Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kiva's Story

Pet's name: Kiva
Adopted by: Jessica Swaim

Jessica Swaim, author of the children's book, The Hound from the Pound, tells the story of Kiva, her border collie. Visit her website for some great videos of Kiva in action. 

Once upon a time—in the summer of 2009—I was looking for a dog. My friend Cindy and my golden retriever Sprocket came with me to visit a one-year-old border collie named Sadye. Sadye was an "owner surrender" living in a foster home in nearby Ft. Collins, Colo. As we watched this dog-shaped missle blast around the yard after her ball, our conversation went something like this:

CINDY:  Wow, what a beautiful dog! Smart. Athletic. Eager to please. She's exactly what you're looking  for.

ME:  Are you kidding? You saw how she barked and lunged at those cyclists when we walked her to the park! And remember how her foster dad described her? "Energizer bunny." "Go-Go girl." "A lot of dog."  Translation:  nut case! Her eyes spin like pinballs! She snaps at flies!    

CINDY:  So? You want a high-energy dog, right? One that'll make you a better handler?    

ME:  Yeah, but border collies need a minimum of two hours of exercise a day, including flat-out running. TWO HOURS! If they don’t get it, they chew holes in your drywall!

CINDY:  Well, haven't you been wanting to remodel?

ME:  Border collies are the smartest breed, you know. This dog has a higher I.Q. than I do.

CINDY:  Great! Maybe she can balance your checkbook.

ME:  I'm too old for this dog.  

CINDY:  Argggh. Do you or do you not walk Sprocket miles every day? You live on five acres. You’ve got agility equipment. Clickers in every room of your house. You've got a neighbor with sheep, who even teaches herding, for pete's sake! Get a shepherd's crook. Make like Bo Peep. It'll be fun!

ME:  Fun, my fanny! I don’t need another dog sport! I can't play with dogs all day, you know. I've got a life. I've got a lot of important stuff to do.

CINDY:  You know what? You’re absolutely right. You're too important for this dog. Too old. And too dumb. Let's go.

ME:  Shhh! Look. She finally laid down. She's staring right at me. Aw, did you ever see such a sweet face? Look at the hope in her eyes.  

CINDY:  That's not hope. She's plotting to destroy your drywall.

ME:  She needs me! I need her! We’re perfect for each other.

CINDY:  Duh. Ya think so?

ME:  I know so. C'mon, Sadye. Let’s go home.

CINDY:  Yay.

Soon afterwards, Sadye became Kiva. Kiva plunged headlong into agility, tricks, musical freestyle, and herding. In her spare time, she continued to chase flies. Cindy remained a close friend and earned a Ph.D. in Reverse Psychology. Sprocket shared his toys and modeled good canine citizenship. And me? I gobbled multivitamins, learned to throw a Frisbee, and embraced my inner Bo Peep. And we all lived hyperly ever after, with the drywall intact.

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

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