Foster Home: Sheila, then Linda
Update: Bard was adopted in March, 2004.
As a young pup, Bard was acquired by a breeder for his beautiful
blue merle coloring to be used as a stud. One of the dams was
old and had been bred many times, yet Bard sired a few litters
with the old girl. Both were housed outside in small pens, never
knowing the joy of being part of a family. Neither received any
training in basic obedience and the exercise they got was running
circles in their pens. One of Bard's litters was born in February, 2001. It was an accidental breeding between Bard and the old dam. There were six pups, five males and one female; some were merles, others black and white. Before the pups were weaned, the breeder became ill. She was unable to care for the pups properly. As the pups grew with little human socialization, an important part of any domesticated animal, the breeder was unable to sell them. The pups were kept in an old barn to fend for themselves.
Word of these pups reached GLBCR. The breeder called asking for help and the pups came into rescue with in plans to rehabilitate them for adoption. Three pups came into rescue on the first trip. A second visit recovered the remaining three pups. Five of the six pups found their forever homes with their fosters and one was adopted.
It was during the puppy round-up that Bard was first
seen by GLBCR members. He was just a "young pup" himself, at that
time. We don't know exactly how old Bard is now. We do know he is
at least 4.5 years old. An acquaintance of the breeder thinks Bard
came to be with the breeder about seven years ago. Bard has met
a herding dog handler, skilled in confirmation, who guessed his
age to be "around 4 years". The vet, BC breeders, herding instructors,
an agility instructor, and an assortment of other people familiar
with the BC breed, all place Bard's age as about 5 years. No matter
what his age, he acts like a playful puppy with his toys!
This is what Bard looked like when he first came into rescue:
You could barely see his beautiful merle coat. He also showed signs of having problems with his hips. The radiographs were sent to two specialists. One suggests Bard is an excellent candidate for Gold Bead Implants. This procedure is based on magnets, gold (which produce positive ions), and acupuncture. By placing tiny gold plated magnets, at acu points, impulses are sent to nerves which relieve pain and strengthen the muscles and ligaments needed to hold the femoral head in a more natural position. Urak, a previous foster dog, was treated with GBI and showed remarkable improvement within days. His pain has disappeared and his gait seldom deviates from normal - no bunny hops or toe scraping against the ground.
Bard has been getting regular exercise and his hind muscles are growing stronger. There is a particular soft, plastic ball that he just loves to play with. He squeaks it in his mouth and I play a toss game with him. He will chase it, grab it, then run to a shady spot. Under the tree, he rolls onto his back and uses his front legs to hold the ball. As I sneak up to grab it, Bard starts to giggle! We play a little tug game, then start the toss again. How happy this teddy bear of a dog has become! There are an abundance of fruit trees and berry bushes on the property. First to ripen were the plums. Many of the dogs ate the fallen fruit, including Bard. Next, the peaches started to drop from the trees. Bard got his fill, every morning for the past few weeks. Lately, its blackberry season. Bard LOVES berries. He stands under the bush, waiting for me to pick a handful, knowing he will be first in line. That sweet smile is too irresistible.
Using Bard's impatience for the berries, he has learned a trick. He already knew how to "shake", so I took it a step further. I put the berries in my right hand/fist, while my left hand is open and in front. Bard is given the cue to "touch" and he touches my left hand to reveal the right hand's bounty. His eyes grow wide with excitement, as if I possess magical powers! After eating the berries, he sits patiently to repeat the trick.
Bard has been tested on sheep, so if your looking for a herding, keep looking! We entered the corral with 6 ewes. Bard didn't notice them immediately; he had is nose to the ground, sniffing the new aromas. As I lead him towards the sheep, he looked at me as if to say, "Watch out!! There's monsters right in front of you!" With the long line in hand, I started playing among the "monsters", touching them, and talking silly. The sheep moved about, twisting, jumping, and running. Bard wasn't concerned about my welfare....he just wanted out before the monsters got him ;-) His wish was granted and he happily ran to the safety of his crate.
Bard continues to find an abundance of energy!! He still runs about the pasture, just to be running. He is jumping over things, like bushes and logs, with ease. He & Angus have become tug & tag buddies - chasing and racing, with Bard always the winner! Before the Gold Bead Implants, Bard only played with the soft plastic ball shown in his pic. Now, he plays with anything and everything. He is learning commands and vocabulary. On the not-so-good side, Bard has started barking more. He will alert bark, but continues after I've asked him to quiet. He is also barking during play or just when excited. One other thing I've noticed and may have nothing at all to do with the Gold Bead Implants - Bard's holding his ears a bit perkier. It gives the appearance of being more alert, interested, or curious. Maybe it's just more playful?
Bard moved to a new foster home in Michigan once he had completely recovered from his surgery. Foster mom Linda provided the following update in mid-February:
I had a long day and had just settled myself down. Tired and not wanting to do anything but relax, I closed my eyes for just a moment, and felt a gentle nudge against my hand.
"Hi. Are you tired? You'll feel a lot better if we snuggle together and you pet me. I always make you feel better. I'm very good at snuggling, you know. I live to serve."
Bard stood before me, giving me the most loving looks from his soft brown eyes. His merled coat shown beautifully in the warm afternoon light that filtered through the window. I smiled to myself, already feeling much better, and thought about all the miles that had gone by since Bard had first come into rescue.
He was now housetrained and current on his vaccinations. I ran my hands through his luxurious coat and he leaned into me, thankful for the attention. Perhaps he was thinking I would groom him. He does love to be groomed and will carry that happy smile while I brush through his soft coat.
"Bard, you're such a love, and such a well-mannered fellow," I said. "Even the vet thinks you are wonderful and very much a gentleman."
He smiled at me again and wagged his tail with delight. Mitzi, my own dog came over to greet me, and dear Bard gave her kisses as well. She is a smaller dog, and Bard gets along fine with other dogs -especially the smaller ones. He is very easy to take care of and no trouble at all. My mom is 83 and takes care of him during the day. She agrees that Bard is such an easy and loving dog to have around.
"Shall I watch TV with you?" Bard sat down close to me and closed his eyes, content knowing everybody was home now. He pulled a plastic hair curler out from under the chair and gnawed on it casually.
"Say love, " I tapped him lightly on the top of my head with a finger. "We've had this discussion before, haven't we? Plastic hair curlers that accidentally drop to the floor are not chew toys. I'm very glad you don't chew anything else at all - but I would be even happier if you didn't consider these yours."
He smiled and dropped the curler. I picked up the curler, and as usual, Bard followed me through the house. Perhaps he thought it was dinnertime already. He does love to eat (and could lose a few pounds). His head flipped toward the computer as we walked by, and then he looked back at me again, wondering if I would on the computer next. He is my constant companion when I work at the computer. The light tapping sounds off the keyboard lull him into a peaceful sleep, and he will sigh with contentment.
"Do you want to go outside?"
His tail wagged and he trotted lightly to the door, passing his favorite tug to on the way. Although he has had gold bead implants for his arthritis, there is no evidence of any discomfort. He runs up and down the steps now and hops into our van eagerly and without effort. Bard bounded out the door like a big puppy, he ignored the squirrels and the cat (as usual), and kept an eye on me. I let him do his duty, and then picked up his leash.
Bard's eyes lit up with joy. A car ride? He loved car ride. A walk! He was going for a walk! He stood proudly while I hooked him up. He likes to meander as we walk but he doesn't pull. The walk did us both good, and we returned home feeling the better for it. I gave Mitzi and Bard their treats, putting it in the same bowl. He's such a good boy.
Bard is very friendly but he lets me know when strangers come to the house, although he is not a "barker." He is a bit fearful of loud noises. I would like to see him with a family that is home most of the day and possibly has another smaller, friendly dog for him to play with.
"Bard, there's another family out there somewhere looking for a wonderful dog like you. We'll find them…" my eyes misted at the thought of having to say good-bye to Bard some day.
Like father, like son. Bard (right) meets Apache (one of the feral pups) at the GLBCR Reunion Picnic.