!” There are always a lot of exclamation points. The photos make me smile. I click through them, staring, missing him but feeling so happy. I can’t imagine him belonging anywhere else. He wasn’t my dog; he is their dog. He was their dog all along; I was just a placeholder, a groomer, a trainer, a temporary family. I brought him out of his shell and introduced him to the beauty of life and peanut butter Kongs. After three months he bonded with me and now he bonds brilliantly with them.
The internet is full of sentiments about animal rescue, from “Pulling a dog from a shelter saves two lives: the life of the dog you pull & the dog who takes it’s place” [Bad math!], to “People who say that money can’t buy happiness never paid an adoption fee”. But the truth is there is no cutesy meme to convey what we do. I’m just trying to fix one little thing in the world. Just trying to help one dog that was misunderstood or mistreated. Not abused, but likely under socialized. Not a bad dog, just a busybody. A regal, loyal animal seeking a suitable human companion. And in return I get a best friend, if only for a little while.
On April 18th BRBCR volunteers picked up six sweet 9-week-old Border Collie puppies from a friend of the Rescue, Jerry in Blacksburg, VA. Jerry had contacted BRBCR when he took over responsibility of a family (Mom, Dad, and 8 Puppies) from a family in Roanoke, VA who had fallen on difficult times. After a day, Jerry realized that fostering eight 8-week-old puppies was quite the undertaking, especially eight of them and called BRBCR for help. Jerry had planned on keeping 2 puppies for himself, but the other 6 needed homes, as did the Mom and Dad. We were very fortunate to receive this family in rescue and find wonderful homes for everyone. Learn more about these wonderful puppies then go to the adoptable dog page and learn more about how to rescue your own Furever Friend.
From Dede who adopted Paden
I adopted Paden on Friday, May 2 and immediately drove to a fly ball tournament in Hanover, MD (I live in PA). He took everything in stride very well - meeting me, my four other dogs, riding in the van, staying in a hotel, and dealing with all the noise and activity of the tournament. Good thing, because he's in training to be a future fly ball dog! Paden loves to tug, and is a Frisbee fiend, so we might end up competing in that as well. He learned a default sit on the second day I had him. Since then he has learned to wait to grab a toy until I tell him to "take it!" and "get in your crate." His name response and recall are excellent for a young puppy; we work on them every time we go outside or travel anywhere, and he always comes flying when I whistle. We're also working on loose leash walking, sitting in heel position (both sides), going to a mat, down, touch, doggie zen/leave it, and body awareness. We haven't worked on any tricks yet but will soon. At fly ball practice, he can do recalls to a tug even with one of his buddies running in the next lane. He is super focused, loves to work, adores every person he meets (especially kids) and likes to sleep in the bed after pottying early in the morning.
From Joann who adopted Willow
I am a volunteer for BRBCR. I have been volunteering for this wonderful organization for a little over 1 year. In that time I have had about a dozen puppies staying with me waiting for their forever homes. All of these puppies were precious. In April while visiting my daughter at College we volunteered to foster 2 of the 6 puppies BRBCR was getting from the Blacksburg area. I immediately fell in love with little Willow (the smallest) and her brother Nitro (name picked because he was full of energy). Their first big ride in the car was for 4.5 hours back to Northern VA where I fostered them both. They were super stars! Nitro was placed with Janice and doing great (read about him) and I had been looking to add a dog to my existing clan (one 13 year old English Springer, and one 7 year old Border Collie, and my daughter has a 1 year old Border Collie at College with her). I participate in dog agility with my dogs and with Frodo getting a little older; I was looking for another worthy candidate for my next Agility Dog. Willow is smart, sweet, and very athletic; She is a small fry and will likely only be about 30 lbs. full grown. Yes, in rescue terminology, I am a foster failure☺. But I am ok with that as we love her to pieces even when she is being naughty! She has 2 small white hair marks on her hips which I call her “Naughty Spots”. She is full of herself and is very smart. She has learned sit, down, shake, and is learning to spin to the left and to the right. She will be taking a puppy obedience class very soon and of course learning more tricks. I also intend to get her Therapy Dog International Certification (TDI) so we can visit those that need some time with a sweet dog. She loves going for walks meeting dogs, and children. She is pretty much game for anything and has a wonderful outgoing personality. She is easily trained, as she is food motivated. Willow’s number 1st personality trait is she LOVES everyone she meets!
From Pamela who adopted Frankie Sinatra Poston
Frankie Sinatra Poston is the newest furry member of our family. We, Pam and Bill Poston, have 3 cats, Serendipity (Blue Persian), Hermione (Smoke Persian) and Rocky, (Tuxedo, Persian longhair mix). Our Border Collie Dash was found at a gas station in May of 2012, and Bridget, our Border Collie mix was found on the walking trail in Highgate, where we live. We had a full house and were quite happy with all our furry adoptees and then we went to a flyball tournament in Blacksburg, Virginia. Posted on the wall of the crating area was a flyer picturing some beautiful Border Collie puppies who needed a home.
Our soon to be new member of the family was looking straight at the camera in his photo with a look of confidence. His beautiful blue eyes captivated us. We immediately filled out an application online to be considered as new adopted parents for one of the puppies. Initially we thought we might adopt a girl, but when we saw Frankie we fell in love. Bill was able to hold him at the tournament when his foster mom Wendy Lou Biggs brought them for a visit. All the black and white fuzzy baby collies were adorable but Frankie came right over to Bill.
We passed muster and were approved by the BRBCR so I made arrangements with a close friend to travel to Virginia for the puppy exchange. We had the crate and some special toys all ready in the back seat. When we arrived at the agreed upon exchange point, Frankie gave a little cry and came right to me. He seemed happy and healthy. His signature floppy one ear endeared him to me even more.
Frankie wins over all the hearts of people who meet him in Weddington, NC. His new best friends include Grayson and Alex, Chewie, River Tan, Suzanne and Dennis, Dr. Morefield and all the wonderful people at Piper Glen animal hospital, the staff at the Zoom Room, my mom Marcy (Grandma), Billy and Amanda our children and Uncle Jack. Our other dogs took a little while to accept Frankie but he just kept trying. He would run up to them and give them his most charming look. Unfortunately they were not too happy about sharing their toys and home with a new dog. Worried, I sought counsel with my vet who assured me that sometimes these things take time. He was right.
We have just returned from a vacation in Florida. While we were gone my mom kept Dash and Bridget and our friends Suzanne, Dennis and Alex kept Frankie. Frankie had a wonderful time playing with River, their flat coat retriever. He learned after swim lessons from Alex that if he fell into the pool which seems to happen a lot, he can swim to the shallow end and walk out! Now Frankie is quite the swimmer and loves the water.
On the day of our return Suzanne brought Frankie home and homecoming for Frankie was wonderful. He received kisses and tail wags from both Bridget and Dash and then Dash brought the tug out and they played. Frankie has finally become part of the pack. And now they watch with great curiosity as Frankie falls in, then swims out of the pool.
Soon Frankie will be learning the fundamentals of flyball. He copies everything his big brother Dash does including chasing the ball and tugging with all his might. We have high hopes for Frankie’s long legged athleticism and unbridled enthusiasm for play. He has brought so much joy to our family and we are grateful every day for Frankie.
From Kelly who adopted Chroi'
Mo Chroi' is Gaelic in origin and translates to "my heart." And he is. His call name is Chroi (pronounced Kree). He joins our other border collie, A Ghra', which means "my love." The two phrase are often put together "A Ghra' mo Chroi'" to mean "My heart's beloved." And my dogs are definitely that.Chroi is amazing in his capacity to bring joy to those around him. He is a drama Queen and demanding, but full of love. He is smart, well-mannered, and of a gentle, loving nature. He truly is a very good boy. He learned the usual sit, stay, come, up, off, and down (lie down) early on. He is learning to jump, spin, crawl, and to sit patiently to be released with food tempting him. He hates it but he does it. Chroi seems to have finally started growing. He waited a bit longer than his siblings but seems to have made up for it by shooting up over night. As a family, we have had a lot of loss in the past few years. Pets and people. I had considered fostering and given it a try, but it wasn't me. It hurt too much once they had a place to go. Chroi lives with a 6 year old BC named Gra who tolerates him extremely well. She has even shown that she knows how to play instead of working all the time. He is learning about cats, chinchillas, and how young women (22 & 18) live. I am sure it scares him at times with all the noise of giggling and bickering. Chroi also has a big male in his life, a 60lb mixed breed named Charlie. Chroi learned that not everyone is tolerant of his boisterous behavior. His humans are rounded out by Taylor who let's Chroi climb and lick and pester him. I have wanted another BC since my early Flyball days but never felt the timing or situation was right. Chroi's arrival was perfect. I am so deeply thankful to have him in my life. Thanks to the BRBCR and WendyLou Biggs!
From Janice who adopted Nitro
have been in rescue for approximately 10 years now and have volunteered, fostered and been President of a local Border Collie Rescue group, in all that time I have never had a PUPPY of my own! We have a house full of adult Border Collies ranging from 2 to 14 years old. I have been competing in agility for the last 10+ years and have 3 retired agility dogs, one with her MACH, and of course the one that loved it the least! I currently compete with 2 BCs now but one is getting up there in age and unfortunately I’ll have to either retire him or move him to preferred in the near future. My other competition boy, I had flown in from Texas with the help of my rescue friends, he is now just over 2 years old. I kicked around the idea of getting a PUPPY for him after we babysat a friend’s puppy one weekend, Harper was wonderful with him. Plus, I wanted him to have a buddy closer to his age, but also have another dog to compete with later. All my friends started getting puppies from breeders but I just couldn’t do it considering my heart is always for the rescues… so I decided to wait until the right puppy came along in rescue!! Not long after I said that, friends were sharing puppy pictures on Facebook with BRBCR. I still held off and waited hoping they would all be adopted and I wouldn’t have to take the plunge just yet! Well… little Nitro came across my Facebook page one day and, well, I just couldn’t help myself, so I emailed his foster Mom, Joann. I told her everything I was looking for in my puppy and she thought he would be perfect for me but he had another family coming to meet him. Whew… OK, I don’t have to make that decision yet again! Come that Sunday I get an email and was told the family decided not to adopt and that Joann really want us to be the lucky parents of Nitro…. Dang, NOW I really do have to make a decision! I called the hubby, told him the situation and with all the love he has, he told me if that’s what I wanted then go for it. So, we made plans to go and meet Nitro, well, it was love at first sight and we drove back to Powhatan from Centreville, VA. In that time he has been exposed to so many things just in our family - beach, stores, motorcycles, and of course AGILITY venues! He takes everything all in stride like the little confident puppy I wanted! He has learned all kinds of tricks, Sit, Down, Paw, Backup, Mat, Spin (right and left), Bang, and many other things we are still working on… he LOVES working for his meals! We love him as he is the most loveable little dude, always hanging close by, LOVES his big brother Harper, and gets along and respects all the others in the house. He was the perfect first puppy for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching him all the basics from the ground floor, something I have never been able to do before. I have always been a firm believer in things work out the way they are supposed to if you just let them… all of my gang are from rescue, all just “found” us in some fashion. Nitro is no different, and everyone has welcomed him with open paws and arms! We have been so surprised how everyone accepted him from day one, his first night it seemed like he has lived with us his whole life! Well… now he will!
From Chris Pratt who adopted Luna
We adopted Luna at the beginning of May. Our great friends across the street Dave and Sue Paschal had just rescued "Pepper" a stray found with her sister. Having lost our black lab 6 years ago to melanoma we felt it was time to add a new addition to our family. Wer tried to keep the sisters together and tried to get Pepper's sister. We were too late she was already gone. Debbbie then sent me a picture of a litter that might be available...sent me a picture of Luna with those bright light blue eyes...and the rest is histroy..and she has been spoiled since the day we got her!! Starting training this week....hopefully my 20 and 17 year old daughters...and all their friends have not spoiled her to point of no return..but we will see soon enough! My mother lives with me and has a beautiful dog Ginger. She is a chow mix and at first would have no part of Luna...kind of like a step sister she did not want or ask for...she pouted for 3 days and would not even eat her food...but after 9 days accepted Luna and the have been buddies ever since!! sort of like step sisters....her BFF is still Pepper...they literally roll around for hours! We have a ritual of getting the dogs together every night so they get worn out and we get to sleep in later!! She barks like an adult! Not so good at 6am...and are still having trouble with the potty training thing...but all is good and we are blessed to have her!!!