There are hundreds and hundreds of rescued Border Collies and Working Sheepdogs out there looking for homes, so please check out your local rescue or shelter to see if you can help a dog in need.


Being an 'oldie' doesn't mean that a collie is 'past it' - not by a long shot! Often people think that 4 is old for a collie. That simply isn't true. If you watch the Agility and Obedience competitions, most of the collies competing at Crufts standards are 7-13 years old. They're mature, and use their brains and experience to beat those younger dogs whose enthusiasm overtake their abilities.  Not only that, there is a farming demonstration team who still have a 17 year old collie rounding up ducks and sheep!

Given that Border Collies often live to 15-20 years old means that they have a very long lifespan.  Collies also tend to live life to the full before we lose them.  Often they're full of beans and active right up to the day they die of old age.

People distance themselves from the plight of older dogs purely because of the misconceptions over age. Let's go through these misconceptions and see what we can do to help the older generation of dogs looking for homes:

"I won't have very long with the dog. That's why I want a puppy."

If you buy a puppy, there's no guarantee that he or she will live to a ripe old age. Any number of illnesses, accidents or unforeseen circumstances can take a dog OF ANY AGE away from ANY of us.

"Four years old is TOO OLD!"

I beg your pardon? Try telling that to those hardy old Farm Collies who are still rounding up sheep at the age of 15+!

 "If I take an oldie, they won't bond with me."

In our experience, older dogs are more grateful for the care and attention they get - and pay you back with the kind of love and affection that younger dogs are too bouncy to give. Sometimes it can take a few weeks to bond, other times it is instant.

"You can't teach old dogs new tricks."

Oldies can be as responsive as pups given the right training techniques, and sometimes can learn even more quickly than the young ones because they are in no rush to go play. Their calm grateful nature means that often they are so willing to please you they learn with great skill and dexterity. As with any training you'll need patience, but the rewards are fabulous.

"There's all the vets bills...."

In our experience, the oldies go to the vet LESS OFTEN than the young 'uns! The oldies don't get themselves in trouble, and they tend to command respect from the young dogs. Unless an oldie has a long term illness which will take constant care, then there may not be as many costs as you think. In the end, you have to make the choice about whether you can help or not.

"I don't want to go through the heartache of a doggie bereavement too soon."

That is very understandable, and we empathise - but we do urge you to consider the great rewards you get from helping the older dogs. Without someone to take them in, they will simply die in kennels, bewildered and lonely.




a real princess



 We had a little girl who was around 16 or 17 years old come to stay with us from another rescue. They could see that she was depressed and very unhappy. They said she only had a few weeks to live. Flossie came to stay with us for as long a time as she had. 

She loved it here. She stomped around telling puppies off, she'd bark at furniture that was in her way, and she was the most special oldie you could wish to know. She stayed with us for 9 months, until she sadly passed away. In those last months, she crammed in as much of a happy life as she could. Eventually she looked at us and said, "Thanks, but it's my time now". She died in her sleep next to our bed, happy, contented and warm.

We were very upset at losing Flossie, even though we'd only known her for a relatively short time. We thought we'd only have a couple of weeks with her, but the right environment (out of kennels!) and a little love did wonders. From an unhappy few weeks in a drab kennel, she lived life to the full in our home environment. It affected us greatly, and we have a picture of her up on our wall; she's laying in her favourite bright pink bed. She managed to give us so many good memories that it's been worth the heartache. We gave her a second stab at a happy life, and she took it with both paws.

It always seems that people are focused on the reasons why they SHOULDN'T have an oldie; rather than the reasons why they SHOULD have an oldie.

We've had other oldies like Ned (who was only with us for a couple of weeks before he passed away) and Old Ben (who was grateful for a roof over his head and a bed of his own). We wouldn't swap those experiences because you're taking an oldie out of a kennel and into a home environment. 

It's worth remembering that these oldies are very rarely put into rescue because of something they did; it is usually because their owners have died, circumstances have changed or the owners are elderly and can't cope with a dog anymore. They get put into kennels through no fault of their own after a lifetime of giving love and attention.

So when you think about the heartache you're going to suffer, please spare a thought for the heartache that those oldies have suffered going into kennels; and please think about the chance you can give to an oldie to LIVE again. They can be so loving and grateful, I'd like to think that we've all got a space in our house for a Flossie of our own. 

Clicking on the Border Collie SOS logo at the top of the page will take you to our introduction page. If if you'd like some BC advice, then you can get in touch by clicking on the Contact Us link below.


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The advice given in this site is no way to be taken as a replacement for professional advice either by a Veterinarian or a Behaviourist. Situations of individual animals vary greatly, and what causes problems in one Collie can be different for another.  If you would like one-to-one advice, then please get in touch by using the 'contact us' link.  This site 2004 Border Collie SOS.