There's been a pretty large battle waging itself inside of me for the last couple of weeks. The battle ramped up into high gear with the sudden and unexpected renewed interest in the pups. I'm feeling a sense of urgency that I really can't describe. I feel the need to make a decision with the animal situation immediately.
With the dogs, Keith has a 3/4 sister to Reba that would be ready to leave mom around the middle of February that I could forward on to Nick to replace Grace. Bottom line is he needs a new dog. However, I also know that I don't need to house three Border Collies (Tessa doesn't count). The advice I received was if someone was interested in buying - SELL. So I'm torn, should I let Diva go and keep Luke? I keep running through all the potential scenarios in my head. It's the "What If..." that's killing me. What if Diva is the outstanding herder? A huge part of the problem is I'm attached to both pups and there isn't a clear favorite. They both have pros and cons to their various little personalities and make-ups.
Another, huge dog issue for me is Reba. I love her to death. I think she's talented and trainable. But deep down in my heart, some days I wonder if I'm the right human for her. She's definitely more happy when she's getting a lot of regular work. Another issue for me is that Reba and Tessa do not get along. It's work to stay on top of the behavior - and I hate having my old dog scared to enter or leave a room.
The secondary issue regarding Reba is that I'm not passionately committed to competing at trials. I enjoy going to trials. But really, I can take or leave most of them. I enjoy working my dog. I really enjoy training the babies (when they first get on the stock, and start to get the basics down). If I'm not going to commit to hitting the trial field hard next summer, is it fair of me to keep her? I do know I'll never be a hard core trialer. I can't commit the time because most of the "big" trials are when I'm working and it's not an easy feat to get time off during the school year. (One of my coworkers is on the National Handball Team and he was denied permission to attend Nationals. - to give you perspective.)
Part of my Reba dilemma stems from Roxy. This is Roxy's big year (3 year old Futurities). Because it has been a very, very, long time since I've had anything to do with cutting I'm feeling quite uncertain how much of a financial and time commitment she's going to need. And Cutting trumps Sheep Trials. If I have to choose, I will choose the horse. If I have to pick how I'll spend my money, I'll put it into the horse. Not going down the road to compete with the dog. If I'm spending a lot of time working with the horse or doing cutting related activities the herding side of things will suffer. This I do know. (Who knows - I may get going with the cutting and discover I hate it, the politics and the people. But that hasn't happened yet.)
The pups, however, do not need to trial this year. Instead, it's the perfect time to get them started and mess around with them. They would be able to travel with me and get a lot of socialization and experiences. The pups I can shape to fit my lifestyle. And when I'm ready to hit the trial field, they too, would be ready. But Reba, she needs to work. She loves to work. She wants to work. And I feel I'm selling her short. Wasting her, so to speak, by forcing her to be a pet. (Which she definitely is more so than working dog at this point in time.)
On the other hand, Reba is a known quantity. I know who she is as a dog. What her strengths and weaknesses are. I know she has endurance and talent. This I can't say about the pups. All I can say about the pups is they handle new things well, and are trainable.
So here I sit. Having an internal war. All sparked by someone wanting a pup. And shoved into high drive because I really, truly love my critters and want the best for them...
What to do... what to do...