When I was young, I lived in an old farm type of town where people had horses in their front gardens and chickens in the back. Animals were ten a penny in my life and I frequented livestock auctions where you can guarantee I’d come home with rabbits and ferrets every year.
We always had dogs, I can’t remember a time in my life when there weren’t any dogs at all and I have a deep, abiding love for them. There was a blue merle Border Collie who lived on a street by my Grandmas house and she was the most beautiful dog I thought I’d ever laid eyes on. She had one blue eye, a spattering of grey on her body and a soft, shaggy coat. I knew then I’d have a dog like that one day – myself and my best friend both swore it.
As the years went on, the dog moved on or passed away and more dogs entered our life but never the dog I wanted. We had Mongrels, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Crosses, Lhasa Apso crosses, Alsation x Collies, etc. When I moved to Liverpool to be with my Boyfriend we decided it was time to get a dog in our house as I couldn’t bring my elderly dog with us (we tried – the stress was too much so she remained with my mother with her other dog) and so I looked around online.
I found a farmer in Wrexham (north wales) who needed to get a litter off his hands (I think he bred them every generation and kept one or two from each litter to work his farm). Now, I’m not an advocate of buying from breeders but this guy wasn’t a breeder for profit. He loved his dogs and their work so much he wanted to keep them in any way he could and had puppies from them. They usually ended up on farms in the nearby areas.
He had two blue merle girls available and since they were so reasonably priced, we travelled to Wales to pick one.
The one I preferred initially was stunning; she was tiny, with a lot of white and lovely fluffy fur, but she wasn’t right- she didn’t have the tell-tale eye. I asked to see the other one and he dragged a sleeping Nelly from the back of his truck. She was huge for her age and absolutely filthy! She had a little pink triangle on her nose and the blue eye I coveted.
I asked all the relevant questions about her health and about whether he’d bred two merles anywhere in her line and he replied with, “No, because that causes deformities” – which is exactly what I needed to hear!
I told him I’d take her, and with that she was ours.
We drove her home through the tunnel under the River Mersey and she vomited all down my legs. After giving her what was probably her first bath ever, we discovered she had white feet!
Our first day with Nelly rounded off with her falling asleep soundly in the kitchen in a snug box we kitted out for her. We didn’t hear a peep out of her that night and we haven’t most nights since. #
This’ll be Nelly’s story, from day one.