My Big Birthday Present

ry=400Most people who know me know to expect this from me, the day after my birthday.

In fact, I have gotten in the habit of taunting my friend Marianne about the day after my birthday (and a couple of other days in the year, but I know this is the one that “gets” her every time), to get the tissues ready.

Because I tell the same story every year, and it starts like this:

It was the day after my birthday. I bought a car, I bought a crate, and I drove down to Maryland to pick up my dog.

This is the ninth year I will be telling this story. It starts this way, every year. Some details get added, some are omitted, and every year I am gladder that I get to tell the story again.

It almost doesn’t matter any more why I decided that I wanted a border collie to begin with.ย What really matters is that rescue after rescue told me that I COULD NOT have ย a border collie, not in New York City.

IMG_3030Never mind that I was trying to adopt my first dog ever. I knew (I did, right?) an adult border collie was going to be “difficult”. But how dare they deny ME providing a home for an unwanted dog!?!? Those were the magic words. “You cannot”.

I did finally convince someone to let me adopt a 4 year old male border collie though, nine years ago.

People tell me that Finn is lucky to have found me. I think he was totally meant to be mine. He knew that he found his sucker when he saw me. Played aloof a little, then gave me a big stare, then his goofy smile.

I will never forget the first day I got him to NYC. He was so scared he was practically crawling on the street as I tried to walk him from my garage to my apartment. Automatic doors opened and he jumped. I thought he would never go to the bathroom on concrete. Thank goodness he’s the kind of dog that ย would sell his soul for food because he had never seen stairs before and back then, I lived on the 4th floor of a walk up. I coaxed him up, with food, inching up the stairs. It took me 45 minutes.

Then, he turned into a total stalker. Of me. He stared and stared and stared. I lost 5 pounds in the first weekend that I had him because I could not eat while he was staring at me. “Dogs need exercise”, they tell you. So I ran and ran.

I should have publicized it as the new diet. “The Border Collie Diet”.

IMG_3484He has taught me many things. In the last nine years, I have taken many adventures because of him. I have touched sheep (a lot, and not just because they are yarn about to happen). I have learned that communicating with another species is a different kind of challenge — dogs are so….literal. I have learned about canine structure and behavior. Most of all, I have learned what true companionship is all about.

I don’t believe that dogs give you unconditional love….until you earn it. Once you earn it, though, then I think you become the sun, moon and goddess of their universe. Really, I don’t think I can do much wrong in Finn’s eyes at this point.

In fact, as I write this, all 50 pounds of Finn are lying on my feet. And snoring. Because he’s an old guy. He’s a very good boy.

I hope, with all my heart, that I get to write my day after my birthday story for several years more. Marianne, please pass the tissue.

Happy adopt-a-versary, Finn. Thank you for a great nine years!


  1. Marianne said:

    Tissue box empty! Another beautiful story about a handsome Finn who found his amazing person..and the rest is history, as they say. Happy Birthday, Finn Finn! I look forward to reading many more “the day after my birthday” stories. Big smile here (and happy tears, of course)! xo

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ You knew one of these days you would actually make it into the story, right!?

  2. Diane said:

    Tears here too. Congrats and many more.He was very lucky to have found you! and so is Lucy.

    • Diane, do you remember when Bob Vest told me, “forget the dog for a second, go over there and touch on the sheep” and I was horrified???? I was like, “why!?!? They’re…..dirty and smelly.”

  3. Oh, Finn…you are both lucky to have each other.
    Here’s to many more adoption celebrations!

    • Aging is tough. On both the dog and the human (but espeically the human.) xoxo to your senior dogs!!

  4. A big Happy Birthday to both of you! I have a plaque that reads ‘A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.’ So true. And thanks for the tissue warning. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to reading this story again in the upcoming years. xo

    • I love your plaque. But add a sticky note to that….”after you earn it”!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Nancy said:

    Thank you for that lovely story (wiping tears away). Your Finn is so handsome and you are both lucky to have each other. I, too, have a rescue (rescued from the animal hospital where she was brought to be put down) – they give so much love – I’m a lucky one too. Happy Birthday – a day late, and Happy Adoptaversary to you and Finn. Wishing you both many more.

    • Go hug your dog ๐Ÿ™‚ (although actually, she may prefer a scritch and a cookie.)

  6. Betsy said:

    Lovely post. Having a dog has opened so many new worlds.

  7. jillian said:

    awww i love your finn stories! happy dogiversary ๐Ÿ™‚

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