Like Jennifer suggested, I closed my eyes and pictured in my head this summer. What I saw was....
Reba flying down the field. Not Luke. Not Diva. But Reba running with joy on her face to the sheep.
So I began weighing pros and cons.
Reba's positive qualities are that she has excellent stamina (we've gone for 5 mile runs in the summer and she's ready to work when we get home), she's keen to work, wants to please me, has a very nice natural outrun, (this one could be a con) and is a one person dog. She's also happy in her crate, travels well, housebroke, and has a quiet easy going disposition - she's the dog who nicely lays at your feet. Her negative attributes are she's cranky with other dogs - more so when she come into heat, is quite strong eyed and is sensitive (which could be positive). Reba's the dog that quietly trails me around the house.
Luke's positive qualities are that he has his mom's easy going personality, he's quite calm, he's keen to learn and play, he's gregarious - after a minute to study them, he's keen to play with other dogs, and is pretty relaxed about new things. His potential negatives could be lack of endurance, and he's male. (I'd have to work very hard at training him when and where he can pee - because it *heh* pisses me off when they pee on my tires.) He also has a great body with nice bone and should be a larger medium sized dog.
Diva's positive qualities are that she's athletic and fast, soft and trainable, female, and isn't bothered by other dogs. She's brave. Her negatives could be that she's sensitive and wary of strange people. She is more inclined to cling to her human's leg and isn't as interested in playing with the other dogs. More serious of the two pups. Diva also has more energy, or is more hyper than her brother, but I think will have good endurance. Diva has her mom's build and type of coat.
Both pups are brave in strange situations - but in different ways. They will have had different and better socialization situations than their mother (who I didn't get until she was a bit older than the pups are now - and then had to finish off her shots - putting her at 7 months before she could really get out there), and have already had more work and know more than their mother at this age. Both pups are more confident than Reba at this age.
With Reba I feel like we have something to prove. That I need to provide her with the opportunity to show off what a nice dog she is. The pups have no pressure - they are the quintessential blank slate.
Christine mentioned the training aspect of the pups, and I've thought a lot about that. Borders are a bit different in the way its not uncommon for people to hold pups until they're on stock before deciding which animal suits them best. Right now, my pups live together - I like that they have each other for companionship and heat. But they would by necessity be separated next month. I couldn't risk an accidental breeding (Yuck!). However, it's easy enough to keep them in their own runs. And give them play time as well as separate training time. Compared to horse training time this isn't a lot of commitment. Would I be able to do justice to two pups? I don't know.
With Reba, I have money set aside to send her out for some extra training come spring. (Literally, it's in an envelope in my underwear drawer.) I'd do it now, but she was bald after the pups, and became an inside dog. No trainer I know would have her inside.
With the pups I've already started taking puppy classes and, if the weather would ever cooperate, plan on trips to the dog park and town. (You should have seen the look on Luke's face when he saw the Labradoodle!) I'd also plan to lightly start them in the summer and send out in September when I'm busy with work.
My mom thinks I should sell Luke, and keep Diva. Based solely on sex. My older brother loves Luke for his personality, but has nothing against Diva. And I guess I'll find out what my dad thinks tomorrow. The lady from the email is considering Luke - but because she wants a breeding dog down the road and he's a carrier, she's not committed.
But what do I think? What "makes my heart sing"? At this point, any of my options make me tear up. I'm not ready to let any of them go. In their own way, they all have something special I really appreciate.
But I will make a final decision tomorrow. After puppy class. Sigh.