A friend asked me a while ago, should I get a dog? She needed one to fit in with her lifestyle, which was Eastern suburbs, lots of café visiting (when she was around, which was not often, frequently travelled for work), good natured, great with other dogs and kids, not needing much exercise, generally easy care, and the assumption would be good to look at, since my friend is a very attractive artist and everything else in her life is attractive… clothes, house, art… so no ugly dogs welcome.

My first suggestion was that she get a stuffed toy… suggestion not taken seriously.

Second suggestion, after much deliberation, maybe a one year old cocker spaniel or English setter, reason being no toilet training required, any behavioural or medical problems would be already ruled out, these breeds are generally easy going, sweet, not needing too much exercise. So after listening to my advice my friend went out and bought a border collie puppy, because she “really always wanted one of those”.

How might you describe a BC pup? High energy, in need of loads of training and exercise, needing to be occupied most of the time (preferably rounding up sheep), but in the city… find something else to do, otherwise probably a disaster waiting to happen e.g. wrecked home, rugs, designer shoes, art works, puppy ending up at RSPCA for rehoming due to “bad behaviour” etc.

A year later at friend’s birthday party, noisy, crowded house, young border collie crouching under dining room table, fearful, nervous expression, very overweight, not happy.

You should never see an overweight border collie, this is almost criminal. I think letting any dog become overweight is dreadful for so many reasons… poor health, arthritis, ageing… but this poor little guy was obviously under exercised, overfed with treats as a substitute for being otherwise engaged, bored and anxious.

Moral of story, do some homework on what sort of dog might be a good fit for you and your household…and pick a companion you expect to have for the remainder of his/her life. Rescue organisations keep saying this but people don’t listen.

In a perfect world my friend might find a home in the country for her border collie, or in the city with some young tradie who takes him to work, or keep him and pay a dog walker, start a diet… so many options, you would think it easy. I suppose you have to see there’s a problem before you think about fixing it… we are working on the later option.