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I Have a New GirlfriendJune 5, 2006

Yes, Lala knows. She was there when I decided I needed more. A wife was just not enough. I needed another girl to love.

Meet Clara:


Oh, my god. I'm head over heels.

So here's how it went down: Ever since we moved here, I'd been thinking about getting a dog for me. I have Harriet and Miss Idaho, of course, and they love me, but their little heads explode when Lala comes home, and I love how she looks at them, and I wanted that. Plus, I wanted a tall dog, one I could run with. Harriet hates running when it's not in order to catch a squirrel.

So last week, we decided it was time. By that I mean I decided, and Lala was very good to me about it. I went out looking, ending up visiting five shelters in three cities. One pup, a cattledog named Darby spoke to me, and I adored him, but he thought Miss Idaho was prey when we introduced them at the shelter, and that's not cool. She's not even much of an appetizer, you know? Quick snack, and that's all. Not worth it.

We met Clara at the Oakland SPCA, a wonderful, wonderful place. Clean, well-run, nicest people in the world working there. We met her, petted her, liked her, played with her, and left her to go look at another place. After we left, I couldn't stop thinking about her. It was weird. And then when I decided suddenly and irrevocably that she was the one for me, I was terrified that by the time I got back to the shelter, she'd be gone (she'd only been on the market there for one day, yesterday, and another family had been interested in her). I dropped Lala at home and drove hell for leather to the shelter where I picked up my dog.

She's perfect, by the way. You know why? Let me list the ways:

*   She's a border collie, a sheepherder. You know me and sheep. (Mom, I bet you had dogs just like her on the sheep farm growing up, right?) (No, I know I don't need sheep. Not really.)

*   She doesn't bark, even when Harriet and Miss Idaho are going crazy right next to her, barking at people on the sidewalk.

*   She isn't scared of any noises, not even the vacuum cleaner.

*   She's soft and long-haired, and doesn't mind brushing.

*   She rides in the car with the top down and smiles at things, but doesn't freak out. Just sits and smiles.

*   She's the best walker ever, neither pulling nor hanging back, just walking next to me and nudging my hand with her head every once in a while. Oh! That must be herding! Cool.

Those are the pros. The cons are few: She splashes a lot when she drinks. She poops BIG. Damn big. I was used to little dogs, I suppose (Clara's 48 pounds and a year and a half -- won't get much bigger). She's super energetic and would be a chewer if we let her. But she's being crate trained which she already seems to like, and she has plenty of toys to throw in the air and catch. Which she does. Because she's CUTE.

Her name: Colleen, the nicest SPCA worker ever, named her Claire after her sister because of her sweetness. MY sister Christy came over last night and said "Clara" which I liked even more. Then Lala came home and said "Clarabell" which is her professional dancer name, which suits her down to the ground.

More pics you say? Well, all right! This is coming home yesterday. Can you tell we're happy?


These are from our first real walk today, up in the national forest which is 5 minutes away from our Oakland home:

    Harriet leads the way.

    Miss Idaho at my heels, as usual.

    It's gorgeous out here. And we only met one jogger and one horse-mounted patrol.

    I liked 'em.

    We rest a moment.

    Harriet continues to blaze the trail for us.

    A matched set! We finally have stackables!

    Harriet and Clara even like riding in the backseat together.

    At home, with her favorite toy. (Leash on; we're doing the umbilical thing for a couple of weeks.)

    I'm in love.


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Congratulations on the newest addition to your family!!

I can TOTALLY see why you fell in love with Clara!!! She's a perfect addition to the family :)

Cute, cute, cute! Congratulations!

Oh what a sweetie! She's got that same happy 'what are we gonna do? let's go!" smile that my Java has. Wanna see? - http://nextproject.typepad.com/for_my_next_project/2006/05/j_is_for_java.html

Looks like she has a bit of spanial in her too. BTW- I've found the size of the poop is directly related to the quality of food. Better quality food = smaller poops.

Congrats! She sounds PERFECT!!!

aw, congrats on the addition! she is such a cutie! :)

Did you know that border collies make the best agility dogs in the world? And agility training is big fun--seriously.

Aw, she's wonderful. I love the name Clara! Congratulations.

Is Digit feeling overwhelmed by all the girl power at your house?

(She's lovely.)



Congratulations on your new Love! She is beautiful.

oh, I can see where THIS is going...
Clara is going to *have to* herd some sheep or alpacas or something and you'll be sliding down that slippery slope....
she's BEAUTIFUL! I remember all the sighing you did at the sheep dog trials at MSWF....
it was just MEANT to be!
Good for you!

Congratulations! Dogs are the best (in my opinion) and it sounds like you adopted one of the best! Here is to many walks on beautiful days, and to many licks in the face to let you know you are loved!

Clara is an adorable, adorable schmoo. What a fabulous addition to the fam. Bella and Chili say arf!

OH MY DOG! I mean GOD!

OMG! I am so jealous, I want two pugs named Miss Emily and Miss Lily Bee but we have to wait until we move. Congratulations on the newest member of your family.

She's such a cutie! And seems to be much better behaved than our border collie, who barks at everything, is afraid of her leash, is afraid of people, terrified of any loud noises and hates riding in the car. (We think maybe she was inbread). But she's still a sweetie!
Welcome to the world of 3 dog ownership!

congrats to both you and clara! here's a tip for the poop thing: higher quality food has less fillers and other junk in it, so the poop will be smaller. it will also help to keep her coat healthy, and she will shed less. check out something like science diet, i really like them.

ps - i'm a trained vet tech, not just a crack pot :D

She's beautiful, just look at that smile! So happy to hear such a wonderful adoption story. I wouldn't trade my doggies for anything in the world. I wish you and your new pal many years of happiness and love. (and just my two cents on the poop/feed thing...its true, better quality food=smaller, more regular poop, shinier coat, and less stinky doggy smell.)

Happy, Happy, chica! Hmmm, maybe you should introduce miss clarabell to Panda, Marnie's sweet pea. Something tells me they'd be birds of a feather...

Congratulations!!!! Clara seems like such a peach and a perfect addition. You five are, like, the most adorable family on planet earth.

I'm so happy for you all! She is beautiful--and thus, fits right in!

Congrats! Love the pic of her smiling in the back seat. My smooth collie LOVES herding so I take him whenever I can. It can be a good outlet if she starts doing things like trying to herd your cats. Ask me how I know... Enjoy your new girl -- she looks like a sweetie!

She's beautiful! Congratulations!

Yayy! What a sweetie-bean!

She may yet start to bark. Our Shetland Sheepdog was a non-barker until about 2. We (stupidly, smugly) thought we just had the quietest Sheltie in the world. Hah. We still loves him to pieces, but he definitely barks his fool head off if anybody comes within sight of the house.

Wonderful post. Clara looks like a lover. Please remember that Border collies are very work-oriented (that's why they do what they do so well, and why they excel at agility), so make sure she has a definite role so that she doesn't get bored. Think about a beginner's agility class - you will love it, too! My German shpeherds both love agility, so much so that we put up a small course in the yard for them.

She's definitely a keeper!

Clara is adorable. But I'd like to see her just try to herd the cats.

Wooooo hooo! Yipeeee! What a great surprise! Congratulations on the new kid!!!! I just love BCs! She'll definitely make you have get up and keep busy! I just got a new "sheepherder" myself...Banjo is my new Australian Shepherd, and I just got him last Thursday. You can check him out on my site.

Hi Clarabell! Congratulations for getting a wonderful, loving new home!

Oh my she is a cutie! You can never have enough doggies in your life. I would love another lab but I get the road block at home. So whatever, one day all my choices will be my own and then I will have more dogs and alpaci (is that right)

oh, she's lovely! I love doggies. :)

Definitely transition her to a higher-quality food to reduce the poops. Natural Balance, Innova, Canidae, all are really good choices. They have less crap like corn and wheat fillers.

What a pretty girl! Maybe you can work on your pitching arm with long games of fetch? Or she could play "find the yarn under the couch and put it in the right basket?"

What a beautiful addition. I'm so happy to see things going so right for you. xoxox

Congrats for the new addition to the family! And Thanks for getting a shelter dog. What do the cats think?

Oh she's so beautiful! She must be so happy to have a great new home with siblings and kitty friends and mommies. Great!!!!

Aww, Clara looks very happy and thankful to be part of your family. :)

I'm all teary-eyed reading this post and seeing your newest family member! Enjoy the years ahead of you. :)

Welcome to the family Clara!

Clara has two mommies and a bunch of cute sibs!

(Can you all get any cuter?!?)

minou and I are all teary eyed too! Yay for new puppies!!!!!

Welcome, Clara! And congratulations to the whole family--she looks like a sweetie.

Okay, I've been lurking for a couple of years now and I've enjoyed your knitting stories, your home improvements and your touching wedding, but this is the clincher that made me comment.

I am so happy for you and your new beautiful girl, Clarabell. She really is a looker and I am so impressed that you went to a shelter to adopt an adult dog. They are often the gems that are overlooked.

I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but I recently adopted a rescued pup (she's now 12 weeks old) who was named Claire by the fostermom. Of all the names in all the world.....Claire! I've officially named her ClaireBeth, the "Beth" part after a cousin of mine who is close to me.

Well, I just wanted to delurk to congratulate you and your family on the arrival of the newest member of the pack!


Oh I just squeeled in joy for you! I love Clara already! One hint on the running for you, use your water belt from the marathon and hook the leash throughit, now you are hands free! Easier on the body when the dogs want to run, run, run!

Oh I'm just in love with her! Lovely lovely dog!

I love the name Clara, it's my five year old daughter's name. We call her Clarabelle (I always visualize it spelled with an "e" in my head) and also Claraboo. Also, your dog weighs more than my child. Weird, huh?

Aw. She's a beauty. We've always hankered for a border collie.

Awwww! Shadow says good job!

Awww, congratuluations! Pound pups are the best!

Congratulations! What a sweet dog and what an exciting addition to the family.

You know, looks to me like she has an Australian Shepherd head. Of course, I *would* see that, since Aussies are *my* breed. :) Congratulations! If she's even part Aussie, you've got one of the best breeds around! (Not that there's anything wrong with border collies mind you.) :)

Awhh, what a sweet little dog!!!! Sounds like a match made in Heaven!

she's goregous. we had a border collie. as goregous as he was, he was a real shit. kevin was alpha and i was the gravy train. Clara, no doubt, is a doll!

This was meant to be. Isn't it great when you find the perfect addition to a family AND it gets along with everyone?

She's Adorable! I'm jealous!

She's so cute!!!...Lala's professional dancer name?

You only THINK you picked her out -- it was the other way around and she sent out the pick me pick me waves -- What a love though -- enjoy -- and like so many have said - the better quality food is actually worth it in sooo many ways. Short term and long term.

I am completely envious my dear. I have always said my next dog will be a sheep dog, said to be the smartest! I am so happy for you :)

How funny...yesterday as I was driving on I5 I saw a dog where there shouldn't have been one.
I was kicking myself for not stopping and hoping someone else did who knew how to take care of dogs. It was a sheepdog much like Clarabell and I fantasized about how my kitties would do with a dog. I am gone too much- it wouldn't be fair to anybody.
I am so happy for you in so many ways.

What a good dog! Congratulations, may you have many happy years together.

Oh! Congratulations on growing your family -- she's lovely. :)

Oh wow. A new doggy. She's beautiful. In fact, I think i have a crush on your dog.

Congratulations to you and Clara, Rachael! I'm so happy for both of you. :)

From one border collie lover to another - congratulations! Our border collie is the smartest, coolest dog in the world! At least, we think so.

Congratulations! Clara is really adorable! Just beautiful!

Border Collies are the best - my puppy
Tully loves it when I knit and the ball falls - he herds it right back to my - check him out - Clara is a beauty, just saw this today.


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