Border Collie Dave – Chapter 3

Dorset Dave: Who Chose Who?

I had never owned my own dog before and as a child growing up we tended to have had more cats than dogs in the family over the years. So it came as a bit of a surprise to myself, let alone anyone else in the household when I leapt out of bed at 8AM on Saturday 25th April 2015 and announced;

“We’re buying a puppy, grab your coats everyone!”

What followed next was many minutes of excited squealing from my partner’s children and rather embarrassingly myself too. I had just made one of my most life changing impulsive decisions ever; and I had done so from under a duvet in about 5 minutes.

For several reasons out of my control (peculiar landlady at the time) re-homing a rescue dog wasn’t going to happen so that meant a puppy was the sensible (remind me of that word later) option.

This is the part where I reassure all the animal welfare experts that I had in fact spent many months researching dog breeds, breeders, rescue options etc. Never buy a puppy on impulse and certainly never buy a drop-dead gorgeous border collie puppy with a pink nose and jet black bean toes on impulse!

In record time everyone was dressed and in the car ready for the 90 mile drive down to Dorset, where a respectable border collie breeder had a single puppy left for sale. Goodness what had I done I thought to myself as I quickly picked up some puppy essentials at a local pet store.

Lead, crate, blanket, bowls, puppy food? I wasn’t prepared for the arrival of a new bundle of joy at all. Oh well “In for a penny, in for a pound,” I thought as I gently accelerated away from the pet store towards Dorset and an address in Wareham Forest where “Dave” was blissfully unaware of my flapping about!

“Are we there yet, are we there yet?” I called out enthusiastically to the children, who met my question with juvenile suspicion. To say I was bubbling with joy would be something of an understatement; never let it be said that adults don’t “squeal” with excitement.

After what seemed an agonizingly long drive to Wareham Forest we eventually arrived at a modest dwelling in a beautiful rural wooded location. The wheels of the car had barely stopped tuning when the doors flung open and children leapt in the direction of happy barking sounds!

Rushing to keep up I introduced myself to the husband and wife dog breeders and was greeted by a wonderful scene in their garden; the children were playing with a gorgeous energetic puppy and at the same time puppy’s enthusiastic parents were fetching even more toys. This was certainly a happy place to raise a canine family.

We stayed for about 3 hours observing how the parents and puppy interacted with us humans. All the signs were there even at exactly 8 weeks old, that “Dave” was going to be such a gentle loving soul. Little Dave wanted nothing more than to play and play. Endless energy and passion for life, even as a little teddy bear of fluff.

Dave’s nose was almost entirely pink with just a few spots of black pigment. His ears were little black triangles crossed over at the tip, he looked like a puzzled kitten deep in thought! Classic black and white markings covered his fluffy fur and paws slightly too big for his legs concealed cute little black bean toes.

Dave was proving to be irresistible even to “sensible Malcolm” who had promised himself to be rational about such things. Puppy was happily cuddled up in one of the children’s arms as I suggested we had best head back home. It would be a long day for Little Dave.

Border Collie South Downs

There was very little room in the car now we had a puppy to accommodate so he sat on my partner’s lap in the front passenger seat. The return journey would take about 2 hours so a stop halfway home was planned. At every road junction when I stopped I was aware of this little teddy bear looking up at me with huge wide open brown eyes. It must have been a worrying time for puppy as he was gently panting and yawning – signs I was aware of that meant anxiety in animals.

I pulled into a car park on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, an area that would feel familiar to Little Dave as it was rural and wooded. Dave naturally had not had any immune system booster injections so he wasn’t allowed contact with other dogs or too many people.

We sat on the grass close to the car and I supervised Dave as he explored his new water bowl with puppy glee. Soon he was lapping up the water with his tiny pink tongue. Suddenly from around the corner horse riders appeared and came trotting slowly in our direction. Dave jumped into my arms for safety and watched with even bigger eyes as these Leviathan-esque monsters headed towards him.

Can you imagine how it must have felt for little Dave, these horses would have seemed like electricity pylons walking towards a human! Terrifying I can only guess. He was my brave little soldier though and just sat in my arms and watched.

Safe in Dad’s arms.

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Malcolm Oakley
Hello, I’m Malcolm Oakley, a keen walker, leisure photographer and outdoors blogger. I'm lucky to have lived at the edge of the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

Living in Devon I am now walking the South West Coast Path and Dartmoor National Park with my Border Collie 'Dave'.

I hope you enjoy reading about my walks, look forward to reading your comments on the blog posts and YouTube videos. Please do get in touch.
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  • M art in hayes on 15 Litre Hydration Rucksack – Gear ReviewCan I fit a bigger rucksack over the top of this,whilst walking,sorry if this is a stupid question,I do carry water with me as I am a long distance walker.
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  • Sophie on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 9Great post! I love Dave - I'm glad you both had a great time walking out on Dartmoor. It's always so lovely there when the sun comes out. I hope
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  • Rob on Wistman’s Wood to Bellever TorThanks for sharing, just used your route for a similar adventure. We also had a long foggy walk back to the car!
  • Charlie on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantHi - is there any chance we can use one of these images in a South Downs publication? We will credit you of course. thanks
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  • Alena on Burrator – Down Tor Stone RowHello It was nice to read about the fascinating walk. I live in Belarus, but I hope someday to visit the wonderful places in Devon.
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