Living My Dream
by Karin Valestrand
Hallo all Aussie lovers out there! (I'm not that use to write in English, hope you will understand even if some worlds are not speld right)
Thi is Lajla, our wonderful girl who is now three and a half years old. She is a hardworking woman, always busy looking after her family witch includes me, my husband and our three teenagers. She also thinks that our kids closest friends, our neihbours downstairs and my mother in law who visit us now and then is a part of her herd. When they show up she smiles that crazy Aussie smile, wiggles her but and look at them as if to say - where the heck have you been so long? - time to come home now?!
Lajla is most of all a family dog, but she is also a circus dog - always wanting to show al that tricks that my kids has tought her as pushing the bottom of the green light when we cross the road, backup, spin, wave, being shy, bow, walking on her backlegs, playing dead, roll over and god knows what.
She will do anything for a tennis ball, and she also likes freesbe, rallyobediens and agility, whitch is my new hobby. (She is grate in agility - me myself is a little bit too slow but i'm working on it..) I also bring her on my runs as I'm training for a halfmaraton. On the trails she can be trusted off leash because she doesn't show any interest in other people or dogs that she doesn't already know, and so she doesn't bother anyone. I feel so safe with her and have started running more in the forrest, because if I get lost she always finds the way home!
She also loves long walks and taking a nap with me and my husband on a saturday afternoon. She is very active outside, but at home she can be really laid-back.
She is ok being in the city as we red about socialising this type of dog, and spent a lot of time just "hanging out" with her in crowded places sinse she was a puppy. Thats nice, so we can bring her everywhere.
In the summer we go to the west coast of Norway - about 100 mils on train , night train, buses and boats. She stays calm as long as she stays with us. She does not like the family to split thou. Then she barks... And though she doesn't bark that often we get a little nervous. So we stay together. She thinks its her job to keep us together so nobody gets lost.
In Sweden the Aussie is not a common type of breed and came here as late as in the middle of the 90's. They are considered working dogs and the breeders are serius about them. Its not that type of dog that ends up in a rescue center or found in the road. The breeders can choose who they sells there dogs to, and to be able to by one you have to promise to give them enough training and exersice. I never herd of double merle breeding here in Sweden, the breeders are awere of that. It's so sad I think! In Sweden its also forbidden to cut the tails of dogs so many of them got long our half long tails. Lajla has a natural bobed tail thou.
On the other hand you dont meet one that often. That's why I think it was so nice to find this community and read all these storys of youre dayly life with them. I recognise so many Aussie behaviors you all describe, like the smile, the loyalty, the interests in fresbee and training, the shaddowing, the sence of humor that they have, the playfulnes, the steeling of food, the strong herding instinct.
Now I gonna tell you something funny, and mayby verry "Aussie like." One day my son was out playing with her at a green area just near our home in the neighborhood where we live. Suddenly she started to bark a kind of bark that he never herd before. She sounded just like a little puppy. Then she ran away and my son of course got realy scared because she dont use to ever do that, and there are streets around. But she didnt run out of sight, she turned back and when she came back she was herding three wild rabbits! She had rounded them up in a perfect cirkle and came upp to him looking so proud that he couldnt get mad at her. Its like she said - "look what I got for you! They had split up but I braught them back!" She looked realy surprised when he leashed her and went home. So even if she is a city dog her herding instinkt is intact!
Lajla is actually my first dog, I wanted a dog my whole life but it never was the right timing... So when I finally was able to by one I got a lot of warnings from people saying that this dog was a "lot of dog" and maybe to much for a first time owner. But I said that as I've been waiting my hold life to get one I dont want to compromise. I knew that kind of dog needs a lot of exercise, but to be onest - so do I. And my kids where also a handful when they where small but turned out to be nice kids anyway, so I figured I could manage.
When I was a child I wanted a Collie and when I was older I used to say that one day I will have a loyal and intelligent dog that can fallow me everywhere - " a Collie or something like that." Years went by and suddenly I was middle aged and my children where already teenagers. It occured to me that Ive been wanting a dog for 37 years (since I was eleven) - maybe its time to finally "live my dream..?"
One day our family was in Kopenhagen, Denmark on vacation and we saw a realy beautiful dog who was walking in the middle of town with his owner without a leash. It was a black, tan and white dog without a tail and I thaugt it lookt a little like a Collie but much stronger and more confident and "plain" . I remember saying to my husband - " That is what I call a dog!!"
When we came home I started to look on the internet to figure out what breed it was. I found out it was an Australian Shepherd and read as mush as possible about them. I also went to dog shows and talked to breeders.
My husband said - "get any dog you like as long as its a girl and you name her Lajla, because that is the name of a dog to me! " (All dogs in his family, five generations back, have had the same name. When he was a kid and visited his grandma in Norway he thaugt Lajla was another world for "dog." They had a realy nice "Lajla"" at his grandmas house, some kind of herding mixed breed. When he was older they had a boxer who was called Lajla at home.)
Anyway - to make a long story short we found a breeder who was an owner of both the mom and dad. They were both realy nice dogs who she used to train in agility and obedience. They felt verry confident and not shy. Verry happy dogs.
We met them before the pups were born and told her about ourselves and our family. Three days later they got seven pups. Four girls and three boys. I never forget that day when she rang and told me we could by one of the girls!
They were all red or red merle and named after different types of American chocolate. When they where six weeks we then decided witch one who was ours - she helped us to chose a puppy that she thaught would fit our family the best - a kind of mellow one. Also the sweetest if you ask me...! Her kennel name is Milky Way - it fits, doesn't it!
See that picture - this is that day we knew she is our puppy and my youngest dauhter just picked her up. I will never forget that day!
We braught Lajla home at 8 weeks and the family has been happy with her ever since. Its like she is the center of the family, bringing us al together and making the home much cosier. She is someone we all have in common and that everyone care about.
Everyone has to take care of her and take her out on walks and play with her to keep her happy. We always get a lot of compliments for her being so well behaved. They use to ask how we trained her. I use to say that we are not that experiensed dog trainers - we just happen to have an Aussie.
If you just spend your time with them they will do anything to please you - thats just the way they are!
Read Karin's update about Lajla here: Still Living My Dream