Written, and photographs supplied by Sean James
Professional photography by Nadine Clench Photography
Julie Morris of Border Collie Rescue asked me to check in on an 11-week-old pup as the owner believed him to be a stupid dog that wouldn’t respond to his name, and sadly, they no longer wanted him. He initially came from a breeder, and the owners had paid a substantial amount for him.
When I arrived, I found a terrified dog cowering in a corner. The family lived in a one-room garden flat, and when I say one room, I mean one room! The dog was left for up to 12 hours at a time alone. He trashed the place and pooped everywhere so was scolded every day. When I approached, he didn’t do the typical puppy thing – that silly shy wag and pressing his body on your legs – he just lay in his bed motionless. His first owner had failed him; the only nice thing they did was give him a great name. They were clearly not equipped to take care of a dog, and certainly not a Border Collie.
After some negotiation and a firm, “No, we will not pay you for the dog”, Hunter was surrendered to Border Collie Rescue. I took him home with me as it was a Saturday and the Border Collie Rescue kennels were closed for the weekend.
Well, by the next morning, I messaged Julie to inform her that I wouldn’t be bringing Hunter to the kennels as I’d fallen in love with him and wanted to adopt him. I realised very quickly that he was a confident, highly intelligent dog who did respond to his name on his very first night with me. I think he realised he was loved in this house along with the other dogs, including other Border Collies.
The breeder also failed him by creating a poor parental match, resulting in issues in both elbows and hips. Hunter has just had his second total hip replacement and a proximal abducting ulnar (PAUL) osteotomy to reduce pain in his elbow, all in his five years of life. Needless to say, the vet bills are well over a quarter of a million Rand to date. We’ve scraped, saved and sold like crazy over the past five years to ensure that Hunter has the very best veterinary care money can buy.
The first hip replacement was very successful, and Hunter is currently recovering from the second one and will begin rehab in a few weeks.