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Performance Week 2015 :: A Collies Online Feature

Rescue Remedy!
Remarkable stories at the intersection of rescue and performance with owner Bobby Chastain

Uncle Sal, our given name for him, was my/our first collie from Collie Rescue of the Carolinas. His owners had him in an apartment, moved out, and left him behind. He was approximately one year old when we adopted him in 2008. He had a great deal of separation anxiety and destroyed most everything in our house when we were away for even 20 minutes. I was used to my senior dogs and had no idea what to do with this anxious and energetic young dog.


Uncle Sal in Treibball Competition.

I enrolled him in a class and started to keep him busy. It had been a long time since a youngster was in the house. He was the first dog I had ever done any "official" training with. He convinced me to become a part-time trainer.


Uncle Sal herding a flock of ducks.

Currently, Uncle Sal is titled in Freestyle Dance, has que's in Agility, has his Treibball CH title and is a regular at local events, performing sports demonstrations and meeting and greeting. He has done some herding in the past, as well. In the summers we have had a lot of fun, working kids camps together. He relishes interactions with children and can always make the kids giggle.

Sal also made me fall in love with the collie breed and I am six collies rich because of him.

Uncle Sal has a lot of personality and a great sense or humor. He is a charmer and one happy boy. He is one beautiful athlete as well. I love to watch him run. Some days he runs circles just because he is silly and feels good. He just has a happy heart and soul. He gives me inspiration to keep moving and keep up with him.


Uncle Sal in Agility competition.

It is difficult to summarize almost eight years of richness he has given to me. Sal has been reactive, bossy, and led me to different areas of dog training and behavior I never expected to venture intoone of my best teachers in life so far.

He has taught me a lot. He is strong and powerful, yet gentle and sensitive, and enjoys human and canine interaction. He loves to work but also just loves being a dog. I love him for all of this every single day. Sal also made me fall in love with the collie breed and I am six collies rich because of him.


Uncle Sal having the time of his life with Treiball!


Duke is one of the sweetest, trusting, and most resilient souls I have ever met. He is literally a walking miracle. Duke was a severe case of neglect and had rain rot in his two front legs when his owners surrendered him to their veterinarian. He almost lost those two front legs. They were rotted to the bone. Duke does have two dead digits in his front right paw and a scoliosis in his spine due to the offset of his front legs, as the paw with the dead digits dropped, it deformed, and the offset effected his shoulders and this his spine.


Duke training in agility.

Thanks to the coordinator and all the volunteers at Collie Rescue of the Carolinas that helped Duke recover, he is living a happy and stimulating life. Every day he wakes up smiling, wagging his tail, and ready to go. We adopted him in March of 2014. What an inspiration for resilience and moving forward.

Duke is one of the sweetest, trusting, and most resilient souls I have ever met. He is literally a walking miracle.

He is smart and always willing to please and learn. Duke can only perform low impact activities. I had to build his strength slowly and incrementally. Duke has his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title, participates in Freestyle Dance, working towards his own routine, tunnels and chutes on the agility field and some Treibball. One day, very soon, we will be competing in freestyle, the games in agility that involve only chutes and tunnels. He enjoys it and that is what is important.


Duke trains on the table exercise in agility.


Neilan came to us as a foster baby three months ago. He is 4 years old. Unknowingly, to our family, it was good timing, as our eldest collie had a stroke and passed away two weeks ago. Neilan helped fill a big void in that loss. He is young, energetic, sensitive and delightful. He makes us laugh and is always a constant engagement of some sort.


Neilan perfecting the sit on the table in agility.

Neilan's history: He was taken in, not sure at what age, by someone who really cared about him. Neilan and the other dog in the house fought a lot. Thus, the owner surrendered him to CR of Carolinas. Apparently, he was quite a problem at the rescue too and the coordinator requested we foster him. He was just a big 75-pound bossy, playful puppy at 4 years of age.

Neilan has helped fill a big void in that loss. He is young, energetic, sensitive and delightful. He makes us laugh and is always a constant engagement of some sort.

Of course we fell in love with him and adopted him eventually. What I have found is that he needs space and room to run and play. He is 75 pounds of run and fun . . . a big, loving handful of play and activity. He runs just because he feels good and he does it beautifully.


Neilan exits the chute in agility.


His vet assessment showed low muscle mass for a dog of his size. Thus, we began building his muscle mass slowly. Walking and increasing distance slowly. Gradually, we have gotten him into low impact activities on the agility field because of his love to run and play—specifically the tunnel, chute, and table. I will not even try to jump him until I have a full spinal and hip evaluation on him.

He is learning Freestyle Dance and Treibball, as well. Neilan has recently earned his CGC title. We will hope to head into the competition fields of all sports soon.

We will keep him on the low impact side of life and sports. He is such a joy and one big boy and one big cuddly, snuggly, teddy bear.

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